VIY shares Impact Report 2021-22

31 May 2022

Enabling volunteering opportunities

This week also marks Volunteers Week (1-7 June), a week celebrating volunteering and all of its positive, societal benefits across the nation.

Something we’re of course extremely passionate about and hope to instil across our areas of impact;

  • 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.”

500 volunteers with Sport England

8 March 2022

Following Sport England’s vision to ‘transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity’, together we’ve been renovating less formal ‘active spaces’ such as community centres or youth clubs that host physical activity, and these 500 young people have hit some great headlines together already:

  • 1,500 hours of volunteering
  • 30+ community spaces transformed
  • 60% of which are located in local communities among the 20% most deprived nationally
  • 450 City & Guilds accreditations gained

 

Vanessa Mae Watson, volunteer & 500th participant with Sport England

Vanessa is a resident with the Amber Foundation, a wonderful organisation we’ve worked with many times over the years, who support young people overcoming homelessness and unemployment, and has been volunteering on a recent project along with fellow residents from her Amber residence. 

They’ve been working with our Trade Mentors to create a new youth and community space at Wembdon Village Hall in Bridgwater, Somerset. They’ve been putting up new walls, creating wooden storage, laying flooring, as well as plastering and decorating together. Here’s a mini tour of the space so far from our Head Mentor, Alan Dalton.

Vanessa’s become our 500th participant on our projects in partnership with Sport England and kindly took some time to tell us about her experience.

 

Young female, wearing a grey t-shirt and grey protective gloves, leans into a timber stud wall frame, smiling at the camera

Vanessa, what does volunteering on this project mean to you?

VIY is very gratifying, and offers what I feel to be a great opportunity to learn new skills, that otherwise would not be offered to us. I myself have mental health issues that are preventing me from looking for work, on top of bidding for properties through the council that I am looking to move into, so my experience with VIY thus far has been one of the best opportunities that I have taken on.

What has your VIY experience helping to renovate this village hall taught you?

It’s not only showing you what it’s like on the job but shows you in a unique and fun way, and also provides you with qualifications after your time with them. The time with them may seem short, but actually you have just used your time productively.

The mentors are a wonderful group of people who also take into account where people are starting from and always include everyone in the group. They keep things light hearted and fun, always welcoming and love to have a laugh with you, while also following health and safety guidelines. They also understand if you have worries and encourage you to overcome them. 

Since volunteering with VIY, how have your thoughts about your future changed?

I have really enjoyed the opportunity you have given me, VIY has been one of the best opportunities I have been a part of and others that I live with and for that I thank you. 

 

In partnership with Toolstation

Our Sport England match-funded projects are delivered in collaboration with a variety of other stakeholders such as national sports governing bodies, local authorities, building and construction sector employers, as well as key VIY trade partners like Toolstation. 

Wembdon Village Hall is Toolstation’s fourth project in partnership with VIY. As the UK’s fastest-growing multi-channel retailer of tools and building materials, this one is right on the doorstep of their national HQ in Bridgwater. Our young volunteers across all four projects, including Vanessa, have so far collectively gained 92 City & Guilds accreditations thanks to funding across this first phase of the VIY-Toolstation partnership throughout 2021-22. Their futures are now looking a little bit brighter thanks to this opportunity to participate in helping their community.

Lesa Stanton, PR and Charity Manager at Toolstation, commented on the partnership:

“We are really proud to support Volunteer It Yourself and to help young people learn practical trade and building skills and earn a City & Guilds qualification.

Toolstation has supported more than 100 participants and is currently carrying out its fourth project with VIY. We are delighted to play a part in helping young people like Vanessa gain practical and potentially life-changing trade skills. The construction sector is facing a shortage of workers and we hope that this initiative will inspire more young people to consider entering the trades.”

Our work continues at Wembdon Village Hall through the spring, so keep an eye out on our social channels for the full transformation!

Kickstarting careers at VIY

23 February 2022

We’re delighted to see Jada Sandy and Konradas Rukas, two of our first participants from the Kickstart scheme, the six month placement funded by the government designed to reduce youth unemployment following the Covid-19 pandemic, progress into roles following their time working as Junior Skills Mentors with VIY.

Jada will be joining VIY as a Peer Mentor, furthering her ambitions to run her own female-led trades business. Having mentored and worked alongside Jada on all of the projects she’s supported across the South/London, our Head Mentor, Alan Dalton, is full of praise for Jada: “A little bit of inspiration is what Jada gives me each time I work with her. She is exactly the reason I do this job. It makes my job worthwhile. She is what every site needs.”

Jada Sandy smiles and laughs with young people inside a changing room renovation at Kent Phoenix American Football Club

Meanwhile Konradas is following his calling as a plumber, graduating onto an apprenticeship with Woodford Heating & Energy, an opportunity he’s been seeking since finishing college. On departing VIY at the end of February, Konrad said “I’ve had fun at VIY and have enjoyed learning new things/skills and meeting new people.”

Kickstart male colleague Konradas Rukas opens a tin of Dulux paint inside the Dublin Castle music venue

Both Jada and Konradas have consistently impressed all of our Lead Mentors across the projects they have worked on during their six months with us, including the Dublin Castle in Camden, Wembdon Village Hall in Bridgwater, Kent Phoenix American Football Club and YMCA Dickerage.

We’re so pleased both of them are continuing to develop their skills and pursue careers in the trade. Our thanks to Travis Perkins Plc for acting as our Gateway Provider for the Kickstart scheme, enabling VIY to help young people benefit from this experience and further our mission to support young people into the trade, to help build a future pipeline for construction and ensure the next generation are not left behind following the pandemic.

The next cohort of Kickstarters will be joining VIY in the coming weeks. Make sure you’re following our social channels where we’ll introduce them!