'These sort of things don't happen to people like us': Charity step in to transform home of man with rare condition


Volunteers from all over the country have stepped in to transform the home of a former plasterer in Norwich, thanks to the DIY SOS-style efforts of a charity.

Chris Joy has a rare neurological condition and relies on a wheelchair to get around.

Four years ago, former plasterer Chris began to feel light-headed at work, and was given the diagnosis of 'Cerebellar Ataxia' eighteen months later after MRI scans and blood tests.

"At the time I didn't think anything of it, but it was still there about an hour later, a day later, three days later.

"It is a condition that affects every part of the body and it affects everything I do. I can't work my old job anymore, I can't drive anymore, and my feelings as a man were completely gone in a flash."

Band of Builders helps those in the UK construction industry battling illness or injury. Credit: ITV Anglia

Chris' symptoms include a loss of coordination, double vision, balance and speech issues and tinnitus.

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

His story inspired a charity called 'The Band of Builders' to complete a makeover- all for free - to help Chris give him the freedom back he lost four years ago.

From builders to electricians, around 22 people are working on the project.


Giving that independence back to Chris is really important to us and we are looking forward to making that difference.

Gavin Crane, Band of Builders

The house will get a brand new driveway and better access paths into the house. Credit: ITV Anglia

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

The local community have also got behind the team - bringing food throughout the day for the team of tradespeople to enjoy as they work.

The project was due to take place earlier this year, but was postponed due to coronavirus.

Chris and his wife Sheree Joy. Credit: ITV Anglia

It's the first project the charity have taken on in Norfolk and it's due to be finished by the end of this week.

"It's overwhelming. These sort of things don't happen to people like us", Chris added.

"This help is so desperately needed and to know they are here for me and my family and they will do anything, it is hard to put into words."