Latest News

On site for BBC’s DIY SOS Veteran’s Village project

On site for BBC’s DIY SOS Veteran’s Village project

Nick Knowles on site as scaffolding goes up on Canada StreetManchester Working, part of Mears Group, the leading social housing repairs and maintenance provider in the UK, is contributing its skills to help the BBC’s DIY SOS Veteran’s Village project.Our team will be working alongside many other constructions firms to develop a veterans’ community by bringing 25 empty homes back into use in east Manchester.A first of its kind partnership, the project is bringing together Manchester City Council, the BBC’sDIY SOS: the Big Build project, charities Walking With The Wounded and Haig Housing, and Adactus Housing Groups – along with a huge amount of time and expertise donated to the project by volunteer contractors.In addition, many suppliers, utilities and smaller specialist companies have come forward to help on this biggest ever DIYSOS project.Manchester Working will be fitting doors, assisting with the roofing, as well as providing general labour and support in all areas of the project.During the first phase, eight of the street’s empty homes will be refurbished to create three larger adapted residential homes for veterans and their families, one standard size property and a veteran walk-in support and advice centre – all by the end of September.The aim of the project is to create a veterans’ housing community within the existing community, the advice centre will have a private space for therapy and counselling – run by Walking With The Wounded – and provide a space for community use.Training and employment opportunities are being developed for veterans and existing residents.At the same time, street scene improvements will provide disabled access parking, a planting scheme will be introduced, and each of the 62 properties on the street will receive a facelift – ready for a group of veterans and their families to move in at the end of the month.The project will welcome any further support the construction industry can provide – especially as the project moves into its second phase where the remaining 17 empty properties will be refurbished by the charity Haig Housing.James White, who initially joined Manchester Working as an apprentice, said: “I'm very happy to be part of something that helps people who need it the most. There has been great teamwork with other companies, including our competitors – it has been brilliant.”Scott Mathieson said: “The tenants on the street, with whom we already have a great rapport, can't believe the way the area is being redeveloped. It is definitely beneficial for the future of the area.”

James White on the left and Scott Mathieson to the right

James White on the left and Scott Mathieson to the rightNick Knowles, the BBC DIY SOS presenter, said: “We couldn’t have done this without the amazing support of all these trades. The enormous amount of help – in time, materials, labour and much more- is a tribute to our nation’s building industry.”Cllr Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This is an incredible project that will help improve the lives of veterans in Manchester. As the project begins, I would like to thank all of the contractors and suppliers who have volunteered their time, expertise and manpower to make the new community a reality.”Follow the conversation: #DIYSOSVeterans