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BMI helps Children in Need keep young people safe

Published: 18 November 2019 - John King

In October, working alongside BBC Children in Need and DIY SOS: The Big Build, BMI UK and Ireland helped Nightsafe with the roofing support it needed on a conversion project to make its newest centre warm, dry and secure for the young people in its care.

The crucial services Nightsafe offers include meals, emergency accommodation, supported housing, legal and health advice and training in key life skills. In the 30 years it’s been going, Nightsafe has helped over 14,000 young people, served nearly 150,000 meals and provided 42,000 beds for the night.

When the St Silas Centre – a run-down 19th century church hall – was recently given over to the charity, Nightsafe contacted Children in Need, who selected it for DIY SOS: The Big Build to renovate and convert it into accommodation and a support centre. When BMI UK and Ireland learnt about the charity’s plight, and its great work with young people under pressure, the company mobilised its technical team to survey the existing roofs and provide the design, calculations and system specifications needed to refurbish them. The BMI Technical team collaborated to provide the expertise, materials and workmanship needed to transform the plan into a reality and provide a safe and secure environment for young people in need.

The centre’s roofs are a combination of flat and pitched. The pitched roof was covered in discontinued tiles which posed a challenge  as the specification requested that these tiles were kept for conservation purposes. The expert BMI Specification Team provided a structural condition report and advised on the best way to restore the heritage roof.

For the two flat areas – one over the entrance, another over the live-in staff accommodation at the back of the building – BMI not only supplied the materials, but also installed it with the expertise of its site technical team, which included technical trainer (flat roofing) Tony Brooks and area technical manager Paul Seel.

The smaller, entrance area was covered with an Elastoflex liquid system; while the larger rear cold roof was waterproofed with a bituminous system featuring Firesmart Thermaweld Charcoal as the capsheet.

DIY SOS presenter, Nick Knowles, said: “The team and I were delighted to join forces with the community of Blackburn for this special build for local charity Nightsafe, which is at the forefront of helping young homeless people. Our ambitious and innovative build saw us, with local volunteers, transform an old church hall, into a much needed emergency accommodation centre.”

Now Nightsafe and the vulnerable and homeless young people it supports can rest easy, at least as far as the roof of their accommodation centre is concerned. Thanks to high-performance materials from BMI UK & Ireland and the hard work of its survey and installation team; many more lives than the 500 a year Nightsafe currently assists will be touched by the kindness of strangers  and the willingness of the UK building industry to help young people in need.

As Paul Seel said: “It was a real joy to work on this build with DIY SOS. Nightsafe does brilliant work in this part of Lancashire, and we were delighted to be able to give them a hand. It was a great atmosphere on set, so great fun to do as well as fantastically worthwhile”.

The special Children in Need edition of DIY SOS: The Big Build was broadcast on Wednesday 13 November.


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