Helping the homeless back on their feet in Leeds

20 April 2021

Howard Civil Engineering have been a long-term supporter of Cleckheaton-based social enterprise The Howarth Foundation, and we are very proud to have supported them with the recent launch of Hidden Owls, their new community-based project in Leeds!

Based in Armley town centre, Hidden Owls is a clothing and homeware store selling pre-loved and new items, as well as a training centre and head office for The Howarth Foundation. The centre also offers a programme of reintegration referred to as ‘The Street2Feet Project’ to those recovering from chaotic lifestyles who are looking to re-enter mainstream society.

Hidden Owls opened last week in Armley.

This training facility was in dire need of refurbishing when The Howarth Foundation took the units at the back end of last year, and Howard Civil Engineering were only too happy to help bring this centre to life!

Along with our sister company Erris Homes, we worked with The Howarth Foundation to revamp the interior of the outlet and transform it into a welcoming and homey space for The Howarth Foundation’s clients and visitors.

In addition to providing advice and guidance in the early stages of the renovation, Howard Civil Engineering engaged a number of our preferred local subcontractors and suppliers to cover pipework, undertake remedial work to the floors, and provide floor coverings across the units.

The units needed a lot of TLC!

We are pleased to say the shop opened its doors last week and has been well received within the local community!

“We have been working alongside The Howarth Foundation for almost two years now, so there was no question of us assisting them with their latest project,” commented Howard Civil Engineering and Erris Homes’ managing director Michael Howard. “The work they do in communities across West Yorkshire is truly unparalleled.”

“Overall, we have donated a considerable amount of labour and several thousand pounds worth of materials to help get Hidden Owls off the ground and I cannot think of an organisation more deserving of this investment,” he continued. “I am thrilled to see the centre is now open and wish The Howarth Foundation the best of luck in this endeavour.”

We enlisted our local subcontractors and suppliers, Alexandra Joinery and Kirkstall Timber, to help with the refurbishment.

Andy Howarth, managing director at The Howarth Foundation, was equally as complimentary about us: “I would like to offer a massive thanks to the lads at Howard Civil Engineering and Erris Homes, and especially Michael Howard who has given so much of his time to The Howarth Foundation and its clients. He is an unsung hero!”

The staff at Hidden Owls are recruited from those who have been homeless, recently re-housed, sofa surfing, fleeing domestic violence, subject to harassment, in unsafe or unsuitable accommodation and, wherever possible, the team will also be enlisted from those who are in recovery from mind-altering substances, refugees, and those who have been subject to harassment, human trafficking, manipulation and/or control by a third party.

“With Hidden Owls, we are determined to take the words ‘second hand’ into a new dimension whilst providing training and support for our recovering homeless clients,” continued Andy. “This is not just a second-hand shop, it’s a re-integration and recovery programme for those less fortunate but ready to take ‘The Next Step’.”

Hidden Owls is open from 10am – 4pm, Monday - Saturday at Units 11-13 Gelder Road, Armley, LS12 3UF.

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