DIY SOS made last minute changes to the site after being burned twice by evil vandals

Presenter Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team are in Southmead, Bristol in tonight’s episode to help rebuild an adventure playground that is now unsuitable for purpose after disgusting abuse.

The DIY SOS team came to an adventure playground in Bristol

An adventure playground that appears in tonight’s DIY SOS has a rather traumatic backstory.

The Southmead site, Bristol, fell into disrepair after a series of disturbing events and was left completely unsuitable for the purpose.

Known locally as The Ranch, Bristol’s oldest adventure playground was built by the community and has been loved and well used by many generations of local residents.

However, it has endured a devastatingly hard time over the years as it was burned down by vile vandals, leaving the locals in tears, and had to be rebuilt on two separate occasions.

That wasn’t the only major setback for The Ranch, as the council cut funding to play deliveries in 2013 and the playground was in danger of closing down in 2018.

Southmead Development Trust, which is a resident-led charity working to improve health, well-being and employment and to help keep the community strong, resilient and resourceful, has boldly taken over the management of The Ranch.

Of course DIY SOS legend Billy Byrne was there



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They wanted to rent it and run a “skeleton service” in an effort to reestablish it within the local community, but there was more bad news before they could raise enough funds.

When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, it was decided to close the playground and it was feared that it would never open again.

The latest arson occurred in May last year, when firefighters put out a fire that was believed to have been ignited casually under one of the wooden walkways.

James Creed, leader of the famed facility’s youth team, told Bristol Live: “It makes us all feel incredibly frustrated and saddened. This is a truly precious space.

“We are a small charity and all we do is through fundraising. We don’t have a lot of money to do this sort of thing.”

However, that all changed when presenter Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team descended on Bristol along with an army of volunteers.

The Ranch got a much needed makeover


@ SouthmeadAdventurePlayground / Facebook)

The Ranch actually had some luck for once, as they were cast to be on the show as a replacement for a planned story that failed.

One of the plays, Lil, described it as a “miracle” and the team quickly sought donations of labor and materials, while the Trust was able to pledge funds to pay the rest.

Skilled artisans from the local community and across the UK have come down to reinvigorate The Ranch for future generations.

It was a huge project that required the team and volunteers to work nine grueling days and nights in October last year.

They cleared the undergrowth, restored the swamp pond and rearranged the landscape, adding an outdoor classroom complete with a fire pit for their forest school.

Massive new structures have been added to provide thrills, from huge swings to a scary “deadly” slide.

The once broken sports field has been leveled and resurfaced, a multi-game pitch for all seasons and outdoor relaxation areas have been added.

But one of the coolest parts of the new sites was a high-end recording studio and live music booth inside an old shipping container.

After construction, Nick tweeted: “Thanks to all the builders and various businesses, suppliers, fire and police services and volunteers who have turned up over the past ten days in Southmead Bristol to rebuild The Ranch.

“You will have a positive effect on many young lives. It has been an honor to work with all of you.”

Responding to tweeted acknowledgments from the Southmead Development Trust, he added: “Just continue the amazing work you do by giving children a voice, a sense of their abilities, different options and paths to take, and often a respite from difficulties.

“We simply gave you the tools to continue the amazing work you do.”

Filming took place in October last year and the episode will finally air tonight on BBC One.

Nick and the team on the day of shooting


@ BristolWaste / Twitter)

Amy Kinnear, CEO of Southmead Development’s Trust, said: “Children’s mental and physical health has never been more important as all of our young people are recovering from the pandemic. Bristol kids flock to our adventure playgrounds to play, exercise, reconnect, access free hot food and challenge themselves.

“We work closely with other organizations in Bristol as part of a network called Playful Bristol. This means that our communities are strongly connected and we can help each other on all aspects of youth and work.

“The DIY SOS refurbishment is a boost to all of our adventure playgrounds in the city as the story is the same for each: playgrounds are a vital part of our communities and an integral part of the children as they play. , they learn and grow. They must be kept safe, up-to-date and properly staffed.

“The project has given us a real boost and we can’t wait to see the show come out. However, the morning after its broadcast, we will return to earth with a bump to continue the incredibly hard and expensive work of running a large site like The Ranch. We want to increase our opening hours and keep our delightful site in good condition for generations to come – we can’t take our eyes off the fundraiser for a second. If you can still help, consider supporting us or your local Bristol adventure playground.

* DIY SOS: The Big Build airs tonight on BBC One at 9pm

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