College staff join community for DIY SOS
Wednesday, 2 August, 2017

Solihull College & University Centre staff found themselves assisting a family in desperate need last week. Staff joined other local volunteers on the set of the latest DIY SOS house renovation in West Bromwich.

Crystal Chambers, a young mother from West Bromwich tragically died in 2015 aged just 32 of terminal cancer, leaving her young children in the care of her mother Sandra. Sandra spent her life working in the care industry but found her home ill-equipped to house and care for her own family, which now included both of her grandchildren and Sandra’s own son. The DIY SOS team came to the rescue. Building an extension to accommodate the family.

College staff Carl Pedley, Luke Turner, Claudine Barnes and Andrew Balderson attended, working on the garden and assisting with landscaping. The tutors from all different subject areas ranging from animal care to sport joined in with up to 300 local volunteers.

‘It was quite surreal’ says Carl, a plastering and bricklaying tutor, who has assisted on another DIY SOS project in the past, ‘it’s so wonderful to see everyone come together, such a vast variety of trades, all giving up their working days to help the vulnerable in the community’.

Nick Knowles, DIY SOS’s presenter told the press “This family are the best of the Midlands, just the most incredible people and absolutely deserve our help’.

The build was finished in a staggering 9 days in which the house was almost entirely rebuilt. The programme will air over the coming months on BBC1.