Nailed it! Salvation Army keeps DIY SOS builders refreshed

published on 31 Aug 2023

The Salvation Army provided invaluable support to tradespeople and Strictly Come Dancing stars taking part in hit BBC One show DIY SOS The Big Build - keeping them refreshed with 3,500 cuppas as they built a respite centre for a charity.

Volunteers from the church and charity’s Shiremoor, Newcastle City Temple and North Shields churches spent five days serving hot drinks, snacks and water from the Emergency Response Vehicle, which kept workers going at the build for performing arts charity True Colours in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear. 

DIY SOS The Big Build, presented by Nick Knowles, was aired on Wednesday night (August 30). The show recruits local tradespeople and suppliers to help build ambitious projects for local families and the community. 

The episode was a Strictly Come Dancing special featuring judge Anton Du Beke and dancers Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Graziano Di Prima and Nancy Xu.

DIY SOS team in the red van of the Salvation army

Captain Keith Scales, who leads Shiremoor Salvation Army with his wife Faith, and was instrumental in setting up the support for the show, said: “It was a really interesting thing to take part in, a real community effort. We served a total 3,500 hot drinks using 130 litres of milk. We had a donation of bottled water from Northumbria Water so handed those out too. 

“We had so many conversations about what it meant to the building team for us to be there supporting them. One guy who had done three builds for the programme before said it made things a lot easier for them being able to come to us, get a cup of tea then get straight back onto the build. It saved them a lot of time. In the end they did about six months’ worth of work in six days. It was great to be able to support them with that.

“There was great camaraderie. The staff and the team were all so lovely.

“We heard so many interesting stories about why people wanted to take part in the show. One builder had been an addict and was doing this to give something back. It was invaluable for building relationships, which will be long lasting. It helped us, as The Salvation Army, within the community because people will remember how we supported them.”

DIY SOS team with the Salvation army

The Salvation Army has 25 response vehicles operating across the country which support emergency services attending major incidents, providing refreshments and a listening ear. They attend around 300 to 350 incidents each year.

The opportunity to support with DIY SOS came when Keith attended a trade day, which the BBC show set up to recruit local tradespeople for the build, with his landscape gardener son Eden.

Keith continued: “I was wearing my Salvation Army top and the designer Gaby came over and started talking to me about the Sally Army and it grew from there. Within half an hour we were making plans to see if we could get the van to help them!

“We were poised to leave if we got an emergency and the vehicle was needed, but thankfully we didn’t get a call out and could support them for a full five days.”

Salvation Army officer having a cup of tea with a service user

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