The BBC’s DIY SOS Big Build team working in collaboration with Manchester City Council, Walking With The Wounded and Haig Housing – set out a project to refurbish 25 empty homes on Canada Street and New Street, East Manchester, into a community village for war veterans, incorporating three specially adapted homes for veterans and a walk in support centre.
An appeal was sent out for construction firms to contribute to the project; Kier Group, ISG, Wates Living Space and Rowlinsons are among the many that supported the DIY SOS BIG build Manchester project. Also, a media call was sent out through TV, Radio, and Newspapers for Bricklayers, Plumbers, Electricians, and Roofers to volunteer their services for free. On average 150-200 construction workers and ex-servicemen a day signed in to help support the DIY SOS big build project, with many traveling from all parts of the UK.
I have been documenting the regeneration of east Manchester since 2007, and as I live only 3 miles away from Canada St, I felt that I should be documenting this massive project along with the hard work, dedication and community spirit that always prevailed to support this really good cause to help the war veterans who have put their lives on the line for our country.
Update: DIY SOS Big Build return to Manchester
In November 2016 the DIY SOS Big build team returned to Newton Heath, Manchester to finish off the refurbishment of the final house of the Homes for Veterans project in Canada Street.
I was lucky enough to capture this important part of the project and have selected a number of my images in this gallery here.
As it should be the BBC’s DIY SOS homes for veterans programme was focused on the veterans and their stories; But I feel that the men and women who turned up each day to work on this project unpaid deserve some recognition and also the companies and suppliers who helped keep this project alive. After the programme had finished, a number of ex servicemen and construction workers who worked on the Homes for Veterans project, were inspired to setup charities and support groups, such as Hull 4 Heroes and the Band of Builders.