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The Repair Shop's Jay Blades launches 'humbling' project for incredible cause

The presenter spoke to HELLO! about the initiative

Francesca Shillcock

He's known for being the face of hugely popular show The Repair Shop, but recently Jay Blades has been working on another project.

The BBC presenter has created 12 bespoke benches alongside the National Lottery's initiative to honour 12 of society's unheralded champions, who have supported some of the most vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MORE: Jay Blades introduces new member to The Repair Shop team

The 50-year-old spoke to HELLO! about the new campaign, revealing that the journey was "humbling." 

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Jay Blades spoke to HELLO! about the National Lottery campaign

He explained: "It's quite naïve of me actually [but] I didn't know that national lottery gave away that amount of money a week and I didn't know that they also support some really grassroots charities that are doing some work that is quite personal to them [such as] going through a bereavement or loneliness."

"It was humbling because it made me realise I need to do a bit more in my community, because these guys are just like doing so much. That importance of community is just shown through these benches and that is what I think it's all about."

The Repair Shop star also opened up about how the pandemic has offered an opportunity for people to appreciate their community more. "I think it's a good thing that people have recognised people out there in their community doing things for people [but] it is sad that we've had to have a global pandemic to actually make us realise that.

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Jay built 12 benches to honour those who have been helping their local community during the pandemic

"I've always been a champion of a community, to me I'm just a glorified community worker that they put in front of a camera, first and foremost I always want to support my community, but it's sad that not everybody has that same kind of thinking, but now because of the pandemic we are recognising."

On designing of the 12 benches, the craftsman and presenter explained: "[The benches have] lovely powder blue legs, but then you have this fusion of colour which is dripping paint going up and down the legs.

"Then you've got this lovely timber as the seat and […] on them you've got people's names and a quote that has come from them or their charity.

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Jay opened up about the "humbling" experience of working with the charities

"Then there's something really special where we've got this a QR code that you scan and it takes you to the national lottery's good causes website and you can read about the charity, or you can go to an audio version of that so you can hear it.

The community spirit is something that Jay is proud of when it comes to The Repair Shop, too. "I think [the show] is so popular because it represents a community of experts working on behalf of someone we don't really know. I feel fortunate that people come in with these items and some of the stories and the history related to them are quite raw, and they're very personal."

He added: "You're doing something that's very instrumental to that whole family's history, you've got something that might be from WWI and it's been broken for 70 years, and it comes in and gets repaired then it's [able] to go for another 100 years and it'll still be in that family and it's something that they'll cherish, and that's how community works."

To learn more about the National Lottery benches and the people behind them visit the www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

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