VIY develops new hub in North East

3 April 2024

We’re expanding our work across to the North East, thanks to part-funding from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, on new programmes with South Tyneside and Gateshead Councils respectively, to positively impact local young people and community spaces.

In South Tyneside, we’re embarking on four projects in the local area, with our first project at Harton Westoe Miners Club/South Shields Football Club completed in March. See what we did here. Next, we’ll be helping Boldon Colliery FC to become more welcoming for their growing female football and cricket teams by creating more inclusive changing spaces.

In Gateshead, we’ll be helping to renovate three local community spaces, including the Gateshead Redheugh 1957 Community Football Club, Team Life Centre and Bensham Grove Community Centre.

Know of young people 16+ who would benefit from the VIY experience in this region?

Projects will be match-funded by other VIY partners such as Sport England and Barclays Community Football Fund, and supported with materials donated by our Trade Partners including Dulux.

Are you a local tradesperson interested in helping out?

About the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

Creating Commonwealth legacy in Birmingham

19 December 2022

Together, we’re embarking on 5 community projects in 2023, across five wards with the greatest levels of inactivity and low socio-economic mobility, to improve the quality and access to sport and physical activity for the local community.

Birmingham has always been one of VIY’s heartlands, following the first VIY ‘hub’ at Shard End Youth Centre from 2015 over four years, and improving community spaces for physical activity with projects at the likes of Hall Green Boxing Club and Saathi House.

Ciara Grogan, VIY Programme Director for Sport, said:

“We’re delighted to be back in Birmingham and contributing towards the legacy of the Commonwealth Games. Bringing together our model of boosting young people’s skills whilst transforming community places, altogether with our experience in renovating hundreds of spaces for physical activity through Sport England, we’re ready to help get Birmingham moving through its city motto ‘Forward’, with an approach mirroring the message of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, ‘Be Bold’.”

Laura Kerrigan for Sport Birmingham, said:

“Our first project with VIY, completed in November 2022, was at Birmingham Paddle Club, based at Ackers Adventure in Sparkbrook, an area where activity levels are lower than the national average. They’ve wanted to start a Paddle Club for ages, an alternative physical activity for the local community in a landlocked city, but haven’t had anywhere to effectively store their canoes and set sail. 

With the help of 15 volunteers from local organisations including St Basils, Edge Academy and Ashiana Community Project, plus two marvellous VIY Midlands Mentors, storage has been built from scratch, inside a shipping container on-site, right by the water’s edge.”

This project has been supported with match-funding from Sport England and British Canoeing, plus material donations from Travis Perkins Stirchley and GAP Tool Hire.

Andy Train from the Birmingham Paddlesports Hub at Ackers told us how much the works mean to them:

The works VIY have completed have furthered our ambitions to expand the Paddle Club. Without the storage they have created, we would struggle to accommodate more members, as we simply would not be able to keep our canoes safe. Now we can finally invite more of the local community to join us on the canals, doing something active right on their doorstep. Thanks to all of the local young people who helped transform our storage container!”

Steve and the team at Ackers Adventure were also so kind as to give our young volunteers and partners a free archery session to thank them for their hard work with us on the tools to help their Paddle Club take shape!

Two images side by side showing the inside of a metal shipping contained. The left hand image shows it empty, with one canoe sat at the front. The right hand image shows it following the work of VIY, creating handmade wooden storage for canoes

Before/After: new storage for the Birmingham Paddlesports Hub at Ackers Adventure, Birmingham

Two individuals pictured stood safe distance away from an archery target. One male is instructing another individual, both hold a wooden crossbow.

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

Hear from Kelsie about her time with VIY

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 Youth Engagement Co-ordinator 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 prospectus

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 confirmed as Gen22 Assignment Provider

19 May 2022

We’re delighted to have been confirmed as an Assignment Provider with the Gen22 programme, the programme providing employability boosting opportunities to young people in the region supported by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Gen22 programme aims to support those aged 16-24 who might otherwise struggle to access the many opportunities arising from the Games, including those who lack confidence, those who are young carers, young parents or have a criminal record. As an Assignment Provider, VIY will provide 50 employability boosting opportunities for young people from the West Midlands on three community projects, starting at Telford Hornets Rugby Club this month, where we’ll be transforming the club’s changing rooms and building a fence to prevent motorcycle access onto the pitch from a nearby public path.

Interested in taking part as a young person (aged 16-24) or as an opportunity for young people you work with to help build the next generation of sporting stars? We’d love to hear from you, please get in touch via

This is a continuation of our work across the West Midlands, one of our hub regions, where we’ve completed over 94 projects during our first decade as an organisation, including Hall Green Boxing Club in 2013 (pictured above!) and Shard End Community Centre in 2017 in Birmingham, and most recently, regenerating Coventrians Rugby Club and The Tin Music & Arts Venue, both in Coventry, in 2021. More exciting programmes in the region are to be announced in coming months.

Bethan Stimpson, Gen22 Programme Lead, said:

“I’m really pleased to be adding Volunteer it Yourself (VIY) to our network of Gen22 Assignment Providers. VIY is bringing a unique set of opportunities to the project; providing a chance for some of our region’s youth to experience trade based social action in their local communities. It is my hope that many of the participants will use this experience to build skills that will help them take their next step into long term sustainable employment.”

Tim Reading, CEO of VIY, said:

“The West Midlands has become one of the core regional hubs of activity for VIY throughout our first ten years, where we’ve helped over 1,500 young people gain trade and employability skills by volunteering on renovation projects to benefit their own communities. We’re delighted to be aligning our work with the Gen22 programme, providing opportunities for those in the youngest city in Europe and the surrounding areas who stand to benefit from an exciting summer and legacy beyond the Games in Birmingham.”


First projects completed with the Community Renewal Fund

18 March 2022


Our first project with Nottinghamshire County Council has seen an internal refresh of the halls at Vibrant Warsop Methodist Church, a building which hosts a range of community activities. We had 11 young volunteers from local colleges and the DWP, learning painting and decorating and health & safety on site. Thanks for kicking us off in the region, team!


Over with Norfolk County Council, we’ve certainly made an impression on the Phoenix Centre, a place serving the local community through food banks, children’s activities and services and where we were welcomed with open arms by the team. After we’d finished our three week project refreshing their interiors, the team even put on a lovely buffet to thank all of the team and young people for their hard work.

Bailey was one of 14 participants, and a young, regular volunteer local to the centre, who struggles in mainstream education. After watching from the sidelines for a week, he was then encouraged to get involved by the VIY team and seeing the great work being done by people his age. He told us:

”I just want to thank you, you have all been so helpful, kind and supportive. Thank you for letting me be part of the VIY team, being a learner was amazing, the help and support I received was amazing, and I want to thank Alan and Sue especially for reaching out to let me be part of VIY. I have enjoyed every minute of it and I hope you will consider me for other jobs and work with VIY because I have had the best time of my life. I hope to see you all again soon.”

Archie, 17 year old volunteer from nearby Attleborough also told us:

“I have really enjoyed the week- everyone has been friendly and welcoming. I have really enjoyed the painting and have learned lots of new skills. This experience has definitely helped me to decide to pursue a career in painting and decorating.”

We’ll hopefully be seeing you again at our project at the Norwich Lads Boxing Club, Bailey and Archie!


Finally, our first project with Nottingham City Council has been at The Pythian Club, an organisation whose aim is to provide sustainable and unique programmes that directly work towards ending youth violence. We’ve been renovating the interior, bringing more ‘vibrancy’ to the exterior with their signature green and generally making the facilities better for the people and services they provide.

We had 16 young people volunteer with us here, including from Care4Calais, offering vital opportunities for refugees fleeing conflict to build skills and experience to help them move forwards with their lives here.

Make sure you’re following us on social where we share regular stories and updates on all of our projects and Team VIY. You’ll find the links just down there in our footer.

If you think an experience on our projects may be great for young people you know or work with, check out our full pipeline of projects coming up across these three regions and beyond across the UK and get in touch here.

* You can find more information, on the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund here.