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.

John Corfield Centre

30 May 2011

Our first VIY project, ever!

Streatham Youth & Community Trust (SYCT) was the first youth club to take part in VIY, participating in the pilot project in February-April 2011.

Activities covered the repair and renovation of two separate club buildings managed by SYCT in south London, the John Corfield Centre and the Wellfield Centre, both in SW16 – with work undertaken including roof repairs, plumbing and general painting and decorating.

A core team of 43 young people committed more than 1,300 hours to the project and all achieved an entry level building and construction skills qualification.

26 of the 43 participants ultimately progressed to further trade skills training opportunities via a local vocational training centre in Brixton – while a further four secured paid work placements with local companies as a direct result of taking part in VIY.

Membership and attendance at the two club buildings also increased with young people feeling more ownership over their club.

The project was also visited and endorsed by Chuka Umunna, Shadow Business Minister and MP for Streatham, Chris Grayling, Minister of State in the Department for Work and Pensions, and Tim Campbell, special advisor to the Mayor of London on apprenticeships and youth enterprise.

Magic Youth Club

5 June 2018

The Magic Club project in Claremont, Blackpool (one of the poorest wards in the UK), involved the refurbishment and repurposing of an old, derelict magician’s theatre as a new youth club/youth centre.

More than 50 young people volunteered on the project, recruited via The Prince’s Trust and also, in partnership with The Careers & Enterprise Company, Merseyside Police, and local schools and colleges. Working with a team of VIY Mentors, the participants took on a variety of jobs, including stripping out old fittings and furnishings, installing a new kitchen and toilet, installing a new disabled access doorway and ramp, relaying and levelling the main hall floor, and painting and decorating throughout. In the process, participants worked towards achieving a City & Guilds Entry Level 3 employability skills qualification.

Project activities were principally funded by Blackpool Council, The Careers & Enterprise Company, Merseyside Police and Wickes, with Wickes also providing all tools and materials at no cost.

50% of the school students who took part in the project were on the brink of exclusion, or had recently returned to school having been excluded, and the schools subsequently reported that all of these students remained successfully engaged at school six months beyond the end of their VIY experience.

The centre was officially opened in March 2018 and is now a bustling youth club, the only one in Claremont. The club already has 140 members aged 8-16 regularly attending and currently runs three sessions a week, covering activities such as sports and drama, and workshops on relationships, sexual health and identity. The centre also continues to host ‘hands on’ VIY workshops to engage new cohorts of young people wanting to learn vocational trade skills.

The VIY Magic Club project was also visited and commended by Dame Julia Cleverdon, Vice President of Business In The Community and a board member at The Careers & Enterprise Company.

Marden Boxing Club

27 August 2019

Marden is a community boxing club based in an old church hall that was built in the 1930s. Located in one of the most disadvantaged wards in Newcastle, Marden gives local young people a safe environment in which to train, compete or just make and see friends.

In April 2019, 17 young students from Gateshead College volunteered to help improve the centre as a VIY-Sport England partnership project. None of them had visited the boxing club before. They helped to increase the size of the main gym, removed a partition wall, and extended the training area into an old kitchen space. They also created a new changing room in a disused storeroom and installed new cubicles in the bathrooms.

This work has allowed the club to host extra participants, as well as to improve safety, at their training sessions. They are also now able, for the first time, to attract female boxers to the club due to the newly-created separate changing rooms and toilet facilities.

Dean Preston, manager and coach at Marden Boxing Club, explains: “The project has been a great success and a massive boost for the club. As a not-for-profit community club, we depend on external support. VIY and Wickes have been amazing. We have managed to increase our space and give existing and new members a safer facility to train in. Without their help none of this would have been possible.

All 17 college students/young volunteers earned a City & Guilds Health & Safety accreditation as a result and Allen Hooker, their course tutor at Gateshead College, said: “The learners were buzzing about volunteering on this project and can’t wait to be involved in more opportunities like this at the club and with VIY down the line.”

Meadowbrook Pupil Referral Unit

15 August 2018

Meadowbrook College is a PRU (Pupil Referral Unit) that works with young people who are excluded, or at risk of exclusion, from mainstream schools and among the most vulnerable young people in Oxfordshire.

Our work with Meadowbrook covered the involvement of 18 of their students, all aged 15/16, as volunteers in the refurbishment of four community facilities between August 2017 and June 2018.

The work carried out across the four facilities (Barton Leisure Centre and Ferry Leisure Centre in Oxford, and Meadowbrook College’s own campuses in Abingdon and Bicester) included skills such as painting and decorating, plumbing, plastering and tiling, and the young people were mentored on the job by a team of three local professional tradespeople. In the process, the young participants contributed more than 500 volunteer hours whilst working towards achieving multiple City & Guilds Entry Level 3 trade skills accreditations.

One of the participants, 15-year-old Jason Higginson, had been at Meadowbrook for a year prior to signing up for the VIY project. He was attracted by the opportunity to volunteer and do something for his community at the same time as learning new skills and improving his employment prospects. He successfully achieved the Entry Level City & Guilds qualification and is now targeting a starter job as a painting and decorating apprentice on leaving Meadowbrook in June 2019.

Mersey Bowmen Tennis Club

7 April 2019

Mersey Bowmen is one of the oldest tennis clubs in the country in a deprived part of Liverpool, and were having severe issues with flooding and damp, and the clubhouse was becoming rundown as a result. They applied to VIY for help and, over several weeks, VIY mentors worked with more than 30 local young volunteers to design and install new drainage gullies and also to carry out a much-needed full internal and external redecoration of the clubhouse.

The young volunteers were referred into the project by Merseyside Sports Partnership and Greenbank College, located near to the club. and most of them were first-time volunteers and had never previously been involved with activities at Mersey Bowmen. All of the young volunteers also achieved an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds Accreditation in Painting and Decorating as a result of their participation.

Alan Haddy, Club Manager at Mersey Bowmen, was delighted with the impact of the project: “We’ve greatly benefitted from the VIY project. The VIY staff and mentors were very supportive and provided expert advice in addressing our facility maintenance and repair requirements. VIY also led on recruiting local young people to volunteer and participate, and managed all activities onsite. It’s been very smooth running. The project has also helped to introduce many more young people to our club and to tennis, and to engage them in further opportunities with us, such as the free coaching sessions we provide every Sunday.”

MK Dons Football Club

5 June 2018

Through Wickes’ sponsorship of the EFL (English Football League), MK Dons FC approached VIY for help with creating a new disabled changing facility at the club’s stadium. The scope of work included bricklaying, plastering, tiling and painting and decorating and was undertaken by construction students from Milton Keynes College, guided on the job by VIY Mentors. As well as being willing volunteers, the students were looking for community-based work experience that would also help open doors to future apprenticeship and other employment opportunities.

MK Dons’ manager Robbie Neilson attended the project and commented: “It’s fantastic that so many members of the community have come together to help MK Dons create this new facility for visitors to the club. Seeing all these people pitching in to do their bit for the project was inspiring.”

David Sanderson, Store Manager at Wickes Bletchley, added: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to help MK Dons by ensuring that the volunteers have all the materials and tools they need. It’s great to be involved in such a fantastic project which motivates and excites young people at the same time as teaching them useful skills.”

Newton Cricket Club

4 November 2022

Our fourth project as part of the Inspiring Generations programme, using cricket to improve young people’s lives and create stronger, healthier communities in Greater Manchester.

The project:

We created an impressive raised decking area overlooking the pitch for more to spectators to watch their local cricket games, enjoy refreshments and host events for the local community, helping the club to become financially sustainable and secure.

The young people: 15 young volunteers from Active Tameside, Tameside Youth Justice Service and St Thomas More College

The impact:

  • Doubled their hospitality and events space to widen hosting & participation opportunities, for financial sustainability
  • All young people were first time volunteers and first time visitors to the club
  • Nothing but praise and active interest from the locals for the new community space

Accreditations gained: 25 City & Guilds Entry Level 3 in Painting & Decorating, Carpentry and Health & Safety

Norwich Lads Boxing Club

4 November 2022

One of 12 projects in our programme in partnership with Norfolk County Council through the UK Community Renewal Fund*.

The project:

We installed female facilities and changing areas to open the (traditionally male) club up to a more diverse audience, and gave it a good painting refresh to entice new members, across a four week project in Norwich city. We also added a bespoke wall art mural of their logo.

The young people: 29 young volunteers through the Aspire programme at City College Norwich, some of whom are new refugees to the area looking to gain skills and boost their employability.

The impact:

50% more females participating at the club since the completion of the works by VIY to add female facilities

8 volunteers on the project now training at the club, none of whom had been through the door previously

Cadie, one of our female NEET volunteers on the project, has since progressed onto Level 1 Carpentry at City College Norwich after she found a passion for carpentry on this VIY project!

Accreditations gained: 25 City & Guilds Entry Level 3 in Painting & Decorating, Carpentry and Health & Safety

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

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