An Exeter-based home builder helped a South Dartmouth Community College student have the experience of a lifetime when she was given the opportunity to represent her local area in this year's World Challenge Community trip.
Bovis Homes donated funds for 18-year-old Milly Tidy to purchase the equipment required to journey to Malaysia to help out at a home for disabled and elderly people.
The trip was amazing and from the experience I've realised that I can do anything if I work hard and put my mind to it, says Milly, who has grown up in Williams Gate & Coombe Park I was really interested in going as I had never been outside of Europe and I was keen to experience different cultures and generally see the world!
It was great to be able to support Milly in this adventure, and give her the opportunity to develop her skills and broaden her experience, says Stacey Banfield, regional marketing manager. We are proud to be able to assist young people like Milly who have the right attitude and represent their communities so well. What is fantastic about helping Milly is that, in turn, we are also helping a neighbourhood on the other side of the world!
Since joining the Bovey Tracey community with our Williams Gate location, we've supported a variety of local projects and organisations.
Milly and her 13 team-mates spent two years training and raising funds for the four-week trip, which included going on practice walks and group-building activities.
I worked at a local retirement home through the holidays and at weekends to help pay towards the trip, Milly says. We also held various fundraising events, including coffee mornings, car boot sales, sponsored walks and held a duck race down the River Bovey!
Starting the trip in Borneo, the group spent a week sight-seeing and learning about the new culture, as well as discovering how to take care of themselves while abroad. The group then flew over to Kuala Lumpur and travelled to Rawang to take part in a community project.
This was by far my favourite part of the trip, says Milly. We were helping out at a home called Kirtash, which is a home for disabled and elderly people who are no longer cared for by their families as they are considered a burden.
The home had a terrible fire a couple of years ago and some of the residents lost their lives in it. It has only just been rebuilt, so we helped to decorate and paint the interior and exterior of the home.
We would also take part in activities with the residents and take them for a walk around the neighbourhood, pushing their wheelchair or holding their hands. When we arrived in the morning, the residents would always be waiting for us with their shoes on!
As well as helping at the home, the group completed a punishing trek through the Malaysian jungle, which saw them battling with leeches and rough terrain.
The trip has had a huge impact on Milly, who is already planning her gap year before going to university to study adult nursing. Along with another friend from the trip, the two are hoping to work for six months and then volunteer for other community projects abroad.
The trip has given me a lot of self-belief and has made me see that I can achieve things if I put my mind to it, says Milly. Even if it's only to one home such as Kirtash, I can still make a difference as an individual.