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.

Don Valley Academy

5 February 2019

See what happened when we created a memorial garden for the students of Don Valley School, with the help of 15 of their very own students learning carpentry and joinery as they go, and earning an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditation. All part of our VIY Mentoring Programme, supported by the Careers & Enterprise Company working with 100 secondary schools across England since 2017.

Just one of Guy Martin’s mini-series on Channel 4, Building Britain, travelling to four VIY projects across the country to meet the young people we mentor in trade skills whilst renovating community spaces.


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.

Gorleston Community Room

29 December 2022

The Gorleston Community Room was a disused community hub, a place where Orbit Housing envision a variety of groups/tenants meeting from the community where they live in Orbit housing in Great Yarmouth, the most deprived area in Norfolk and one of the most deprived towns in the UK. Orbit wanted to increase the functionality of this building, to increase the promotion of healthy living/wellbeing and deliver more quality experiences for the community to host from coffee/parent & child mornings, to physical activity groups like yoga and local services like voting.

The project:

To bring this vision to life, with some design input from MUF Architects, the project has seen the garden boundary extended, new doors being fitted to lead into the new garden, the construction of a large decking area with a section being covered by a pergola, a complete internal refit including new flooring, a new kitchen and larger, accessible toilet as well as external decoration and storage.

The young people: 19 local young volunteers recruited from the local Orbit housing community, YMCA Norfolk, Catch-22 Great Yarmouth and Dial Great Yarmouth, who support vulnerable young people and those with disabilities

The impact:

  • Transformation of community hub including new kitchen and accessible toilet, new flooring and blinds for groups to use the space
  • A new storage shed, pergola, seating and decking area ready to use for outdoor physical activity
  • The building now has a larger footprint and more storage meaning it can host varied activities more flexibly.
  • The newly refurbished interior also means it’s a more attractive space for private hire and general community events
  • 2 young volunteers promoted to paid Peer Mentors with VIY during this project – supporting other VIY volunteers to learn trade skills on two further VIY projects in Norfolk
  • 4 other young volunteers progressed into further education/training/employment following this project, with 2 more supported by VIY to find future opportunities
  • The space opens to the public in autumn 2023

Match-funded by Sport England.

Accreditations gained: 14 Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations gained in Carpentry and Health & Safety

See this project in action here


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.

Holt Youth Project

28 October 2022

The project: Holt Youth Project (HYP) was our ninth project in partnership with Norfolk County Council, through the UK Community Renewal Fund. Here we transformed an overgrown, disused outdoor space into a new wellbeing garden and allotment for the local young people who attend HYP as a safe space to meet, socialise and involved in different activities. The space will be used for horticultural lessons and growing projects for these young people to be involved in.

It was a true team effort, with those who weren’t outside learning trade skills were inside hands-on in the kitchen preparing lunch for everyone!

The young people: 14 young people volunteered to transform this space, most of whom attend HYP and will benefit from the garden themselves

The impact? Lisa from HYP said: “We are very grateful for VIY coming to our venue and revamping our space alongside our young people. VIY were very helpful throughout the process. The project has impacted our young people inspiring them to plan new projects such as making a pallet herb planter, making a scarecrow and researching what they can grow at certain times of the year. All of these new skills will help our young people at home and here in the project. We also hope to run more horticultural projects throughout the year thanks to this renovated space.”

Shortly after we completed our project, Oscar award-winning actress Olivia Colman and her husband Ed, as local residents, have become patrons of HYP. Olivia donated a ‘buddy bench’ to which was given to her by Disney.

Accreditations earned: 11 City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditations earned in Carpentry and Painting & Decorating

Funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund.

Hunslet Warriors Rugby League Club

14 January 2022

Hunslet Green Community Sports Club, the home of Hunslet Warriors Rugby League Club, has been a hub for local people in the South Leeds area, providing opportunities to play rugby from under 6 right through to adult level, and has more than 1,500 members on its books. As well as providing training facilities, it has a bar and a function space, which is used by a church group every Sunday.

With a desire to make the club more inclusive to female players, and those with disabilities, Rugby League World Cup’s CreatedBy programme was the perfect opportunity to make this happen, ahead of the delayed championship hosted by England in 2022.

The project: over the course of several weeks, we converted a disused male changing room into their first female changing room, implemented a new physio room and match day kitchen, and redecorated existing changing rooms and the entrance to give the club a glow-up.

The young people: 60 young people from the local area over the course of several weeks, including 23 from Broomfield Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre

The impact:

  • Works will enable this club, run solely by volunteers, to boost its revenues and reach more members in one of the most deprived parts of Leeds
  • Ground floor kitchen for wheelchair access and players with injuries/unable to walk up stairs – fitted with an outdoor hatch to help boost their revenue on match days
  • Separate changing room created for growing teams of female players, referees and touch judges
  • New physio room to serve the needs of players and local people
  • Strong mentoring experience for four Peer Mentors on their six month placement with VIY through the UK Government’s Kickstart Scheme
  • Read about the project here in the Yorkshire Evening Post

Accreditations gained: a whopping 123 City and Guilds accreditations


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