Rob Hunter, Kaset Skatepark Manager, King’s Lynn

23 March 2023

“VIY has already demonstrated a massive impact to our community for the better and increased our footfall. It has modernised our 16 year old skatepark, renewing interest with our returning skaters and also creating new users to the sport. 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.”

Kate Fell

20 February 2023

Kate supports students at Newark Orchard School, a school in Nottinghamshire for young people aged 3-18 with special educational and physical needs. XX students have volunteered on three VIY projects through the UK Community Renewal Fund, in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, including creating their own outdoor spaces they’ll use and learn from for years to come.

“The confidence and skill progression in all students from the start to the end of the project has been phenomenal. Our students are often faced with a glass ceiling due to their additional needs, however these projects have instilled ambition and aspirations in each and every one of them, allowing barriers to be broken down.

From a school perspective, the involvement in the projects have allowed us to achieve multiple work-related learning targets, including employer mentoring and work experience, which can sometimes be a real challenge to organise for our young people. We cannot recommend VIY highly enough and hope that our relationship can continue for many years to come!”

Honey, Norwich

20 February 2023

Honey was previously home-schooled then found herself NEET at 16. She joined the NEET re-engagement provision at City College Norwich to build her confidence and explore progression options for the future. Honey struggled in the classroom environment finding staying focused challenging. Honey pushed herself outside of her comfort zone to give the VIY project at Drayton Road, Norwich, a try – turns out she loved it! Honey really enjoyed being practical and getting stuck in. As a result, Honey has applied to do Level 1 Carpentry in September at City College Norwich!

Honey told us: “I found this experience eye opening. I have never tried practical work before but have loved it! VIY has given me a career direction and I can’t wait to start a carpentry course. The mentors have been great, and I have really enjoyed working with new people.”

Sean Kelly, Armstead Skills Volunteer

30 December 2022

“My highlight was one young person who inspired ME. At the beginning he wasn’t very engaged, but by the afternoon, I thought he could actually be my apprentice!”

Andy Griffiths

30 December 2022

Andy, a Design Manager with Toolstation, volunteered at Wembdon Village Hall, one of our projects supported by Toolstation in their hometown of Bridgwater, Somerset..

“It was great to get hands on, learning techniques and having the opportunity to interact with our product range, and it felt great to be back out from the home office, working as a team!”

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 found himself homeless before he was referred to his first VIY project at Blackley Cricket Club through the Hatch programme with UK Youth. He’d then leave at 7am to catch 2 buses to be on site with VIY for 9am, volunteering extra time when projects ran over to build more experience.

Thanks to our regional programmes with the GMCA & Lancashire Cricket Foundation and Persimmon Homes, he volunteered on 5 projects across Manchester and Liverpool building his skills, confidence and work-readiness, along with 3 all-important City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditations. He was voted Volunteer of the Month by Lancashire Cricket Foundation, receiving tickets to a cricket match at Old Trafford, and spoke in front of 80+ people at a stakeholder event in Bury.

Our progressions team supported Kyle with multiple job opportunities before he settled into new living arrangements and he even started his own construction TikTok account to show off his work with VIY!

Here’s what he had to say about volunteering with VIY: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at VIY, the project has come out really well, and looks so much different to how it started. 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.”

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