Brixworth house undergoing DIY SOS as community pulls together to help neighbour make home fit for use

Julie Wykes (left) and Shelley BurchttBalding
Julie Wykes (left) and Shelley BurchttBalding

A Northamptonshire community is pulling together to help refurbish a Brixworth woman's home after a neighbour discovered it was unfit for her to live in.

Julie Wykes, a 47-year-old Brixworth resident of 25 years, is leading the DIY SOS project.

The project began at the end of June and looks set to last for two-and-a-half months.

The project began at the end of June and looks set to last for two-and-a-half months.

She met Shelley Burchtt Balding, 46, before going on holiday when she was looking for someone to care for her dogs while she went away.

Shelley, who suffers from seizures and who is in a wheelchair, offered to help but when Julie brought her dogs round to her house she was appaled at the conditions the 46-year-old was living in.

"It's the moment I walked into her house and I saw her in tears and the way she was living," said Julie, recalling when she decided to do something about Shelley's situation.

"She wanted to help me so I wanted to do something for her.

"I'm quite determined when I get something in my head."

Julie thought the house could do with a makeover, especially considering Shelley's wheelchair couldn't fit through the doorframe of the toilet.

This meant she was having to hoist herself out of her chair every time.

An appeal was swiftly put on the local area Facebook page to see if anyone could contribute to the DIY SOS project, and tradesmen duly came forward offering to give hours for free.

"The response was amazing," said Julie.

Work on site has been done by Brixworth-based AMC Electrical, Elite Plumbing, and TMT Kitchens and Bathrooms

Nic Haysey designed the home, LB Contracts are doing the painting and decorating, building work is being carried out by Darren Wood and JB Builders, JML Plastering and Darren Walmsley will handle the plastering, Conor Haldenby is doing the plumbing and Jon Noble has helped with courier services.

Donations from local companies have helped the project move forward with many giving tiles, a sink, a shower and other key ingredients.

The project began at the end of June and looks set to last for two-and-a-half months.

The new look home will allow Shelley to move around freely.

The 46-year-old bought the house because of its views of the Northamptonshire countryside.

Julie is hopeful of finding someone to lay decking and a ramp outside so that Shelly can make the most of the vistas.

"We still need decking, a shed, wood for a ramp, a back door with 920mm opening size, wood for storage and some soft furnishings to finish," said Julie.