Nick Knowles has slammed the government over the rising cost of living, stressing why the DIY SOS message of community is more vital today than ever.
The presenter has been a part of the BBC show’s team for over two decades, employing skilled teams to alter people’s lives throughout the country with spectacular projects.
Since 2010, the show has been rebranded as DIY SOS The Big Build, in which communities band together to assist families or groups in need.
Nick made the remarks ahead of the current DIY SOS Children In Need special, in which the crew collaborated with Radio 2 to build a new building for Treetops Hospice in Derbyshire, which helps children and families who have experienced grief.
The crew worked on counselling rooms, therapeutic space, and a social area during the unique 10-day project, with one of the key goals being for the children and young people to not feel as if they were entering a’sterile’ setting after losing a loved one.
‘I’m always struck when we work with children and young adults, how resilient they are,’ Nick, 61, shared.
He stated that the project was very personal to the team since one crew member had lost their son and another had lost their daughter.
In emphasising the impact that the renovated hospice would have on those who utilise it, Nick stated that it is ‘never easy’ for young people to handle loss, emphasising that he was not implying differently.
‘Having coping mechanisms and processes means that they’ve been able to go on and live full lives unencumbered by that trauma from earlier in their lives,’ he said.
The TV personality recalled the young people who he met telling him how ‘it was incredibly difficult, and you never really get over it’, but ‘there are processes where you can learn to live with that’.
Nick recognised the ‘need’ for DIY SOS, 24 years after it originally aired, by recalling how ’emotional’ the build’s revelation was on the new Children In Need special.
‘I think the need for it is growing rather than dissipating,’ he said.
He explained that in many cases, with the projects chosen for the campaign, charities or families would not have been able to finance the renovations otherwise.
‘We’re very often the only chance they’ve got of that happening. Families who can’t pay for changes for their homes – that’s too expensive and very often families can’t afford that,’ he stated.
‘We may be the only way they can do that. Sadly, the number of people needing or the number of charities needing buildings to run food banks and clothing stores is growing. The need for youth clubs is growing because they’re closing down.
‘The need for the community to work together has never been greater and at the same time we offer another service in as much as we remind people that the world is a slightly better place than people think it is if they just watch the news.’
Addressing the impact of the cost of living crisis, Nick pointed out how there are many people who are ‘really struggling to pay their bills and are really worried about the future’, and yet there are still many people who will volunteer on DIY SOS or provide materials ‘because they believe in working together’.
‘I think we’ve all come to the conclusion that if we wait for the government to mend things for us, we’ll be waiting a very long time. We have to rely on each other and support each other,’ he affirmed.
Nick expressed his opinion that members of the public ‘need reminding that people are generally good’.
‘People need reminding that people are generally good – there are more good than there are bad. We’re going to get through the next few years which are going to be very difficult.’
The DIY SOS Children In Need Special 2023 airs on Thursday at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.