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KCOM team step in to answer DIY SOS

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Inspiring TV show to be broadcast

It takes something special to mobilise a whole community.

But when the call came from the BBC’s DIY SOS team that a Hessle man needed urgent help to rebuild his life the show was deluged with offers from an army of caring local companies and tradesmen.

The Nick Knowles-fronted programme, which aims to transform the lives of struggling families facing tough times by making their homes more user friendly, filmed in Hessle last April when hundreds of workers - including a team from KCOM - gave up their time for free to help.

The show will finally reach our TV screens when it will be broadcast on BBC One on Wednesday, 3 April, at 9pm.

The KCOM team, made of up Andrew Mason, Jonathan Chapman, Daniel Mitchell and Rhys Vazquez, joined in the community effort.

Andy Mason, KCOM client service manager, said he was looking forward to seeing the show on primetime TV and seeing the results of what was an incredible experience to be part of last year.

He said: “I’d heard it was happening in Hessle, near where I live, so I went down for a walk one evening to see what the buzz was and was stunned by the sheer number of local businesses and tradespeople getting involved.

“I thought ‘this is absolutely the sort of community project KCOM should be involved in’.

“I went to Alan Worthing, KCOM’s director of business, who got on board straight away and encouraged me to see what we could do to help.”

Andy’s first impression of the DIY SOS was that it was exactly what you see on TV with host Nick Knowles and his team of celebrity joiners, plumbers, brickies and builders all getting stuck in.

“It was a hive of activity,” said Andy. “It’s not all for show for the TV; Nick Knowles was actually there shovelling dirt into a skip and he was one of the first people we spoke to.

“He gave us the scope of the project and the story of the guy whose house they were working on – which is all under wraps until its broadcast – and then he took us inside the house to show us the scale of what they were doing and trying to achieve. He was obviously just a really genuine bloke who really wanted to do a good job for the man whose house it was.

“We then had a chat with the BBC’s electrical team and discussed what we could add to the project and agreed to go back the following week to put in a Wi-Fi solution.”

The work carried out by the engineers included using KCOM’s new AirScout service to check for Wi-Fi dead spots in the remodelled home before installing Wi-Fi extenders to give the customer full coverage in the house. The engineers also added new broadband access points around the house and ran Lightstream cables out to the property’s new wheelchair-accessible summer house.

KCOM engineer Daniel Mitchell said: “It was brilliant to be a part of it - and all for a great cause. You see it on TV but it’s a totally different feel to be there in person.”

Andy Mason, who nipped down to volunteer and hand out cups of tea to the crew when he wasn’t working, admits it was a humbling experience being part of such a community effort.

“When we went down for the ‘big reveal’ it was a really emotional experience. When we heard from the guy whose house it was and what a difference it will make to him it really made you appreciate all the hard work and effort all those people had put in. There were about 280 tradespeople and volunteers there and I don’t think there was a dry eye among them.”

Daniel added: “It made us feel really proud to have taken part to be honest. It was a great feeling to know we were a small part of something brilliant that will make a big difference to that family’s life.”

Field technician Jonathan Chapman, said: “It was a pleasure to work on the DIY SOS site, the highlights for me included working with all the different trades in order to complete the project on time. For everything to work we all had to communicate with each other to not let the side down.

“For me it was a great achievement to produce the results we did in such a short space of time with help from Rhys, Danny and Andy. I like to think we made a positive impact on the project and on the family.

“We are going to organise a visit in a couple of weeks to see if the family are happy with what we have provided and if there is anything else we can do to help more.”

You can see DIY SOS on BBC One later on Wednesday, 3 April, at 9pm or on iPlayer.

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