DIY SOS fix-up a surf school that teaches children with disabilities

DIY SOS viewers are reduced to tears after team transform ‘dingy’ lock-up and build ‘beautiful’ centre in Wales for surfing school that teaches children with disabilities in an emotional Children in Need episode

  • DIY SOS: The Big Build viewers have hailed the team’s latest build in Swansea
  • It saw a ‘damp, cramped, dingy lock-up’ used by a surfing group transformed 
  • Turned into a centre, perfect for helping children with disabilities enjoy hobby

DIY SOS: The Big Build viewers were reduced to tears over the team’s latest project which saw a ‘damp, cramped, dingy lock-up’ used by a surfing group transformed into a stunning centre, perfect for helping children with disabilities enjoy the sport.

The BBC One programme, which aired last night, returned with a Children In Need special aimed at ‘repairing people’s faith in humanity’ when most news coverage is about ‘the bad and negative things’, according to presenter Nick Knowles. 

The 58-year-old and his team of volunteer tradespeople transformed Surfability UK in Caswell Bay, Swansea: a community interest company that gives surfing lessons to people with disabilities and learning difficulties.

Alongside interior designer Gabrielle Blackman, the group turned a disused bus shelter with no electricity, running water or ventilation into a wetsuit and surfboard storage facility, while also building a new surf centre for the organisation to use.

Viewers praised the emotional episode, with one person tweeting: ‘Inspirational stuff! Great job!’

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DIY SOS: The Big Build viewers were reduced to tears over the team’s latest build which saw a ‘damp, cramped, dingy lock-up’ (pictured) used by a surfing group transformed into a stunning centre, perfect for helping children with disabilities enjoy the sport

The BBC One programme returned with a Children In Need special aimed at ‘repairing people’s faith in humanity’ when most news coverage is about ‘the bad and negative things’, according to presenter Nick Knowles. Pictured, the facility before the transformation

The 58-year-old and his team of volunteer tradespeople transformed Surfability UK in Caswell Bay, Swansea (pictured): a community interest company that gives surfing lessons to people with disabilities and learning difficulties

Inside the stunning news centre, with the team created after first transforming the original lock-up into a friendlier space

Lara Evans, 19, who has cerebral palsy, pictured during her surfing lesson as part of The DIY SOS Big Build: Children in Need Special

Another said: ‘Thank you to #DIYSOS for bringing this amazing group to everyone’s attention. Beautiful building providing dignity and fun.’

While a third added: ‘Everyone involved in that build for Ben and the @surfability team can look in the mirror this morning and feel VERY proud of themselves. Just brilliant.’

Recorded earlier in the year, filming on the special episode took place across nine days while observing social distancing and finished just two days before Wales went into tougher lockdown restrictions.

Surfability UK, which was set up by Ben Clifford in 2013, receives a grant of £120,000 from Children in Need to provide activities for disabled children and young people.

Alongside interior designer Gabrielle Blackman, the group turned a disused bus shelter with no electricity, running water or ventilation into a wetsuit and surfboard storage facility (pictured)

Recorded earlier in the year, filming on the special episode took place across nine days while observing social distancing and finished just two days before Wales went into tougher lockdown restrictions. Pictured, inside the shelter after it was transformed

 The build was completed using locally sourced and sustainable materials, with the building designed in the shape of a surfboard. Pictured, the group’s new reception

Reaction: Viewers praised the emotional episode, with one person tweeting: ‘Inspirational stuff! Great job!’

The build was completed using locally sourced and sustainable materials, with the building designed in the shape of a surfboard. 

Nick, who took part in I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2018, said the experience had been especially moving.

‘I think it was more emotionally charged on a number of levels,’ he said. ‘One is that we have finally got to understand what it is like to be locked in your home – like a lot of people with disabilities are because the facilities just aren’t there. 

‘That was important and an important message to learn.’

He added: A lot of people are frightened of things, a lot of people are suspicious of each other and how people act and whether we are all pulling together.


Surfability UK, which was set up by Ben Clifford (pictured left) in 2013, receives a grant of £120,000 from Children in Need to provide activities for disabled children and young people. Pictured right: Presenter Nick

Pudsey and the DIY SOS volunteers with the Surfability team and presenter Nick Knowles on Caswell Bay, during filming for the special episode

‘There’s a lot of bad news around and I think this is a really good new moment, reminding people what a generous group of nations we are in terms of time and ability, and how people have helped each other out.

‘That story has been floating around in the background but the majority of coverage has been about the bad things and the negative things. It’s worth reminding people how amazing people are.

‘You don’t want to be too evangelical about it but it comes at a really important time where if people watch I think they will have their faith in humanity repaired a little.

‘It brings a little positivity when positivity is in short supply.’ 

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