DIY SOS BBC Children in Need Special heads to Hull

by Francesca

BBC One’s flagship property renovation show, DIY SOS: The Big Build, will head to Hull this September to take on a charitable build with BBC Children in Need for St Michael’s Youth Project in Hull, East Yorkshire.

DIY SOS: The Big Build BBC Children in Need Special (working title) will see the programme’s team of Mark, Chris, Jules, Billy and adventure playground engineer, John O’Driscoll, join with kind local tradesmen and volunteers to embark on a build that will improve the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people in Hull and the surrounding areas.

The DIY SOS team, with the help of trade volunteers, have big plans to transform an empty 2 ½ acre field into a purpose built ‘adventure camping site’ for St Michael’s Youth Project in Hull. For over 30 years, St Michael’s (St Mike’s) have been working with children and young people in Hull and surrounding areas to deliver a variety of activities that improve children and young people’s emotional and physical health and wellbeing whilst supporting them to build their confidence and self-esteem and raising their  aspirations for the future, encouraging them to reach their potential.

The project works with more than 500 children and young people who have little to no access to gardens or greenspaces, and through their programme of support gives them the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of, and learn from, the natural world. St Michael’s organise a small number of camping trips and residentials throughout the year at sites that are at least three hours away, which means that not all of the children they support are able to access them currently. Some also lack the confidence to be away from home overnight.

St Mike’s has been receiving funding from BBC Children in Need for several years. A three-year grant of £64,012 is currently being used to deliver The Eating Table project which delivers weekly activity sessions based around food and healthy eating for children and young people and their families, which aim to help prevent hunger and encourage a positive relationship with food.

DIY SOS, along with local trades and volunteers, will transform the empty field into an outdoor sanctuary which will allow the children and young people supported by St Michael’s, and across Hull, to get close to nature and enjoy breaks from the inner city areas that they live in. The team will create:

•          A field kitchen to teach cooking and to cook

•          A landscaped campfire

•          A pizza oven

•          An exterior covered classroom

•          A circular mountain bike course, duel skill level about 1 km

•          A bird watching tower

•          A low walk rope

•          An adventure playground

•          A toilet/shower block ( maybe from donated containers)

•          A storage unit for 20 tents / 20 bikes

The team would be immensely grateful for the following donations:

  • timber, aggregates, steel containers, septic tank or treatment plant, solar panels, wind turbines,  mountain bikes, tents, rope, outdoor furniture, play equipment and internal fit out of shower block and field kitchen.

Jo Lorenz, Project Lead at St Michaels Youth Project said: A lot of the work we deliver is focussed on delivery in the outdoors, as we know the value this has on young people’s lives. The pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us and it has had a huge impact on many of the young people. We know how important it is for the children, young people and families that we work with to be able to enjoy the outdoors in a place where they feel safe, so we are over the moon that the DIY SOS team are going to transform this space into somewhere which will have such a huge impact on our community and for all of the children and young people of Hull.”

Mark Millar, Build Manager on DIY SOS said: “DIY SOS always gets a great response in East Yorkshire, and we look forward to returning to work with this wonderful community on what is an inspiring charitable build, please join us.”

John O’Driscoll, Adventure Playground Engineer on DIY SOS said: “This is an amazing opportunity to give these young people a place to relax in nature and play again after such a difficult year with little opportunity to socialise.  We are so excited to be part of The DIY SOS team for what is going to be a truly magical outdoor build. Being able to play outdoors is proven to be essential to children and  young people’s mental and physical well-being. We know the re-vamped site will become a much-loved space in the heart of the community!”  

Simon Antrobus, CEO of BBC Children in Need said: “We’re delighted that our friends at DIY SOS will be in Hull this September for another spectacular Big Build BBC Children in Need Special. We have seen over the years how this programme changes lives, and we know that this one will be no different, leaving a lasting legacy and supporting children and young people to do brilliant things in Hull and East Yorkshire.”

Across East Yorkshire, BBC Children in Need currently funds 18 projects to the value of more than £977,000.

DIY SOS charitable builds are hugely ambitious and rely on the generosity of trade volunteers and company donations and so is appealing for landscapers, gardeners and tradespeople to offer support with the transformation in September.

Those interested in volunteering as a professional trade or donating product to this ambitious charitable build should email: There will be a Trades Day on Tuesday 17th August, those interested in attending must email the address above before attending.

The two week build will take place from Wednesday 8th – Thursday 16th September 2021. The programme will be broadcast in November 2021.

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