Baz Ashmawy and ‘DIYSOS: Build for Ireland’ team give another major boost to Kingston College Housing Project in Mitchelstown, County Cork

The RTE DIYSOS; Build for Ireland television programme presented by Irish radio and television personality Baz Ashmawy has come on board with the Kingston Charity project to refurbish houses at Kingston College

‘When the war started in Ukraine I sent around an email widely to test the waters,’ said Bishop Paul Colton, ‘as I wanted to see if there would be interest in helping us to raise money to restore these houses for Ukrainians arriving in Ireland.’

Bishop Colton explained what happened next:

I was just testing the waters, but instead what happened was amazing. I didn’t ask for money in the email, but within just over a week €200,000 was raised. Then we had the donation of €200,000 from The One Foundation and many more donations in the weeks since.

Equally, if not more important, Charlie Daly and a group of colleagues and friends, who had been alerted to my email by Cobh parishioner Andrew Bird, came forward and said that they would offer their services voluntarily to restore some of the houses and to raise even more funds.

Billy Skuse, secretary of the charity, and I met them all at Kingston College and this featured in a report in The Irish Times the next day. The producers of ‘DIYSOS; Build for Ireland ‘ saw the report and the photos. Before we knew it we were all meeting in Kingston College again, this time on the Wednesday of Holy Week. That set the ball in motion towards where we are now. This in turn opens up many possibilities with community support and for the Trust to advance its work for Ukrainian refugees in this way.

Needless to say all of us who are involved in Kingston College are absolutely delighted and we warmly thank the ‘DIYSOS; Build for Ireland’ producers and team, and we are all looking forward to working with them.

We join with their appeal (see below) for volunteers.

Baz Ashmawy comes on board with houses for Ukrainians project at Kingston College, Mitchelstown, Co Cork

DIYSOS announced their involvement on their page on Facebook as follows:

DIY SOS, The Big Build Ireland is returning to Cork for a very special two-part episode based in Kingston College, Mitchelstown.

This is an incredibly special build and we are extremely excited to be able to announce this mammoth endeavour.

From the 5th – 13th July, Baz and some very familiar faces will once again be rallying the troops, but this time it is to renovate and retrofit six beautiful houses to provide much needed temporary homes for Ukrainian refugees.

Kingston College is a community of 31 small terraced houses, which have been providing housing to people in need since 1761. These beautiful houses are grouped around a large square with a chapel as it’s central focus, and have been in Trust since the mid-eighteenth century to three Church of Ireland Bishops, who have been maintaining them via a fund. One of these is Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross Dr Paul Colton, and it was he and diocesan secretary Billy Skuse who, having watched the plight of the Ukrainian people decided to put out an appeal to try and raise money to do up 8 of the vacant houses to house refugees and their families.

The support they received was beyond expectations and the generosity of the local community and beyond has been mind-blowing. There are currently thousands of Ukrainian refugees in temporary homes in Cork, mostly organised by the Red Cross, and they need our help to turn this build around quickly.

The DIYSOS team have joined forces with the Bishop and the local community, and together we plan to draw on their support as well as the good will of the Irish people, to turn these run down houses into homes for refugees in the immediate future, with a view to eventually reverting them back to their original use -to provide housing for those in the local community who are in need.

We live in strange times, but us Irish are known for our charitable nature, so come on Ireland…. once again, let’s do this!

A Trades day will be on the 16th of June. More information on this will be posted soon.

What is needed?

For Trades:

We are looking for….Groundworkers, Ticketed Machine Drivers, Carpenters, General Labourers, Plumbers, Electricians, Roofers, Slabbers, Blocklayers, Painters, Plasterers, Joiners, Pavers, Landscapers, Tilers, Catering, Cleaning and Registration Volunteers – you name the trade, we need you there!

We also need local companies who can assist us by supplying goods and materials for external works:

Grab hire, skips, waste management, lawn turf, soil and other landscaping products.

For Catering:

We need to feed our volunteers so we are looking for catering companies or local restaurants to provide breakfast rolls, lunches, dinners and snacks to fuel our 100 + hardworking troops on site every day.

For Design Interiors & Exteriors:

We need a number of joinery companies, stoves, extensive homewares, wallpaper, paint supplies, indoor and outdoor furniture, plants, trees, lights and accessories.

For Site Support:

We need Site Security, Van drivers, Transport companies, Portaloos, Marquees, Accommodation, and Printing Facilities…

If you’d like to get involved, please get in touch via email or phone ( / 083 013 9827) and include your:




* Details of your TRADE or what you can SUPPLY.

Come on Ireland… let’s do this together!!

Some of the volunteers who met with Bishop Paul Colton (6th from right) and Billy Skuse (secretary, 4th from left) at Kingston College, including Charlie Day (on bishop’s right) and Andrew Bird, (3rd from right). Pic. Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
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