2 April 2024

Jack has been excluded from mainstream education for a number of years, and only attends school on a reduced timetable.

He took part in his first VIY project at Coventry Saracens FC in September 2023, and two further projects supported by his community support teams through Coventry Police, gaining three Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations. His only three qualifications that year.

Since the very end of the first project, he’s spending his midweek days away from school gaining paid work decorating with a family member – as his skill, determination and motivation to learn had been reignited during the VIY experience away from the classroom.

Definitely #SomethingConstructive as we’d say.

Logan – a VIY Volunteer

4 March 2024

 Logan, 16 from Bolton, was NEET on arrival as a volunteer at Deane & Derby Cricket Club.

He desperately wants to work in construction, but hasn’t had the means to find opportunities to do so, including access to technology to begin the search. After gaining a City & Guilds accreditation in Painting & Decorating with us on the project, VIY and local organisation Believe Achieve CIC helped him a free SIM card including data for six months and laptop, to enable him to job search, complete his applications and begin his own career journey. He’s now studying a multi-trade course at Salford College – with these free safety boots gifted by VIY to get him started!

Ali, VIY Volunteer turned Apprentice

31 October 2023

We’re working to connect our VIY alumni with positive next steps into further education, training or employment, through our national partnerships with employers like Dulux. Like Ali, who was supported by VIY to secure an apprenticeship with Dulux contractor, Ian Williams.

Ali (pseudonym) first joined us at Evolve Community Centre in Nottingham, a project part-funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund via Nottingham City Council. He was referred via Al-Hurraya, who support young people from ethnic minority and refugee communities in Nottingham to overcome the effects of addiction and crime. He’d dropped out of uni, been injured and out of his beloved boxing, and had been working security since, which he didn’t love.

He told us he wanted to learn as many skills as he could and wanted to renovate houses afterwards. He gained a City & Guilds accreditation in bricklaying with us at the project in Nottingham, and was offered employability support through our Progressions team – who helped him to successfully apply for an opportunity with Ian Williams.

Ali’s now 3 months into his apprenticeship and thriving. He’s currently working on void houses that need general maintenance – things like slab laying/removal of tiles/filling/changing taps and refitting broken doors. “My favourite part is working with my two colleagues and learning from them, they are like my bosses. I’m really enjoying it.”

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 is now training in Level 1 Painting & Decorating 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 my next course in Painting & Decorating at college. 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.”

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