Good things come to those who wait

The completed DIY SOS project
The completed DIY SOS project
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It’s taken hundreds of volunteers, thousands of man hours and countless cups of tea...

But finally the wraps are off on one of Blackpool’s biggest and most famous building projects.

It was a case of better late than never when volunteers builders, gardeners, painters, decorators, plumbers, caterers and last but not least carers were invited for a first glimpse of the finished DIY SOS Big Build at Blenheim House in Newton Drive.

The brand new carers centre, now named Beaverbrooks House, was due to be unveiled to TV cameras, volunteers, charity bosses and carers nearly a fortnight ago.

But delays on the gargantuan build – backed by Children in Need – meant TV crews had to return to the site yesterday for the big reveal.

It will now be handed over to Blackpool Carers Centre ready to provide out-of-school respite and training activities as well as peer support for young carers.

All of that would not have been possible without the help of more than 250 supporters who donated materials, resources and time.

The building was no more than a run-down, neglected Victorian house, when the team arrived last month.

It is now an inspiring and homely base for young carers.

Nick Knowles, DIY SOS presenter, said: “I have been blown away by the amount of energy and support we’ve received by the people of Blackpool. Seeing businesses, trades and volunteers come together to help in any way they can has been truly heart-warming. What an incredible sense of community this coastal town has! I am proud to present this fantastic building to these most deserving children and young people and thank everyone that helped – this would simply not have been possible without you.”

The features of the new centre has been designed by Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, star of shows such as Changing Rooms and a well known figure in Blackpool for his work on the Illuminations.

He has combined creativity and tranquillity to provide a space where children and young people with caring responsibilities can enjoy their childhoods.

Laurence said: “I’ve loved being a part of this project. For me the most important thing was creating an interior that would capture the imaginations of the young carers. To achieve this I drew upon design stimuli from around the world to produce an interior which bursts with colour, contemporary art, energy and creativity.

“I hope these selfless children and young people with caring responsibilities are able to enjoy this space and, within it, find the inspiration to reach their full potential.”

And Blackpool Carers can’t wait to start using the facilities to provide vital respite for young people looking after loved ones in their own homes.

Michelle Smith, CEO of Blackpool Carers Centre, said: “We sincerely thank DIY SOS, BBC Children in Need and everyone else that has been involved.

“We are astonished by the efforts of the team, people who have donated materials and volunteers – the support has been beyond what we could have ever imagined.

“This renovation will enable us to help improve the lives of more children and young people with caring responsibilities who are in need of our support both now and in the years to come.”

Work on the home will be featured in in a special DIY SOS: Big Build special due to be screened in November to coincide with the annual BBC Children in Need appeal.