TV show DIY SOS: The Big Build has taken on its biggest challenge yet: renovating more than 60 houses across two Manchester streets and building a new support centre for Forces veterans.
The special edition of the long-running BBC programme will be screened across two one-hour episodes on the 14th and 21st October. It’s hoped that the team will manage to completely renovate eight derelict homes on the streets to create two large adapted homes for veterans plus their families, one regular-sized home and a new purpose-built advice and support centre for veterans. The facades of all 62 houses on the two streets will also be given a makeover.
DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles said: "This time we are doing up five properties and building a support centre as well as doing up the front of two streets. It's enormous and certainly is one that will quite possibly break us.
“Thanks to the massive support of our partners and the building trade – which continues to amaze us – we might just do it. It's certainly for a fantastic cause as these veterans have given so much.”
The project is being undertaken with the help of veterans’ charities Walking With The Wounded and Hague Housing, along with other organisations, including Manchester City Council and Adactus Housing Group, plus a small army of volunteer contractors, suppliers and specialist companies.
Princes William and Harry have given their backing to the project and proved they were not afraid to get their hands dirty, with William helping to paint a kitchen and Harry laying paving stones.
Resident John Wilkinson, 58, described the Royal visit as “brilliant”.
"Hopefully this is the catalyst across the country to do something for all our soldiers and families. There is no reason for our soldiers to be living on the streets, they can come and form a nice community here,” he added.