It was the biggest build DIY SOS had ever completed, with approx. 800 volunteers and a build programme of just 11 days.
The Big Build, the BBC Children in Need DIY SOS Special was aired last Wednesday, where we saw the team transform the site in Swansea into a spectacular new purpose-built centre to help children in care.
The Jehu Group, one of Wales’ largest independently owned construction companies supported the initiative over the 11 day build, which took place from September 6 – 17.
Martin Workman, Construction Director said: “When we heard what DIY SOS were doing in Swansea we just had to get involved. Constructing a building of that size in just 11 days is a real challenge and we were certainly up for it.”
The building, which is to be used by The Roots Foundation Wales’, established in 2011 by Emma Lewis. They offer support to children and young people in care or leaving care, those in kinship care and those who have their carers based in Swansea and south Wales.
Martin added: “When we arrived on site the original run-down hut that had once stood there had been demolished and timber frames were due to be delivered to begin the build of this 350 square meters building.”
The Jehu team consisted of material donations and the loan of 3 experienced carpenters; Sian Bridge, Darren Thomas and Daniel Mann. Electrician, Mark Edwards and support from Sub-Contractors Jones and Ryle Carpenters; Lee Phillips and Sean Ryle who offered their skills and expertise for the length of the build.
Sian Bridge, who is a carpenter by trade and now works as Community Engagement Co-ordinator commented: “This project has been epic, I’ve loved every minute of it. We’ve battled against the Welsh weather, it’s been challenging for the team at times, but everyone has ploughed on because at the back of our minds we know that this facility could change lives for some of the young people passing through.”
Due to the server weather conditions the Mid and West Wales Fire crews even had to be called in to pump out water which had flooded the building prior to the roof going on.
Towards the end of the build the Jehu organised for a group of unskilled volunteers from within Jehu Group and Principality, a key business partner of Jehu to take part, they supported with painting, garden clearing and planting.
Andrew Lycett, Finance and Operations Director was one of the volunteers, he commented: “This magnificent facility was the vision of the Roots Foundation achieved with the help of DIY SOS who acted as the inspiration for us all. It demonstrates how by bringing businesses together great things can be achieved that would never be dreamt of if we were to work in our traditional silos. It was a privilege to part of the volunteers who achieved this project”.
The new support centre now offers a modern kitchen facility allowing the centre to offer cookery lessons. It now also comes complete with temporary accommodation for four young people, this will help the young people in care make the transition.
The Roots Foundation also offers advice and guidance on; finance, cooking, health and employment, this is with the aim of helping to prepare children and young people moving out of the care system into adult life.
The building also includes, a courtyard leading to a reception area and large office space. There is also a multi-space area for the children to have fun and relax, a counselling room and a fully stocked food store for the next 12 months. The outside area has a beautifully landscaped with decking overlooking a rockery and a sound-proof music room for teenagers.
To find out more about the Roofs Foundation Charity go to – http://therootsfoundationwales.org.uk/