Rotary in Cumbria & Lancashire volunteers in DIY SOS project

Rotary in Cumbria & Lancashire volunteers in DIY SOS project

BBC television series, DIY SOS, landed in Blackburn, Lancashire early September to develop and build accommodation for young people facing homelessness. Rotary members from the area were keen to utilise their skills to develop the building.

BBC One’s DIY SOS landed in Blackburn, Lancashire, early September to develop and build accommodation for young people facing homelessness for a BBC Children in Need Big Build Special.

The crew, led by Nick Knowles have completed the conversion of 18th century St Silas Church hall for Nightsafe, a charity supporting homeless people aged 16-24.

Nightsafe has longstanding relationships within the area, including with nearby Rotary clubs.

The new centre will provide accommodation and a support centre for 16-18-year-olds, facing homelessness in the area.

Although many are unaware, the demand for emergency shelter and care is growing.

The current accommodation centres are no longer big enough to cater for the problem of homelessness.

According to Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, the total number of people counted or estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night was 4,677 during Autumn 2018.

bbc diy sos

Pictured left-to-right, Rotary members Peter Shaw, Ian McTurk and Mike Hindle.

Secretary of Great Harwood & Rishton Rotary, Peter Shaw, said: “We have been working with Nightsafe over the past twelve or so months with our sister clubs Church & Oswaldtwistle, Accrington, Clitheroe and Ribblesdale for our project ‘Wrap Up Lancashire’.

“We collect unwanted coats and winter items and donate them to Nightsafe for distribution. When we heard the BBC were coming to renovate the church hall, we were excited to see what we could do to help.”

Look what you have given us. It’s not just, what you might think, a roof over young people’s heads.”

The entire renovation was funded by donations from businesses, volunteers and tradespeople.

The site was busy with volunteers throughout the duration of the project: people from across Great Britain and Ireland chipped in.

Pudsey Bear, Nick Knowles, Gabrielle Blackman and some of the DIY SOS team.

Peter explained Rotary’s involvement: “Over the two weeks, members from our local clubs volunteered across numerous days.

“I got involved in transporting materials and tools across the building mayhem. Everyone was getting stuck in – I found myself getting out of my comfort zone, which has boosted my confidence, and reminded me why I love volunteering with Rotary.”

bbc diy sos

Rotary members with Jan Larkin (middle), Nightsafe CEO.

Although the original timescale had to be extended by five days, the morale of the team remained high, with everyone eager to see the final result.

Nightsafe CEO, Jan Larkin, expressed her thanks: “Look what you have given us.

“It’s not just, what you might think, a roof over young people’s heads.

“It’s the ability and facility to do so much more with our young people.”

Nightsafe used a grant from BBC Children in Need to deliver the LEAP project which supports homeless and vulnerable young people under the age of 18, by helping to increase their life skills and engaging them in education, training and employment to encourage stability in their lives.

A special edition of the programme, DIY SOS, will be broadcast on BBC One at 8pm on Wednesday 13th November and will be available on catch up on BBC iPlayer.

The BBC Children in Need Appeal show will be broadcast on BBC One at 7.30pm on Friday 15th November.

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