Changing Lives by Changing Homes

This is South Wales article 22.03.12

With recession having such a strong hold across the UK, many families and businesses alike are feeling the squeeze. However a generous plasterer from Gorseinon still manages to find time outside of running his business to help the community. Jamie Denyer of Phoenix Plastering says that his business is succeeding, despite the credit crunch, and now he wants to pass a bit of his good fortune and happiness onto others.

For the past four years Jamie has been offering families facing a range of financial or emotional difficulties who have been nominated by friends and neighbours for an opportunity to receive a room make-over. The ETSETH project aims to change lives by changing rooms, through Enlarging the Spirit and Encouraging the Heart. Although to some people redecorating a room seems like very little to others it really can be life altering.

  1. ‚ÄčETSETH Volunteers


However it is not only the winners of the experience that are having their lives changed, Jamie has recently added tackling unemployment to the projects aims. With the help of local Welsh business The WorX. The project has now received a welcome injection of additional support in the form of 13 paid workers and two MPV’s to transport the teams to the premises selected for refurbishment.

The ETSETH trainees will now join the team of voluntary local traders which include Carpenters Chris Jones, Mike Jones and Stephen Holands; Builder Peter Ryan; Damp Proofer Dean Colclough and Painter and Decorator Emma Lisker. The local team have continued to give their time to ensure the project goes from strength to strength and continues to make a real difference to real members of the community.

Take for example 69-year-old Gareth Hughes who met compassionate plasterer Jamie Denyer toward the beginning of the projects launch. His daughter Melanie nominated him for the chance to get a room plastered for free by Jamie after she read about the opportunity in the local paper. Mr Hughes was chosen for the work after Jamie read about his heart- rending past few years.

Around six years ago Mr Hughes was diagnosed with a brain tumour near his ear. Its removal left him with a problem with his balance, and an inability to work or to renovate his home, which was where his parents lived, and where he was born. When his wife left him Mr Hughes’s life stalled and the house fell into disrepair. “It was going downhill fast, and there was nothing I could do about it,” Gareth said. “There was nothing to get up for”. “But now, with what Jamie’s done, it’s kicked it all off. From now on, I’ve got to pull my finger out and get the rest done”.

Jamie himself suffered with many personnel and financial issues previous to starting up ETSETH and it was this difficult time along with inspiration from his all time favourite T.V programme Extreme Makeover that lead to the birth of his project.

Jamie and his growing team are however still reliant solely on donations from both companies and the public. “I really could not have done it with out the help and support of these local businesses.” Says Jamie “How I see it is if people are in a difficult situation where negativity is rife, and the house they live in is in a chaotic state, then they would benefit from having just one room that’s been renovated with a lot of love, care and affection. That room can then be a room for the people to not only feel proud to be in but also where allot of positive thinking, focusing and assessing can be done.”

“That one room can be the catalyst of progression and growth, because if you enlarge the spirit then you will encourage the heart, simple. The response we had so far has been unbelievably overwhelming the saying “there’s always somebody worse off than yourself” has never been more evident to me since starting this and that is something we should all focus on, being thankful and grateful for what we have got as opposed to dwelling on what we haven’t got is key and paramount to our own inner peace”