Clitheroe firm DIY SOS veterans appeal

Brian Shipston with Nick Knowles and colleague from the BBC's DIY SOS. (s)
Brian Shipston with Nick Knowles and colleague from the BBC's DIY SOS. (s)

A Clitheroe company who offered their help on a “Veterans Special” edition of the popular BBC TV show DIY SOS will be shown in a two-parter, the first of which is aired tonight.

North West Finishes Ltd answered the show’s call for help on their Big Build Veteran’s Special to transform two run-down streets in Newton Heath, Manchester, to house former servicemen and women and their families.

The Newton Heath Street receiving the DIY SOS treatment. (s)

The Newton Heath Street receiving the DIY SOS treatment. (s)

The company, which offers a variety of services from drylining and plastering to external renders and suspended ceilings, employs five office staff and 50 site-based operatives. Local contracts have included the new Ribble Valley Homes offices adjacent to the market, and the plastering of the new Woone Lane housing development.

Brian Shipston, Managing Director of North West Finishes commented: “We offered our help without hesitation as it was for war veterans and such a worthy cause. When we asked the lads who wanted to go we were inundated with volunteers.

“We feel very proud and honoured to of taken part in such an amazing experience – one which we will never forget.”

The first part of the popular BBC programme, which airs tonight, promises to be a tear-jerker showing the transformation of the eight derelict properties in Canada Street which were converted during filming in September to provide new homes for both disabled and non-physically disabled veterans. Another property will become a drop-in centre run by the charity Walking with the Wounded to provide advice, guidance, support and therapy.

When we asked the lads who wanted to go we were inundated with volunteers

Brian Shipston, Managing Director North West Finishes

Construction companies from across the North West gave their help to the DIY SOS team who, the BBC said, were keen to deliver the biggest Big Build to date.

A spokesman commented: “It’s the first time DIY SOS has worked with a local authority and shows the inventiveness officers are using to solve the problem of empty properties and bring them back in to life.”

The project is part of a wider, inspirational initiative to create a veteran’s community around Canada Street and New Street with long-term empty terraces being gifted to the veterans charity Haig Housing.

“The charity will carry out the renovation of the remaining properties working alongside Manchester College School of Construction to develop a training programme and provide job opportunities for veterans to work on the properties themselves as they learn new skills.”

He continued: “Above all, the scheme provides benefits above and beyond physical improvements – it will create a unique veteran community within this local community, re-engaging veterans with civilian and working life so that they are supported to continue to make an important contribution to society.”

More than 30 housing applications from veterans wanting to be in Manchester are currently being assessed.

As well as the obvious specific life enhancing changes for the veterans, the initiative will also benefit existing residents with all 62 properties on the two streets being given a facelift and the whole area landscaped and planted. The scheme, however, provides benefits above and beyond physical improvements – it will create a unique veteran community within this local community, re-engaging veterans with civilian and working life so they are supported to continue to make an important contribution to society.”

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