Earlier this year, Stephen Keenan was named Trade Hero at our Building Better Communities ceremony, winning £50,000 worth of building materials.
We caught up with Stephen, co-founder and director of Happy Days Building and Roofing Company, to see what he’s been up to since he won the award.
How did it feel to win Trade Hero, Stephen?
I was over the moon when Jewson announced I was the Trade Hero for 2018. When you enter something like Building Better Communities, you never expect to win – I suppose it’s a little bit like the lottery!
I’ve been working in the construction industry for over 15 years, and I’ve always wanted to give something back. This prize will help me do just that, and I can’t thank Jewson enough.
How will winning the building materials mean you can help others?
I want to use this prize to help as many organisations and communities as possible. If I was to write a list of projects that may need support with building materials or labour, it would never end.
At the moment, Happy Days Building and Roofing company is working with a Lancashire-based domestic violence charity, building a meeting point for those who need a place to go, and renovating the surrounding office space to create a safe haven.
My hope is that by using the prize to build a better space the charity can use its own money in other areas, like supporting even more people who find themselves in difficult situations.
There are lots of other projects on the horizon too, so watch this space.
Can you tell us a bit more about Happy Days Homeless Charity?
Happy Days Homeless Charity was set up by my brother, David, to support those who have found themselves in times of need.
Many tradespeople will tell you that our industry is lacking in skilled workers. It occurred to me that, if we could show these people the ways of the trade and teach them valuable skills like bricklaying and roofing, we can help them get back on their feet. That’s how Happy Days Building and Roofing Company came to be.
By bringing more people in, we can help to tackle this shortage and enhance local communities up and down the country at the same time.