Amber Foundation Surrey

Completed: 2024
Location: Woking, Surrey
Region: South East
Other local partners: Shanly Foundation, Dulux

About the project

This is our fourth renovation project with Amber Foundation to-date – a wonderful charity who support young people at risk of homelessness.

Our partnership with Amber is a win-win for spaces and skills – not only have we renovated parts of the buildings young people live in temporarily to help them rebuild healthier lives across three of their sites, those same young people also volunteer with us on other external community projects to gain skills, experience and confidence.

  • 100+ young people volunteering with Amber across 20+ VIY projects
  • 3 of 4 Amber residential centres renovated by VIY – with this our second at their place in Surrey
  • Multiple City & Guilds accreditations gained by Amber volunteers on each project

This is also our first project in partnership with Shanly Homes, a large homebuilder in the South East and their Shanly Foundation, who wish to have a positive impact on young people and their local communities in which they operate.

Phase 1 – November 2023

We transformed a large piece of overgrown, disused land to create a more useable outdoor area and learning spaces, including building and painting all new brightly coloured seating and furniture and jetwashing their paved areas. We then also replaced old, dishevelled structures with new and converted some disused outdoor buildings into brand new health, wellbeing and therapy spaces, including an external glow-up to make them more inviting and homely.

See Phase 1 here

Phase 2 – April 2024

We then returned to design and fit completely new roofing across three stables, which were dilapidated and covered with holes, turning previously unusable spaces into rooms for learning, IT, 1:1s and art. We then boarded out and redecorated a fourth room, for the team to use for further learning and training for the young people supported by Amber.

See more of Phase 2 here


The impact across the whole project:

  • Transforming both their outdoor and damaged indoor spaces, creating brand new spaces for teamwork and personal development that wouldn’t have existed otherwise
  • 33 unique young people supported by Amber trained in construction skills, helping to improve their environment they call home
  • 35 City & Guilds trade skills accreditations gained in Carpentry, Health & Safety and Painting & Decorating
  • Following his VIY experience on Phase 1, Tyler has since successfully progressed away from Amber, gaining his CSCS card and gaining a job in roofing!
  • Kieran (pictured right) has also successfully moved away from Amber and is studying Biology with the Open University
  • Patrick and Jamie, aged 25 and 24, were coached as Peer Mentors on the project, leading their own groups of peers on sections of the work and sharing their skills they’ve bolstered with VIY
  • Introduced Clarion Housing as an employability partner for future collaborative work and entry into the industry for some Amber learners, alongside support from VIY’s Progressions team


Take a look at our impact so far elsewhere with Amber Foundation:

Boosting wellbeing at Trowbridge

Creating inspiring spaces in Devon

Success story: helping Angel take his next steps

Helping young people like Vanessa to build a brighter future

Amber residents repeat volunteering with VIY

“Whenever new [VIY] opportunities come up, the young people jump at the chance because they know how valuable it will be.” Sarah Johnson, Operations Manager, Amber Foundation
"A great opportunity to learn new skills, that otherwise would not be offered to us. I have mental health issues that are preventing me from looking for work, on top of bidding for housing to move into, and my experience with VIY has been one of the best opportunities that I have taken on." Vanessa, Amber Volunteer in Devon across two projects gaining three accreditations