A father-of-four suffering from a rare neurological disorder has regained his independence thanks to a group of tradesmen and women from national charity Band of Builders.

Chris Joy, 42, was left struggling to get in and out of his home without help after he was diagnosed with rare degenerative neurological condition Cerebellar Ataxia.

The condition, which affects just 10,000 people in the UK, means Chris suffers from symptoms including loss of coordination, double vision, balance issues, speech issues and tinnitus and has to spend 50% of the time in a wheelchair.

As well as having to stop work as a plasterer, the father-of-four found himself struggling to get in and out of his home in Cringleford, Norwich, because the driveway and pathway are too uneven for his mobility scooter.

He has now been given newfound freedom after a team from Band of Builders – a national charity that helps tradespeople across the country through practical projects and support – spent eight days overhauling the outside space to ensure Chris can get in and out more easily.

In a project that was originally due to take place earlier this year but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, a team of volunteers descended on Chris’ home on October 10, giving up their time for free and using materials donated by various companies in the construction sector.

In just eight days, they revamped the driveway, landscaped the paths to the side of the house and installed a new lowered entrance door to allow wheelchair access to the property before revealing the project to Chris and his family on Sunday (October 18th).

Chris said: “Band of Builders really is an amazing charity. The volunteers travelled from across the country just to help us, giving up their time and, for many, their earnings just to do something for a complete stranger. It’s amazing. We feel so lucky.”

The project was sponsored by Jewson and landscaping supplier Talasey. They, along with other suppliers from the construction sector contributed around £10,000 of materials to help the project take place. The work was carried out by a total of 25 volunteers, who travelled to Norwich on different days to contribute to the project.


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