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Independent UK paintmaker, HMG Paints has donated high performance commercial transport (CT) coatings for refurbishing a community outreach vehicle, owned by not-for-profit urban regeneration organisation, Community Support Plus of Cheetham Hill, Manchester. HMG also arranged for the specialist refinishing work to be carried out by one of its CT trade customers, award winning bodyshop Commercial Contract Engineers of Rochdale, which also contributed its services free of charge.
In a collaborative venture involving CS Plus, general trade union GMB and the Manchester College of Arts & Technology (MANCAT), the newly converted and refurbished vehicle will be used for a variety of outreach projects, including IT training and as a base for a driving skills course, which will engage hundreds of people in North Manchester. Students on MANCAT's Automotive Studies programme have been responsible for stripping out and refitting the interior, as well as rubbing down, undercoating and preparing the body for refinishing.
CS Plus assists with capacity building amongst local voluntary groups and social businesses, particularly minority ethnic communities, senior citizens, young people and children's organisations, its management team drawing upon 60 years' combined experience in the voluntary and private sectors. As part of its training and advisory roles, CS Plus regularly works within the North Manchester area on various community outreach projects and recently acquired a Renault Master Box Van, equipped with side awnings, for converting into a mobile office-cum-training centre. The vehicle itself has quite a colourful history, having previously been an official Renault Megane Rally support vehicle and after that a hospitality unit on the James Bond set at Elstree studios.
"The vehicle's overall condition was good and the engine is in good nick, but the paintwork was looking fairly tired," says CS Plus Project Director, Gurnam Sin. "Although we are a non-profit organisation and don't have substantial funds for this sort of exercise, we do like to project a smart, professional image, which encourages people to interact with us."
Jack Bolton of MANCAT's Automotive Studies department, had an existing contact with HMG and approached the Collyhurst-based firm for help. HMG is actively involved in its own community projects, involving schools, colleges and local organisations, and was happy to donate 30 litres of primer and 2-pack topcoat. Its CT Products Manager, Steve Louis, also called upon his contacts and enlisted the help of Commercial Contract Engineers for the final spray painting.
MANCAT, which uses the CS Plus Waterloo Centre facilities for delivering community based learning, volunteered to refit and prepare the vehicle, while GMB, which assists with workforce development at the site, also pledged its support. The original kitchen has been stripped out by the apprentices and replaced with worktops for a PC training area, with leather-upholstered benches and a refreshment area provided for informal meetings and discussions. The awnings can also be rolled out for displays and events, such as driving skills tests for young people.
Further enquiries to:
HMG Paints, Riverside Works, Collyhurst Road, Manchester M40 7RU, telephone 0161 205 7631