West Nottinghamshire College

10 June 2022

Students at West Nottinghamshire College transformed a barren piece of land at their Derby Road campus while learning new skills for the future.

The foundation studies team were keen to turn an unused grassy space, which sits between the college’s restaurant area and the animal care unit, into a kitchen garden which would both nurture the students’ horticultural and environmental skills as well as grow produce for the restaurant’s kitchens and the animals in the neighbouring unit.

We created raised growing beds set with new vegetables, herbs and flowers, created a shed, composting bin and wider paved areas to enable students in wheelchairs to enjoy the same access to the garden as able-bodied students. This will enable them to put new skills into practice and to help broaden their knowledge on the food supply chain and environmental impact of food miles.

The project was supported by the Mansfield branch of our trade partner, Travis Perkins, who provided wooden sleepers, paving slabs and a large potting shed to help turn the bare grassy area into a new garden space over a period of just three weeks. This was overseen by Assistant Branch Manager Zoe Ruston, herself a former media production student at the college’s Derby Road campus.

More than 23 foundation studies students have spent practical lessons out in the garden throughout May, mentored and coached by our Trade Skills mentors, who have introduced them to a range of joinery, construction and painting skills, resulting in the group being awarded Entry Level 3 accreditations in carpentry and health and safety. 

Funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund.

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.”

Shining Lights Centre

14 January 2022

Wembdon Village Hall

14 January 2022

The Tin Music & Arts Venue

14 January 2022

Bowlee Pavillion

14 January 2022

Southbrook Community Centre

14 January 2022

Birmingham City Boxing Club

14 January 2022

Kent Phoenix American Football Club

14 January 2022

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 the under 6’s level right through to adult level. With a desire to make the club more inclusive to female players, and those with disabilities, the club employed the help of VIY to make this happen.

Over the course of several weeks, our VIY mentors helped 60 young people from the local area, including 23 from Broomfield Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre, volunteer on the project to help convert a disused male changing room into their first female changing room, implement a new physio room and match day kitchen, and redecorate existing changing rooms and the entrance to give the club a modern feel.

With funding from Sport England and the Rugby League World Cup’s CreatedBy programme, and materials supplied by Travis Perkins Leeds Coal Road and Dulux UK, a whopping 123 City and Guilds accreditations were achieved by the young volunteers.

Our lead Mentor on the project, Saj, was full of high praise for the young volunteers, and first time VIY Mentor, Matloob Hashimi, said:

‘My first project was kind of an eye opener. On my first day I was really nervous because I had never worked with young people. After a few days I was thinking all of those years ago, I was like these kids, learning from someone to improve my skills. My favourite part was at the end of the day I would ask the kids if they enjoyed themselves and learnt anything that day, and with a big smile, they would say YES’.

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