Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team, along with BBC Radio 2 presenters, have come together for the second consecutive year in a special collaborative project in support of BBC Children in Need, located in Risley, Derbyshire. Joined by skilled tradespeople and volunteers from all over the UK, they’ve constructed a purpose-built facility for Treetops Hospice. This new building is intended to provide crucial support and counselling for children and young individuals coping with traumatic bereavement.

The profoundly touching programme shares the narratives of children and families who have benefited greatly from the vital assistance of Treetops Hospice during some of the most challenging periods in their lives. This year’s Big Build for Children In Need has been carried out in association with Radio 2, and presenters from the network, including Richie Anderson, Zoe Ball, Rev Kate Bottley, Scott Mills, Jeremy Vine, and Owain Wyn Evans, joined the team to complete this undertaking in just 10 days. The programme chronicles the challenges faced by the team, tradespeople, and volunteers, culminating in a grand reveal, made even more special with a surprise appearance by Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

The programme will be aired on Thursday, 16th November, at 9 pm on BBC One.

Question And Answer With Nick Knowles

This build is for Treetops Hospice, what can you tell us about the hospice and it’s work?

Treetops Hospice is a hospice for adults with life-limiting illnesses, but their funding from BBC Children in Need over the last 10 years has meant they have been able to develop as a leading bereavement counselling service for children in Derbyshire – specifically for children who are facing a traumatic bereavement, so they could have lost someone very suddenly or under traumatic circumstances. Treetops did deliver this support in one of their current buildings, but it wasn’t quite fit for purpose and a little bit too clinical for children. So we’ve created something that will be a welcoming place where they will be able to come and feel comfortable and at ease, and in turn Treetops can continue to support children for many more years to come.

What makes this build a special one?

The thing that makes our builds work time after time, is the generosity of the tradespeople and companies that donate their time and resources to get us over the line. We literally couldn’t do it without them volunteering their time. I think with this build especially, everyone has experience of bereavement including people on our team and those volunteering, so it is one that’s really close to people’s hearts and you can see that in the programme. It is very emotional. Everyone pours their heart and soul into this build and wants to make it as special as possible for the children who will be using it for years to come.

After so many years on screen, why do you think that viewers still love DIY SOS?

The UK is full of people who are incredibly kind and generous – you can see that from the hundreds of volunteers we have turning up to give up their valuable time to come and work with us for free for 10 days – and suppliers continue to be generous in challenging times too but also people want to believe that the world is a better place than it often seems on the news.

I think because we have been on screens for so many years, we do have a loyal audience who have grown with us but it’s always lovely when we hear from new viewers who have just discovered it – new families that watch tv together and it’s a unashamedly a family show. They see us as their friends and warmly welcome us into their living rooms on a dark and cold winter’s evening, and there is something so special about watching a transformation – especially when it’s a transformation that will help out a family in need, or a charity – like on this build.

Are there any particularly funny moments that people should watch out for in the show?

Well, we’ve got Billy, Chris and Gaby on the build with us so the entire 10 days of filming is the usual blend of extreme nonsense and emotional bonding. We are on site all day, every day! There’s no time we aren’t having a coffee, working side by side or hearing about volunteer’s families or hugging it out. It’s a wonderfully inclusive environment and the most wonderful workplace – we genuinely  feel like we’ve made hundreds of new friends each time we build in a new area and it’s been hundreds over 24 years.