Our schedule: current and upcoming projects

2 November 2022

Our current projects

 

East Midlands (Nottinghamshire) – aged 16-24 only* – all 3+ weeks

  • Trowell Community Centre, Mansfield (from 22nd November)
    • creating a space for a foodbank and bike shed for the local community
  • Manton Sports & Social Club, Bassetlaw (from 18th November)
    • revamping the changing rooms with lots of painting & decorating
  • The FlowerPod, Newark (28th November)
    • creating an accessible garden for Newark Orchard students to use
  • St Gile’s School, Bassetlaw (January 2023)
    • creating a remembrance garden for students who have recently passed

 

East of England 

  • Community East Skatepark, Norwich (from mid-November)
    • decorating a new indoor skatepark
  • Community Skillshare Shop, Norwich (from 28th November)
    • improving accessibility & kitchen facilities for this community space

 

Greater Manchester – Inspiring Generations

  • Westbury Sports Club, Bury (from 22nd November)
    • refurbishing accessible toilet and shower facilities
  • Saddleworth Cricket Club (2023 onwards)
  • Deane & Derby Cricket Club
  • Stockport Cricket Club
  • Rochdale Cricket Club

 

North West

  • Friends of Allonby Canoe Club, Liverpool (from 31st October)
    • building a viewing platform and access to the jetty

 

South East

  • Aaja Deptford, London (from 5th December)
    • Helping a grassroots radio station transition into a larger space by building stud walls for new multi-purpose rooms

 

West Midlands

  • Ackers Adventure, Birmingham (21st November)
    • creating a paddle hub for their canoeing activities
  • Ashiana Community Project, Birmingham (2023)
    • building cycling storage 

 

*These projects are funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund. You can find more information on this fund here.

 

Our upcoming projects (2023)

  • Cheetham Hill Sports FC, Manchester
  • Canada Villa Community Centre, Barnet

VIY clubhouse renovation with Northampton Saints

2 November 2022

We’ve been joined throughout the works by Northampton Saints Foundation students, who are taking part in the Foundation’s Hitz and Aspire programmes, as well as local college students on construction courses or disengaged from mainstream education. They’ve been painting and decorating the changing rooms and adding individual changing slots at the club to make them more attractive for current and new players, resulting in 19 Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations gained by the young volunteers in Painting & Decorating and Carpentry.

They were lucky to be joined by current Saints player, James Grayson, as well as Saints legend, Tom Wood, both Foundation ambassadors, who both helped the students with some painting at the venue.

Connor Fleming, Head of Northampton Saints Community said: “The clubhouse Renovation Competition is an excellent example of our partnership in action, helping to support our local clubs and communities as well as supporting activity across the grassroots level. Projects like this help make rugby more accessible for everyone, using the power of sport to positively impact a wide range of groups and individuals.

Tom Wood added: “It’s great to be able to do some practical activities with the young people out of the classroom, and particularly in the surroundings of a local rugby club.

“I have been lucky in that rugby has given me a great deal, so getting involved in projects like this one give me the opportunity to give something back, not just to the students, but also the wider community.”

Ed Sellwood, our COO and co-founder of VIY, said:

“We’ve completed over 700 community projects since 2011, many of which have been improving grassroots sports clubs and facilities for the benefit of the local community and all helping boost the work-readiness of the young people who volunteer with us. Collaborating with cross-sector partners, from sports to construction like the Saints and Toolstation, help us all do more to build better communities and help improve more young lives together.”

Greg Richardson, Head of Marketing at Toolstation added: “We’re really happy to have supported the VIY team and Long Buckby with the renovation of their facilities. This is a project that will help young people learn practical trade and building skills and earn a qualification. The construction sector is facing a shortage of workers and so we hope that this initiative will inspire more young people to consider entering the trades.”

The project is due to be completed at the start of November with the updated facilities being put into use for the first time at Long Buckby RFC’s next home fixture!

Meet Elise, our young volunteer painting her future with us on this project

VIY’s inspiring volunteers: Bill Langwith

26 October 2022

In conversation with Bill ‘Total Legend’ Langwith.

First volunteering with VIY back in 2015 at the Eric Allen Community House in partnership with Haringey Council in North London, Bill helped to renovate this disused community centre and mentored local residents, loving the experience of helping young people to take their minds off challenging issues through learning new skills. 

Bill recently returned to mentor young volunteers at Woodford Rugby Club in Essex

 

What do you enjoy the most about mentoring with VIY?

“I really love the job, it gives me full satisfaction and purpose. A highlight was hearing a young person say it was the ‘best day of my life’. It’s all worthwhile to help young people have those days.”

 

How has VIY changed your life?

“As well as all of the young people I’ve volunteered alongside through VIY, I’ve made friends for life. Before VIY, I mentored a guy in my local area, got him into the trade with me away from trouble and we struck up a great working relationship. I was building my own next generation in the trade. When I started working for VIY, I brought him with me and now that man is Alan Dalton, VIY’s Head Mentor [pictured above together]. We’re still great friends now, more like father and son.

“Alan is a real example of how we can build the next generation, through volunteering, nurture and mentoring. Whether that be a tradesperson becoming a VIY Trade Mentor or one of the young people we work with, VIY makes a real difference to people’s lives and their community.” 

Bill catching up recently with VIY family Neil, Alan and Sue

 

Following that first taste of VIY, Bill has mentored on over 20 projects, earning the nickname ‘Total Legend’ after he went above and beyond to fix the aircon during a project at The Macbeth pub in Hackney, part of the Good Growth Fund through the Greater London Authority. Stories like these, along with his venerable age of 80, not to mention his positive can-do attitude, mean that Bill is firmly in the ‘VIY Hall of Fame’. 

 

Why do you believe in VIY? 

“VIY is not just a job, it’s a purpose. Yes, you get job satisfaction from doing a job well, but with VIY you can really help a young person in their life. 

“My first project was a definite eye opener for me into the lives of young people growing up in London today. VIY can only do good for young people and the mentors teaching them. I’m glad I’ve been able to pass on a bit of what I know to the young people I’ve worked with, and I hope it plays at least a small part in them securing a job in the future.

“The best moment is when the young people have had behavioural or mental health problems in the past, and we can get them really interested in learning new skills. VIY is something special.”

 

Why is volunteering important to you? 

I’ve volunteered at my local church for over 12 years, alongside working for VIY; sorting leaky taps, refreshing benches (keeping those woodwork skills alive!), the odd jobs they need someone to do. Volunteering still keeps me active – I’m no couch potato and like to keep busy to keep active, so I like helping out and feeling like I’m still making a difference to those around me.” 

Bill mentoring young volunteers

Creating legacy in Liverpool with Persimmon

13 October 2022

Ahead of The 2022 World Gymnastics Championships, we’re working with Persimmon Homes and Liverpool City Council’s Legacy programme to support the refurbishment of local sports facilities, at the same time as working with local young people at risk of disengagement to gain experience and qualifications in the construction trades.

New programme

For the first project in our new programme, we refurbished The Liverpool Gymnastics Club, the grassroots facility that supported Beth Tweddle as she started her career, one of Britain’s most successful gymnasts, with an Olympic Bronze Medal, three World titles, five European titles and seven British titles to her name.

We were also joined at the project by Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, a former bricklayer himself. He enjoyed meeting Kaitlyn, Demi, Lee and Liam, some of our young VIY volunteers from the project from Employability Solutions Merseyside, who support young people with an alternative pathway to education and training.

VIY has welcomed 25 young people from Employability Solutions Merseyside, Prudentia Education and Kings Liverpool Academy Liverpool who’ve volunteered to renovate the club, painting the walls in line with the club colours and building new storage and a reception area, with10 City and Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditations gained in painting and decorating.

Persimmon, who we worked with in 2021 at Flo Skatepark in Nottingham, have added to the VIY volunteer experience offering site visits to their Edinburgh campus, Anfield, a number of staff volunteering alongside the young people and are now considering a number of apprenticeship opportunities for our VIY volunteers. Other partners include match-funding from Sport England, Dulux, who have donated all of the paint for the club’s refurbishment, as well as the local Travis Perkins branch.

This new programme marks a return to Merseyside for Team VIY, following previous projects refurbishing Mersey Bowmen Tennis Club and Portico Vine Rugby League Club in St Helens.

Keep in touch with our full pipeline of work across the UK and how to get involved here

VIY volunteers become VIY Peer Mentors

6 September 2022

Here at Volunteer It Yourself, one of the pillars of our mission is to help inspire young people and better support them to progress towards and into employment, especially within construction. In turn, helping to develop the next generation of tradespeople and indeed ‘grow our own’ next generation of VIY Trade Mentors.

Welcome, then, our to our newest Peer Mentors, Liam Bensley and Kelsie Ferguson!

Liam, 22 (pictured right above), referred to VIY initially through the local JobCentre, first volunteered with VIY at our Community Hub project at East Norfolk Community College, where we were transforming a disused scout hut into a multi-functional community space.

Kelsie, 18 (pictured left above), who also joined the same project as Liam as a student from East Norfolk Community College, wanted to gain construction experience during the summer holidays.

Hear from Liam on becoming a VIY Peer Mentor

Both then returned to volunteer and gain their third City & Guilds accreditation at our project in partnership with Orbit Housing at their community in Gorleston, where we’ve been bringing a disused community room back to life with improvements to the interior/exterior, as well as creating a playful outdoor space, with the help of local young residents and young people there.

There, they both expressed an interest in staying with VIY and progressing as Peer Mentors, thanks to the support and teaching from their own VIY Mentors, Jasper, Matt (pictured central above) and Simon.

Simon Kitson, VIY Lead Mentor who has been instrumental in both Liam and Kelsie’s growth since volunteering with VIY, said: “They’ve both really stepped up from volunteer to Mentor really well. Not only that, I taught Kelsie how to saw some wood and the next week she was putting this learning into action, teaching another young volunteer in the exact same way! The true role of a VIY Peer Mentor.”

Jojo Yohannes, who progressed as a Peer Mentor and is now thriving as a Project Executive with VIY is proof of what the model can achieve: “There’s a real positive culture fostered by our people to achieve our goals, to empower young people and give them a chance. Through supporting Peer Mentors like myself, Liam and Kelsie, we’re developing the next socially-conscious generation for the construction industry, positively influenced by our own trade mentor role models of today.”

Since completing Gorleston Community Room, they’ve both been working on our latest projects with the UK Community Renewal Fund* in Norfolk; creating storage fit for purpose for the Fakenham Community Pantry, a foodbank in North Norfolk, and Bradwell Community Centre in Great Yarmouth, refreshing this multi-purpose space for young people.

Liam has also been supported with transport by the council, through their e-scooter scheme to help combat infrastructure challenges in the county.

* For more information on the UK Community Renewal Fund, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fund- prospectus

Vouch-For-A-Friend: £10 Amazon voucher

26 August 2022

Your questions answered: Vouch-For-A-Friend

What’s Vouch-For-A-Friend?

Young people tell us all the time that they would recommend a VIY project or that they know someone who would enjoy the experience too. To say thank you, we are rewarding the young person who successfully recommends a friend onto a VIY project (a friend who turns up and  participates on a VIY project too) with a £10 thank you voucher.

What is the voucher for?
The eligible young person who has successfully recommended VIY to a friend will receive a £10 Amazon voucher. You can find further details and terms & conditions of the voucher here. This incentive is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Amazon.

Who is eligible to participate and receive a voucher?

As a young person, you can participate in a VIY project if you are:

  • 14-24 (16-24 in some areas)
  • not in education, employment or training
  • excluded/at risk of disengaging in current work/training setting
  • in Alternative Provision
  • with a disability or special educational needs
  • other criteria can apply – please discuss with your VIY Youth Engagement Co-ordinator

Both young people (including the friend being recommended) must meet this criteria to volunteer on VIY projects and for the original young person to receive their voucher. The young people can come from the same organisation but do not have to be volunteering with VIY on the same days to receive the voucher.

Both young people must turn up on time for at least three days of a VIY project that they have registered for, with no unseen absences or delays.

The chosen friend must be referred, or refer themselves to VIY, by email by using this link or by mentioning the name of the person who recommended VIY during their email or telephone registration.

How do I receive the voucher?
The voucher will be sent to the email address associated with your registration with VIY – this may be your own, a family member’s email address, youth organisation, school or college so please check who is organising your place on a VIY project to ensure you receive your voucher.

When do I receive the voucher? 
You will receive the voucher within 14 days following the referred friend completing three days on a project.

Can I only get one voucher, for one friend?
No, a young person can receive a voucher for up to three friends. So if you refer three friends who successfully turn up to a project, you get three vouchers!

What is the timeframe within which I have to refer a friend to be eligible for a voucher?
The friend must successfully participate in the same project as the young person referring the friend.

VIY retains the right to amend these terms and conditions or remove this incentive at any time.

Please contact outreach@teamviy.com if you have any unanswered questions ahead of recommending and ‘vouching for a friend’ with VIY.

Travis Perkins supports over 100 projects with VIY

9 August 2022

The refurbishment of Charlton Park Rugby Club was the 100th project of the partnership, in which Travis Perkins has supported us with way more than materials; including colleague volunteer time, work-readiness training and progression pathways for VIY young learners, since March 2020.

17 local young people volunteered across this month-long project, referred by organisations including the Construction Youth Trust, a charity which also helps inspire young people to build better futures in the construction industry, the Amber Foundation, who support young people at risk of homelessness, and the local Royal Greenwich Council.

The project saw the renovation of female facilities at the club, the creation of an outdoor seating area and the repainting of the bar; improvements aimed to make the club more hospitable to serve the local community, who currently use the space as a local polling station and blood donor centre, and to support their financial resilience.

By donating materials and working locally with the VIY team, Travis Perkins is able to strengthen local relationships, demonstrate positive social value, and do what matters for the community. The partnership contributes to at least five of Travis Perkins 12 commitments within its approach to sustainability, Building for Better, including diversity and inclusion, people development, charity and community, colleague voice and engagement and safety and wellbeing.

Previous projects include Mansfield’s West Nottinghamshire College and providing timber for two of our indoor skatepark refurbishments.

Steve Baldwin, Regional Director for Travis Perkins says: “We are delighted to have been able to support VIY again on their project at Charlton. The work that VIY does in encouraging young people to build up their confidence and learn practical skills is so important and fits well with our values as a business around caring, being the best and working together. We’re committed to investing in and developing the next generation workforce in the construction industry, and VIY provides a valuable link to young people looking at beginning a career within this sector.”

This is in addition to our six projects now completed with Toolstation, also part of Travis Perkins plc.

We can’t wait to see what’s to come as we continue our partnership across the Group.

Inspiring Generations: how cricket’s changing lives

19 July 2022

Lancashire Cricket Foundation, Cheshire Cricket Board, the England and Wales Cricket Board and Chance to Shine have partnered with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and its ten local councils to create and deliver a 10-Point Action Plan for cricket in Greater Manchester, with VIY set to deliver one of its key actions.

The Inspiring Generations strategy, running from June 2022 until December 2024, has been put in place to use cricket to improve young people’s lives and create stronger, healthier communities in Greater Manchester.

One of the first programmes to break ground on one of the strategy’s key outcomes is a suite of VIY projects helping to equip young people for life through volunteering.

VIY will deliver 30 projects renovating grassroots cricket clubs in 10 priority areas across Greater Manchester, providing employability-boosting opportunities for local young people not in education, employment or training, or at risk of disengaging from mainstream education and/or becoming unemployed.

The first project we’ve completed is at Stalybridge Cricket Club, where VIY and 15 young volunteers from Active Tameside have built a brand new decking area to invite more local cricket spectators to enjoy games and to support the club’s financial sustainability and newly renovated hospitality facilities.

Keith Bowers, Secretary, Stalybridge Cricket Club was thankful of the effort and said, “Stalybridge Cricket Club would like to thank VIY and the team for their time and effort on this project. We would not be able to afford the time, labour or materials to complete such a project. The juniors, parents, spectators will benefit massively having a fantastic seating area in a sunny spot. We also know we have hopefully helped some young people on the right track to developing new skills that will help them on a career path.”

One of the youngsters involved was 15-year-old Khylam from Stalybridge who said: 

I really want to work in demolition when I am older and I have learnt skills here that I wouldn’t have been able to if the project wasn’t available. Everyone has been good to me and am enjoying every minute of it.”

Meanwhile Francisco, aged 16, was also full of praise for the project and said:

“I have been involved throughout and it is really rewarding to see the whole thing come together. I really enjoy being outdoors and have taken part in the drilling, painting and building.”

Other key VIY partners include Sport England, who will match-fund the renovation projects to improve the cricket club facilities, along with Travis Perkins and Dulux who will donate many of the materials needed to deliver the projects.

Sandy Mitchell, Head of Community Growth at Lancashire Cricket Foundation, said:The project is a great example of how this strategy will be used to make a positive difference to individuals and communities through cricket. As the first of 30 VIY projects across Greater Manchester I look forward to seeing the impact they have on both the young people they support, educate and train and the cricket clubs themselves.”

Gareth Moorhouse, Clubs and Participation Manager for Cheshire Cricket Board, said:Stalybridge Cricket Club are a club very much at the heart of their local community, so it was fantastic to see them involved in a scheme that gives life and employability skills to the next generation. Together with the trade mentors, the young people have built a fantastic social space that will benefit the club and its members for many years to come. Huge thanks to VIY for their input and we look forward to working with them on future projects across the region.”

VIY shares Impact Report 2021-22

31 May 2022

Enabling volunteering to create social change

We’re passionate about the impact of volunteering to create real social change. It’s part of our three year vision to inspire more people to volunteer for the first time and/or more often in their communities – with the associated health and wellbeing benefits volunteering can bring.

  • from helping our young people to upskill and consider construction as an engaging career pathway
  • to local tradespeople volunteering their skills, experience and knowledge
  • to our partners giving back as volunteers on site
  • to our own people volunteering in their personal lives
  • all to help build better places and spaces for communities to thrive

In the past year we’ve celebrated 10 Years of VIY, awarded our 5000th City & Guilds accreditation, expanded our team by 25%, which is now providing the expertise to help us to deliver impact for our young people and communities on a scale never seen before for VIY. Retaining a quality experience and expanding the horizons of the young people we support at the same time.

Tim Reading, CEO of VIY, said:

“The 2021-22 operating year for VIY has been a story of recommencing full delivery and bouncing back after a tough period of Covid lockdowns and restrictions. Our model has felt more relevant than ever with so many young people having been adversely affected by Covid and so many essential community facilities and venues struggling to survive.

So the past 12 months have also been a story of positive impact, as told by this report, for young people at risk and for local communities in need – and all fuelled by volunteering and a brilliant ‘team sheet’ of cross-sector partners and funders.”

We look forward to working with all of our funders, partners and organisations through 2022-23 and beyond. We love doing #SomethingConstructive with you all and long may we continue to positively impact the lives of young people and local communities together. Thank you for your continued support!

What volunteering means to Team VIY

26 May 2022

Alex Berwick, Data & Impact Officer

“I started volunteering with Re-engage in 2015 (formerly Contact the Elderly, who work to combat social isolation and loneliness), and have volunteered as a tea party Group Coordinator, Driver and Host. The tea parties take place monthly and we pick the guests up and take them to a host’s house where everyone (including the volunteers) sits down to a tea party together. Over the years, I’ve seen the difference that these tea parties make to the older people who attend, but I also get so much out of it too (and no it’s not just the cake either!) Getting to chat to the tea party guests and hearing about their life stories, and seeing that you’re making a difference, make the tea parties one of the highlights of my month.

I also volunteer as a call companion for Re-engage. This involves a weekly call to a lovely gentleman called John. We’ve been speaking most weeks since March 2020 and I’ve been so lucky not only to hear about his life story (which has taken him from the east end of London in the 1930s), but to chat about more day-to-day things like football and what he’s been up to during the week.”

A quote from a lovely Re-engage recipient

Hannah Green, Communications Manager

“I volunteer as a Run Leader for weekly social run group Run Brum Crew in Birmingham city centre. It’s a great chance to start the week off right by getting out of the house on a Monday evening, helping other locals do the same and providing the vital social interaction we’ve all missed.

We’re there to help encourage people to simply get their trainers on, get out for a jog and a chat, to help both our physical and mental wellbeing. We also end up in the pub for a drink afterwards to carry on the conversation, meet new people and relax into the week together. Mondays are never the same without Run Brum Crew!”

Hannah with Birmingham city centre based Run Brum Crew, come rain or shine!

Tess Bettison, Project Executive

“I have volunteered with the Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing For The Brain programme since I was at school alongside my Dad (circa 2012/2013).  Singing for the Brain offers those suffering with Alzheimer’s and their carers a chance to come and have a sing, choosing a different theme and songs each week. The sessions provide a nice chance for socialisation, a fun activity that helps with brain functionality and offers the carers some rest bite, all in all creating a lovely community of support.

The Alzheimer’s Society is a charity very close to the hearts of my family as my Nan suffered with the disease for the last 10 years of her life and I always enjoy a good karaoke in whatever form it comes!”

Tim Reading, CEO

“I volunteer to run the junior cricket section at my local cricket club, where we have over 100 junior players drawn from our town and the local villages. The cricket club is the epicentre of my son’s life (he’s fully addicted to the game!) and has done so much for his development and confidence – so I want to help and encourage other young people to enjoy the game and benefit more widely in the same way.”

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