BBC’S DIY SOS in plea for help from Blackpool trades

DIY SOS Volunteers at work in the new Blackpool Carer's Centre on Newton Drive
DIY SOS Volunteers at work in the new Blackpool Carer's Centre on Newton Drive
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TV crews today issued a plea for more help for an ambitious bid to transform a much-loved Blackpool home for children.

Scores of tradesmen and craftsmen yesterday began a 10-day build to revamp the Newton Drive property as part of BBC One’s DIY SOS programme.

DIY SOS filming in Blackpool

DIY SOS filming in Blackpool

Blenheim House will be a new centre for Blackpool’s Young Carers if the “little miracle” can be pulled off – but they need more help.

Host Nick Knowles said: “The response has been great but we still need electrical supplies, we need specialist timber, waste removal, grab lorries – then we need more than 1,000 plants!”

The team from BBC One’s DIY SOS Big Build, backed by hundreds of volunteers tradesmen and craftsmen, jumped into action yesterday as they launched an ambitious 10-day bid to create a brand new centre for Blackpool’s Young Carers.

But host Nick and design guru Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen still believe the Fylde coast has more to give the Children in Need-backed project.

And as well as builders, electricians and roofers, the team are keen to tap into the area’s artistic talent to transform Blenheim House in Newton Drive.

“I want what we are doing to be something extraordinary,” said Laurence.

“I want something glamorous, grown up, interesting, packed with haute couture –the most happening thing in Blackpool.

“People talk about design as if it’s a luxury.

“This isn’t about putting on a roof and bringing in a flat-screen television.

“We want something cutting edge, the cat’s pyjamas.”

And Laurence knows the people of Blackpool are capable of creating something truly special.

He said: “Blackpool is an extraordinarily engaged place.

“Sometimes you find that people can’t spare the time or the business isn’t in a position to help.

“But here you know you’re going to get the right kind of response.

“One thing I’d love to find is somebody with creative skills.

“Anybody who does anything special or unique, get in touch.

“Blackpool is an astonishingly creative place and if would be wonderful to find unique works. I found art a useful thing to take away my own anxiety as a child.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find something new and creative?”

For Nick and the build team there are still some vital jobs which need filling.

“We need electrical supplies,” he said.

“Then there’s timber, specialist timber we’re after.

“We need help with waste removal, grabber lorries because there’s already a lot of waste being generated.

“We need between 1,000 and 1,400 plants. And we are still looking for a flat roofing company.”

“And a growing willow,the stuff you can weave,” adds Laurence who has made it his mission for the week to prove that ‘fancy pants design’ need not be impractical.

With more than 150 workmen on site every day the scale of the project is enormous

And Nick insists their impact will be felt long after the cameras have departed.

“Children in Need will perform a lot of little miracles,” he said.

“We can multiply that. We can come in and build for free a fantastic facility with all mod cons.

“We have an opportunity to get to support and represent people who don’t normally get that opportunity.

“I loved this build straight away.

“People might see an overgrown garden and unloved interior and think it’s a disaster.

“But for me it’s a wonderful building with big windows and high ceilings, somewhere we can transform.”

That transformation wouldn’t be possible without the army of workers giving up their skills and products for nothing.

“We have had a brilliant reaction from the people of Blackpool,” said Nick.

“It’s a fantastic result from them.

“But we’ve also got a guy from Swansea who has worked as a carer and come to give up his own time.

“We’ve a team of army veterans from our last Big Build, we’ve a landscape gardener who has hired a house for himself and five others.

“It’s unbelievable what people will do, especially in the community.

“The last people to thank are the BBC and DIY SOS. We are just the catalyst, to set the ball rolling, to help the British public show how generous they are.”

The build is due to finish on July 7 and the show will screen in mid-November to coincide with the Children in Need appeal.

Anyone who can offer their help should contact Lucy.Jones@bbc.co.uk.