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16th September 2020

First anniversary of DIY SOS Big Build Project for homeless young people

It's a year since work to transform a former Blackburn Day School and Sunday School, built in 1834 to nurture young people, took place with the help of the BBC DIY SOS programme and BBC Children in Need. 

The Parish Rooms of St Silas Church, Blackburn, once Billinge End School, were transformed into a supportive living accommodation for 16-18 year olds in a groundbreaking initiative run by the Blackburn with Darwen charity Nightsafe. 

Rev. Sheelagh Aston of St Silas and Nightsafe Chief Executive, Jan Larkin, will be on BBC Radio Lancashire on Thursday, September 17 at approximately 10.20am to talk about the anniversary. You can listen here. There will also be some local celebrations later on the same day (socially distanced of course)!

You can look back at our coverage of the event, which also featured in local, regional and national media, by clicking here with a further story on the Thanksgiving Service after the work was completed available here

Rev. Sheelagh said today: "Last year saw a shared vision between Nightsafe and St Silas Church realised; to provide young people with a safe place in two weeks thanks to the generosity of BBC Children in Need, DIYSOS and the fabulous volunteers that came to help. Although the pandemic has prevented us from meeting face-to-face we continue to support the project during this difficult time and look forward to developing fresh ways to work together when restrictions are lifted."

Jan Larkin added: "The whole of 2019 was the most amazing year for Nightsafe. We had long been in need of additional accommodation for young people aged  between 16-18 years.

"Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who supported DIY SOS Big Build team along with Children In Need it provided us with the most fabulous 'Big Build'. This has provided six young people with a home and much needed support.

"As we celebrate our first anniversary we are already looking forward to the next few years to come, being able to continue to provide young people with somewhere to go, somewhere to stay and someone to talk to."

Rev Sheelagh has also written a prayer for the anniversary ... 

God our Creator and Sustainer

on this special day

we remember and give thanks

to all who gave their time and talents this time last year.

to create a safe home within our community

for those in need.

May your blessing be upon those who live at Safe@Silas

Now and in the future.

To those who support, guide and pray for them.

May the memories of times shared during the build

Encourage others to share your compassion and mercy

In in our world today and always. Amen.



Ronnie Semley, Septmeber 2020