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This November, The Rug Seller have teamed up with the wonderful work of DIY SOS to help an amputee army veteran – Simon Flores – get the home he deserves.

Here at the Rug Seller, we try when we have the chance to give back to the community. We are all so personally connected to the area, with us all largely being based in Manchester, so we always want to support local causes.

DIY SOS has helped many deserving people in the past, by crafting a fantastic space specifically tailored for them – and this case was no different.

With the project done so close to Armistice Day, this had a real poignancy to it. With the opportunity to be able to help and support service men and women after they have left service with the physical and psychological traumas that may follow.

This week, we went to the reveal of the new house for Simon and the family and to celebrate the hard work over the past nine days that created this wonderful result.

DIY SOS reveal day with the team and the rug seller team

Simon’s Story

Back in December 2006, Simon had been in the army for 5 years working as a Corporal in the Royal Green Jackets.

On the 15th of December Simon was on patrol in Basra, Iraq when the vehicle he was commanding got hit by an IED that ripped through the car.

DIY SOS Simon Flores army veteran in front of his newly renovated home

(Simon Flores) Image credit

Simon bravely assisted his team and administered crucial first aid while guiding them all to safety – despite being severely injured himself. Simon had had his foot blown off and his thigh on his other leg was significantly wounded, with a chunk taken out of it.

Simon was recognised for his bravery on that day, but it’s been difficult for him to adjust after his life-altering incident – and his relationship took a toll.

He is now a single dad at 36 with three children all under the age of 6 – and he lives with his youngest son with split custody. Simon has trouble doing everything he’d like to as a dad due to his disability, and the house he lives in is in a poor state and is heavily reliant on free furniture to try and improve his home for his kids.

Simon’s Future

This November, DIY SOS have come in to help Simon get the fresh start he wants and desperately needs. A team of volunteers and donators helped to complete an ambitious project across 9 days to create a suitable home for Simon and his young family.

DIY SOS team and builders at canada street home for simon flores posing for a group photo

This project is based on Canada Street, Newton Heath – where the DIY SOS team were at in 2015. Nick Knowles created the project in a desire to help army veterans who were struggling with physical or psychological issues in life after service.

Canada Street is a place that has been renovated to help accommodate army veterans and their families and to create a community with people that have had similar life-changing experiences and understand Simon’s struggles.

DIY SOS builders and army veterans walking towards the canada street home before reveal

It’s a community where abandoned houses have been renovated specifically for ex-service men and women. The project will see two houses knocked together to make one, so that Simon has a house big enough for his family and all their needs while being in a positive and supporting local environment for him.

Simon himself said it has been a great help to find a community that combines civilians and army-veterans who truly understand what he’s been through in his life. It’s a community that helps the rehabilitation and recovery process for these people in a way a civilian area couldn’t.

When we saw this opportunity for a local Manchester project which we could help with, and for such a fantastic cause, we were excited for a chance to give back.

DIY SOS’s interior designer – Gabrielle Blackman – personally selected some of our rugs to help complement and complete the home for Simon and his family.

For the little boys’ rooms, we donated two Sisal rugs in orange and aqua to help add the finishing touch to their new space. We also donated the Maisey Pink rug for Simon’s daughter’s room as well as a Sloan orange rug for the living room.

We wanted to help and create a warm and inviting space for Simon and his children and add the finishing touches to a beautiful home that will help to improve Simon’s quality of life.

Our DIY SOS donated rugs of our maisey and sloan rugs

A suitable home for someone like Simon really can be life-altering. The chance to give Simon a home that makes his life the easiest it can be will help improve every aspect of his and his family’s life.

Simon said that this is the start of ‘a new chapter of life’ for him and his young family, with this home giving him the opportunity to lead the life he’s wanted to for the past ten years.

The project is expected to be screened on the BBC in 2017.