DIY SOS unveils town’s ‘coolest club’ for carers

Nick Knowles, Laurence Llewellyn Bowen and Pudsey with young carers

Nick Knowles, Laurence Llewellyn Bowen and Pudsey with young carers

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TV star Nick Knowles hailed the opening of Blackpool’s coolest and most exclusive club as he handed over the key to a charity’s new home.

Nick and the team from BBC One’s DIY SOS - The Big Build have spent more than a fortnight toiling to convert a former NHS site into a brand new respite centre for young carers in the resort.

And, shooting the show’s big reveal, he made clear just how close bonds had been formed during a project which proved a bigger job than anybody could have imagined.

Beaverbrooks House, in Newton Drive, has been handed over to Blackpool Carers.

And Nick, who presided over the emotional final day of filming with design ace Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, is hoping the hundreds of volunteers who worked on the scheme will leave a lasting legacy.

He said: “Young carers in Blackpool are going to have somewhere to go and somewhere they can actually have a childhood.

“There’s very little time for them just to be children and teenagers.

“Now there’s a place for them here.

“It’s probably the coolest club in Blackpool.

“And to be a member you can only get in if you are a carer.”

Hundreds of builders, gardeners, decorators, caterers, plumbers and electricians pitched in on the build, which very nearly got the better of them. And Nick hailed their efforts. He said: “They should, as they drive away, feel 10ft tall.

“Whenever they think about this place or drive past this place they should know there’s something happening here which they played a part in.”

The programme makers originally set a 10 day deadline. But works on the home over-ran, forcing film crews to return nearly a fortnight after their original finish date.

“It’s the sheer scale of it,” explained Nick.

“You’re talking about something that would normally be a 10 month job and cost a million, a million and a half done for tens of thousands in days.

“We underestimated by about four days.

“We had to come back and finish off at another time because people were committed elsewhere.

“But if you end up with a massive facility of this kind after three weeks not two it doesn’t really matter.

“TV puts these unreal deadlines of things to create jeopardy in TV.

“We’ve always worked on the basis we’re not going to give it back until its done and it’s going to be done properly.”

One thing which amazed Laurence, who is also a design consultant for Blackpool’s Illuminations, was the buzz the build generated.

He said: “It has made such an incredible difference doing this here in Blackpool, we’ve had the continual support.

“It’s become such a news story as well. Every time I’ve come back for filming, every time anything has been going on here people are terribly, terribly interested in it.

“It shows that rather than this being a flash in the pan, rather than this just being something that happens on television there is a very strong commitment that has been forged.

“A bond has been created between Blackpool as a community and the charity and the work they will do here.”

The show is due to be aired in November.