Chapel-en-le-Frith High School

15 August 2018

Chapel-en-le-Frith School is one of 100 secondary schools across England that have taken part in VIY’s Mentoring Programme, supported by The Careers & Enterprise Company, since 2017.

The Mentoring Programme is targeted at students in Years 8-11 and designed to develop early awareness of the building and construction sector as a relevant and rewarding career pathway. The programme typically involves three interactions for students over one term with their VIY Mentors: two introductory skills workshops and then an on-site building project, identified/nominated by the students.

At Chapel-en-le-Frith, 34 students were selected by their teachers to participate, and for their project the students decided to renovate the school allotment. This included the building of new raised beds/planters and potting benches, and improving wheelchair access. Over two days each student completed 12 Guided Learning Hours working with their Mentors, successfully achieving an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds carpentry accreditation in the process.

Pre and post evaluation revealed that the students, in addition to developing new vocational trade skills, had also increased their confidence levels across seven key softer employability skills over the course of the programme, including teamwork and expressing their ideas and opinions.

City of Derby Academy

1 September 2021

Elliott Hall Youth & Community Centre

5 February 2019

Farnborough Academy

5 February 2019

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.”

Flower Pod, Newark

21 December 2022

Having worked with students from The Newark Orchard School, supporting students with special educational needs, on our project at Vale View Summerhouse through the UK Community Renewal Fund* in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, second time round this was pretty special.


The project: 

They were looking for their own accessible outdoor learning area to bring students who have higher needs and/or in wheelchairs for the students to use, and now the students themselves have built just that from start to finish at Flower Pod, through learning and putting their carpentry skills to the test. This has been alongside young people with special educational needs from Reach, who run Flower Pod, supporting their young people through educational activities within this community space.

Reach have been battling a muddy garden area filled with weeds for over two years, simply wanting an area for their young people to learn and work doing outdoor, horticultural activities.

At the other end of the garden to Newark Orchard, we’ve created an outdoor learning area with benches and planters for Reach’s young people to use and learn in all year round, but especially in summer where it provides the only bit of shade for the garden for students to work in.

The young people: 16 local young people from Reach, the venue hosts, The Newark Orchard School who use this space for learning and a returning VIY youth partner, Inspire Culture . 7 Community Volunteers who regularly work/volunteer with Reach also volunteered on this project.

Hear from Josh, VIY young volunteer

The impact: 

“This is our second time taking part in VIY and it definitely won’t be our last! Over the two projects, our students have been given an incredible opportunity to work alongside the amazing VIY Mentors to build planters, benches and a summerhouse as part of a transformation to local community areas. They have developed not only their carpentry and horticulture skills. but a wide range of employability skills that will impact on their life-long learning.

“The confidence and skill progression in all students from the start to the end of the project has been phenomenal. Our students are often faced with a glass ceiling due to their additional needs, however these projects have instilled ambition and aspirations in each and every one of them, allowing barriers to be broken down.

“From a school perspective, the involvement in the projects have allowed us to achieve multiple work-related learning targets, including employer mentoring and work experience, which can sometimes be a real challenge to organise for our young people.

We cannot recommend VIY highly enough and hope that our relationship can continue for many years to come!”

Kate Fell, Teacher at Newark Orchard School 

Hear more from Kate here

We always welcome those looking to lend a hand and volunteer on our projects, whether it be through a trade or an optimistic attitude and life skills to share.  Please contact our Mentor Manager, Karen, via if you’d like to get involved in a project near you.


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

Forest Town Youth Centre

21 January 2019

Forest Way School

9 April 2020

Lady Manners School

31 January 2019

Leicester Combat Academy

5 February 2019

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