DIY SOS-style transformation from tradespeople to help man with rare condition

PUBLISHED: 10:57 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:59 23 September 2020

Charity Band of Builders will carry out work on the home of Chris Joy, 41, from Norwich. Picture: Band of Builders

Charity Band of Builders will carry out work on the home of Chris Joy, 41, from Norwich. Picture: Band of Builders


The home of a father-of-four with a rare condition is set for a makeover thanks to the DIY SOS-style efforts from a charity.

Chris Joy, from Cringleford, noticed symptoms when he began to feel light-headed at work in July 2016.

Over the next few weeks, the 41-year-old plasterer said he deteriorated rapidly.

But he was only given the blanket diagnosis of Cerebellar Ataxia, a rare neurological condition which affects around 10,000 adults in the UK, two years later.

Ataxia is an umbrella term for a group of disorders that affect balance, coordination and speech.

Mr Joy’s symptoms include a loss of coordination, double vision, balance issues, speech issues and tinnitus and he has to use a wheelchair 50pc of the time.

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As a result of the condition, Mr Joy is unable to get in and out of his home without help as the driveway and pathway are too uneven for a wheelchair.

But his home is now set for a transformation thanks to a group of volunteer tradespeople across the country from the charity Band of Builders.

The charity helps members of the UK construction industry battling illness or injury through the completion of practical projects.

Mr Joy said: “When I first started feeling light-headed back in 2016 I had no idea that in 2020 I’d be where I am now. It’s been a hard journey for me and my family and has taken a lot of adjustment for all of us. A driveway might not sound that exciting to some people but to us this really will make a difference.”

As well as revamping the driveway, the volunteers will landscape the paths to the side and install a new lowered entrance door to allow wheelchair access to the property.

The project will be revealed to Mr Joy and his family on October 19.

Tony Everett, who is leading the project and is a volunteer at Band of Builders, said: “A driveway might not sound like much, or particularly glamorous, but making it accessible for Chris means he’ll be able to regain some of his lost independence and have the freedom to come and go without help.

“We were gutted that we couldn’t start this project back in March due to coronavirus, but it’s great that we can finally get there and do something that will have a genuinely positive effect on Chris and his family’s lives.”

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