With a family stuck in a tiny home, unable to deal with their grief, the team and West Bromwich volunteers step in to help Sandra keep the family together.
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All grandparents know that time with the grandchildren is precious.
She loves coming to the park.
She just likes being outdoors and playing and running around.
90% of the time I'm shattered!
-Nanny's got you.
-They don't like to leave Nanny alone.
Even when Nanny has a break, "No, I want Nanny!"
So sometimes it's hard to separate them.
But a family tragedy has turned Sandra's life upside down.
I've not just lost my daughter, I've lost my best friend.
Sandra is looking after her grandchildren
with the help of son Ziggy.
She said, "Promise me that you'll be a role model to Deago and Ameira,"
so that's what I try and do.
But they're living on top of each other,
crammed into a tiny two-up, two-down.
It's just, like, small.
I feel like I'm letting my daughter down,
that I'm not giving them what they need, really.
But now these amazing volunteers are coming to the rescue
to give this family the space that they need...
..to rebuild their lives.
This is overwhelming, it really is.
This may be one of the smallest houses we've ever taken on.
The house is getting bigger already.
Small house, big problems.
That's basically the outside wall of the house. That's ridiculous.
So we're going to use hugely talented professionals...
-Get in there!
-Did you accidentally drop your colour charts?
..to turn this into a family home bursting with love.
We have all the usual suspects. Mel Massey is our brand-new designer.
We have just nine days to do the job.
We put out a call to all the trades and suppliers of West Brom and said,
"Come and help us," and nobody turned up...
..other than this lot!
This is DIY SOS: The Big Build!
West Bromwich in the Midlands.
Whee! Hold on tightly.
Here, for 52-year-old grandma Sandra, family comes first.
Yay! Is that high?
And like most proud grandparents,
she thinks the world of her two grandkids.
Deago's quite a mummy's boy
and quite an achiever, really, educationally.
Ameira's just full of energy.
She never stops. She's just on the go all the time.
Whee! She keeps me on my toes, she really does.
Sandra knows the true value of family, having grown up in care.
She's spent her adult life as a social worker,
turning the lives around of hundreds of young people going through
the care system. She even refers to them as her children.
I still see my kids.
I can be in Asda and they'll shout me and I'll think...
And I have to look sometimes because they're married with children.
-Higher! I know!
Alongside her social work, Sandra was bringing up her own family -
her first-born, Crystal, and then Ziggy, who's now 19.
My mum's amazing. She's probably, for me,
one of the strongest people I know, being through everything she's
been through and being able to look after me and my sister as well.
Just being able to bring up some good kids.
I think I'm a good kid.
When my mum had work,
my sister - she'd always be there to look after me.
She had an impact on what I'd wear
and how I'd look and things like that.
Yeah, she taught me how to be cool.
Crystal's character - really loving, really caring.
She'd grab me and squeeze me and she always made me smile.
When Crystal had her own two children, Deago and Ameira,
Sandra and Crystal remained as tight-knit as ever.
There wasn't a day that passed that Crystal didn't see me
or I didn't see Crystal.
I'd be round her house, she'd come round to see me.
We were very close.
But four years ago, Crystal started to feel unwell.
She'd been complaining about her back and her stomach,
so they did an X-ray and she had bloods taken.
Nothing seemed to be wrong.
I never would've imagined, you know,
what happened would've happened.
After two years of pain and discomfort,
Crystal was eventually admitted to hospital.
We were waiting for tests...
Her back was getting worse and they did the scan
and that's when we were told.
They told us that she had 48 hours to live, um, and...
That was probably... one of the hardest times of my life,
seeing my sister like that because I knew she was going to pass away
and there was nothing I could do about it.
And she died in my arms.
Crystal had been diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer,
which had spread to her spine.
She died on the 15th of October 2015,
after holding on for four weeks in hospital.
She was just worried about her children
and wanted to know that they would be OK
and they'd grow up together...
..and that I care for the children.
She said, "Promise me you'll be a role model to Deago and Ameira,"
so that'll never leave me.
So that's what I try and do, I try and, you know,
cos she made me promise her when she passed away.
So, the children moved in with Sandra and Ziggy,
into their tiny two-up, two-down,
which was barely large enough for an adult and a teenager.
Mimi, please get down before you hurt yourself.
Now there's a growing family sharing this tiny space.
There's nowhere to get away, be alone and grieve,
let alone function on a daily basis.
Downstairs, we don't even have a dining room
to eat, cos it's just little.
It's just, like, small.
It's not easy for my mum. I think it's really stressful for my mum
because she has to share the room with Deago and Mimi.
-That tea is hot.
It's uncomfortable for her because she has to sleep with Mimi,
so she has to deal with that. It's just bad.
At bedtime, it's difficult and just trying to settle her.
Come on. She wakes up in the night, she disturbs Deago,
so he then doesn't get any sleep.
It's difficult, especially for him,
and I feel like I'm letting my daughter down in that...
..that I'm not, you know, giving them what they need, really.
And that's why we're here, to keep a grieving family together,
giving them the space they need to rebuild their lives.
So, a real ball of energy?
-Which in a tiny space must be...
-It is. It's difficult.
And what's it like for you being in the same room with her all the time?
Is that what you just said - annoying?
Is this what it's like all day?
-I need a wee!
Ameira's loo break allows me a quiet word with Sandra.
How can we make your life easier?
I think for Deago to have a room, that would be, you know,
the most important thing, really.
But that leaves you with Ameira still in the room.
-Without much sleep, by the looks of things.
Yeah, but you know, I would manage that as best I can, you know,
if Deago could have a bit of space.
So if we can get one more room for Deago, that makes life a bit easier?
Yeah, definitely. I'm really thankful because there's no way I could have
-Let's wait and see what we can do first, shall we?
-Do you want to come and meet them?
-Family's outside, let's go outside.
-OK. Thank you.
Here they all are. Come and say hello.
What a lovely looking bunch, aren't they?
We're really appreciative of your time.
It means so much to us.
I didn't expect to bury my daughter.
I didn't expect to be caring for my grandchildren full-time
but, you know, anything you can do,
anything at all, we'll be extremely grateful.
Thank you. Thank you. See you later.
With just nine days to turn around this family's life,
it's time to get cracking. We may as well get you all in there and get started.
No, we're not charging into this one.
-We're just going to take it nice and steady because this here is
a timber-frame build that isn't very stable at the moment
because we've taken the side wall out. We're going to open it up
and there's going to be quite a bit of movement.
It's a bit like yourself - it's a little bit wobbly.
Bit rude, that. And the dodgy wall isn't the half of it.
First thing we're doing is putting a timber-frame extension up, right?
-Am I wrong in thinking that I can't see a timber-frame extension
-You're absolutely bang on.
-Where is it?
-Somewhere on the M6.
Going well, this, isn't it?
We're having to approach this tiny big build the way we always approach
Billy - slowly and with caution.
This little house has already caused us a few headaches.
To prepare for the extension, we've had to underpin the foundations,
undertake major drainage works
and carefully remove the gable end, brick by brick.
-This is dodgy, look.
-They're ALL dodgy.
Can you all hear me? The stairs are really dangerous at the moment, OK?
Really? What else can go wrong?
Mate, in the nicest possible way, you standing on them saying,
"Don't get too many people on the stairs," is putting
too many people on the stairs. And although you're small,
you're incredibly dense for your size, so too much weight...
-No, dense, cos if you're small and heavy,
that means you must be denser than the rest of us.
-Talking of dense...
..what are the others up to?
Challenges of the day. Mainly access.
So the neighbours have kindly let us use their driveway
so we can get into the back garden.
People are generally quite wonderful.
I wouldn't do it for my neighbours, no.
Course I would!
He's not joking. Jules declares war on the garden.
We've already won our battle with the staircase.
Yeah, that's it, let's have that away.
You know what's nice about it is the house is getting bigger already.
Did I mention it's one of the smallest houses
we've ever worked on? This build is going to be tricky,
but our new designer Mel Massey
has done loads of designery stuff before.
Look, here's some Mel made earlier.
Not bad, eh?
Where do designers go to buy their clothes?
-Because the trouser end is all right...
-I've got good...
-The trouser end and boot, very good.
-I have to bring a little bit of glamour and design to this
-But from the 18th century?
Well, I just thought I would cover up, you know,
can't be too, you know?
Lace. I mean, when one thinks, "I'm going to a building site today,"
is lace the automatic thing that comes the mind?
-It certainly is.
Coming to DIY SOS on these grand-scale builds,
-how nerve-racking is that?
-I've been warned YOU'RE quite hard work.
-Have you really?
-Have you really?
-That I give designers a hard time?
-That I have to charm you.
-Is that how it is?
Really? Anything else?
I mean, it's a huge build in terms of the number of people involved.
-Small house, though.
-This is one of the smallest projects I've done, but if we can open it up,
make it much more practical for Sandra and just give her her life back a bit.
We're only adding two metres on the side and we're going to try and
-turn that into four bedrooms?
-I don't know.
It's good to look good. It's good to be bijou,
but they're going to be very well-designed space-saving ideas.
And that is what it's all about,
giving Sandra's family a more practical space to call home.
So, downstairs will be open plan
with a living room and kitchen
looking out onto a low-maintenance garden.
The new extension will house the dining area and the new staircase
and the doorway, allowing us to turn the old porch
into a handy downstairs loo.
But it's on the second floor where the challenge really kicks in.
You see, we're aiming to turn two bedrooms into four.
The extension will house the new children's rooms
and there'll be a family bathroom, but it's a tall order,
considering we're only adding a 2.5m wide extension to the house.
And here it is! I should be celebrating,
but I'm still reeling from Mel's comment.
What was she warned about, coming to join in?
-Do you know what she was warned about?
-I don't know.
No! And you seem shocked.
-I AM shocked!
-I am, honestly, yeah.
I've always been very supportive of designers.
What, at the end, when they reveal?
In the middle, you might have a little bit to say to the designers
-on the, you know...
-I'm prepared for battle.
I think everyone's beginning to pick on me.
Our plan is for the timber-framed extension to be up by the end
of the day. What are we adding on, about a third to the building?
-We've done about 40% on this here.
-It's about 40% extra building?
-You saw it, there's, like, where do you put those children?
When I was chatting to her this morning, little 'un
was wriggling away and I think she does that from morning till night,
and in bed at night when she is sharing a bed with Nan!
-Yeah. Sandra just never, ever gets any rest at all,
so if we can squeeze two bedrooms in, that's magnificent.
We hope, hopefully we...
We WILL get two bedrooms in.
We will get two bedrooms in.
Yep, two extra bedrooms would be incredible,
amazing, fantastic. Not that we're making a song and dance about it.
He's just desperate for the toilet.
That's how the whole dance system was invented, apparently.
Just desperate for the toilet.
Michael Flatley, desperate to go to the loo.
-That's what it was.
-I haven't got flatulence!
Now, how's that old dozy Devon doughnut getting on?
Come round, come round. Look, watch him scraping the top off here, look.
It's like Time Team when they go,
"Take an extra quarter of an inch off." Ah, mate, that hand has practised for years.
-All right, darling?
-Couldn't help noticing
the little wrist action going on there.
It's all, you know, it's all very precise stuff.
Oh, yeah, you look at me and say,
"That old dozy Devon doughnut driving that digger."
That's what I said, actually, that's almost exactly, word for word, what I said.
We've had a cracking morning's work on this little house.
It's been gutted and new bits are even starting to go in.
It's probably about time it threw us another curveball.
That ring beam that comes across,
that's basically held up with nails that are spiked in there.
It's appalling - appalling.
-Oh, that ring beam's not connected in there?
-No, it's just sat on the upright.
The timber frame of the original house wasn't built to today's
higher standards, and the place is definitely looking wobbly.
It's just ridiculous, isn't it?
I don't know how they ever got away with doing this in the first place.
Look, look, look, it's moving, look, look.
Yeah, that's basically the outside wall of the house, that's ridiculous.
That's why I'm slightly worried, because of the amount of movement.
So we have to pause and make the structure safe
before we do anything else.
It will put us behind creating this new home,
and Sandra's family desperately need this, according to Sandra's
So I was trying to...
We managed to clear all the internal walls out of the building
and ended up with just the shell of the building.
-And you could see the size of the house,
which is not a great deal bigger than a standard garage.
It's absolutely tiny.
-And there's four of them in there?
-Four of them in there.
-And she's been living in a room with...?
Ameira was in the bed with Sandra and she had a camp bed at the side
that we managed to squeeze in for Deago.
Not ideal, not ideal at all.
The stress of the thing was massive.
And then to take on this and not to get a break,
and for Sandra not to get an opportunity
-to breathe or sleep or recover, or...
-That's a very good point.
-It was just intense from day one.
I mean, she took her daughter to hospital, her daughter was sick,
and a week later she was told that she had 48 hours to live.
I still can't get my head around how you cope with that and how you tell
the children. No child should ever have to say goodbye to their mother.
I still can't get my head round that bit.
-We can't mend that, but we can certainly make life a little more comfortable for them.
Over the last 22 months,
the family have struggled to come to terms with the loss of a sister,
a daughter and a mother.
Still got all the flowers.
Deago, I used to have to hold him at night and rock him to sleep,
because he would kick the walls.
He basically blamed me.
I'm Crystal's mum, and I shouldn't have let her die.
And that's sort of how he felt for a good time.
Ameira, I've not used the word "death".
I try and deal with that by saying, "Mummy's with the flowers," and,
"Mummy's in your heart."
The conception of death for her is difficult.
I've not just lost my daughter, I've lost my best friend.
And sometimes I just want to pick up the phone,
or go and see her, and I can't.
So having the children, I know that I have to get up every day,
I have to make sure that they're OK.
If the children are happier, then I...
..will be happier - for them.
So we're hoping to take the stress off Sandra a little
by creating an environment
in which the family can function as a proper family.
Right, we happy?
But getting the house structurally sound is proving a bit of a palaver.
Give it a little tap, you've got to persuade her, that end.
It's basically 10mm too long for the hole.
-Yeah, but it's only 10mm one end!
-It's only 10mm one end!
So, with a bit of jiggery-pokery...
..the house is stabilised with a hefty wooden beam
to hold up the second floor of the gable end,
with the help of more props than the Rugby World Cup.
-And at last, everyone can get back to the original plan.
We've taken all the walls out up here and obviously we're extending out.
But it's still very difficult to imagine how you're going to get
-four bedrooms and a bathroom here.
-Yes, the bedrooms,
the two new bedrooms are going to be very small.
But we are maximising those to make good storage.
Boys bedroom, girls bedroom...
-Yes, and Ziggy bedroom.
-He wants somewhere to store his trainers and Deago wants
somewhere to put his socks.
-Is that what they've said?
-I know, that's what they said,
-that's what they said.
-And Ziggy wants a bigger bed.
So we're going to put a bigger bed in for him,
-but with loads of storage underneath it.
-That's what we've got to do.
All Sandra has asked for is a downstairs loo.
That's going in the front porch, which, like much of this house,
has been pulled apart.
Elsewhere, the plumbers have started their first fix,
and so have the electricians, expertly guided by Billy(!)
Yeah, go on, film it, film it!
And the extension is taking shape,
although not quite as quickly as we'd hoped.
Well, it's been a great day. We've managed to clear all the walls out
downstairs and the stairwell that was here isn't here any more.
It's going to come into this part, the new extension,
which is starting to look great too.
On any normal building site, that would be a great day.
The problem isn't downstairs.
All our issues are in the top half of the building, where,
through nobody's fault,
we are a good deal behind where we'd like to be.
-How far behind are we?
-About a third of a day.
-And have we got these boys
-And have we got any chippies to replace them?
That's going to be interesting, isn't it?
-We'll see you tomorrow. We'll work it out.
Good morning! It's day two of the build.
Our volunteers are on site at the crack of sparrows,
removing the upstairs internal sidewall.
But we still need an expert to help us build the extension roof
and safely tie it into the house.
So last night we didn't get the extension finished,
so I had to make a quite important phone call.
But my phone made a funny sound when I made the call,
it went, sort of, "Beeeeeep!"
So I realised the guy I was ringing was abroad.
He flew back last night and he's going to cut the roof in for us.
-All right, And!
How you doing? And this is him, this is him!
-Where were you when I phoned you last night?
-On the beach.
-You were on the beach in Kos.
-He asked me to come back early,
so I left my wife and children in Kos and I've come back.
But you are the roof-meister.
Left his wife and children in Kos.
-They're having a ball, I bet you.
-They won't come back now, you watch.
Andy may just have saved us from our own Greek tragedy.
Mind you, we are a man down.
Do you think he's looking a funny colour today, a bit ill?
He's been backwards and forwards to the ablutions quite a lot.
-You think it's the altitude?
-Well, we're not in Devon, are we?
We've moved, we've driven like 200 and something, 170...
-Not upwards, we haven't.
-Yeah. It was uphill from Devon, innit?
-Everywhere's uphill from Devon.
-Devon to Scotland,
-it's a gradient all the way.
-No, heading north doesn't mean you're going uphill.
Of course it does. Scotland's at the top, we're down the bottom.
Yeah. I don't travel very well.
Once you go past Exeter, that's it.
I don't think it is geography, no!
I don't think it is geography.
Despite the workload ahead, this lot are BEAMING.
The second floor of the gable end is about to get the support it needs
to allow us to tie in the new extension roof.
-Here we go.
I guess the collective noun for a bunch of sawers must be a band.
Band sawers. A band of sawers, band-a-sawers -
sounds like a dinosaur!
I got that one from Billy. Yep...
There we go.
Get in there!
Today, I would like to get the roof on,
felt and battened and the slates up onto it.
Inside, I'd like to get all the stud work finished upstairs
and all the door linings in place.
If I can be there at the end of the day, that's us caught up again.
I mean, he's not actually doing it, but it's only half of what we need to do.
We also need to get the new downstairs extension wall up,
and the old walls prepped for plastering, and the garden level,
and the double glazing in, and sort the electrics,
and complete the plumbing for the new heating system.
I understand that you have a disagreement.
About this smart thermostat.
-Because someone's offered it us free...
"Oh, we'll have that," but they don't offer anyone installing it.
He's offering installation and he's also...
You might want to put a kettle on and make a cup of tea at this stage,
because it sounds like this could go on for a bit of a while.
..electricians do it...
New designer, see, so not used to this to kind of conversation.
Normally you speak to an electrician and say, "This is what we want,"
and they do it. Not always the way with Bill, obviously.
I don't think there's any sparky...
-Do you not think...
-There's always sparks involved when it comes
-to wireless systems.
-If people were spending time away from the home,
with hospital visits and so on and so forth, and you go,
"Oh, I forgot to put the heating down," then having the remote system
is a really good idea. For this family, that's not an issue.
OK, you've talked me round.
-I agree, I will not bring it up again.
I bow to your superior knowledge.
-They're hugging, the world's gone mad!
-That frightens me.
-Designer hugging me.
-Usually they're hiding from me!
Yes, well, it's all very odd, we've never had
such an easy-going designer.
Let's hope it continues, as we build this new home for Sandra,
Ziggy and the kids.
Like his mum, Ziggy believes in helping others -
he's a volunteer mentor, assisting kids who are struggling at school.
And he's a volunteer coach for a basketball team
here in West Bromwich,
where he brings Deago to help him channel his thoughts,
his understandable anger and his grief.
A lot of 19-year-olds are out, you know, partying, having a good time.
At this particular time in your life, at 18, 19, you've had
to really centre your time on the family again, haven't you?
Yeah. So, if my friends want to go out, there's been many a times
where they've been going out and I have to say,
"I can't come out, I'm looking after Mimi and Dede."
But they understand as well that my family's
definitely my highest priority, because I love them
and, you know, my sister wouldn't want anything else.
And what did she say to you about the kids?
Just kept telling me, make sure that I look after them
and make sure that they're safe,
and, "Make sure Deago grows up to be a man like you will be."
That's a big thing, to have your sister ask you
-to take on that responsibility, though?
When it first happened, you know, it definitely hit Deago hard,
and it definitely had... Like, he had issues at school, so...
Around that time was the time where I was like, "Come play basketball."
So I think the basketball really helped him, like it helped me,
it just took his mind off things and gave him something to do
where he's away from everyone else. Just play some sport.
Let's talk about your mum,
cos she says that she's lost her best friend.
They were like an old married couple, honestly.
Sometimes they'd be arguing,
but sometimes they were just talking all the time,
just like friends, really. Just loved each other.
-How has she been since?
-I can tell that she's struggling.
It's definitely hard for her but she tries to put a brave face on for us.
But I think she's doing a great job for them,
and I think my sister would be proud of her
and hopefully proud of me too.
-I'm sure she'd be proud of you, mate.
-Oh, thank you.
You're doing a great job, and I'm sure that, for your mum,
it's a huge deal to have you take some of that pressure off,
and to have someone to help guide them through as well,
which is going to be a big deal.
She's climbed all kinds of mountains in her life, hasn't she?
Yeah, she has. That's why she's very motivational for me.
You know, she showed me never to give up and to keep going,
so I've got to do the same thing.
What a very impressive young man.
Back at the build,
we have a huge surprise in store for Ziggy and Deago.
Alongside a dining area and play space for Ameira,
we're building them their very own miniature basketball court -
a place for Deago to come and deal with things.
Billy used to play basketball, you know.
Well, I had trials with the Harlem Globetrotters.
-Yeah, me and Meadowlark Melon,
we was like that, who was going to be picked.
And he beat me to it.
He got all that fame and I didn't.
Well, look at this, look where you are now.
-Yeah, you don't see him like this, do you?!
By the end of the second day,
you could almost see how the new upstairs layout is going to work.
For the first time in nearly two years,
Deago, Ameira and Sandra will have their own bedrooms,
and it's all thanks to our amazing volunteers.
-Are you enjoying yourself, fellas?
-Yeah, loving it.
What's your favourite thing so far?
Learning new skills,
learning everything and getting on with everyone,
it's brilliant, making new friends.
This is the best thing I've ever done in my life.
-Is it really?
-It's absolutely amazing, Nick, it really is.
Why? Explain to people who haven't done one.
It's just the feeling you get from doing this and helping out,
and you meet these great guys who are working really hard,
long hours for no money.
But the pleasure we're getting out of it, it's fantastic, man!
-I love it!
-He loves it! NICK CHUCKLES
I love the accent and the enthusiasm.
You know, we're going to succeed here.
Is that watertight now?
-Yeah, it's lovely, isn't it?
-So has he gone, then?
-Pah, long gone. Flew in from Greece...
-Did the roof.
..smashed the roof on, then the roofers turned up,
felt and battened, they're coming back in the morning
-and it'll be done by 12 o'clock tomorrow.
Watch out, Thunderbird One's coming through, here we go.
-Yeah. All right?
Yes, we had a rocky start and, yes, we are still a little bit behind,
but with our dedicated volunteers, and maybe a late shift,
I reckon we can pull this all back.
Are you boys staying on to have a "get ahead" night?
Yes. So, tomorrow morning,
the boarders can come in and joy themselves.
-And do what? Join themselves?
-Enjoy, enjoy themselves.
Your words are getting worse, aren't they?
No, they're... I just try and use bigger words and they don't work.
As the flooring guys and electrician settle in for the night,
I'm off to book Billy some elocution lessons.
See you tomorrow.
And here it is already! Ha-ha!
Welcome to the great British summer.
Still, it's not going to stop us.
We've got the brickies working undercover, so that's all right -
they should be able to get on OK.
And the roofers?
Well, they're not.
Do you think I'm in the way?
You see, we should be plasterboarding by now,
but having so many trades in a tight space is slowing down the studwork.
Downstairs, something else is being slow.
Why's he in here with your plasterers?
Because he's so ancient,
he physically wants to drill the holes for the downlighters
as the plasterboard goes up. Look, look.
-Why don't you wait until after they've done,
and then go get the cables?
The reason we don't do that is because they work at such a speed,
sometimes cables get jammed.
We've been doing this since day one
and it's a safe, sure thing of getting all the cables through.
But doesn't it get in the way of the plasterboarders a bit?
They're happy to do it because they understand what the build's about.
-How happy are you that he's in here?
The mood does feel super-positive today.
You see, all these people are here to do something for Sandra,
because she's a woman
who has dedicated her life to helping others.
Roxana is just one of hundreds of young people
who have been touched by Sandra's kindness,
as she went through the care system.
-You know Sandra really well?
I moved to Swan Lane, where she worked at, when I was 15, 16,
and when I moved there I wasn't really interacting with the staff,
because I'd been in care, I was in foster homes of my life.
I think with Sandra, she brang me out of my shell
and she pushed me to do more.
I've never had someone to push me to go further in life.
But Sandra, she's a good person, and she pushes you and she...
I'm going to cry.
-If Sandra hadn't have come into your life...
..would life have been very different for you?
I think so, yeah. If I didn't move to Swan Lane, I think so, yeah.
And I genuinely mean that.
-So she's made an amazing change for a lot of people?
And Roxana isn't the only person on site who Sandra has helped.
She used to be my social worker when I was in the children's home.
-Is that right?
-So she used to look after you then?
Yeah, but this was like 25, just over 25 years ago now.
She was a lovely woman, you know. She'd do anything for anybody.
-So that's why you came down? Because...
-..it was her?
-Pay her back a little bit?
You see, Sandra is an amazing woman.
With the new stairs in,
it really feels like we're getting somewhere on this build.
Here, drop it down.
Which means Billy and I have a chance to escape.
For the last two years,
basketball has proved the perfect getaway for Ziggy and Deago.
It's the one release they've had,
and it's the place they come to de-stress and unwind.
But we may be about to spoil all that.
What do you think, they any competition?
All right. Shall we go now then?
I'll take the little one out, you take the big one out.
Well, it's going to have to work that way, isn't it?
Guys! Can we join in?
Yes, way back in the mists of 1963,
Billy won a small plastic trophy at school
for Most Unimproved Player.
I'm hoping he's still got some moves.
I think you can safely say...
You swapped over - you suddenly started marking the big one.
You lost complete... You've got to stick with your man.
VOICEOVER: I think we might have underestimated the competition here.
I'm here, I'm here!
-He just pushed it out of your hand.
-But it's handball!
Yeah, don't give up the day job, Bill!
We haven't had an attack yet.
An attack? I'm having a heart attack!
Don't duck! What are you ducking for?
Have you got your shirt on back to front?
Am I playing the wrong way?
So am I really a number nine?
He really has got his shirt on back to front.
Right, Billy Byrne, you have one ball to redeem yourself.
MUSIC: Ode To Joy
VOICEOVER: Believe it or not, that did actually happen.
Here it is again.
And hey up!
I know it looks like I've swallowed a basketball,
but I'm back in the gym!
Back on site, we're over halfway.
Deago's very own basketball court is taking shape.
And check out the upstairs.
Bedroom one, boarded.
We have the master bedroom, which is a bit of a mixture of the old...
..with the new. And if you'd like to reverse up...
..this is bedroom three in here.
And obviously not missing little Ameira's bedroom,
over where the carpenters were.
So there's your four bedrooms, bathroom,
in that little tiny house that we walked into Tuesday morning.
And they said it couldn't be done.
Over the next 24 hours, it's a bit of a plastering party.
Oh what a feeling, I'm plastering the ceiling!
It was like being in the room with Lionel, wasn't it?!
Now, we can fit the bathroom and fully-equipped kitchen
which will allow the family to function properly
for the first time since the children moved in.
This is all in now for the guy to come in and template.
So all the bases are in.
Electrics are dropping in while we're going along,
so no problem. Easy peasy.
-Like your style.
Much of the furniture is being bespoke-built -
a large seating area to allow the family to dine together.
In the children's rooms, beds and storage are being handcrafted.
And Mel's met up with Deago and Ameira to sort the finer details.
If you could have anything in your bedroom, what would it be?
What about the windows?
Mimi, if you could have anything in your bedroom, what would you have?
Well, that shouldn't be too difficult.
The community is continuing to come out in force
to help create Sandra and her family a happy home.
I can't knock down walls and build houses,
so I might as well just make some cakes.
Did you make this? Thank you very much.
And the family's loss is resonating with all of our volunteers.
Many have come here with their own stories of pain and bereavement,
and emotions are running high.
My son is 47 now.
And when he was 22, he contracted...
..meningitis and, er...
..I was told...he was going to die.
So I said a lot of prayers...
..promised a lot of things.
One of them was that, one day, I would do a good deed.
I've done my bit.
Everyone here is doing their bit, and we're hoping that all these bits
will come together to create something big and special
for an inspiring family to be able to rebuild their lives.
With only three days to go, everyone's surprisingly relaxed.
That's a common barbel, that.
Thing is, people just do the fish impression -
-they're not being the fish.
-They're not being the fish.
You have got to get the movement and...
-And the drift and the current.
-And the drift.
You see, that's the key, the drift and the current.
We've hauled in loads of volunteer decorators,
the kitchen is pretty much in,
the flooring's going down
and Billy's electricians are finishing up.
Oh. There's no indication light.
Could you see if the plug's turned on?
-It's not turned on, is it?
-Why isn't it turned on?
-Because there's not a socket there.
No socket where there should be one.
Hard to believe, isn't it? Billy's been doing this for 18 years.
In other news, the downstairs loo...
..and upstairs bathroom are coming along.
And our very own Jules has officially been on Planet Earth
for 47 years, and is still standing.
-# Happy birthday to you-ah
# Happy birthday to you-hoo
# Happy birthday, dear Julian
# Happy birthday to you-ou-ou-ou-ou! #
-Did you think we'd forget?
Well, I think you did forget.
Thanks, guys. Thanks for the thought.
-Did you have the top of that bun?
-Yeah, I did.
You don't want any more than that.
It's bad for you. Keep you up all night long.
Anyway, you haven't got time for tea.
-Well done, Jules.
Yup, still standing and not condemned.
We almost have a basketball court, you know,
and with a stack of volunteers stacking up the paving,
I'm wondering if we may even pull this one in ahead of schedule.
Look at this go down. Look, it's amazing.
The speed that it's going down.
-Are we winning?
-Yeah, we seem to be doing all right.
We're doing well indoors.
I think we're going to have three bedrooms ready to dress tonight.
The screen's going in up the back. The blinds are going in.
-It's pretty good, actually.
Who'd have thought it? After that rocky start,
it looks like we're actually going to finish this with time to spare.
The mood on site is one of happiness, togetherness,
What could possibly hold us up now?
Well that could, yeah, to be fair.
They said it was going to rain. We didn't believe them.
But it is.
This is a disaster for us.
-Absolute disaster, isn't it?
But the trouble is we can't lay the driveway
and we can't finish off the garden.
On the upside, when you have a cup of tea,
it fills up as you're drinking it, which is quite good.
No, it's not good. Not good.
And we will all be gutted if we're unable to finish this build on time.
Everyone has worked so hard to create a new home
for Sandra and her family.
A space where she can keep Crystal's memory alive.
We get to meet you, we get to meet Ziggy,
-we get to meet the kids, obviously.
The one person we can't meet is Crystal
and I'd kind of like to know a little bit about her,
-if that's all right.
-Yeah. I'll get upset.
Yeah, she was a bubbly, charismatic, dependable, honest, caring, loving,
you know, a really good girl. Really good girl.
You've done such a lot of work with young people
-who are going through the care system.
-And we know that you went through the care system yourself.
When you had Crystal,
did you feel it was you and her against the world?
You know, I vowed that I would do my utmost for my children,
because I'd seen what it has done to hundreds of kids, really.
Which made you super close.
She would tell me everything and she knew everything
and there wasn't a day that passed when she left home
that we didn't see each other.
Very, very close.
There is no way of putting this any other way -
it must have been devastating.
-To have no time to come to terms with it either,
cos it was such a short diagnosis,
and she passed away so quickly after the diagnosis.
I mean, I didn't want to believe it.
So...so you kind of don't prepare yourself when you're told,
because you just think, "That's not true."
And she...she was really good.
She just was worried about the kids.
And that's all she kept saying.
"You know, Mum, make sure the kids are OK. Look after the kids."
And you haven't really had a chance to grieve since, have you,
I suppose, because you had to start being a mum straight away for...
Yeah. Yeah, that's the difficulty -
you are a nan who kind of spoils and lets them get away with a lot more
than my daughter would have let them get away with.
And then I've got to try and put some routine
and boundaries in for them and be more of a mum.
It's not an easy task.
What do you wish for now?
I wish that... You know, that the children
..will be good, in the sense that they will grow up
and achieve and have happy lives.
That's what I wish for.
No wish for yourself?
Um, just to just keep going.
-Just keep going.
That's it, yeah.
Do you know what? The layout of the building can help Sandra keep going,
just by getting her some sleep. We want to create a place
that Ziggy and the children are delighted to be.
I just hope our new designer, Mel,
is creating an environment that they love.
Behind your head, where we're looking at the moment - peach.
It's not peach, it's Aurora.
Aurora's not a colour, it's a constellation.
It's like my gran's peach.
It is very in!
So on that wall, you have got peach, dark blue and then patterned green.
Did you accidentally drop your colour charts?
I'm hoping the colour charts are back in order
upstairs, in Sandra's room.
-Peach and green.
-It's not peach!
-It's pink. It's pink.
-It's not even a good green.
This would be a good green
if it was in, like, a men's toilet in a hotel.
No, this is a good green. This is a beautiful, warm, sumptuous green.
On the other side, repainting a new house isn't that difficult.
-She may be wanting to do that.
She will not.
I do have something positive to say, though.
So, bathroom and four bedrooms, amazingly, in a space
that I thought you weren't ever going to be able to make it.
It's genius, in its own way.
The design is brilliant.
The colours are horrible, but the design's brilliant.
Well, I like the colours, too.
Well, it's a bit late to change the colours now.
I just hope Sandra and the family like it.
Tell me he's convinced.
Look at that. Ceiling done as well. Look.
VOICEOVER: Who does the ceiling? Who wallpapers a ceiling?!
At least the weather gods have been kind to us
and it's full steam ahead inside and out for the final push.
Sandra's community have pulled together on this build,
they've brought their skills and artistry and work ethic.
Ho-ho-ho! You've absolutely done a brilliant job.
A couple of general builders have even crafted a tepee from scratch
for little Ameira.
And one or two of her friends.
How many was that?
That's some tepee, isn't it?
And that's the power of getting
a bunch of motivated individuals together
to help a family in their hour of need.
It's about community.
For the last 20 months,
Sandra and her family have been coming to terms
with the loss of a mother, a sister and a daughter.
A day don't go by where I don't really think about her.
Like, I think about her a lot.
It came as a shock to me. I didn't really expect it.
If it wasn't for the children,
I think I would never have got out of my bed, ever again.
I just wanted to be with my daughter.
Sandra and Ziggy had taken on the care of Crystal's children,
but, living in a tiny two-up two-down,
there's been no private space and nowhere to grieve.
It's just, like, small.
Sandra has been sharing a bedroom with Deago and Ameira
and the stress has been holding back everyone from dealing with things.
It means the world to see my mum and the little ones happy,
so it will be amazing just to see my family happy.
Over the last nine days, a bunch of selfless volunteers
have proven why the Midlands is the heart of the country.
They've worked tirelessly to transform
what was this tiny two-up two-down
into a fully functional four-bedroom home,
fit for a growing family.
The two dingy, cramped downstairs rooms have been transformed
by adding a side extension and knocking through.
It's now one large open-plan space with three distinct zones.
There's the living space -
room for the whole family to kick back together
on comfortable sofas in contemporary surroundings.
There's a dining area which means the family can, for the first time,
sit down and eat together.
And we've built them a glossy kitchen,
fully equipped with every mod con that Sandra and Ziggy will need
to bring up the children.
And, by moving the front door,
we've turned the old porch into a trendy downstairs loo.
Upstairs, the side extension
has allowed us to create two new bijou bedrooms.
Ameira's room is designed and built just for her,
complete with the required flowers.
Now Deago has a place to escape, too - there's a hand-built bed
and more than a nod to his love of basketball.
Ziggy's room has been given an urban look with plenty of storage.
And, for Sandra, her very own peaceful sanctuary
with her very own comfortable bed -
not just a place to sleep, but somewhere to de-stress
and get away whenever she needs a break.
Four bedrooms and a family bathroom complete the new upstairs layout.
Outdoors, there are was little room for the children to play.
But now it's transformed into a low-maintenance urban garden.
There's an area to eat, artificial lawn to play on
and that miniature basketball court will allow Deago
a place to let off steam whenever he needs to.
It's a home fit for this family to start rebuilding their lives.
OK, welcome to your new home.
Open your eyes.
Oh, my God!
It's amazing. Oh, wow!
-I can't believe it.
-Do you want to look round?
A lot more space.
I love this. This is...absolutely fantastic.
Just to sit and have a meal together at a table,
it's going to make such a difference.
-I'm shocked. I am.
I'm speechless, honestly. It's amazing.
Can you see this working for the family?
Brilliantly. And the children can do a bit of cooking with me.
It's just beyond what I could wish for, it really is.
Come see the kitchen. Take a wander off and see the kitchen.
-It's all yours.
-Sink in the middle.
So, basically, if the kids are playing in the garden,
-you can keep an eye on them.
And that one - pull that one to the right there.
I've never had a dishwasher.
A good-size one as well.
Got the ultimate kitchen, then?
Absolutely. And it will alleviate a lot of the stress
that I've been under and I'm sure that we've all been under.
So have we done everything that you asked for?
Yeah, just a toilet, I think.
Where are we going to put a toilet?
I know. I know. It was a big ask.
It's just that when you're on the loo,
someone else always wants the loo, that was just it.
You might want to look from there.
-It's your old porch.
-Removed the front door.
That's a massive bonus, it really is.
-Do you like it?
Have a little look.
-SHE SNIFFS You all right?
-Just the pictures?
Come on, we've lots more to show you.
-Ready to see some more?
-I love this carpet.
Right, how many doors do you count?
What does that mean?
That means everybody's got a room, which is...
Yes! Yes, yes, yes!
We managed to get four bedrooms in here!
Right, walk straight on, we'll have a look at the bathroom.
-Oh, my gosh.
That is beautiful.
Yeah, that's... That is something else.
Listen, the bedrooms are obviously not massive,
you can understand that. But we wanted to give everyone
their own space, so whose do you want to see first?
Oh, she will love this.
What does this room mean for you?
That I can maybe have a night's sleep,
that she can have a little bit of independence.
You know, it will help her mature a little bit.
Fab, isn't it? Fab.
So the cabinet was actually spray-painted by an artist
specifically for Deago. You'll see his name on the top.
Oh, my God. That's sick, man.
How do you think this room's going to change things for Deago?
It will make a massive difference.
I think it will help with his behaviour.
I think it will hopefully help him feel, you know,
that he's here and he's not going anywhere.
This is his family.
-Shall we go and see yours, Ziggy?
-Oh, my gosh.
It is so grown-up.
I'm so proud of you.
I don't know how I would've coped without you.
-My birthday, that was, remember?
And she would be so proud of you.
You've taken on a lot of responsibility
and you need some space where you can come and chill out, too.
This is it.
You might want to look behind you, Sandra, there - left-hand door.
Now, we've measured those spaces over there
-to be three shoe boxes high!
-Tell us what's going in there.
Nice place for you to come and hang out?
Yeah, I love it. Like, it's better than what I could have expected.
-That's everything, isn't it?
You know there's a room for you!
Let's go and have a look, shall we?
Oh, wow. That's beautiful.
I couldn't have wished for anything better.
-You like it?
-I do. I really do.
I wasn't sure about the colour mix - the pink and the...
I love it. It's just a subtle pink, and I love green -
green's my favourite colour.
Just goes to show what I know, doesn't it?!
The colours are so calming.
To be able to have a night's sleep,
absolutely beyond what I could have asked for.
It means such a lot. It really does.
Shall we show the children?
-Yeah? Ready for this?
Isn't it beautiful?
Does it look sick?
-Looks better than sick!
Is this our house? Is this our house?
Yo. This is sick. I don't know how we've been living here for years.
-Do you like it?
-Yeah, I do. I like it more than "like it".
It's your room!
Isn't that fantastic?
-Are you happy?
-I want to stay here.
-You want to stay here?
Sorry to interrupt. There's two things I need to say to you.
First is, for those at home who don't understand,
"sick" is very, very good, cos that's mostly what you're saying
and not everybody's cool like you and knows that.
Secondly, I've got one other thing to show you,
so I want to get everyone back downstairs, if you're ready.
-Yeah, that's cool.
Oh, my God!
No way, man!
-I don't need to go nowhere to train.
-And he's made the first one!
-The first one?! Nice!
Oh! That is... I haven't got it.
Oh, this is brilliant.
I can't believe what they've done with the space, I really can't.
-Have you got everything you need now?
It's magic. Absolute magic.
You've still got a lot ahead of you, a lot of hard work ahead of you.
Yeah. But this is just going to now make that a lot easier.
The children having somewhere to play is just going to mean
that I can focus more, I can give them what they need.
-And get some rest.
-And get some rest. Brilliant.
-High five, Mimi!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
This is overwhelming, it really is.
My daughter, Crystal, passed away, and the children lost their mum.
But they also lost their home.
They've been with me.
But, as you all know, the house was extremely tiny.
It's been really difficult, it's been extremely stressful.
The children not having any space,
and me feeling that I'm letting my daughter down,
that I'm not doing what I need to do for my grandchildren.
What you have done, honestly,
it's going to make such a massive difference.
The children have a room,
I may be able to get a night's sleep!
I mean, realistically, we should be clapping you guys
for everything you've done for us,
and honestly I just can't explain how you're going to change our lives
and help out my mum and my family.
Thank you, thank you.
Thank you, thank you.
You're very welcome.
Sandra's one of those people who,
despite going through the care system when she was young,
decided to dedicate her life to changing young people's lives around
at critical moments,
and here she was facing a critical situation herself,
trying to raise her two grandchildren.
All these people came out and made a difference at that critical time.
And it comes back to the same thing every time -
at the risk of repeating myself, we can't help everyone,
but everyone really can help someone.
In West Bromwich, Crystal Chambers, a mother of two young children, visited her local GP and hospital on numerous occasions over two years and was left undiagnosed before finally being admitted in 2015. Upon admission to hospital, Crystal was suddenly given the devastating news that she had advanced stomach cancer, which had spread to her spine. Tragically, Crystal passed away a few weeks later, aged 32. Her children, eight-year-old Deago and four-year-old Ameira, were left potentially without a home as well as a mother.
It was therefore left to Crystal's mother Sandra, who has dedicated her entire life to working with families in crisis, and Crystal's 19-year-old brother Ziggy, who is in full-time education, to take the children into their tiny two-bedroom home.
As a result, Sandra, Deago and Ameira share one small bedroom, with a double bed, a camp bed and a toddler bed squeezed in. They don't have room for proper beds, let alone clothes, toys and space to call their own. They desperately need help to create a home for the children, so that they can start a new chapter in life - and give them each space to grieve and also to live long-term.
Sandra struggles with her grief and the challenges of being a surrogate mother to her grandchildren. She has needed to work longer hours to keep the family afloat, so retirement is no longer an option. Ziggy is also grieving and is now a surrogate father to his niece and nephews.
This may be one of the smallest houses DIY SOS has taken on, but this small house offers up big challenges to the team. With a family stuck in a tiny home, unable to deal with their grief, the team and generous West Bromwich volunteers step in to drastically improve this family's home and guarantee that Sandra can keep the family together.