Nick Knowles and DIY SOS get to work on renovating Grenfell Tower community space

·Contributor
Nick Knowles and his team have a huge job to tackle. (PA)
Nick Knowles and his team have a huge job to tackle. (PA)

The DIY SOS team are about to embark on one of their biggest and most important jobs yet: rebuilding a destroyed community area at Grenfell Tower.

The BBC’s makeover show has been involved in a number of life-changing and high profile tasks over the years, most recently making a family home accessible for the injured police officer who was left paralysed after the Westminster terror attack.

Now, presenter Nick Knowles and his team are helping out the victims of the horrific Grenfell Tower fire that happened last June and killed 71 people.

In the wake of the disaster, the much celebrated boxing gym at the foot of the North Kensington block was destroyed. The show will also build an expanded community area beneath the Westway carriageway which lies just seconds from the tower itself.

The area has been completely destroyed and knocked down. (PA)
The area has been completely destroyed and knocked down. (PA)

The Dale Youth Boxing Academy, a place that was once a training home to the likes of George Groves and James DeGale, will be rebuilt, after the rebuild team arrived at the seemingly abandoned site to ceremoniously cut away the padlock; allowing the first digger through to start the transformation.

‘It is the biggest and morally most important project we have done in a long time,’ the show’s presenter Nick, 55, said.

‘Over the years, we have had a history of being able to make things happen in difficult areas, like in Manchester turning derelict housing into housing for veterans.’

The first digger made its way onto the site today. (PA)
The first digger made its way onto the site today. (PA)

Prior to the go-ahead of the huge task, developers and DIY SOS producers spent six months consulting the people from and living in the local neighbourhood.

‘It became apparent that it wasn’t just the people who were in the building that had been affected, this is a community that has been affected and they wanted something that would be for the community.

‘It is important that the community starts to feel like it is in charge of something and the thing that is becoming more apparent is that something is happening,’ he shared.

‘The general opinion is “why aren’t things happening?”‘ he continued.

The show is looking for volunteers and donations to achieve their goal. (PA)
The show is looking for volunteers and donations to achieve their goal. (PA)

Nick is determined to help the locals of Grenfell rebuild their community and indeed lives, after being so displaced for almost a year.

‘For us to be able to get something up, under way and built inside a year will remind the community that people actually do care, people are ready to come and help this community start to rebuild itself.’

And in light of the worrying safety measures that caused the block of flats to engulf in flames within a matter of minutes last summer, Nick and the team are adamant that no corners will be cut and safety will be a priority.

‘We are putting a new sprinkler system in despite the fact that it is not actually required – we are making our own judgment above and beyond what is required, because it is important the people that have been through such a disaster feel safe and secure in whatever we build for them.’

DIY SOS are determined to rebuild a community space for the people of Grenfell. (PA)
DIY SOS are determined to rebuild a community space for the people of Grenfell. (PA)

Currently, DIY SOS is appealing for donations of building materials as well as volunteers to get the place transformed in as little time as possible.

Anyone wishing to donate their time or products, you can email the show at diysos@bbc.co.uk.

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