Thanks to the volunteers
Behind every Â£1m renovation project for Children in Need are hundreds of amazing volunteers who gave up their time and skills.
And the case of Beaverbrooks House, a once-decrepit building that is now home to Blackpool Carers’ Centre, is no different.
The story of how the DIY SOS team, led by presenter Nick Knowles and designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, was told in an hour-long special episode on Thursday night.
But to include the hundreds of people who made the transformation possible – from local tradesmen to national firms like TK Maxx and Tesco – would have needed several sequels.
Some of those workers and volunteers who have up their valuable time include:
Simon Geraghty, SK Electricals, Bispham:
“It was just good to get involved in something that is so much bigger than each and every one of us – a really shared experience of something great.”
Thomas Rankin, structural engineer, Hermolle Associates, Squires Gate:
“We’ve been involved from the very start. I think Blackpool should be really proud of the result. It shows what’s possible when you all pull together.”
Diana Febland, Febland Furniture:
“I’m just amazed at what’s been achieved in such a short time.
“It’s a privilege for Febland to have been involved but I think the real credit goes to all the volunteers who transformed the building.”
Marilyn Soper, Soper’s Bespoke:
“Laurence wanted the curtains to puddle on the floor but we thought of all those young carers running around and stood our ground – we managed to win that one. We’re delighted with how they look.”
Carl Vidoretti, Maintenance Solutions, Lytham:
“I wanted to help the young carers.
“A lot of these kids don’t see themselves as carers but they are taking on so much they deserve somewhere like Beaverbrooks House.”
Debra Godfrey-Brown, owner of Crafty Squirrel Photography:
“I started on day one and ended up in the gardens. Bramble clearing. I thought we’d never get through it all but look at it now – transformed.
“I’d love to come back, maybe run a few photography workshops here. There’s no shortage of inspiration. I’m a big fan of the art too.”
Helina Johnson, mum-of-two:
“I didn’t want to be stuck doing teas and coffees all the time so I ended up sanding, wallpapering and I became the queen of the noggins, tapping them into RSJs. I never used to speak like this, but I loved every minute.”
Ian Clare, a community governor at Anchorsholme Academy:
“I did the veterans’ build in Manchester and knew quite a few of the other people who helped here. You just muck in. Hard work and long days, anything from 8.30am through to 10pm, longer for some.”
Kyle Cooper, 20:
“I did it because I have my own handyman business, I love gardening, it was for charity, I believe in giving something back, and five years ago I lost my brother to cancer. The gardens are everything to me – they are totally transformed.”
Jonathan Wilson, 22:
“I did brambles, brambles and more brambles. They got through two pairs of gloves – I can still feel them! The garden is now a garden again and there’s so much light.”
Students put their skills to good use
Among those who helped out were students from Blackpool and The Fylde college, who put their newly-learned skills to good use.
Ruth Peri, head of construction said: “When the call went out for local tradespeople to get involved in the project we were obviously happy to help.
“The college prides itself on being part of the community and we wanted to do all we could for the young carers who use the centre.
“Our students worked inside the building to help transform the old Victorian house as well as helping with the overhaul of the garden, which had been somewhat neglected over time.”
Meanwhile, tutors from the college’s creative arts department were asked to design and produce bespoke wallpaper for a feature ‘word wall’ within the building.
Gillian Williams, curriculum manager in graphic design, fashion and film-making said: “We were asked to produce some bespoke wallpaper featuring quotes from the young carers and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, who was a young carer himself.
This is not the first time the college has supported the Carers Centre and staff recently helped raise £20,000 to allow the facility to fund two carers’ champions.
Dr Judith Poole, head of student support and wellbeing said: “The centre is an amazing facility.”