DIY SOS team heads to Lancashire to transform rundown church hall for Children in Need special

DIY SOS: The Big Build, presented by Nick Knowles
DIY SOS: The Big Build, presented by Nick Knowles
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A rundown church hall will be renovated to help vulnerable and homeless young people as part of an ambitious build by popular television programme DIY SOS.

DIY SOS: The Big Build BBC Children in Need Special will see Nick Knowles and his team convert St Silas’s Parish Room at St Silas Church in Blackburn with Darwen into accommodation and a support centre for Nightsafe.

The charity, which provides support to young people aged 16 to 24 who are homeless or vulnerably housed, currently has an emergency shelter at St Silas’s Parish Room but the centre is no longer big enough to cater for the growing demand in the area.

The DIY SOS team, along with the support of hundreds of volunteers and tradespeople, will have nine days in September to transform the interior of the building into a purpose-built support centre and short-term accommodation for vulnerable young people in the community who are homeless, which will be specifically for those aged 16 to 18.

The show will air this November during BBC Children in Need Appeal week.

Nick Knowles, presenter of BBC One’s DIY SOS, said: “The team and I are delighted to join forces with the community of Blackburn with Darwen for this special build for local charity Nightsafe, who are at the forefront of helping young homeless.

"Our ambitious and innovative build will see us with local volunteers transform an old church hall, into a much needed emergency accommodation centre for young homeless.

“As ever it’s an ambitious build but with lots of help from the people of Blackburn with Darwen and beyond, together, with a few laughs along the way, we’ll be able to achieve something truly special. Please get involved.”

DIY SOS is appealing for tradespeople including electricians, plumbers, carpenters, plasterers and decorators to offer support with the transformation in September.

There will be a volunteer trades day on Tuesday, August 13 and the build will take place from Tuesday, September 3 to Thursday, September 12.

Julie Thomas, chairman of trustees at Nightsafe, said: “We are amazed and delighted that DIY SOS: The Big Build for BBC Children in Need are coming to Blackburn with Darwen and even more thrilled that they chose to work with Nightsafe.

"The organisation has, for the last 30 years, supported those most on the margins of society, seeking to alleviate the plight of homelessness and working with those most vulnerable and in need of support.

“The upcoming show will give the young people a place to call home whilst they develop independent living skills; and a home that is safe and secure and in the heart of the local community. Somewhere more than just a place to thrive, a place to build new friendships, confidence and have fun as they meet life’s challenges.”

Coun Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, added: “We are looking forward to welcoming DIY SOS to Blackburn.

"I’m sure that they will get a very warm welcome with plenty of offers of help.

"It fits perfectly with what we are about as a Council, helping us with one of our big priorities which is to look after vulnerable people.

"Our planners are already working closely with the team and are getting fully behind what is a really important project.

“Nightsafe do a brilliant job and this is going to give the charity a much needed boost and make sure that even more young people’s lives can be changed for the better.”

Nightsafe, which was established in 1990, leases St Silas’s Parish Room from St Silas Church.

Rev Sheelagh Aston, at St Silas’ Church, said: "St Silas' Parish Rooms were built in the late 19th century to nurture the young people of the community, first as a day school and then as a Sunday school.

"We are delighted Nightsafe’s innovative project is continuing the legacy of the Parish Rooms and we look forward to supporting them as they work to create a safe environment for the young people of this century."

Anyone interested in attending or helping the build must email ahead of the trades day to diysosblackburn@bbc.co.uk.