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Jewson supports Band of Builders renovating home for sick girl

Builders merchant Jewson helped more than 60 builders spend a week battling sub-zero temperatures to transform the home of a sick little girl, whose father is a plasterer. 

Members of the Band of Builders travelled from across the country to spend eight days working round the clock to revamp the Hertfordshire home of tw0-year-old Sadie Jenkins and her family.

Band of Builders.
Band of Builders.

Sadie spent the first 10 months of her life in hospital after being born with a range of complications including a hole in her heart and a narrowing of the aorta, as well as Pierre Robin sequence – a set of abnormalities affecting the head and face including a small lower jaw and blockage of the airways. When the toddler finally came home, she had had a tracheotomy and has a tube to help her breathe, meaning she had to sleep in a makeshift bedroom in the front room.

After hearing about her family’s plight, the Band of Builders – an organisation which helps tradespeople in need – decided to transform the home, adding a downstairs toilet for Sadie’s carers to use overnight without waking the family as well as making a bedroom for Sadie’s sister Isla, aged four, and Sadie herself when she is well enough to move upstairs.

Using state-of-the-art plaster and paint to limit any negative effects on Sadie’s breathing, they also redecorated the rest of the house, installed a new boiler and landscaped the family’s garden to create a safe place for Sadie and Isla to play.

The project was supported Jewson, which crowned Band of Builders founder Addam Smith Trade Hero of the Year in 2017 as part of its Building Better Communities awards, Other materials were also donated from companies, including plaster, a new boiler, kitchen doors and more.

The local community in Hoddesdon also rallied around to help the tradespeople, with neighbours bringing food and drink, local restaurants and chip shops giving free meals and other trades from the area coming to lend a hand. The project is the latest undertaken by Band of Builders, which is currently applying to become a charity.

Band of Builders also paid for the family to go to Center Parcs – their first family as a holiday – while the work was carried out. But the project, in Hoddesdon, was met with adversity when the ‘Beast from the East’ hit the UK, bringing sub-zero temperatures, ice and snow. Tradespeople who had travelled from across the country worked through the night, defrosting the ground with blowtorches and even had to put out a public appeal for the road to be gritted so deliveries could get to them.  

The organisation was founded by Addam Smith, who carried out a project to renovate friend and colleague Keith Ellick’s home after he was diagnosed with cancer, enlisting help from tradespeople from across the country.

Smith said: “When we heard about little Sadie and everything she and her family have been through, we just wanted to do something to help.

“This has been the hardest project we’ve done – the Beast from the East really tried to break us but it didn’t manage it to. Thanks to the efforts of the guys and the amazing support from the local community, we got it done and have really made a difference to Sadie, Carl, Nicola and Isla’s life at home.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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