College staff member answers DIY SOS call for heroes

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A KIND-HEARTED works based Assessor from New College Lanarkshire formed part of a team who tirelessly transformed a number of Manchester streets for army veterans as part of The Big Build project which was filmed for popular BBC show, DIY SOS.

Frank Farrar, a work based assessor in engineering and automotive, was one of the hundreds of volunteers who worked over the course of two weeks to complete construction work on over 60 homes.

The work took place on homes across two streets in Manchester’s Newton Heath area to provide accommodation for army veterans to locate with their families.

Frank, who previously served in the armed forces for 12 years as a Royal Engineer, originally volunteered to contribute five days’ work on the project as a labourer and tiler, however due to low numbers of volunteers turning out, he decided to continue with the project until completion.

He said: “Being ex-army, I wanted to help out on this project as it was for a very worthy cause that is very close to my own heart.

“Despite being long hours and extremely hard graft, the experience was brilliant and was a great opportunity to meet with other veterans and tradespeople who were willing to volunteer their own time and services for this fantastic project.

“It was extremely satisfying knowing that our work would assist homeless and injured veterans to get back on their feet after leaving the forces.”

62 homes in total were transformed across two streets, with eight properties specifically refurbished to house accommodation and welfare facilities, a training centre to assist with reintegration back into the working community, and a support centre run by charity Walking with the Wounded, providing therapy to the veterans. Building work also included disabled parking, a planting scheme, and a facelift to all properties across the two streets.

Over the next six months, the remaining houses will be refurbished, which Frank plans to continue assisting with.

Frank added: “Throughout each step of the building process, I was incredibly humbled by the dedication of all who took part for the greater good of strangers. I think we all felt we could relate to them in some way and wanted to do the best we could to ensure they were properly appreciated for their work in the armed forces.

“We worked right down to the wire to ensure the project was completed for the deadline, which included me tiling a bathroom at 10.30pm the night before the launch due to a water leak!”

The project was the largest ever to feature on the DIY SOS series, and was visited by Prince William and Prince Harry who helped with some of the finishing touches.

 

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