In a heartwarming Christmas special airing on BBC One at 8 pm on Monday, 18 December, Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team collaborate with members of the EastEnders cast to support a mental health community project in Harlow, Essex.
Angela Hannibal, motivated by personal tragedy and a strong commitment to mental health, established Butterfly Effect Well-Being after the tragic loss of her mother to suicide. Her aim was to establish a supportive community for individuals facing mental health challenges.
Angela says: “I really could not believe that we were chosen, out of everyone! I actually still cannot believe it. It’s like a fairy tale.”
Until recently, Butterfly Effect Well-Being operated from a cramped portacabin. In desperate need of a new space, the organization was offered the use of an empty building by the local council. However, it was in a state of disrepair, requiring extensive internal and external renovations to make it suitable for its purpose.
Swapping Albert Square for an Essex building site, cast members including Colin Salmon (George Knight), Perry Fenwick (Billy Mitchell), Natalie Cassidy (Sonia Fowler), and others joined the DIY SOS team to help rebuild this much-needed space.
Perry Fenwick, known as Billy Mitchell to millions around the country said: “It was an absolute privilege to take part in this special project for DIY SOS. The team really do amazing work, and to see that first hand, and to contribute to a very deserving cause for the Harlow Community project was brilliant and very humbling.”
During the Christmas season, when celebrations can bring about feelings of loneliness for some, Butterfly Effect Well-Being steps in to provide support and sense of belonging for people in Harlow. Reflecting on the significance of the build, Angela shared, “It means we can help so many more people, and we can also have separate rooms for the different activities we do. The kitchen is an absolute lifesaver to our users, as we can now offer food, and we are open on Christmas day for those that may have otherwise be by themselves.”
Nick Knowles says that: “Working alongside our EastEnders friends was an absolute pleasure – they rolled up their sleeves and got down to business. We’re forever grateful for the incredible army of volunteers who dedicate their time, enabling us to deliver such crucial projects. I’m thrilled that during this festive season, we can make a positive impact, and this build will hopefully support Angela in continuing the brilliant work she does.”
Catherine Catton, BBC Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment & Events, says: “This is a fantastic collaboration between EastEnders and DIY SOS which will transform a truly deserving project.”
Discover how they accomplished this project with the help of volunteers by tuning into BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Monday, 18 December, at 8 pm for the DIY SOS EastEnders Special.