SOS call answered

Everglade UK recently contributed to DIY SOS The Big Build, which transformed the Bolton home of Heather and Martin Taylor-Mann and their children.

The episode, which aired on BBC One at the end of November, saw 150 volunteers extend and reconfigure the house to make it better suited to the family, and their nine-year-old son William who is severely autistic and has a high sensitivity to noise.

Unable to talk, William communicates his distress through crying. He finds sleeping extremely difficult and is often awake through the night, which also disturbs his sisters.

Everglade co-owner Deni Sirovica said: “It was fantastic to be involved in a project that will bring such enormous improvements to their daily life. The Taylor-Mann family (of five) were sharing two bedrooms and, as the youngest daughter got bigger and William’s condition meant that he tended to keep everyone awake, they were becoming overwhelmed by their circumstances. Martin had begun to build a third bedroom, but as often happens, work commitments and financial constraints meant the project got waylaid.”

DIY SOS came in to help, with plans to build a timber-framed, soundproofed extension for William where he could have his own specially designed quiet bedroom space and, in turn, his two sisters could each have their own room upstairs without William keeping them awake at night.

“Originally, Everglade was asked to provide just two windows for the extension, but when we saw the extent of the plans for the rest of the house renovation, and we heard how William can’t be left upstairs – even momentarily – because he tries to climb out of the windows, we volunteered to fabricate and install eight Veka casement windows completely free of charge,” Deni said.

“We fitted them all with child-lock restrictors to provide peace of mind that William wouldn’t be at risk of opening them wide enough to climb out. The job was particularly tricky because the whole project was completed in just nine days, so all the tradespeople were trying to work round each other at the same time in a very small space, but it all went well and the family were delighted, which is what it’s all about.”

The 150-strong team of volunteers completely renovated the downstairs of the house and completely reconfigured the upstairs, as well as tidying up the garden and laying a new driveway.

As the programme ended, Heather Taylor-Mann said: “It’s just perfect. We’re just so grateful.”

When asked if the work was enough to minimise the possibility that William might have to go into care, Heather said: “It’s given us hope for the future, and it’s meant that William can just stay here as long as we can look after him. And that’s so important. We want to enjoy every minute. We need to say a big, big thank you. It’s more than we ever could have dreamed of.”