Students and staff join volunteers to help revamp Blackpool Carers Centre

Published on 18/11/2016 by pfi

Blackpool and The Fylde College students were glued to their television screens as their work was highlighted as part of the BBC’s DIY SOS: The Big Build programme at Blackpool Carers Centre.

Presenter Nick Knowles and designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, the creative director for Blackpool’s world-famous Illuminations, put out the call for volunteers as part of its special Million Pound Build for BBC Children in Need, and staff and students from the College responded.

The aim of the programme was to improve the lives of the young people supported by Blackpool Carers Centre, which receives BBC Children in Need funding, and to transform the ageing facility into an inspiring haven for those who use it.

Ruth Peri, Head of Construction at B&FC, said:

“When the call went out for local tradespeople to get involved in the project we were obviously happy to help.

“The College prides itself on being part of the community and we wanted to do all we could for the young carers who use the centre.

“Our students worked inside the building to help transform the old Victorian house as well as helping with the overhaul of the garden, which had been somewhat neglected over time.”

Meanwhile, tutors from the College’s Creative Arts department were asked to design and produce bespoke wallpaper for a feature Word Wall within the building.

Gillian Williams, Curriculum Manager in Graphic Design, Fashion & Film-making at B&FC, said:

“We were asked to produce some bespoke wallpaper featuring quotes from the young carers and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, who was a young carer himself. It had to be a particular pantone turquoise colour and size specification.

“The only issue was the original feature wall they wanted to put it on kept growing and growing due to changes in the design layout of the building so it ended up being used on quite a big expanse of wall.

“We designed and printed the wallpaper here at the College and took it down to the site once it was completed, where we met the head designer and the crew at the BBC. The producers were absolutely thrilled with the results and said it was going to be specifically featured in the programme.”

This is not the first time the College has supported the Carers Centre and staff recently helped raise £20,000 to allow the facility to fund two carers’ champions to fight the corner for others in the resort.

Dr Judith Poole, Head of Student Support & Wellbeing at B&FC, said:

"The Carers Centre is an amazing facility and really helps local people who may be facing difficult circumstances at home.

“At the College, we work closely with the Carers Trust and Blackpool Carers Centre to raise the aspirations of carers by removing barriers to learning wherever possible and providing some bursaries for any study they may wish to do. We also work with HUGS - the support group for mental health carers – to ensure they have any assistance they need.

“I’m delighted the College was able to help with this fantastic project, which will hopefully see the Carers Centre continue supporting people in Blackpool for many years to come.”