VIY supports first Construction Skills Shortage Week

16 April 2024

Here’s how we’re already acting on a number of recommendations made within the On The Tools Skills Shortage White Paper – and how you could get involved and do #SomethingConstructive together with us to help reduce the shortage.

Working with young people and their current educators

  • Taking from zero to ‘the first rung on the ladder’ through practical, accessible and inclusive hands-on skills training experiences, the chance to gain Entry Level City & Guilds accreditations and boost their apprenticeship/work-readiness – in a way that’s not happening in schools and colleges


  • Inspiring young people to consider construction as a relevant and rewarding career pathway – specifically more diverse audiences that are currently underrepresented in the sector including women, young people who are neurodiverse, have a disability or from ethnic minority backgrounds


  • By seeing first-hand the positive impact of the VIY experience on site, educators, youth workers, support workers, parents and other adult influences are gaining an insight into the industry to reinforce it as a positive pathway for the young learners they support


Get young people involved here


Working with tradespeople 

  • Mobilising tradespeople and construction workers as positive role models and inspirational for young people on our projects by sharing their skills and own lived experience of a career in the trade


  • Improving their own sense of wellbeing by mentoring young people and making an impact in their community on projects of real social value


Volunteer or become a Mentor here

Working with employers

  • Working in partnership with a wide range of cross-sector partners, including many big players from the trade and construction, like Dulux, Toolstation and Travis Perkins, and housebuilders like Keepmoat Homes and Persimmon Homes to make our projects happen through materials donations, volunteer mentors, project funding and progression pathways for young people within their company or with their customers


  • Directly connecting construction employers and professional tradespeople on VIY projects with brilliant young people who have demonstrated appetite and aptitude (through VIY) and are looking for a next step opportunity into the industry, just like Ali, now an apprentice with contractor Ian Williams, through our partnership with Dulux


  • Increasingly, we’re looking to bring employers/construction firms, tradespeople and young people together to share both valuable new retrofit and green skills, as well maintaining more traditional heritage skills including carpentry, by working on community facility retrofit projects and heritage buildings


Talk to us about working in partnership


VIY develops new hub in North East

3 April 2024

We’re expanding our work across to the North East, thanks to part-funding from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, on new programmes with South Tyneside and Gateshead Councils respectively, to positively impact local young people and community spaces.

In South Tyneside, we’re embarking on four projects in the local area, with our first project at Harton Westoe Miners Club/South Shields Football Club completed in March. See what we did here. Next, we’ll be helping Boldon Colliery FC to become more welcoming for their growing female football and cricket teams by creating more inclusive changing spaces.

In Gateshead, we’ll be helping to renovate three local community spaces, including the Gateshead Redheugh 1957 Community Football Club, Team Life Centre and Bensham Grove Community Centre.

Know of young people 16+ who would benefit from the VIY experience in this region?

Projects will be match-funded by other VIY partners such as Sport England and Barclays Community Football Fund, and supported with materials donated by our Trade Partners including Dulux.

Are you a local tradesperson interested in helping out?

About the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

Dulux Decorator Centre customers support training of 300 young people

26 March 2024

We began our partnership with Dulux Decorator Centre in February 2023, with an in-store campaign for the sale of paint stirrers and tin openers at counters across its 230+ stores directly supporting the City & Guilds accreditations earned by our learners in painting and decorating. We’re delighted to announce this alone has raised an impressive £35,313, which has supported 300 young people achieve their Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditation. This amounts to around 50% of all painting and decorating City & Guilds accreditations achieved by VIY learners over the last year.

Over the last year, the paint merchant has donated a staggering 4000 litres of paint to our projects so far, making a positive impact on over 57,000 lives, alongside colleagues and customers volunteering. Just like Dean, featured below, a Decorator from the West Midlands who volunteered on our project at The Bradby Club in Rugby.

Our partnership has expanded to offer Dulux Connect members additional benefits to volunteer on VIY projects, and offer further training, apprenticeship and employment pathways to VIY learners following their training on VIY projects in their business.

Duncan Lochhead, Commercial Sustainability Manager at Dulux Decorator Centre, said: “Our partnership with VIY has been incredibly rewarding and we are proud to offer our continued support for the year ahead. As well as donating paint to VIY projects, we are also committed to supporting the next generation of skilled tradespeople get their foot on the ladder and begin their journey into the trade. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with VIY, colouring more lives and supporting young learners in the years to come.”

Hear from Ali, a VIY learner who is now on a multi-trade apprenticeship with Dulux Connect member, Ian Williams

Fancy volunteering your skills and experience with VIY?

See more of our partnership with Dulux

VIY to renovate more grassroots cricket clubs & community spaces across Greater Manchester

5 March 2024

We’re celebrating the renovation of 20 of 30 grassroots cricket clubs we’re delivering in 10 priority areas across Greater Manchester over three years, as part of the Inspiring Generations cricket strategy for Greater Manchester.

We’re also delighted to confirm we’ll be renovating an additional four cricket clubs funded by the GMCA Community Grants Programme in partnership with Lancashire Cricket Foundation, with the aim to increase participation in Adult Skills, as well as two further community spaces across Wigan and Stockport through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Here’s the VIY headlines so far on the Inspiring Generations programme:

  • over 270 young people have taken part in free hands-on volunteering opportunities
  • working in collaboration with youth organisations such as Groundwork, the Hatch programme and the Prince’s Trust
  • 26% of young volunteers were female25% higher than the UK proportion of tradespeople who are female
  • over 70% have gained an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds qualifications in skills such as Carpentry, Painting & Decorating and Health & Safety
  • a record-breaking VIY project with 69 young volunteers at Hindley Cricket Club
  • introducing young volunteers to local cricket facilities they may continue to use and benefit from

Meet Logan, VIY Volunteer at Deane & Derby Cricket Club

See all of the clubs renovated so far

14 volunteers from Dulux Decorator Centre work alongside local young volunteers to redecorate Micklehurst Cricket Club

Sandy Mitchell, Head of Heritage & Community Wellbeing at Lancashire Cricket Foundation said:

“The additional project funding from the GMCA Community Grants Programme is a great example of how we can build on the success of the GMCA Inspiring Generations Strategy to make a positive difference to even more individuals and communities through cricket. To have delivered 20 VIY projects across Greater Manchester is a great achievement and I look forward to seeing another 14 projects delivered with VIY, which will help to provide a long lasting impact on both the young people they support, educate and train and the cricket clubs themselves.”

Talk to us about opportunities for young people you work with in Manchester

About the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

VIY continues growth thanks to players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and The Considered Ask

19 February 2024

We’re delighted to receive a grant of £225,000 from Innovation Trust,  thanks to funds raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

This funding comes off the back of a successful three years of growth for VIY, thanks to our initial grant of £145,000 from the Postcode Innovation Trust, alongside our wide range of cross-sector partners. This approach has allowed us to grow at scale nationally, deepening our recruitment, training and retention of trade mentors across multiple hub regions, and ultimately deliver strong local impact, through the mentoring of local young people, whilst renovating community places and spaces through the power of volunteering.

Over the next three years, this continued investment thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery will allow VIY to build our capacity and capability to:

  1. undertake projects involving the retrofit of community buildings for improved energy-efficiency and reduced environmental impact 
  2. offer our learners the chance to develop new green construction skills and gain green skills accreditations/qualifications
  3. help to develop skills and employment pathways for young people after their VIY experience

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “I’m delighted that money raised by our players is allowing young people all over Britain the opportunity to gain new skills while improving places that are important to their local communities. It’s a win for the young people getting involved who are learning a trade, and a win for spaces in need of essential repairs and improvement.”

We’re also beginning a new national partnership this year with The Considered Ask, a community of funders that exists to reduce social inequality in the UK. Their grant of £80,000 will be helping us to expand our further skills and employment support for VIY’s young learners across two years, ultimately boosting the employability and life chances of more NEET and at risk young people. 

Our progressions support is centered around helping young people into further training and/or employment following their VIY experience, working in closer partnership with our national and employer partners to do so, predominantly in the trade/construction industry.

The Considered Ask said: “We’re excited to be partnering with VIY and we’re delighted to provide funding to help expand the progressions team, so that young people can receive extra support with taking their next steps into training and employment.”

VIY expands work across Redditch and Bromsgrove until 2025

12 February 2024

We’re delighted to be renovating twelve community spaces across Redditch and Bromsgrove between 2023-25, thanks to part-funding from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, in partnership with Redditch & Bromsgrove councils.

The first project in our new programme saw us and 10 local young people repurpose a brand new space for Reach CIC in Redditch in December 2023, a community-focused organisation based in the Winyates Centre, co-funded by our Trade Partners Toolstation and Travis Perkins Plc. Our first project in Bromsgrove saw us redecorate Wythall Hall to help them attract local people to use and hire the space to create a financially sustainable community space.

Upcoming projects include improvements to The Meeting Rooms in Woodrow, Redditch, a vital community centre for the local community, and creating a functional and attractive outdoor space at Shawfields, supporting those at the Bromsgrove District Housing Trust.

More in The Redditch Standard here

Know of young people 16+ who would benefit from the VIY experience here?

Leader of Redditch Borough Council, Cllr Matt Dormer, said: “This initiative goes beyond bricks and mortar; it is about providing a pathway to success for those who need it most. It will bring positive change and unlock opportunities for local young people as well as injecting new life into our community spaces for everyone to enjoy. This scheme is testament to what can be achieved and when communities come together with support from Government initiatives like UKSPF. I hope that the extra funding allows VIY to have continued success, expanding on excellent projects like W.I.S.E.”

Deputy Leader of Bromsgrove District Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Cllr Sue Baxter, said: “VIY have already seen huge success with previous projects in Redditch and I am very pleased that, as a result of the UKSPF funding, they have started to deliver similar projects across Bromsgrove District too. This scheme will not only make our community spaces better but will also help young people learn important skills for work, investing in their future. It’s turning empty places into something useful, creating jobs, and making our area better for everyone, which is excellent news all round.”

Projects will be match-funded by other VIY partners such as Sport England and Toolstation, who are a large local employer in the area through their Redditch Distribution Centre, and supported with materials donated by Trade Partners including Dulux.

Nominate a project (with necessary permission to complete renovation works before March 2025)

Local tradesperson interested in helping out?

About the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

Boosting music and arts venues in York

1 December 2023

Boosting grassroots music venues

We’ll be helping to boost community places and spaces hosting live music, arts and culture, whilst providing our free hands-on work experience opportunities for local young people.

Our first project in this new programme saw us help popular York music venue, The Fulford Arms, to become more accessible for gig-goers with mobility issues or physical disabilities, by creating a ramp at the entrance of the venue and building a sound booth to provide a safer experience for audiences and music tech teams.

This first project has been co-funded by Barclaycard as part of their ongoing involvement in the live music industry. This activity supporting grassroots music and arts venues sits alongside wider Barclays community activity, including our work with the Barclays Community Football Fund supporting local sports teams and clubs. Previous VIY projects supported by Barclaycard include Aaja Music in South London and Nottingham Arts Theatre.

The next four projects will follow in 2024.

Cllr Pete Kilbane, Deputy Leader of City of York Council and Executive Member for Economy and Transport, said:

“We’re very pleased to be working with Volunteer It Yourself and Barclaycard, both to improve our city’s much-loved entertainment venues like the Fulford Arms, and to enable the next generation of tradespeople to develop skills that will help them build rewarding careers.

“In our four-year council plan, One City for All, we committed to making York a fairer and more equal place for all. This project will ensure that gig-goers will have equal access to this venue, and that young people at risk of economic and social exclusion can obtain the skills and experience they need.

“There really is no substitute for on-site experience of the kind that this project offers, where young people can see first-hand the difference made by their hard work to their community, as well as to their own futures.”

Daniel Mathieson, Head of Sponsorship at Barclaycard, said:

“We are excited for this project to kick off and see the benefits the refurbishments will make to the local community and young people who are volunteering at The Fulford Arms.  We are working with VIY to support local young people gain skills and qualifications and help give them a headstart to their working life.”

Hear from the young people in The York Press here

See Fix Radio on site with us too!

About the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

VIY launches new programme in Hull

21 November 2023

Boosting pride in place

Our first project in Hull has seen us work in partnership with EMS, a local charity who work with the community to alleviate food and fuel poverty with sustainable solutions, and over 20 local young people to transform a disused allotment on the Orchard Park Estate into a community hub and growing garden for local residents and school students.

The land, now leased by Sirius Academy from the council, had no running water and had been affected by anti-social behaviour. Along with over 20 young people from the academy, all disengaged in mainstream education, we built a raincatcher on top of an existing shipping container to help to cultivate it into a garden to grow produce for local food parcels, along with protected seating for learners and fencing around the area and upcoming orchard to prevent unauthorised entry or vandalism.

Hear the impact of this project from local PCSO, Dawn

An additional classroom unit has been installed on the site, complete with seating and facilities for refreshments, which will be used by the school for extra learning space including classes related to outdoor learning with EMS.

23 students from Sirius Academy, all disengaged in mainstream education and at risk of unemployment, thrived getting hands-on work experience throughout this project right on their own doorstep – a space they’re now proud of and feel a sense of ownership over to grow and look after for the future.

The container was donated by the Hull Citywide Developer Partnership which includes Keepmoat and Strata Homes. They are supporting VIY’s projects in Hull, through co-funding, materials, donations and local colleagues volunteering their time. All paint will be provided by VIY Paint Partner, Dulux.

Our second VIY project has seen us create an outdoor learning and play area for children living in and supported by a local Women’s Centre, who provide a range of holistic services for women and children affected by domestic abuse.

Alex Codd, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Regeneration at Hull City Council and member of Hull’s UK Shared Prosperity Board said: “Hull City Council fully supports this project through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It is great to see the funds being used to turn an underused area into a great outdoor facility where people are able to grow, enjoy fresh air, and get involved in their community. Our green spaces are critical assets in a densely populated city and this scheme is a great example of vacant space being used for the benefit of the local community.”

John Pickles, Community Growing Coordinator at EMS Ltd, who will support this new site, said: 

“VIY have brought in their skills and expertise in construction to help turn some of the wish-list proposals for this site into concrete reality. The key elements that they have built give the site a much greater chance of long-term sustainability.”

Mark Burley, Social Value and Partnership Manager for Keepmoat Homes and the Hull Citywide Developer Partnership said: “Whilst we do not have any new housing developments in Orchard Park it is important that we support projects like this in the city, we have been a long-standing partner with VIY and EMS whom have been working on this project. Improving mental wellbeing of young people via access to green health is so important and that is why we wanted to get involved.”


About the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

VIY expands work across Norfolk tackling loneliness and isolation

13 November 2023

We’re excited to be working with Norfolk Community Foundation through the UK Government Know Your Neighbourhood Fund to renovate six community spaces over the next 18 months in Great Yarmouth, all with the aim of increasing volunteering and tackling isolation in the community.

Since 2022, thanks to support from the likes of UK Community Renewal Fund, Orbit Housing and Norwich Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL), we have refurbished 29 community spaces in Norfolk, including grassroots sports clubs like Norwich Lads Boxing Club, creating a growing garden space in Holt Youth Project and transforming the newly reopened Gorleston Community Hub. In total we’ve enabled over 250 volunteering experiences for young people in the county.

Our first project in partnership with Norfolk Community Foundation has seen us work with the Norfolk and Suffolk Islamic Mission, a local charity based at the Masjid-At Tauweed on Northgate Street – the first mosque built in Great Yarmouth and the surrounding areas over 20 years ago. We’ve modernised the kitchen area and redecorated rooms in their community space, to make it a more welcoming space for those coming to pray, to be with others and take part in community activities.

Working through the People From Abroad team through Norfolk County Council, 29 young people built their skills, confidence and a brighter future by volunteering on this project, as they settle into life with refugee status in the UK. In total, over 80 young people supported by this team have volunteered across four other VIY projects in the local area, including at New Routes Integration, a centre which supports refugees with housing, employability and social integration, and Norfolk Community Arts – a space for people from all backgrounds including those with disabilities to be involved in music.

We’re looking forward to five more projects in Great Yarmouth – with the next to come early in the new year.

VIY Mentor Dom guides young learners at our project with Norfolk & Suffolk Islamic Mission

CEO shortlisted for Special Recognition

17 October 2023

Our co-founder and CEO, Tim Reading, has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Special Recognition category at this year’s On The Tools awards.

The awards, hosted by On The Tools – the UK’s largest online construction based community, celebrate the best of UK construction – across a range of trade categories and awards including Community Hero and Training Excellence, culminating in the Tradesperson of the Year award. See the winners of the 2022 awards here.

The Special Recognition category celebrates those who dedicate extra commitment to raising the profile of the trade, across themes like skills, mental health and social media.

Here’s what the nomination means to Tim in his own words:

Having co-founded and led VIY since its creation as a Community Interest Company in 2015, I’ve seen VIY grow from a first single project in south London to now having helped more than 14,000 young people to learn vocational trade skills whilst renovating over 800 local community places UK-wide, such as youth clubs, community centres, village halls, grassroots sports clubs and public green spaces. I’ve also been lucky enough to share that journey with my fellow co-founder, and now VIY COO, Ed Sellwood.

The young people who take part in VIY projects, all of whom are typically not in employment, education or training or at risk of disengagement, are mentored by experienced tradespeople, just like the thousands who are part of the wonderful On The Tools community. I’ve always felt that these mentors are the rocket fuel behind the VIY model, taking time to work alongside young people and share their skills and experience and inspiring them to consider construction as a rewarding and accessible career pathway.

We’ve grown appreciably since starting out, thanks to a multitude of cross-sector partners and funders, including local authorities, construction companies, homebuilders, sport governing bodies and brands that serve tradespeople everyday like Dulux , Toolstation and Travis Perkins. But it still feels like we’ve only just started and we’re determined to expand our offer to reach and benefit more places and people in need over the coming years.

In the meantime, to be shortlisted alongside other brilliant people creating change in the industry, as well as all the wonderful tradespeople recognised in other categories, is very humbling indeed.

We’ll be rooting for you on the night, Tim!

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