The BBC’s SOS DIY team transformed a home in Northumberland and allowed four generations of families to live together under one roof.
Mary Owen, her daughter Bobby, her mother and grandmother all live with a range of medical conditions and the renovation has created a safe space where the family can live together and help care for each other.
Mary, 49, said: “The results of the makeover are astounding. The house really feels like a beautiful house again.
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“It is already proving to work incredibly well for our daughter Bobbie, who has severe disabilities, autism and epilepsy. The home is safer for Bobbie, easier for me to manage since I had a stroke a few years ago, and it means now we have room for my mum and grandmother to move in with us as they have one bedroom each and a shared bathroom.
“Nan has received specialist hospice care, although not at St Oswald’s Hospice, for over 50 years for leg lymphedema and has developed dementia in recent years. Nan has always expressed how she would rather be surrounded by her own family at home than be in a nursing home and this renovation has meant that she can be looked after and supported by her own family, which means so much to all of us. “
In 10 days, the DIY SOS team remodeled the Longframlington home, which is hundreds of years old and previously had everything from a pea and pie shop, post office and antique shop to serving the local community. The house was in need of major renovation with walls, roofs and windows requiring a lot of attention and the floors were all on different levels which meant it was not practical for the family to carry out caring tasks and responsibilities.
Mary, a former manager of the train station, added: “The construction itself took 10 days and designer Gaby, host Nick Knowles and the whole DIY SOS team were incredibly friendly and made everything more delicate. The whole team really took the time to get to know us and did tons of research to find out what would work for us and what we wanted to achieve from the makeover while making sure we were happy with the proposed changes.
“The makeover brought four generations of families together under one roof and allowed us to share our caring responsibilities. It will truly simplify the life of every member of our family.
“My mother takes care of my grandmother alone and has no free time. Giving us the space to live together means we can share our family care duties for my daughter Bobbie and my grandmother, and it will allow us to feel more supported and to get back some freedom “.
Mary, whose work on the railways led her to become a station manager for Coventry, Rugby and Wolverhampton stations in the Midlands, intended to continue working in the rail industry when she moved to the Northeast until her daughter Bobbie did not get sick.
She explains how she had the double stroke of her daughter who got sick and couldn’t work full time only to have to give up work altogether when she got sick herself after being bitten by a tick and subsequently having a stroke. This led her to volunteer with St Oswald’s Hospice, which she credits with helping her feel a sense of normality.
Mary said: “After having had a long and successful career working in the rail industry, I felt quite down and unable to work due to my condition. I initially contacted the Stroke Association which put me in touch with another health agency. charity called Momentum who advised me to volunteer with the Sant’Osvaldo Hospice.
“Not being able to work was honestly like a grieving process for me. Volunteering with St Oswald’s Hospice Morpeth shop was a way to bring some normalcy back into my life and take a break from my responsibilities. of nursing. Julie [Shop Manager] he worked around the difficulties I had and made sure the store environment was safe for me.
“When you have a disability or are a caregiver yourself, you often feel like you can’t be that reliable. So volunteering pulls me out of myself and makes me feel useful for a few hours.
“It’s a lovely thing to do when you can’t handle a work commitment, staying active and helping others. I feel such a strong sense of independence in the short time I volunteer.
“Volunteering is a great way to get back into work and gently facilitate yourself. The team of volunteers are so supportive. They’ve allowed me to be me without all the hassle and are so lovely and supportive.
They are great company and don’t ask questions about my condition or family life, but they also let me offload if necessary. “
Julie Wilson, Store Manager at St Oswald’s Hospice Morpeth, said: “Mary is a fantastic member of our team and an excellent volunteer. Whatever challenges she has faced in her life to manage her condition or take on herself. care of his daughter, he never complains.
“She is a real soldier who gets along with things. She gets along with everyone, she is a real laugh and shares a lot of good stories about her family.
“We are all really happy for her and the whole team is thrilled. We also found out that one of my other volunteers from the shop was also living in the house before Mary! Mary is so deserving of this house makeover and everyone at St L’Ospizio by Oswald is looking forward to seeing the final results on TV. “
Mary’s episode will air on BBC One at 8pm on Tuesday 31 May. To find out more about the charity Mary volunteers for, as well as the volunteer opportunities available, visit the St Oswald’s Hospice website, here.