BBC One programme - DIY SOS: The Big Build

When a primetime television show issued an SOS to transform the life of North East family, Capita was among those that helped answer the call.

Capita's street works team (part of our North Tyneside partnership) came to the aid of the BBC One home renovation programme – DIY SOS: The Big Build.

The show had pledged to help three-year-old Evelyn Matthews and her family who live in North Shields. Evelyn has a rare genetic condition called CHARGE syndrome, which has many associated medical complications and means she requires 24-hour care. Her room was too small for her medical equipment and the family was unable to fit a hoist or adapted bed.

In the space of just nine days, DIY SOS planned to build a single storey extension at the rear of the property and convert the garage into a bedroom and separate bathroom for Evelyn. This would provide space for an adapted bed, hoist, dialysis equipment and sensory area.

Our street works team was contacted by the show as they needed to use the highway for temporary offices, storage containers, a catering marquee, plant and materials. They also needed a road closure for the ‘Big Reveal’ - when all tradespeople and suppliers return and the completed project is unveiled. Street works inspector Haymon Munks met the production team in advance of work getting underway to agree areas the show could use.

Meanwhile, Technical Support Officer Rachel Farren ensured that road closure permissions were in place and helped put the programme in touch with local skip companies.

Haymon had told the production team of his background in construction, so when work got underway, he was asked if he could help out. He got involved in his spare time, including evenings and weekends, doing everything from operating a mini-digger to fetching and carrying for a bricklayer. Towards the end of the project he was assisted by his daughter Natalie, also a member of the Street works team, as the finishing touches to the house were made. 

Haymon said:

“My background is 30 years in construction but it wasn’t something I had been involved in for a couple of years. It was good to dust off the gloves and hard hat. This project was about changing a family’s life and I wanted to give something back. It really was a case of all hands to the pump. On one of the days we laid six cubic metres of concrete in the pouring rain - we got absolutely drenched. On the same day we were removing a lot of spoil from the back garden and stockpiling it at the front. That day was hard graft."

During the work, Haymon even found himself giving a radio interview on BBC Newcastle.

He said:

“Opposite the house, myself and a young a labourer were having a cup of tea, when were asked to do it. It was only afterwards that I found out it had been a live broadcast!” He added: “The banter was really good throughout. Nick Knowles and rest of the team were really down to earth – it was a brilliant experience. I would do it all again in a heartbeat, knowing that you’ve made such a big difference to not just one person but the whole family. The house is possibly everything they need, it’s going to a paradise for them.”


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