DIY SOS will head to Caswell Bay in September to take on a one of a kind build that will benefit a local charity, Surfability UK. DIY SOS: The Big Build BBC Children in Need Special will see Nick Knowles, with his trusty team including Mark, Chris, Jules, Billy and designer Gabrielle Blackman, build a new centre and convert Surfability UK’s current base – a dilapidated out of use bus stop shelter – into a state of the art eco-friendly surf centre.
Surfability UK is the UK’s first fully-inclusive surf school, set up by Ben Clifford in 2013. Ben was determined to break down conceptions that disabled people are unable to surf and is now a world leader in new teaching methods and safety techniques. Surfability UK supports more than 500 people per year from across the UK and thanks to Ben and his team of Toby, Benedict, Nathan and Tom, disabled people now have the opportunity to take to the waves.
The DIY SOS team, with the help of kind trade volunteers, have big plans. Firstly, they will renovate Surfability’s current space – a run down, disused bus shelter, which is often flooded, with no electricity, running water or ventilation, into a dry, well designed wet suit and surf board storage unit. In addition, the team will also build a new innovative and of architectural merit, Surf Centre. The new Surf Centre will provide a much needed space to provide support and surfing opportunities to disabled people from across the UK.
Ben Clifford, Director of Surfability UK, said: “We are so stoked to hear that DIY SOS and BBC Children in Need are going to be building a new purpose built surf centre for us. We started operating from a van in 2013, then in 2016 got our current building. We have loads of problems with flooding, the plaster is all falling off and it just isn’t suitable for our needs, and those of the people that we support. We are so excited for this build, which will take our operations to the next level, benefiting so many disabled people here in Wales and across the entirety of the UK.”
Nick Knowles said: “We are enormously proud and pleased to announce that we are combining with BBC Children in Need and the wonderful disability surfing charity Surfability UK to build them new facilities on the beautiful Welsh coast.
“We always get massive support when we build in Wales and we will need it again with this ambitious project that will give these children the thrill and excitement of surfing. Just look at the pictures on their website to see the joy on their faces – parents of children who experience this say it is life changing and enhancing.
Nick added: “Surf’s up! So if you feel you can help us please contact us [email protected].”
Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need, commented: “We’re delighted that Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team will heading to Caswell Bay in Swansea in September for another spectacular Big Build BBC Children in Need Special. We know this build will make a huge difference to the lives of children and young people and not only support those in South Wales, but from all over the UK too.”
Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: “I’m pleased that Swansea Council is once again able to support the DIY SOS team to create a fantastic facility in Swansea.
“We and many others offered significant support three years ago when the team came to Fforestfach and built a centre and supported housing for young people in care and leaving care – and we know the community will rally round for the Surfability cause.
“The work will make our coastline more accessible to many more people. Last summer Caswell Bay became even more welcoming when we opened a Changing Places facility there; it’s specifically designed for people with profound physical or learning disabilities as well as other disabilities that severely limit mobility.”
BBC Children in Need has funded Surfability UK since 2015. The current three-year grant of £120,000 provides surf-based activities for disabled children and young people which help to improve their emotional wellbeing and supports them to better express themselves whilst equipping them with the skills needed to overcome the individual challenges that they may face. Across Swansea, BBC Children in Need currently funds 20 projects to a value of £1.4million.
DIY SOS charitable builds are hugely ambitious and rely on the generosity of trade volunteers and company donations and so is appealing for tradespeople including; electricians, plumbers, carpenters, plasterers and decorators to offer support with the transformation in September.
There will be a Trades Day held in Caswell Bay on Tuesday 18th August. Those interested in volunteering as a professional trade or donating product to this charitable build must email: [email protected] before Trades Day to arrange an appointment to meet with the team. The build will commence in September.
Building work will be carried out in line with Health and Safety guidelines issued by the government relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The episode will broadcast in November 2020 as part of BBC Children in Need’s 40th celebrations.