VIY supports first Construction Skills Shortage Week

16 April 2024

Here’s how we’re already acting on a number of recommendations made within the On The Tools Skills Shortage White Paper – and how you could get involved and do #SomethingConstructive together with us to help reduce the shortage.

Working with young people and their current educators

  • Taking young people from zero to ‘the first rung on the ladder’ through practical, accessible and inclusive hands-on skills training experiences, the chance to gain Entry Level City & Guilds accreditations and boost their apprenticeship/work-readiness – in a way that’s not happening in schools and colleges


  • Inspiring young people to consider construction as a relevant and rewarding career pathway – specifically more diverse audiences that are currently underrepresented in the sector including women, young people who are neurodiverse, have a disability or from ethnic minority backgrounds


  • By seeing first-hand the positive impact of the VIY experience on site, educators, youth workers, support workers, parents and other adult influences are gaining an insight into the industry to reinforce it as a positive pathway for the young learners they support


Get young people involved here


Working with tradespeople 

  • Mobilising tradespeople and construction workers as positive role models and inspirational Trade Mentors for young people on our projects by sharing their skills and own lived experience of a career in the trade


  • Improving their own sense of wellbeing by mentoring young people and making an impact in their community on projects of real social value


Volunteer or become a Mentor here

Working with employers

  • Working in partnership with a wide range of cross-sector partners, including many big players from the trade and construction, like Dulux, Toolstation and Travis Perkins, and housebuilders like Keepmoat Homes and Persimmon Homes to make our projects happen through materials donations, volunteer mentors, project funding and progression pathways for young people within their company or with their customers


  • Directly connecting construction employers and professional tradespeople on VIY projects with brilliant young people who have demonstrated appetite and aptitude (through VIY) and are looking for a next step opportunity into the industry, just like Ali, now an apprentice with contractor Ian Williams, through our partnership with Dulux


  • Increasingly, we’re looking to bring employers/construction firms, tradespeople and young people together to share both valuable new retrofit and green skills, as well maintaining more traditional heritage skills including carpentry, by working on community facility retrofit projects and heritage buildings


Talk to us about working in partnership


Dulux Decorator Centre customers support training of 300 young people

26 March 2024

We began our partnership with Dulux Decorator Centre in February 2023, with an in-store campaign for the sale of paint stirrers and tin openers at counters across its 230+ stores directly supporting the City & Guilds accreditations earned by our learners in painting and decorating. We’re delighted to announce this alone has raised an impressive £35,313, which has supported 300 young people achieve their Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditation. This amounts to around 50% of all painting and decorating City & Guilds accreditations achieved by VIY learners over the last year.

Over the last year, the paint merchant has donated a staggering 4000 litres of paint to our projects so far, making a positive impact on over 57,000 lives, alongside colleagues and customers volunteering. Just like Dean, featured below, a Decorator from the West Midlands who volunteered on our project at The Bradby Club in Rugby.

Our partnership has expanded to offer Dulux Connect members additional benefits to volunteer on VIY projects, and offer further training, apprenticeship and employment pathways to VIY learners following their training on VIY projects in their business.

Duncan Lochhead, Commercial Sustainability Manager at Dulux Decorator Centre, said: “Our partnership with VIY has been incredibly rewarding and we are proud to offer our continued support for the year ahead. As well as donating paint to VIY projects, we are also committed to supporting the next generation of skilled tradespeople get their foot on the ladder and begin their journey into the trade. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with VIY, colouring more lives and supporting young learners in the years to come.”

Hear from Ali, a VIY learner who is now on a multi-trade apprenticeship with Dulux Connect member, Ian Williams

Fancy volunteering your skills and experience with VIY?

See more of our partnership with Dulux

VIY to renovate more grassroots cricket clubs & community spaces across Greater Manchester

5 March 2024

We’re celebrating the renovation of 20 of 30 grassroots cricket clubs we’re delivering in 10 priority areas across Greater Manchester over three years, as part of the Inspiring Generations cricket strategy for Greater Manchester.

We’re also delighted to confirm we’ll be renovating an additional four cricket clubs funded by the GMCA Community Grants Programme in partnership with Lancashire Cricket Foundation, with the aim to increase participation in Adult Skills, as well as two further community spaces across Wigan and Stockport through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Here’s the VIY headlines so far on the Inspiring Generations programme:

  • over 270 young people have taken part in free hands-on volunteering opportunities
  • working in collaboration with youth organisations such as Groundwork, the Hatch programme and the Prince’s Trust
  • 26% of young volunteers were female25% higher than the UK proportion of tradespeople who are female
  • over 70% have gained an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds qualifications in skills such as Carpentry, Painting & Decorating and Health & Safety
  • a record-breaking VIY project with 69 young volunteers at Hindley Cricket Club
  • introducing young volunteers to local cricket facilities they may continue to use and benefit from

Meet Logan, VIY Volunteer at Deane & Derby Cricket Club

See all of the clubs renovated so far

14 volunteers from Dulux Decorator Centre work alongside local young volunteers to redecorate Micklehurst Cricket Club

Sandy Mitchell, Head of Heritage & Community Wellbeing at Lancashire Cricket Foundation said:

“The additional project funding from the GMCA Community Grants Programme is a great example of how we can build on the success of the GMCA Inspiring Generations Strategy to make a positive difference to even more individuals and communities through cricket. To have delivered 20 VIY projects across Greater Manchester is a great achievement and I look forward to seeing another 14 projects delivered with VIY, which will help to provide a long lasting impact on both the young people they support, educate and train and the cricket clubs themselves.”

Talk to us about opportunities for young people you work with in Manchester

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

VIY continues growth thanks to players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and The Considered Ask

19 February 2024

We’re delighted to receive a grant of £225,000 from Innovation Trust,  thanks to funds raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

This funding comes off the back of a successful three years of growth for VIY, thanks to our initial grant of £145,000 from the Postcode Innovation Trust, alongside our wide range of cross-sector partners. This approach has allowed us to grow at scale nationally, deepening our recruitment, training and retention of trade mentors across multiple hub regions, and ultimately deliver strong local impact, through the mentoring of local young people, whilst renovating community places and spaces through the power of volunteering.

Over the next three years, this continued investment thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery will allow VIY to build our capacity and capability to:

  1. undertake projects involving the retrofit of community buildings for improved energy-efficiency and reduced environmental impact 
  2. offer our learners the chance to develop new green construction skills and gain green skills accreditations/qualifications
  3. help to develop skills and employment pathways for young people after their VIY experience

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “I’m delighted that money raised by our players is allowing young people all over Britain the opportunity to gain new skills while improving places that are important to their local communities. It’s a win for the young people getting involved who are learning a trade, and a win for spaces in need of essential repairs and improvement.”

We’re also beginning a new national partnership this year with The Considered Ask, a community of funders that exists to reduce social inequality in the UK. Their grant of £80,000 will be helping us to expand our further skills and employment support for VIY’s young learners across two years, ultimately boosting the employability and life chances of more NEET and at risk young people. 

Our progressions support is centered around helping young people into further training and/or employment following their VIY experience, working in closer partnership with our national and employer partners to do so, predominantly in the trade/construction industry.

The Considered Ask said: “We’re excited to be partnering with VIY and we’re delighted to provide funding to help expand the progressions team, so that young people can receive extra support with taking their next steps into training and employment.”

VIY expands work across Redditch and Bromsgrove until 2025

12 February 2024

We’re delighted to be renovating twelve community spaces across Redditch and Bromsgrove between 2023-25, thanks to part-funding from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, in partnership with Redditch & Bromsgrove councils.

The first project in our new programme saw us and 10 local young people repurpose a brand new space for Reach CIC in Redditch in December 2023, a community-focused organisation based in the Winyates Centre, co-funded by our Trade Partners Toolstation and Travis Perkins Plc. Our first project in Bromsgrove saw us redecorate Wythall Hall to help them attract local people to use and hire the space to create a financially sustainable community space.

Upcoming projects include improvements to The Meeting Rooms in Woodrow, Redditch, a vital community centre for the local community, and creating a functional and attractive outdoor space at Shawfields, supporting those at the Bromsgrove District Housing Trust.

More in The Redditch Standard here

Know of young people 16+ who would benefit from the VIY experience here?

Leader of Redditch Borough Council, Cllr Matt Dormer, said: “This initiative goes beyond bricks and mortar; it is about providing a pathway to success for those who need it most. It will bring positive change and unlock opportunities for local young people as well as injecting new life into our community spaces for everyone to enjoy. This scheme is testament to what can be achieved and when communities come together with support from Government initiatives like UKSPF. I hope that the extra funding allows VIY to have continued success, expanding on excellent projects like W.I.S.E.”

Deputy Leader of Bromsgrove District Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Cllr Sue Baxter, said: “VIY have already seen huge success with previous projects in Redditch and I am very pleased that, as a result of the UKSPF funding, they have started to deliver similar projects across Bromsgrove District too. This scheme will not only make our community spaces better but will also help young people learn important skills for work, investing in their future. It’s turning empty places into something useful, creating jobs, and making our area better for everyone, which is excellent news all round.”

Projects will be match-funded by other VIY partners such as Sport England and Toolstation, who are a large local employer in the area through their Redditch Distribution Centre, and supported with materials donated by Trade Partners including Dulux.

Nominate a project (with necessary permission to complete renovation works before March 2025)

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

Ten grassroots cricket clubs renovated in one year

15 July 2023

We’ve now renovated ten grassroots cricket clubs across Greater Manchester, thanks to funding from a joint regional strategy to use cricket to improve young people’s lives and create stronger, healthier communities.

Inspiring Generations: A Cricket Strategy for Greater Manchester, a joint 10-Point Plan between the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Lancashire Cricket Foundation and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), aims to improve young people’s lives and create stronger, healthier communities, and inspire a generation to take up the game.

In total, we will deliver 30 projects renovating grassroots cricket clubs in 10 priority areas across Greater Manchester over three years. We’ll provide our signature free hands-on volunteering opportunities for local young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), or at risk of disengaging from mainstream education and/or becoming unemployed, mentored by professional tradespeople, with the chance to gain Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations, whilst introducing them to local cricket facilities they may continue to use and benefit from.

Paul Singer, Chair of Wigan Sports Club, the tenth club to benefit from VIY’s renovations in just one year, said:

“Our committee is delighted to be involved in the construction of a new decking area

overlooking the cricket pitch. Not only will this create a new seating area for spectators, it will enhance our function room facilities to allow for greater financial sustainability. The project itself gives an opportunity to young students in the Wigan area to learn new and practical life skills which hopefully will give them a head start in their chosen career path.”

Other clubs to receive the VIY treatment include creating a pitchside decking area at Stalybridge Cricket Club, the first to be completed one year ago in July 2022, converting storage containers into refreshment areas & changing rooms at Springhead Cricket Club in Oldham and bringing out buildings back to life at Blackley cricket Club in North Manchester. More on our cricket club projects here.

Through these first 10 projects, VIY have so far supported over 55 young people from youth organisations such as Groundwork, the Hatch programme and the Prince’s Trust, including young people with special educational needs, with 70% gaining Entry Level 3 City & Guilds qualifications in skills such as Carpentry, Painting & Decorating and Health & Safety.

Caitlin, 17, NEET on becoming a VIY Volunteer at Wigan Sports Club through the Groundwork employability programme, said:

“I had thought I wanted to be a Netball Coach in the future, but now being here, learning carpentry from the mentors and being encouraged to do new things, it’s making me think I could do this instead!” 

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: 

“This is a fantastic initiative that brings so many benefits for young people and communities across Greater Manchester. Our Cricket Strategy is all about using the game to make a positive difference to young people’s lives and unite local communities through the power of the sport, and it’s great that VIY are supporting that mission with this project to renovate grassroots clubs and help young people access skills and training opportunities.”

Sandy Mitchell, Head of Community Growth, Lancashire Cricket Foundation said:

“The project is another great example of how the GMCA Inspiring Generations Strategy is being used to make a positive difference to individuals and communities through cricket. To have now delivered 10 VIY projects in cricket clubs across Greater Manchester is a great achievement and I look forward to seeing the long lasting impact they have on both the young people they support, educate and train and the cricket clubs themselves.”

Matt Mellor, Programme Manager for VIY North, commented:

“It’s inspiring to be able to help so many local young people to learn skills they wouldn’t ordinarily get the chance to try and to take positive steps in their lives, whilst helping clubs shape their own futures through enhanced spaces, to help grow the next generation of cricket.”

Projects are match-funded by Sport England, with materials donated by VIY’s Trade Partners including Travis Perkins and Dulux.



Transforming community spaces in Nottinghamshire

20 April 2023

Nottingham City Council

Between January 2023 and March 2025, we’ll be supporting the refurbishment of 14 community spaces and places in Nottingham City.  Through a variety of works, we’ll be helping to improve their functionality and usability, enabling them to engage new audiences, support their existing members with new and/or improved services and increasing the venues’ confidence for their future sustainability.

Head here to see our work on this programme so far, and to see how young people you may know or work with, as well as other Community Volunteers, could get involved.

Nottingham City Council’s Place team volunteering with us at Rufford Avenue Allotment, 2022


Newark & Sherwood District Council

Following our project at Flower Pod with 16 students from Newark Orchard School, supporting students with special educational needs and disabilities, their students have now created a sensory garden at their school site in Balderton, Newark on Trent. The new garden will allow the school to combine learning with the outdoors as well as create a space that the students can enjoy.  We’ve helped them transform this previously under-utilised space, working hard to prepare the surface to install hardcore pathway around the perimeter and in the centre of the garden.  The students also built bespoke seating and child-friendly planters in the garden, ensuring this fully accessible space can be enjoyed by all students.

With the help of 26 young volunteers, 14 students gaining City & Guilds accreditations to help them pursue a future career or interest, they’ve built their own valuable space that they can take pride in. The garden should be finished by early summer 2023 for them to begin using.

We will also be working with Newark & Sherwood District Council from 2024 on further projects too!

Dulux and VIY to continue Let’s Colour partnership for another three years 

9 February 2023

Since 2019, Dulux has donated 11,000 litres of paint to over 90 VIY projects, which have collectively helped over 1,100 young people learn trade skills and gain over 900 City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditations. While doing so these projects have coloured the lives of over 55,000 people within the communities whose spaces have been transformed through VIY’s projects, across the most deprived neighbourhoods in the country.

Some standout painting projects have included the epic glow-up of Kaset Skatepark in King’s Lynn, the former gymnastics club of Beth Tweddle MBE in Liverpool and the Amber Foundation for young people in Trowbridge, completed with some leftover paint from Dulux’s sponsorship of Channel 4’s Changing Rooms.

As well as continuing to transform vital community spaces in need and the lives of the young people we work with through the power of paint, the new three year partnership will expand to see VIY become the Community Partner in all Dulux Decorator Centres across the country, where the sales of paint stirrers and tin openers will directly fund the City & Guilds Entry Level accreditations gained by young people volunteering on VIY projects.

Further initiatives will include training for VIY learners and Mentors through the Dulux Academy, passing on decades of experience through mentoring opportunities for professional painters through Dulux’s network and their own staff, along with linking VIY’s young volunteers up with potential employment opportunities for the future.

Left to right: Pete Howard, Sustainability & CSR Lead, Dulux, and Tim Reading, CEO and co-founder, VIY, at Dublin Castle, Camden – where Dulux Let’s Colour and VIY transformed this historic music venue

Tim Reading, CEO and co-founder of VIY, on signing the agreement, said:

“Working with the biggest names in the trade helps demonstrate true, collaborative social value for both VIY and big brand organisations. Our ongoing partnership with Dulux, not just through the power of paint and how this can transform a community place, but through our joint efforts in training, mentoring and the next steps for our young people with other partners and clients, will help towards delivering our joint strategic goals to develop the next generation of tradespeople.”

Peter Howard, Sustainability & CSR Lead for Dulux, said:
“We are delighted to sign this 3 year partnership agreement with VIY. This partnership will colour thousands of lives and benefit hundreds of young people all through the power of paint.

“We at Dulux are delighted to continue partnering with Volunteer It Yourself and look forward to delivering a record number of Let’s Colour community transformation projects in the years to come. This partnership will continue to not only add colour to tens of thousands of lives each year but also will help hundreds of young people improve their confidence and construction skills. It’s a shining example of how collaboration with brilliant partners can harness the power of paint!”

Here’s to three more years doing #SomethingConstructive through the power of paint with Dulux!

VIY clubhouse renovation with Northampton Saints

2 November 2022

We’ve been joined throughout the works by Northampton Saints Foundation students, who are taking part in the Foundation’s Hitz and Aspire programmes, as well as local college students on construction courses or disengaged from mainstream education. They’ve been painting and decorating the changing rooms and adding individual changing slots at the club to make them more attractive for current and new players, resulting in 19 Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations gained by the young volunteers in Painting & Decorating and Carpentry.

They were lucky to be joined by current Saints player, James Grayson, as well as Saints legend, Tom Wood, both Foundation ambassadors, who both helped the students with some painting at the venue.

Connor Fleming, Head of Northampton Saints Community said: “The clubhouse Renovation Competition is an excellent example of our partnership in action, helping to support our local clubs and communities as well as supporting activity across the grassroots level. Projects like this help make rugby more accessible for everyone, using the power of sport to positively impact a wide range of groups and individuals.

Tom Wood added: “It’s great to be able to do some practical activities with the young people out of the classroom, and particularly in the surroundings of a local rugby club.

“I have been lucky in that rugby has given me a great deal, so getting involved in projects like this one give me the opportunity to give something back, not just to the students, but also the wider community.”

Ed Sellwood, our COO and co-founder of VIY, said:

“We’ve completed over 700 community projects since 2011, many of which have been improving grassroots sports clubs and facilities for the benefit of the local community and all helping boost the work-readiness of the young people who volunteer with us. Collaborating with cross-sector partners, from sports to construction like the Saints and Toolstation, help us all do more to build better communities and help improve more young lives together.”

Greg Richardson, Head of Marketing at Toolstation added: “We’re really happy to have supported the VIY team and Long Buckby with the renovation of their facilities. This is a project that will help young people learn practical trade and building skills and earn a qualification. The construction sector is facing a shortage of workers and so we hope that this initiative will inspire more young people to consider entering the trades.”

The project is due to be completed at the start of November with the updated facilities being put into use for the first time at Long Buckby RFC’s next home fixture!

Meet Elise, our young volunteer painting her future with us on this project

VIY’s inspiring volunteers: Bill Langwith

26 October 2022

In conversation with Bill ‘Total Legend’ Langwith.

First volunteering with VIY back in 2015 at the Eric Allen Community House in partnership with Haringey Council in North London, Bill helped to renovate this disused community centre and mentored local residents, loving the experience of helping young people to take their minds off challenging issues through learning new skills. 

Bill recently returned to mentor young volunteers at Woodford Rugby Club in Essex


What do you enjoy the most about mentoring with VIY?

“I really love the job, it gives me full satisfaction and purpose. A highlight was hearing a young person say it was the ‘best day of my life’. It’s all worthwhile to help young people have those days.”


How has VIY changed your life?

“As well as all of the young people I’ve volunteered alongside through VIY, I’ve made friends for life. Before VIY, I mentored a guy in my local area, got him into the trade with me away from trouble and we struck up a great working relationship. I was building my own next generation in the trade. When I started working for VIY, I brought him with me and now that man is Alan Dalton, VIY Lead Mentor [pictured above together]. We’re still great friends now, more like father and son.

“Alan is a real example of how we can build the next generation, through volunteering, nurture and mentoring. Whether that be a tradesperson becoming a VIY Trade Mentor or one of the young people we work with, VIY makes a real difference to people’s lives and their community.” 

Bill catching up recently with VIY family Neil, Alan and Sue


Following that first taste of VIY, Bill has mentored on over 20 projects, earning the nickname ‘Total Legend’ after he went above and beyond to fix the aircon during a project at The Macbeth pub in Hackney, part of the Good Growth Fund through the Greater London Authority. Stories like these, along with his venerable age of 80, not to mention his positive can-do attitude, mean that Bill is firmly in the ‘VIY Hall of Fame’. 


Why do you believe in VIY? 

“VIY is not just a job, it’s a purpose. Yes, you get job satisfaction from doing a job well, but with VIY you can really help a young person in their life. 

“My first project was a definite eye opener for me into the lives of young people growing up in London today. VIY can only do good for young people and the mentors teaching them. I’m glad I’ve been able to pass on a bit of what I know to the young people I’ve worked with, and I hope it plays at least a small part in them securing a job in the future.

“The best moment is when the young people have had behavioural or mental health problems in the past, and we can get them really interested in learning new skills. VIY is something special.”


Why is volunteering important to you? 

I’ve volunteered at my local church for over 12 years, alongside working for VIY; sorting leaky taps, refreshing benches (keeping those woodwork skills alive!), the odd jobs they need someone to do. Volunteering still keeps me active – I’m no couch potato and like to keep busy to keep active, so I like helping out and feeling like I’m still making a difference to those around me.” 

Bill mentoring young volunteers

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