Here are children doing what they do best – play.
It’s just one of the many projects made possible by BBC Children in Need.
It’s needed because the children pictured are young carers. They look after loved ones at home. Their contribution is crucial to family life.
They and others like them across the country are the reason why BBC DIY SOS is in Blackpool until Thursday July 7 for a very special BBC Children in Need project.
The transformation of a run down Victorian house – two houses in truth – on Newton Drive into one bespoke Young Carers Centre is this year’s BBC Children in Need Big Build.
So no wonder Pudsey himself turned up to trade high fives with Blackpool Carers Centre’s charity mascot Rocco the carers’ donkey – and to meet children at the charity’s youth club.
And what’s more, those lovely people at DIY SOS, who are working pretty much round the clock, and up against everything the British summer has to throw at them, managed to spare two very familiar faces from the build to say hello to the children too.
Billy Byrne and Chris Frediani were mobbed by young carers – and others! – as soon as they entered the centre.
Both do the job for real – even when they’re off camera and away from the series. Chris started plastering at 17 and is now one of the best in the business. He’s been on DIY SOS since day one. His home’s in Devon so he’s come a long way for this build – and that’s in common with many of the volunteer tradesmen and women too.
And Billy is the master sparks,the electrician, who learned his trade in the 60’s and then went into lighting films. He’s another original member of the DIY SOS team, and dubbed The Prince of Darkness – for reasons which often become clear – and is the clown and prankster on the team. He’s from Bristol.
This was no tokenistic visit just for the TV cameras. Both men spent several hours with the children, and the staff and the volunteers running the Claremont youth club, not just to hear their stories – but share their own. Chris was visibly moved by new young carers’ co-champion Liam’s story – for the 16 year old looked after his mum right up to her death in March. And Billy, who met some of his biggest fans, including Emily, who helps look after sister Jessica, was touched by the tale of award winning volunteer Sarah, who runs the club. For husband Chris was a builder, studying to be an architect, until a stroke and heart attack put paid to those dreams and left him confined to a wheelchair, cared for by his wife and three daughters. “Chris would have given anything to be on that build – back in the day. He’s taken a real interest in it.”
“Life can just change like that, in an instant,” said Billy. “This such an important build to us. It’s really touched our hearts. We know it means the world to these children and those they care for.”
The pair – and Pudsey, of course – posed for endless selfies and left carrying thank you cards from carers such as Chloe. And, of course, Pudsey made a new friend too – Rocco.
The programme will be broadcast in mid November for Children in Need Week. Meantime, those builders, plasterers, electricians and more are very much around in the resort – so watch out for daily appeals for help.
Read the interview with Nick Knowles and Laurence Llewelyn Bowen as the team enter the second week of the Big Build for Blackpool Carers Centre.