The idea to create a river table initially came to Hall when he began asking lenders to send them his branded pens. Originally, Hall thought to put them in a presentation case and auction it off for charity but said “as the pens came in, the mind started to work”.
He has accumulated around 100 pens which he said looked “very impressive” so far.
Hall added: “Somebody’s going to sit at their desk and see over 100 pens in the table. Especially if a broker wins the table, they can just glance and see over all the lenders and give them a reminder of how many are out there.”
Hall has been sharing updates of every firm which contributes pens to the project and said it was interesting to see that smaller lenders ranked higher on analytics and had more engagement.
He said this was an indicator of which lenders engaged more with their colleagues and broker communities.
A poll was run to decide which charitable cause the auction and raffle money should be raised for, with options of the Ukraine crisis, mental health, homelessness or other.
Respondents chose mental health as the cause.
Hall said: “What’s happening in Ukraine is really terrible, the war is devastating which is why it was one of the choices on the poll. The two favourites took the lead, which were homelessness and mental health. I guess it’s because we’re in the business of putting people in homes.
“But a lot of people are struggling with mental health, post-credit crunch regulation has quadrupled the work of a broker. Many work weekends and into the evening, it’s not a nine to five job and many struggle with their mental health because of that.”
He added: “This started off as a crazy project, but it’s been a revelation in many ways.”
Hall will run another poll to decide which charity the money goes to.
The task at hand
Hall, who is also an ex-Air Force engineer, sourced the wood for the table from a local forest and it is currently acclimatising to the indoors.
The table will be executive sized, with clear or blue resin poured in.
The acclimatisation process should be complete by July and in September, Hall will work on building the table.
Hall will put the table together as he does his usual mortgage advising so he will dedicate the weekends to the task. The resin will be poured in stages.
He said: “I still have my eye on maybe a dozen lenders who should be able to send some pens in, then it’s case of getting the table together. Preparation is everything, it takes you maybe five minutes to pour the resin, but the preparation might take two or three days.”
Hall originally wanted to fund the construction of the table himself, but once the wood was cut, he realised the resin river would be wider than originally thought and therefore more expensive. He said a few lenders had offered to sponsor the material costs.
As most river tables which are coffee-table sized sell for around £400, while larger imported tables cost around £4,000. Hall expects his to have a value of at least £6,000 so wants to raise up to £10,000 for it. He added: “It really depends on the support I can get.”
He said he wanted more support from brokers by liking and sharing his updates on LinkedIn.
Hall plans to raise the money for the charity on JustGiving, then choose the winner depending on who has contributed.
“I just feel it’s part of a historic project,” he added.