DIY SOS – Welwyn Garden City

In August last year, Long Rake Spar were approached by their customer Jamescape Ltd to be involved in the BAFTA nominated DIY SOS: The Big Build.

Director of Jamescape James Gladding stated the reason he asked Long Rake to donate the aggregates was “having previously received many deliveries, as promised and on time, we knew we could rely on your reliability for the tight timeframes we were working to on this unique project.”

Jamescape were part of the main build, providing resin bound surfacing for large areas of the back garden and asked Long Rake Spar if they would donate their natural, hard wearing aggregates from their Grantex range, that are suitable for use within this surfacing method.

The popular Rhine Gold 2-5mm chipping was chosen by Jamescape as it beautifully complemented the timber walls, steps and seating area that also feature in the garden. The Rhine Gold was sprinkled with light dusting of crushed glass to provide additional grip to the surface, which was an important design feature for the safety of the young children.

The build took place in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire to help a local family rebuild their lives. The mother Sascha is suffering from final stage kidney disease requiring hospital dialysis at least 4 days a week and which leaves her too weak and ill to be able to care for her family.

In 2012, Sascha came home with a throat infection that changed everything. Doctors believe it caused her immune system to over-respond and left her with kidney disease. She was assured that it would be decades before she needed treatment, but Sascha’s symptoms grew rapidly.

Within 6 months Sascha had final stage kidney disease, she faces the constant threat of life-risking blot clots due to her dialysis regime and went into cardiac arrest last Christmas when her heartbeat reached 200 beats a minute.

Her brother gave her one of his kidneys but sadly this failed, leaving her too ill to go back on the transfer list and facing a life-limiting prognosis and three young children.

In the midst of all this fear and uncertainty, the family pulled together as best they could with Sascha’s eldest son Charlie caring for his younger siblings whilst juggling an apprenticeship, so that Dad Andrew can work to pay the bills.

The family were hopeful Sasha would be able to have a home dialysis machine to vastly improve her standard of life and make things better for them all, however this hope was dashed when she was told there wasn’t the space at home for this to be possible.

A single storey extension would create the space needed for the NHS to provide an ‘at-home’ (specific to Sascha’s type of kidney treatment) dialysis system for daily home treatment. Unable to afford the extension required, the family were desperate and contacted DIY SOS to ask for help.

The build turned everything around for this family and marked a vital step in Sascha regaining her life. The shorter daily sessions at home, meant Sascha’s health would improve dramatically as it’s the equivalent of having a working kidney. It would also relieve the pressure on Charlie and allow him to get back to his training – and most importantly the family can spend much needed quality time with their mum.

The program aired on the 15th June 2017, at the prime time slot of 9pm on BBC 1 and provoked an emotional response from the public. Long Rake Spar were delighted to be involved in such a worthwhile cause and wish the family all the best for the future.

Contractors: Jamescape

Programme: DIY SOS: The Big Build