Community Spirit

Community Spirit

I’m a sucker for a sob story. Not as much as Abi, who watches TV programs or films knowing full well it will make her cry, but I like hearing about the good deeds of average Joe’s. The kind of stories that restore my faith in humanity.

Yesterday evening I went to put on Pride of Britain awards on the TV but Abi knew she would cry loads at that, so instead switched it over to DIY SOS. Given her reason for changing channel, I was a little confused but her excuse was that she would only cry at the end of the episode when the family saw the house.

So yeah, for those that don’t know, DIY SOS is a program where a family or person gets nominated by a friend or neighbour explaining that they could really do with some help making their home more suitable for them. Often it’s because someone has a health condition that makes living in a normal home that much more challenging. Then, Nick Knowles and the resident builders come in with the help of local tradesmen and even quite a lot of local volunteers and do up the house making it nice and pretty.

In last night’s episode, it was a couple who have 3 kids, 2 of whom are twins that were born prematurely. One has cerebral palsy, the other is profoundly deaf and the 2 bedroom house they were living in was too cramped and at times dangerous.

Anyway, the family are shipped out of their house for 9 days and at the end of it, they come back to what feels like a brand new home. In this instance, they had managed to get planning permission for a single storey extension on the back of the house and so had managed to create a bedroom and wetroom downstairs for the child with cerebral palsy and made a really nice boys room for the other twin and their 8 year old big brother. Of course, they did all the other rooms up as well, making a ‘grown up’ bedroom for the parents who had previously been sharing with the twins and making the living room/diner safe for the twins with lots of space and rounded edges.

There were tears everywhere (except for my eyes, obviously). The family were crying with joy at their new home, the builders were crying, the neighbours were crying. Even Abi was joining in (to be expected). And whilst I didn’t cry, some of the reasons people gave for joining in on the project were really sweet.

There were quite a few family friends that got involved, but there was a builder who had been on a different site all day and came over after having been home just long enough for something to eat so that he could work through the night on this family home. For free. There were even people that just helped out because it was the right thing to do.

I love stories like this. I like it when people help others for no other reason then they want to do right by them. But this got me to thinking (and this is a little bit of a tangent here, so stick with me) about how often I’ve moved in the past. I don’t really feel like I’ve been part of a community since I lived in Luton and I’m not sure I really will again until we buy our first home. But, it wouldn’t stop me pitching in if my current neighbour needed some help.

So yeah, that last paragraph was a bit random, but hopefully you’ll get where I’m coming from. I just think it’s nice to see people going out of their way to help others out, even when the connection between them is less than tangible. Right, need to see if I can find last night’s Pride of Britain Awards on demand somewhere.

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