Category Archives: DIY SOS

Grenfell Summary

DIY SOS: Big Build mostly builds extensions on homes. We have done bigger builds such as a street of houses for veterans in Manchester and centres for charities for Children in Need. Like many across the country, we watched the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in horror. With all our building contacts, we wondered if we could do something to help. It was the start of what was to become the biggest, most complicated and most challenging access-wise project ever.

Housing was too big a task but it turned out in the lower floors of the tower were different community spaces including a gym for the Dale Youth Boxing Club. Dale Youth is a west London success story – it opens its doors to any young person who wants to train. It’s started the careers of George Groves and James de Gale and many national champions. It teaches more than just boxing – manners and discipline are important and keeps kids off the streets and out of gangs.

It also needed a home. They were squatting in a gym in a disused car park that had no heating or showers. Mick and Gary, the two inspiring trainers who are like dads to the people they coach, were only too happy to meet and take up a potential offer of a new club.

Wandering around the area, we found an empty plot and worked out the people who managed it – the Westway Trust. We then pitched them what we were proposing and they suggested a plot under the Westway A 40 flyover and agreed to let us build.

The scale was enormous, more than twice the size of anything we had attempted. Normally we build a home extension. This was two buildings and – in a first – steel construction which meant we had to learn new things. We pumped our contact books and ended up with one of the country’s biggest construction firms on board who took on the role of project manager. We drew plans and a materials list and it just seemed to keep rolling. But it has been far from a smooth ride. There were many days when it looked like the whole thing was going to collapse. We were asking for enormous commitments: £100k+ of steel for example. Carillion happened and we lost some companies.  So many ups and downs and sleepless nights.

In the end though, thanks to the enormous generosity of many companies, we built two buildings (the 280 square meter boxing gym was built in just 9 weeks!) through donations worth over £2million.  When you start a project this size, you don’t actually know if it will happen but you have to keep plowing on. Television and the DIY SOS brand still have enormous power.

The community around Grenfell is understandably traumatised and access wasn’t always straight forward. We found great characters for this programme in the shape of Gary, Mick and Taz and the incredibly eloquent young people they train. Amazingly with all the coverage of Grenfell, the boxing club hasn’t been in the media much even though it was in the tower. The boxing club helped us tell a different story to other Grenfell coverage. It was also more than just about the fire – an insight into a working class community and also touching on how to prevent gang culture and its associated violence.

The programme has a different tone to be respectful of what had happened – something we decided early on. There is no triumphalism or self-congratulations, no “coming to the rescue”,  no big opening clapping, different lower key music, no end summary from Nick – we wanted local people to end the shows.

Another highlight was getting Prince William down to site. He watches the show and has been on it on the Veterans Street build with his brother. He wanted to come down and meet volunteers and members of the community. He allowed us access to film all his conversations which helped the audience see another side to him.

How it met audience/broadcaster/commercial requirements:

The reaction from the audience on social media and elsewhere has been incredible. The show won its slot beating ITV and all other channels. The programme got a high AI of 88 – 91 amongst 16-34 year olds. It did much higher audience figures than slot average for young viewers as well.

It trended number one on Twitter at the time of tx with Nick Knowles and Grenfell also trending at the same time. We had over 220,000 impressions.

Tweets included really positive comments such as

“Your crew, the contractors, the volunteers and the community are legends! You guys produce the most worthwhile TV of any channel. Thank you.”

“Extremely happy tears. One of the most humbling things I’ve ever watched. Utterly amazing.”

“The #GrenefllTower programme on #bbc1 is the reason what we are GREAT Britain. Hats off to you #DIYSOS @bbc these kids are an inspiration.”

Some tweets were more political:

“So basically while @RBKC navel gaze, leave people in hotels and do bugger all to deal with the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy @DIYSOS have managed to build @DaleYouthBoxing a new gym and for the whole local community.”


The newspaper reviews were fantastic:

“A glowing example of TV working for the greater good,” said The Times.

Their reviewer Carol Midgley went on to say

“Rebuilding a boxing club.. produced a precious, enduring result that will benefit people for years to come…At the end everyone was elated and things, so dark for so long around Grenfell, seemed fractionally brighter.”

“Much more than a gesture, it was proof of television’s power to unite people and make Britain a better place,”

wrote the Daily Mail who awarded the show five stars.

DIY SOS Children In Need Special

DIY SOS: The Big Build BBC Children in Need Special airs 20:00 on 17th November, BBC One.

DIY SOS has been working on one of its most ambitious and heartfelt projects to date to raise money for BBC Children in Need. Nick Knowles, DIY SOS presenter, and the ‘Purple Shirts’ team have begun transforming a Blackpool-based young carers centre from a run-down, neglected Victorian house, to a fun, safe and supportive environment where young carers are able to enjoy their childhood. The transformation will be documented in ‘DIY SOS: The Big Build BBC Children in Need special’ when the show airs in on BBC One on November 17th.

Joining the team for this special build is TV presenter, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, the homestyle consultant has designed the project, as well as over 250 local volunteers helping in any way they can. From bricklayers to plasterers, gardeners to tea-makers, the community has come together to donate their time, resources and materials for the good cause.

The property, Blenheim House, is owned by Blackpool Carers Centre, a charity which receives BBC Children in Need funding to provide out-of-school respite and training activities as well as peer support for over 100 children and young people with caring responsibilities.


DIY SOS Nominated for a TV Choice Award

DIY SOS has been nominated for a TV Choice Award under the category ‘Best Lifestyle Show’ there’s no need to register and voting only takes a couple of minutes.

Please click on the link to place your vote –

Princes William and Harry Give SOS a ‘Real Boost’

Prince William and Prince Harry join the BBC DIY SOS team
Joined the appeal: Prince William and Prince Harry join the BBC DIY SOS team

TV show DIY SOS is transforming derelict houses into little palaces…so helpers don’t come much more handy than this regal pair.

William and Harry got their hands dirty as part of a mission to turn one street’s rundown properties into homes for ex-service personnel.

They aim to renovate eight homes and rejuvenate the front of 62 more in the city’s Newton Heath area in just two weeks to help create a new community including army veterans.

Read more:


Princes William and Harry Join DIY SOS To Transform Derelict Street

Yes they can! William and Harry don workmen’s helmets with their names on as they join BBC’s DIY SOS team to transform derelict street into homes for ex-servicemen

  • Entire street in Manchester will be rejuvenated for Armed Forces veterans

  • Princes donned personalised hard hats as they arrived at the building site

  • Joined presenter Nick Knowles and the BBC’s DIY SOS team of builders


Dressed in jeans and workmens’ helmets, Princes William and Harry showed off their DIY skills today, helping to turn a derelict street into homes for ex-service personnel.

Fifth in line to the throne Harry, 31, still sporting his much-admired beard and wearing grey hoodie and T-shirt, rolled up his sleeves as he helped to lay a patio, while his elder brother, more formally dressed in a jumper and shirt, helped to paint a wall.

As usual there was more than a little competition between the two men. After being briefed about their tasks, William raised an eyebrow at his younger brother and said challengingly: ‘Game on.’


Read more:


Princes Help Out With DIY SOS

Princes help-out with DIY SOS to help heroes

PRINCES William and Harry are a “site” for sore eyes as they build homes fit for heroes.

They wore hard hats with their names on to muck-in with telly’s DIY SOS team.

But Harry wasn’t impressed by Wills’ efforts with a paint roller and joked: “You can tell which part my brother has done – it’s not very good.”

He then daubed over his work before helping to lay paving stones in the derelict street in Manchester.

The Newton Heath homes are being transformed for exservices personnel.

Builders and volunteers have been helping out on the project while Army veterans have had the chance to learn new construction skills.

For the full article see



Princes help-out with DIY SOS to help heroesPRINCES William and Harry are a “site” for sore eyes as they build homes fit for heroes.

Princes William and Harry Join SOS

Princes William and Harry don hard hats as they show-off their DIY skills

The young royals are helping the BBC’s DIY SOS team transform an entire derelict street in Manchester into homes for Armed Forces veterans.

For the full article see


Housing Help For Military Veterans

Housing help for military veterans

Are you a military veteran with physical or psychological challenges looking for an affordable home to rent in Manchester?

Do you want to buy at a discounted price or on a shared equity scheme?

Would you like to move into a welcoming and specially adapted street for military veteran individuals and families?

Haig Housing and Walking with the Wounded are working with the BBC’s DIY SOS: The Big Build on an epic project to renovate an entire road in Manchester – complete with specially adapted and bespoke homes – and a support Centre right on the street.

To find out more contact the BBC team:

Original source

The Biggest Build EVER

DIY SOS head up to Manchester this week to start work on the biggest build ever attempted by the show. Works starts on TWO streets that are having empty homes refurbished for former army service men and women to live in with their families.

Nick and the team still urgently require more trades to help them take on the epic build!

For the full story see the Manchester Evening News