Princes William and Prince Harry joined the DIY SOS team today, in order to help create a ‘veterans’ village’ in Manchester.
The BBC show, which helps families who haven’t been able to finish their DIY due to hardship, illness or lack of funds, will reach the final stages of refurbishing homes in Newton Heath for former servicemen and women.
Empty properties are being updated and renovated, specially designed for veterans with specific needs and requirements, like loss of limbs.
Dozens of Manchester building firms and tradesmen are helping out, including supplying materials and furniture, and the project is being supported by Walking With The Wounded, a charity Prince Harry already has ties with, as well as Big Build, Manchester City Council, Haig Housing, and Adactus Housing Groups.
The Royal Foundation, which was set up by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry seeks to help in three areas: conservation, young people, and servicemen and women as well as veterans. Afterwards, the brothers will meet those veterans who will be moving in after the job is complete.
Disabled access parking will be provided, all 62 properties on the street will receive a facelift, and a walk-in centre for veterans is also being built for therapy and counselling, which will be run by Walking With The Wounded.
Both Prince William and Harry have served in the forces, as a Search and Rescue pilot and an Apache pilot respectively; Harry left the forces earlier this year, before spending the summer on conservation projects in Africa, having spent ten years in the Army, and served two tours of Afghanistan.
Former soldiers have been helping with the construction work, too, some of whom are developing skills as they re-train into a new trade outside of the Armed Forces. William was photographed helping indoors with the painting, while Harry had a go at laying slabs in the garden.
The Royal pair also met the street’s existing residents, as well as members of organisations who have contributed to the project, DIY SOS’s biggest yet.
Presenter Nick Knowles told the Manchester Evening News he came up with the idea for the village when talking to founder of Walking With The Wounded Ed Parker about empty housing.
He said: “These young men have gone off to different parts of the world and had to see extremely difficult things. They didn’t choose to do it, they go and do what they have been asked.
“Having done what we have asked them, they find themselves on the streets. This community is making it happen and housing them. Manchester should be very proud of itself.”
The two-show special will air on 14th and 21st October at 9pm on BBC One.