Norwich City Council

Working to renovate community spaces according to the priorities of local people – through the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy

Following our success across Norfolk delivering 12 community projects through the Community Renewal Fund, including The Phoenix Centre in Mile Cross and Norwich Lads Boxing Club, we then renovated 13 community spaces in Norwich across 14 months in 2023 through the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL). This was a community funding programme that uses money collected from developers, with spending led by the priorities of the community. We’ve match-funded projects with other VIY Partners including Toolstation and the majority through our VIY-Sport England partnership (marked with * below), to boost sports clubs and allow for more physical activity to take place in active community spaces.

Here’s a rundown of all 13 projects on this programme.

1. Cadge Road Community Centre*

This large outdoor space was significantly under-utilised at this well-used centre, run by the Henderson Trust charity. We helped to construct a number of outdoor benches and planters and a brick BBQ, for them to be able to host outdoor activities, sports, gardening and connecting with members of this deprived community, as identified in feedback from its users and the local community.

“We can’t wait until the warmer weather when we can take our group outside and make use of the BBQ and benches, we have already started planning what we will be planting in the planter that has been allocated to us. We are so grateful to VIY for making them for us!”

User, Cadge Road Community Centre

2. Epic Studios

This ‘epic’ broadcast, music & arts venue was desperately in need of a refresh, to reflect all of the brilliant, creative work and entertainment happening at the venue. We helped fit a new kitchen, including tiling and and redecorating throughout, with the help of 17 young people and 13 City & Guilds accreditations (including our first in tiling for the year!)

We have had a lot of comments from touring artists on how they love the space here at Epic, not only that but the staff too are enjoying the office space so much more! Having the decorating work done in the production and dressing room areas has helped to make the studios more welcoming and as a result we are attracting bigger and better artists to the venue benefitting both the residents who will no longer have to travel further afield but also the local economy by attracting people to the area.

Laura Rycroft, General Manager, Epic Studios

3. Community Skill Share Shop, Drayton Road

Once a bakery on the edge of a large housing estate, ‘The Shop’ had been vacant for a number of years. Following consultation with the local community, the ambition was to transform it into a community skill share hub. We made this space fit for purpose by creating fitted storage and lockable cupboards, shelving, new flooring and adding an accessible ramp, with the help of 18 young volunteers – who’ve already or since volunteered on further VIY projects!

Community group ‘The Common Lot’ have begun delivering skill share sessions for the community including clothes repair, knitting, arts and crafts, energy saving advice and a visit from Norfolk Wildlife.

I found this experience eye opening. I have never tried practical work before but have loved it! VIY has given me a career direction and I can’t wait to start a carpentry course in September. The mentors have been great, and I have really enjoyed working with new people..”

Honey, 17, VIY Volunteer

4. TPF Parkour Club, Mile Cross*

TPF Parkour Club in Norwich, home to gymnastics, parkour and free-running and a local cubs and scouts group, wanted to improve their surroundings for all users and attract new members.  As well as the bold mural, we’ve upgraded the male and female toilets by installing glazed tiling, mirrors and a new coat of paint.

Part-funded by Toolstation, our ninth project and 200th City & Guilds accreditation funded by our trade partner.

Read about our partnership with Toolstation here

“Since the VIY project has been going on, many new people have been phoning to find out how they
can join the club, including previous members returning from before the pandemic.”

Chrissie Roe, Founder, TPF Parkour Club, Norwich

5. Pilling Park Community Centre*

Here we helped Pilling Park Community Centre with much needed redecoration to support their external dance groups, as well as building some planters for their local youth club to be able to grow their own fruit & vegetables to serve up in meals for local people struggling to make ends meet.
This was our first VIY project to offer the City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditation in Environmental Awareness, delivered part through workshop planning and partly on the tools on this project.

“The young volunteers were polite, chatted and really seemed to be enjoying working for you on this placement. They had the correct equipment and Team Leaders that spoke to them at appropriate levels – there was a joy about the team and their work. Our groups have complimented your works and the level of care and attention to detail.

We look forward to using the planters you made lots… vegetable soup coming up for our families that struggle to survive when we next cook together.”

Glenda Prior, Pilling Park Community Centre Management Team

6. West Earlham Community Centre*

This is an important space for the local Polish and Ukrainian communities in Norwich. With the help of 14 local young volunteers, we have improved the external space with new benches, tables, gates, planters and user-friendly slabbed pathing to increase the security and accessibility of the outside space, and also to expand the groups and activities they offer to include dance, a youth club, playgroup and gardening club.

7. Strong Roots Allotment

Here we helped local charity Strong Roots to repair and refurbish their therapeutic garden and wooden therapy hut, a space focused on reducing social isolation and promoting positive mental health. We were joined by 5 volunteers from our trade partners at Toolstation who all volunteered their time to get stuck in on the tools to build a wood store to ensure they have sufficient wood supplies to heat the hut and provide therapy services in winter.

Hear more on this project here

8. Norfolk & Norwich Social Club for the Deaf*

Here across two VIY projects, we’ve helped to create a more welcoming space in this well-used and popular venue for deaf people, people with hearing impairments and their friends to come together to socialise and take part in activities in a relaxed and familiar environment, such as dance, yoga and bowls. We’ve redecorated their large communal spaces and provided new flooring for their meeting room and office.

Over 20 young refugees supported by New Routes have now volunteered on four VIY projects in Norfolk, gaining City & Guilds accreditations to support a brighter future

9. New Routes Integration

Here we helped to make this important community space, an integration centre supporting young people seeking asylum and refuge in Norfolk, a more welcoming place from which to deliver employability and skills training, social integration activities such as dance and keep fit, and support services such as housing, medical and financial awareness. Along with 29 young people, the majority of whom are supported by the centre or through the People from Abroad team at Norfolk County Council, we helped them to redecorate and create a fit-for-purpose outdoor area with a handmade shed, fence, pathway and planters.

See this project before and after

10. Norfolk Community Arts

This space is used by various groups to introduce art/culture to young people – playing instruments, songwriting, singing, using arts as social/emotional development and to promote wellbeing/resilience. As a heritage building, feedback stated groups “would love to use it but it’s too tired/shabby“, so, across two VIY projects, we repaired walls and redecorated their main performing space/reception/offices/toilets, all with the aim to drive revenue and participation to rent out space to local groups. Our third project co-funded by Barclaycard.

11. Silver Road Community Centre

This valued community centre have ambitions to create a healthy eating initiative, so we helped prepare their external spaces which will be turned into a veg distribution centre for their community food bank. We installed a path to an existing green house, which we dry-lined and cladded with ply, which will be used to grow produce, constructed picnic tables to create a community cafe vibe and redecorated internal spaces to make them fresher and more welcoming.

12. Marlpit Community Centre*

Our works have contributed to the venue’s five year plan of improvement to help them survive and thrive as a community space for groups of all ages and backgrounds, including Indian dance, samba and young carers support. Improvements like freshly painted rooms and suitable storage space for equipment will allow for external groups to hire the space and generate new income for the centre. The functioning, well-lit kitchen will also help their ambitions to introduce a Sustainable Living Initiative, together with regular cooking sessions, to help local low-income families to cook well on a budget.

“Thank you so much for all the work you have done for our students on this project. We had an amazing time taking part in VIY and every single one of our students got loads out of the experience. They were able to challenge themselves and learn new skills that have helped to grow their confidence and employability, on top of this all students gained an accreditation which will look great on their CVs.”

Alex Harvey Sporle, Employment Job Coach, Phoenix Purple Inclusive Learning team at City College Norwich

13. St Matthew’s Church, Thorpe Hamlet*

This well-used community hub support the local community in various ways, principally to help combat the effects of increasing isolation, financial hardship, boost physical activity including keep fit classes and a huge increase of single parents within the local area. Through redecoration of three of their communal rooms and some handmade shelving, it’s hoped the works will create a more welcoming, even more well-used hub for the local community to come together, attracting new groups and revenue to keep the venue providing vital services.

“What impressed us was the standard of work was achieved by the preparation, care, encouragement, and expertise that the leaders gave to the young learners. The team also connected with the church community which added to our enjoyment of the week.”

Bridgid Everitt, Churchwarden, St Matthew’s Church