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BBC's DIY SOS: The Big Build

In September 2019, colleagues from our Business and Domestic Connections and North Operations teams spent a week on site in Blackburn to support a special project for BBC’s flagship home renovation programme DIY SOS: The Big Build.


The BBC visited Blackburn to film a special episode for BBC Children in Need. The show will see the team support local charity Nightsafe by renovating a property to accommodate young homeless people of Blackburn. Nightsafe was established in 1990 and works to meet the growing needs of young people aged 16 – 24 who are homeless or vulnerably housed. Nightsafe are now desperate for a new accommodation centre to help offer immediate access to Blackburn’s young homeless.

BBC Children in Need have been supporting Nightsafe with funding for a number of years to support homeless and vulnerable young people under the age of 18, by helping to increase their life skills and engaging them in education and employment to encourage stability in their lives

     L-R, Michael Annand, Neil Foley, Nick Knowles and Gabrielle Blackman from DIY SOS, Ben Fiddler, Ben Halliwell and Keith Murray.

DIY SOS relies on the help and support of local businesses, communities, industry professionals and suppliers to transform properties for those who need extra help. Sharing our expertise and services to assist this project supports our Responsible Business Framework, ‘Transforming our communities’, which aims to ensure that the work we do as a business has a positive impact on local communities.

Chris Fox, Head of Business Connections for Electricity North West, said: “We were inundated with volunteers from technical teams who were all eager to help such a worthy cause.  The project tested both their engineering wit and skills in a race against time and money - really proud of the team’s performance, and that we could help!

 “It’s great to be able to support Children in Need and DIY SOS on such a fantastic project for the local community. Our team live to find engineering solutions to difficult problems, and working against the clock with a TV camera on your shoulder with such an important end goal at stake all added to the fun!”

The Nightsafe accommodation centre being renovated by the DIY SOS Team

This isn’t the first time we have supported DIY SOS. Last year our Connections and Electricity North West Services teams assisted the BBC programme by completing a service alteration to help adapt a home for a family with a child that had a severe form of autism.

This year, our colleagues completed necessary works to allow the DIY SOS team to continue with renovation plans for the property. This involved excavation, cable lay, backfill and reinstatement work, along with jointing works and a service termination to accommodate metering installation at a new service position.

     Ben Fiddler, Electricity North West Delivery Manager

Simon Taylor, Business Connections Delivery Manager for Electricity North West, said: “It was an absolute pleasure for us to answer the shout for support from the Children in Need and DIY SOS teams.

 “Living in the Borough of Blackburn with Darwen local authority made this project even more special for me, as I know how this amazing project will benefit the vulnerable homeless young people in Blackburn.

 “It clearly demonstrates the true passion and commitment of our teams at Electricity North West who are always available to support their local community.”

Our colleagues involved in the project this year include Ben Fiddler, Simon Taylor, Mick Dawes, Lisa Gee, David Schofield, Neil Foley, Keith Murray, Ben Halliwell, Michael Annand and Chris Bradley.

DIY SOS: The Big Build will air on BBC One in November 2019 as part of Children in Need.