Marianna Peet

18 November 2022

“We at the Travis Perkins Group love doing #SomethingConstructive with VIY, through donations, supporting projects and getting hands-on on site.

We truly feel like we’re playing our part to deliver our purpose to build better communities and enrich lives, getting hands on with our paintbrushes and taking the opportunity to talk in-depth to the young people and inspire thoughts around their futures, including traineeships, apprenticeships and jobs at TP.”

Rob Hunter, Kaset Skatepark Manager, Norfolk

18 November 2022

VIY has already demonstrated a massive impact to our community for the better and increasing our footfall. It has modernised our 16 year old skatepark, renewing interest with our returning skaters and also creating new users to the sports. We are already seeing significantly more use and income for our park, through a raised profile in our local community through local paper coverage and word of mouth.. New programmes and memberships are being currently designed as a direct result. Many, many thanks to the VIY teams, who have given us a brighter future.

Liam & Kelsie

25 October 2022

Liam Bensley and Kelsie Ferguson both joined us at our Community Hub project at East Norfolk College. Liam, who was unemployed at the time, was referred into VIY via the local DWP, Kelsie a student at the college looking for different skills and volunteering opportunities over the summer. Having enjoyed the VIY experience so much, and impressing our mentors along the way, both returned to our Gorleston Community Room project in partnership with Orbit Housing. Since, both Liam and Kelsie have received paid work with VIY as Peer Mentors on three further projects across Norfolk, helping to teach other young volunteers just like them, alongside Jasper and Matt, our Lead Mentors in Norfolk.

They’ve achieved seven City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditations between them, Liam achieving an additional qualification in pipework.

VIY Lead Mentor, Simon Kitson, one of the key mentors who have helped develop the pair through multiple VIY projects, said: “They’ve both really stepped up from volunteer to Mentor really well, which can sometimes be a tricky transition. 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.”

Kyle O’Gorman

25 October 2022

Kyle came on board as part of his employability programme with Hatch through UK Youth. Working on our cricket club programme, started in 2022 in partnership with the GMCA, Lancashire Cricket Foundation and the ECB, Kyle has now returned to two back to back projects across Greater Manchester. Starting at Blackley Cricket Club, he’s been there from start to finish, fully present and even offered to come and help out for an extra week when the project ran over. He’s gained three City & Guilds accreditations with us in Painting & Decorating, Health & Safety and Carpentry. He was even voted Volunteer of the Month by one of the programme partners, Lancashire Cricket Foundation, and received tickets to a cricket match at Old Trafford in Manchester.

Here’s what he had to say about volunteering on the project: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at VIY, the project has come out really well, and looks so much different to how it started. I’m really looking forward to the next project and gaining my third qualification with VIY in carpentry. Construction is something I want to go into now.”

Adele Oliver – a current VIY volunteer

31 May 2019

Adele, aged 17, is among 26 young volunteers taking part in a VIY project to refurbish Stockton Cricket Club in County Durham.

The project is being run with the support of Sport England’s Potentials Fund in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund and the #iwill campaign.

Adele is studying painting and decorating at Middlesbrough College, and wanted to practice the skills she’s learnt in a way that helped the community.

“The club is used by lots of kids and families in the area who can sometimes struggle financially and so it’s great that I’m able to help them out by improving their club. I’ve also really enjoyed putting my skills to use on a real life job. I’ve never really volunteered anywhere before, but I’ve enjoyed this so much and I would love to volunteer more in the future.”

Jules Lancaster, Manager, Shard End Youth Centre

23 March 2019

“The project has directly helped secure the centre’s future, as the level of funding we receive from our local council is largely dependent on increasing the number of young people using and benefiting from our facilities and the activities we run – and crucially, almost all of the young people who have participated in VIY at Shard End (91 out of 97 participants) have not previously been members or involved at the centre.”

Bella Hindle

18 January 2019

“I’m a self employed painter and decorator from Southend, and I have so far mentored on a couple of local VIY projects and I can honestly say it’s been an eye-opener. The young people really put the effort into the work and learning new skills, and often spoke about how optimistic they were about their futures now that they’re learning a trade. Some even discussed their ambition to embark on a painting and decorating career as a self-employed tradesperson and it became clear to me that this project not only gives young people a trade but also builds confidence and gives them a passion for their next steps in life.

“I believe that VIY is changing lives as well as helping to improve community venues and buildings, and it’s definitely a valuable experience for any young person who decides to give it a go. I would also recommend getting involved as a skills mentor to other tradespeople. I’ve only just started out with VIY and I will definitely help on more projects.”

Kayleigh Morris – a VIY volunteer

17 January 2019

As a complete novice, Kayleigh, from Hackney, took part in skills sessions at VIY’s north London Hub project, on the Northumberland Park Estate in Haringey, in 2015. Through her participation she achieved City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditations in carpentry and plumbing, and her VIY experience inspired her to start a construction skills course at Lambeth College. This also led to Kayleigh being offered a two-year apprenticeship by Pimlico Plumbers, a VIY employer partner. She qualified in 2018 and now works full-time with Pimlico Plumbers, whilst also still serving as an ambassador for VIY. Kayleigh sees trade skills as a job for life: “Once you learn a trade, you’re okay. You’ll always be able to make a living.”

Imran Younas

17 January 2019

Imran lives in Birmingham and has many years experience as a self-employed tradesman. He first got involved with VIY in February 2013 after seeing an advert calling out for volunteers on trade recommendation site Rated People. He initially agreed to volunteer for one day on a local project, but he quickly discovered he really enjoyed passing on his skills to young people. Since then he has been involved in more than 375 VIY projects in the West Midlands and across the UK, personally helping over 6,000 young people gain a City & Guilds Entry Level qualification.

Imran is now our National Head Mentor and, as well as mentoring young people on projects, he also helps scope and assess new VIY projects, and brief and train new mentors. He also undertakes outreach work in schools and colleges, delivering assembly talks and running classroom workshop sessions.

Imran makes the point: “It’s great to see how young people develop their skills whilst working on a VIY project. Many of them come to VIY thinking that that they’re not very good at learning, but once involved, they realise they can pick up new vocational skills very quickly, and that finding a job doing something you really enjoy is possible.”

Zeeshan Shah – a VIY volunteer

16 January 2019

Zeeshan, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was 22 and unemployed at the time he joined a VIY project to repair and improve a local drop-in centre run by Youth Concern in aid of vulnerable young people. He was attracted to the opportunity to volunteer and do something for his community at the same time as learning new vocational skills and improving his employment prospects. Zeeshan ultimately committed more than 50 volunteer hours to the project and successfully achieved an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditation in painting and decorating. He is now targeting a starter job as a painter and decorator with the support of the local Job Centre Plus office through which he first heard about VIY.

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