Amber Foundation Trowbridge

25 November 2022

One of our principal Trade Partners, Dulux, sponsors Channel 4’s revamp of the popular show, Changing Rooms. They wanted to make sure the leftover paint from the show was put to good use and not wasted. Step in one of our longest-serving youth partners, the Amber Foundation, and their residence in Trowbridge, Wiltshire – a wonderful organisation who help young people at risk of homelessness build better, brighter futures.

The project:

Over 13 days in August and September, VIY teamed up with the young people living at Amber Trowbridge to transform some of their living and learning spaces, including their gym, music rooms and outdoor buildings – plain storage spaces lacking inspiration for the young people improving their lives through Amber there.

Come September, it was all hands on deck as Team VIY were joined by a whopping 26 volunteers from our partners including: the Amber staff team, including their CEO Paul Rosam, colleagues from Dulux and those who supported the Channel 4 Changing Rooms production, who mentored and worked alongside the fab young people from Amber.

We were delighted to have Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director for Dulux, help us pre-project to design the colourways for two interiors and all of the outdoor exteriors, as well as her fair painting hand on site too.

The young people: 18 young people who call Amber Foundation Trowbridge their home

The impact:

  • Outdoor learning and wellbeing spaces transformed with the creation of an office for their on-site psychotherapist and a group wellbeing room
  • Transformation of their gym and music rooms, including equipment donations from our Lead Mentor Andy and PM Graham, and a baby grand piano (with bespoke ‘splatter’ design using some of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s favourite bold hues in Dulux’s quick dry gloss!)
  • Bespoke paint design from Dulux Creative Director Marianne Shillingford to inspire calm and positive wellbeing, framing the rooms with blissful blues and greys, with the calming, natural tones showcased on the outside
  • Clearer, brighter, bolder spaces to inspire positive wellbeing, learning and growing in the young people at Amber, and for their on-site teams too

Match-funded by Sport England.

Accreditations gained: 17 Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations gained in Painting & Decorating, Carpentry and Health & Safety

See how the project helped Amber’s young people here

Bury Cricket Club

7 April 2019

Bury Cricket Club is a long-established and prominent sports club in the local area, which is one of the 20% most deprived wards in the UK. The club applied to VIY for help to construct perimeter picket fencing to improve the appearance and security of the grounds and also, at the same time, to engage more potential female members at the club.

Over the course of two project phases, 21 young female volunteers were involved: 14 referred by Lancashire County Women’s Cricket Regional Development Centre and seven from Bury College. Most of the participants were first-time volunteers and all of the college students were new to cricket. Working together with VIY trade skills mentors, all of the young volunteers had the opportunity to try their hands at a mix of jobs, covering groundwork and fence-building, and 14 of the participants successfully achieved an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds Carpentry Skills Accreditation in the process.

The club was really pleased with the results of the project and the enthusiasm and positivity that the young people brought to the club. Matthew Metcalfe, chairman at Bury Cricket Club, said the following: “Imran, the VIY Lead Mentor, and his team did a great job in enthusing the young volunteers and the very positive working relationship between the mentors and the volunteers was clear to see. It’s easy to sometimes be jaded about young people and their willingness to involve themselves in community activities, but this project was a great reminder that there are thousands of young people who, if the right button can be pressed at the right time, will metaphorically move mountains for you. The girls did a great job and hopefully we can continue to involve them with the club.”

Cafe INDIEpendent

5 February 2018

Cafe INDIEpendent is a live music venue, community cafe and social enterprise on Scunthorpe high street, and was introduced to VIY by Music Venue Trust, a charity that acts to protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues at risk across the UK. The focus of the VIY project was to help refurbish the downstairs performance and bar area, involving an all female VIY team of mentors and volunteers, including construction students from Doncaster College.

The project was also visited and filmed by Guy Martin and Channel 4 for Guy’s Building Britain series of short films on All 4 that highlight the UK’s national shortage of building and construction skills.

Coventrians Rugby Club

16 December 2021

Coventrians RFC, which celebrated its centenary as a club in 2021, is a valued community club in Coventry providing opportunities for local people to engage in playing rugby union, rugby league, football and bowls. To celebrate its centenary it was able to receive some much needed renovations.

Over a three week period 28 volunteers aged 14-24, referred to the project by Hereward School (SEN), Avon Valley School, Groundwork and Coventry Voluntary Action, and a local youth justice service team, helped to repave an existing patio, build and fence a new pagoda and redecorate the changing rooms. This created a new social area from which families and the local community could spectate and gather together after games.

The first of our projects in partnership with Toolstation, who provided funding for the mentoring and qualifications of the young people, donations of materials and equipment and volunteer staff, helped see to the completion of the project.26 of the 28 volunteers achieved a City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditation. They were even supported by former England player James Haskell!

Speaking of their debut project with us, Greg Richardson, Head of Marketing for Toolstation, said: “We are really proud to support the Volunteer It Yourself programme and to help young people learn practical trade and building skills and earn a qualification. 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.”

Croydon Football Club

5 June 2018

Running over five months (April-August 2018), the VIY project at Croydon FC involved building a new changing room and washroom extension to boost the club’s growth and sustainability.

The project was one of 16 funded through Sport England’s Potentials Fund, all aimed at engaging more young people in volunteering via their local sports club at the same time as helping clubs to enable essential facility improvements.

119 young volunteers and 40 trade skills mentors took part at Croydon FC across eight project phases, from initially clearing the site and laying the concrete base, through to the complete construction, fit out and finishing of the extension. In the process, the young volunteers undertook a wide mix of tasks including timber frame carpentry, plasterboarding, drylining, tiling, plumbing and painting and decorating – with 44 participants ultimately achieving an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds construction skills qualification by the end of the project.

The project was also supported by five different Wickes stores through the provision of free tools and materials as well as the contribution of both staff and trade customers as skills mentors for the young volunteers

All of the young people involved were recruited and nominated by local charity The Kinetic Foundation, which helps young people through sport into employment, education and training. Many of the young people, although living locally, were new to the club but since taking part in the VIY project have remained involved.

16 year old participant Nile Waite explains: “I really enjoyed working on the project in the first week so I came back to do more. I’ve gained a City & Guilds qualification, which has been great for my confidence and my prospects, and helping your local sports club feels really good and I’ve signed up to keep volunteering – and playing football! – at the club in the future.”

DIY Space for London

7 April 2019

DIY Space for London (DSFL) is a volunteer-run community live music and arts space that offers activities and events to communities who may not otherwise have access to similar spaces. It is also a Music Venue Trust (MVT) member.

The venue is well used and highly valued by local young people especially, but the washrooms/toilets, bar area and outside space had all become rundown and in need of urgent improvement. DSFL therefore approached VIY for help through our partnership with the GLA’s Good Growth Fund.

Over four weeks, a VIY team of four skills mentors and 23 young volunteers completed the following work: the full strip-out and refurbishment of the washrooms, including building new cubicles and installing new toilets and sinks, refurbishing/redecorating the bar area, and transforming the outdoor space with new benches and planters. 18 of the participants were referred by The Amber Foundation, an organisation that supports unemployed young people at risk of homelessness, and five were construction students from London South East Colleges wanting to gain community-based work experience. Four of The Amber Foundation learners were also taking part in their second VIY project and looking to gain additional accreditations in different trade skills.

By the end of the project, 20 of the young participants had successfully achieved a City & Guilds Entry Level accreditation in carpentry, plumbing/pipework, tiling and/or health and safety. Also, the mentoring team included 21-year old Umar Mansaray, originally from Sierra Leone and a brilliant past volunteer on five previous VIY projects, who was stepping up for the first time to serve as a formal Peer Mentor for new participants.

The Dublin Castle

7 March 2022

In January 2022, we renovated the iconic Camden music venue, The Dublin Castle, which has been home to the early careers of British music legends like Madness, Blur and Amy Winehouse (who could sometimes be seen serving behind the bar too!) 

The pub opened in 1857 to serve the workmen at the nearby railway and slowly transformed from occasionally hosting Irish folk music sessions to now hosting their popular weekly Tuesday night jam, including appearances from major bands such as The Libertines.

Our first project of the year was also our first in partnership with Allianz Musical Insurance, who are helping to revive music venues hard hit by the pandemic. We created new accessible toilets, re-soundproofed the staging area and gave the interior a fresh lick of  black and their iconic red paint.

Two great local referral partners nominated 12 young people from New City College and a London-based training provider called ELATT, who were really engaged and enjoyed working on the project. Overall 12 young people earned 23 accreditations between them.

We also worked with UK Trade Association Federation of Master Builders having previously worked with them at The Sound Lounge. Two of their local members volunteered as Trade Mentors, and our young volunteers also received a work readiness talk by a local Contracts Manager from Avondale Construction. A real inspiring, collaborative industry effort – thanks team!

The Dublin Castle is now ‘back to black’ and ready to welcome gig goers back into their newly renovated space. Venue owner, Henry Conlon, is thrilled to have worked with VIY on their renovations:

“We’re overwhelmed to see the enthusiasm of young people who were actively engaged and involved within this project.

The students dedicated their days to the projects under the expertise, reassurance and the guidance of the VIY mentors. The VIY project stimulated the minds of the young as they could see that the work they were doing was actually helping the continuity of live music performance here at The Dublin Castle.

They’ve gained new skills and honed their craftsmanship in several areas of the venue. Often under the watchful eye of mentors, the projects built shall last for decades. The result is continuity of the venue for audiences and musicians to enjoy for years to come.

VIY’s work is essential, as it physically helps young people re-engage with work and their essential contribution to Grassroots Music Venues who struggle financially to maintain their venues.”

Flo Skatepark

17 December 2021

In 2021, Skateboarding Team GB made their debut in Tokyo, the first Olympics to feature skateboarding as a sport in the Games. In August of the same year, we worked on a refurbishment project at Flo Skatepark in Nottingham, identified by VIY in partnership with Skateboard GB, our second project together following a successful refurbishment at LS-Ten Skatepark in Leeds. Both were exciting opportunities to improve the quality and accessibility of skateboarding in the area, as part of their strategy to create skateboarding ‘hubs’ across the UK to inspire new young talent.

We worked together with specialist skatepark builder 414 Skateparks to design and carry out the extensive works to the indoor skatepark, supported by Persimmon Homes, Travis Perkins Nottingham, GAP Tool Hire and Sport England too.

Professional tradespeople from the area, led by VIY’s Lead Mentors, supported 30 young volunteers aged 14-24 (many of whom are not in education, employment or training) to take an active role in the renovation of the park’s indoor ramp area. 

The project has helped them to develop new employability skills and work towards Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations in practical trades such as joinery. 

As part of their learning, we also ran a carpentry workshop for our young people. Generous donations of timber were given by Travis Perkins Nottingham to renovate and ‘ramp up’ the training spaces at the skatepark, whilst also using 25% reclaimed timber from the previous site. Assistant Branch Manager Arron Martin was incredibly supportive and visited the students during their carpentry workshop. 

We worked in partnership with Persimmon Homes on this project, their support including match funding, staff volunteers lending a hand on site, supporting qualifications for young people and offering participants pathways into the trade sector.

Contracts Manager for Persimmon Homes, Zenon Pointon, volunteered as a Mentor on the project and told us: “It was a pleasure to give my time and guidance to the enthusiastic team of volunteers. It was a fulfilling project to be part of and we hope it has inspired more young people pursue a career in construction, in particular joinery.”

Upon completion, young skater Miriam Nelson, 13, a Skateboard GB hopeful, was one of the first to try out the new ramps, and she said: 

“The renovation of Flo and all the hard work that has gone into it is amazing. It was good before but now it’s just even better than ever for all skaters.”

Golden Mede Housing Development

5 February 2018

Golden Mede is a new housing development in Waddesdon, near Aylesbury, and VIY has worked closely with the Rothschild Foundation and Places for People, the lead contractor, to enable local unemployed and ‘at risk’ young people to gain work experience on site.

Under the guidance of VIY Lead Mentors and other professional tradespeople, 20 young people recruited via local youth work organisations, including Aylesbury Youth Concern, have learnt and applied skills such as bricklaying, plastering, carpentry/joinery and plumbing. In the process, the young people have completed more than 800 guided learning hours, with eight participants successfully gaining a City & Guilds Entry Level 3 construction skills qualification and eight also achieving the Lincsafe health and safety accreditation, enabling them to undertake paid work on construction sites.

The Golden Mede project was also visited and filmed by Guy Martin and Channel 4 for Guy’s Building Britain series of films on All 4 that highlight the UK’s national shortage of building and construction skills – and all five young Golden Mede VIY participants featured in the film have already successfully progressed into paid employment beyond the project.

Hall Green Boxing Club

16 August 2013

Hall Green Boxing Club in south east Birmingham was established in 2000, and now has more than 60 local young people who train at the club every week. The club nominated itself to host a VIY project in 2013 to fully renovate the gym’s showers, toilet block and changing rooms. 18 young people aged 14-17, all members at the clubs, volunteered on the project, working alongside two VIY skills mentors (local builders who also volunteered their time).

Club manager Tom Chaney was delighted to link with VIY: “Our toilets, showers and changing rooms were very run down and in desperate need of repair. Fixing them was a great opportunity for our young members to give something back to the gym and for the whole club to benefit. They took great pride in the work they completed, and the fact that they gained an entry level City & Guilds qualification, under the guidance of professional tradespeople, was a big draw – and reward – for the young people.”

VIY mentor and local tradesman Hermes added: “We were really keen to do what we could to help these young people. They really got stuck in and did a great job. This is a great way to show young people what building work is all about and how it might be for them.”

The project was also visited by Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd.

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