The Hill Group, winner of Housebuilder of the Year at the WhatHouse? Awards 2023, teamed up with BBC One’s ‘DIY SOS: The Big Build’ to transform a dilapidated caretaker’s cottage into a state-of-the-art new community hub for Essex-based mental health charity, Butterfly Effect Wellbeing.

Hill rallied its local supply chain and joined forces with presenter Nick Knowles, the DIY SOS team, and stars from Eastenders to deliver a new community project. Airing on Monday, December 18 as a Christmas special, the programme was filmed on location at the site of a former school in Latton Bush, Harlow.

Responding to an appeal for support by the programme’s producers, Hill brought together volunteer staff, suppliers, and tradespeople to help deliver the project and donated one of the company’s award-winning SoloHaus homes, which was adapted to serve as a brand-new therapy room for classes and support groups. The charity now has the capacity to support up to 200 people suffering from mental health issues every week, a significant increase from 10 people previously.

Angela Hannibal founded Butterfly Effect Wellbeing in memory of her mother, who sadly lost her life to suicide in 2020 after suffering from mental health issues for many years. Harlow Council offered the charity a 10-year lease of the caretaker’s cottage and subsequently approved planning permission for its renovation. After responding to an appeal by the DIY SOS production team, Angela was delighted when the programme confirmed its plans to take on the project as its Christmas special.

The Hill Group responded to DIY SOS’ call to support the project, assembling various volunteer tradespeople, suppliers, and subcontractors. Hill also donated a SoloHaus home, a purpose-built, modular dwelling, which was craned onto the site during the main build phase. SoloHaus homes were created for Hill’s Foundation 200 initiative, a £15million pledge to design, manufacture, and donate 200 quality homes to homeless charities and local authorities by 2025.

The SoloHaus was specially adapted for the charity before being carefully installed to create a new holistic garden room with large, bifold glass doors where health and wellbeing classes will be held. This new, additional space beyond the main building allows the charity to run paid-for sessions to generate revenue that can be invested back into the charity to support its core services.

Tom Hill, managing director at The Hill Group, commented: “This was a remarkable project, and I’d like to thank DIY SOS: The Big Build for bringing the show to Harlow this Christmas. Special recognition must go to Angela for her unwavering dedication to the community, and this crucial project will substantially enhance the support she can provide to local people when they need it most.”

“I want to extend my thanks to all the tradespeople and suppliers whose generosity and dedication made this transformative project possible. This Big Build reflects Hill’s own commitment to leaving a lasting impact on the communities we serve. It’s not only about the construction; it’s about addressing mental health challenges, both within our industry and across society. The creation of safe spaces is so crucial, and the result of our work here will help Angela and her team provide much-needed additional support services in the area.”

Angela Hannibal, founder of Butterfly Effect Wellbeing, said: “Being part of DIY SOS and getting this amazing new facility is a dream come true. I was speechless when the big reveal took place. I’m so pleased to have done all this in memory of my mum, which allows us to help more people who, like her, find themselves facing tough times. Having a fully operational kitchen has been game-changing; we can now provide free daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner clubs.”

“It is fantastic to be up and running in time for Christmas, allowing us to provide extra support to those in need at what is a difficult time for many people. Working in partnership with Streets2Homes, which supports homeless people, we are fully booked for Christmas lunch, and we are looking forward to welcoming more people than ever in the year ahead.”

Source: Showhouse