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.

Merryville House

11 April 2023

Project: we converted an empty townhouse into a new nine-bed supported accommodation unit for Youth Concern, a charity providing support, information and guidance for vulnerable young people aged 13 – 25 years old in Aylesbury Vale. The residence is used to house young people at risk of homelessness in Aylesbury.

This was also the first project supported by Dulux, who have now become one of our key National Trade Partners. They donate all of the paint and painting materials to all of our projects, their colleagues and customers support our projects as mentors and volunteers and we are now working to gain further work experience and placements for our young volunteers with their customers and contractors. You can read more about this partnership here.

Volunteers: 10 young volunteers supported by Youth Concern, supported by staff volunteers from Dulux

Fun fact: Jojo started as a VIY volunteer (pictured painting on the right in picture 9 on the stairs) and has now been a Project Executive/Youth Engagement Co-ordinator with VIY since 2021!

Skills and accreditations earned: throughout the nine rooms in the building, our young learners and Dulux volunteers got involved with plastering, plumbing tiling and decorating to transform this place into a welcoming home for young people through Youth Concern.

Hear about the project here on BBC Three Counties


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.

Old Library

29 December 2022

A standout project in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council and the UK Government Community Renewal Fund*.

The project:

Renovating a Grade II listed venue in the heart of Mansfield, The Old Library, used for community arts activities, including a makeover through extensive painting & decorating to its interiors and community cafe, to celebrate its 25th anniversary and revitalise the venue ahead of a busy summer of arts activity and performance.

The young people: 17 young people aged 16+ were referred by two local youth organisations: Inspire Culture and Vision West Nottinghamshire College

The impact:

  • Interiors, lobby and cafe space upgraded to make it more welcoming
  • Multiple onsite work-readiness training sessions delivered by Travis Perkins
  • Visit from Executive Mayor for Mansfield, Andy Abrahams (pictured right)
  • Platforms donated by GAP Tool Hire
  • 7 of the learners have been supported by VIY in accessing and progressing to construction-related further training and employment opportunities
  • Dominic Thompson, aged 22, who was NEET on joining VIY, had no past experience in trade skills or interest in construction. He spent three weeks on the project, gaining an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds qualification in Painting & Decorating and has now successfully progressed post-VIY into a formal/higher level Painting & Decorating course and is looking to gain full time employment as a Decorator once finished

Accreditations gained: 15 young people achieved a City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditation in Painting & Decorating 

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

Paddle Plus

17 February 2023

The project:

Paddle Plus wish to work alongside Canal and Rivers Trust to offer paddle sports to more local people in their community, and to partner with their local NHS services to offer self-prescribing services for local people to improve their mental health through paddle sports on the canals and spending time in the peaceful outdoor environment. VIY has helped them create safe storage and socialising areas in an empty shipping container, to help make this vision a reality. Hear more about Paddle Plus and what this space, plus this project, means to Shaun, Chair of Paddle Plus, in the video here >>>>>

The young people: 11 young volunteers from Orchard Mead Academy and Birkett House Special School

The impact:

  • Safe storage created for canoes to be stored, allowing for paddle sports club activities and self-prescribing services to run for the local community
  • Seating created to enable groups to socialise afterwards, spend time together and reduce isolation
  • A true collective effort from all involved, from our funders, to the Paddle Plus team for helping us get everything sorted, to Travis Perkins Leicester helping us with all of the materials, to the teachers and learners grabbing this opportunity to boost their skills where they otherwise may struggle to learn, and VIY team members for pulling it all together
  • VIY Mentors Mark and Imran praised for their work, and invited to present the certificates to the students of Birkett House at their school assembly celebrating the project

Accreditations gained: 11 Entry Level 3 City & Guilds in Carpentry

« Previous PageNext Page »