DIY SOS TV returns with a focus on  rebuilding homes for Ukraine refugees in Cork

DIY SOS: The Big Build Ireland, on Friday, December 30, at 6,30pm and New Year’s Eve at 8.30pm
DIY SOS TV returns with a focus on  rebuilding homes for Ukraine refugees in Cork

Some of the DIY SOS The Big Build Ireland team in Cork.

A HUMANITARIAN response to the plight of Ukrainian people here in Cork forms the basis for a heart-warming TV programme over the Christmas season.

The festive double episode of DIY SOS: The Big Build Ireland, on Friday, December 30, at 6,30pm and New Year’s Eve at 8.30pm will follow a plan to re-house refugees from the war-torn country in Mitchelstown.

Kingston College in the North Cork town is a community of 31 small, terraced houses which are grouped around a large square with a chapel as its central focus.

The houses were built by James, fourth lord baron Kingston, to cater for former tenants on his estate and have been providing housing to the needy since 1761.

Thy are in trust to three Church of Ireland Bishops and one of these is Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross Dr Paul Colton.

It was he and the diocesan secretary Billy Skuse who, having watched the plight of the Ukrainian people and their current exodus due to the Russian invasion of their country in February, decided to put out an appeal to try and raise money to do up some of the vacant houses to house refugees and their families.

The support they received was beyond their expectations. There are currently thousands of Ukrainian refugees in temporary homes in Cork, and the support and goodwill from the community towards them has been immense.

But they needed the help of Baz Ashmawy and his DIY SOS team to turn it around quickly, and to draw on the existing support received from trades, suppliers and volunteers from within the community of Cork and beyond.

Timing is everything with this project, and the DIY SOS family is no stranger to time pressure!

The TV show has a history of rebuilding people’s lives by rebuilding their homes, and Baz and his team are really up for this challenge.

Chief-motivator Baz is joined by a top team for this build, with Aoife Rhattigan and Kerry Hiddleston working together to oversee the design, and the experience of Brandon Duarte from MMD Construction overseeing the build with the help of his two foremen, Richie Doyle and Dan Farrell.

Diarmuid Gavin oversees the garden design with his trusty deputies, Paul Smyth and Kalin Kelly.

Six houses, six gardens, and a communal garden for good measure, made this by far the DIY SOS team’s biggest build yet, and by turning it all around in a short time, they aim to provide temporary housing for six families from the Ukrainian community.

Kingston College is situated right in the middle of Mitchelstown and the community really rallied around for this build.

Volunteers from all nationalities came together to help the families, and the community garden itself provided further opportunity for local integration as Diarmuid Gavin was well qualified to turn it into a legacy space that will benefit the town and the community for years to come.

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