Eric Allin Community Centre

Completed: 2015
Location: Northumberland Park, Haringey
Region: London
Other local partners: GLA, Haringey Council, Homes For Haringey, Ideal Handyman, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation

About the project

This nine-month project involved renovating an empty, disused community centre (owned by Haringey Council/Homes For Haringey) on the Northumberland Park Estate in Tottenham to enable the ongoing hosting of VIY skills workshops and other community activities and events.

In the process, 61 local residents aged 16+ took part (all not in employment, education or training on entry), with 32 achieving an Entry Level 3 City & Guilds employability skills qualification and 17 directly progressing at the end of project to an employment and/or higher level training opportunity.

Work on site covered initial taster sessions to attract participants, followed by twice weekly mentored guided learning days over a four-month period, and finally the delivery of further one and two-day workshops with specific groups and local referral partners. In the process, building tasks undertaken by the young volunteers covered a range of trade skills, including carpentry and joinery, plastering, plumbing, tiling, and painting and decorating.

The Tottenham Hotspur Foundation also helped promote the project to local residents, with Tottenham Hotspur and England star Eric Dier visiting the project and spending half a day working alongside the young volunteers and their mentors.

The total budget was £23,500, with £10,000 contributed by Team London/the GLA and the remaining £13,500 through core funding received by VIY from Nesta and the Cabinet Office. In addition, Wickes donated £5,000 of tools and materials, and local employer Ideal Handyman contributed £3,000 worth of volunteer labour through the participation of their operators as skills mentors.

NB: The GLA calculated the unit cost of each sustained employment outcome achieved on the project as £1,960 and, according to the GLA, this compared favourably with the government’s Work Programme equivalent cost per employment outcome figure (taken from the National Audit Office report, July 2014) of £4,650.

Ideal Handyman’s participation in VIY presents the perfect opportunity for us to give back to the community. Through our contribution, we hope to encourage local young people to learn and develop valuable on-the-job trade skills and experience. Our commitment to providing mentors for young people who are enthusiastic about learning a trade whilst undertaking vital repair work and improvements at the Eric Allin Centre is a wonderful partnership resulting in a new community venue that all parties involved can be proud of. Jonathan Gregory, Managing Director, Ideal Handyman
Haringey Council is committed to giving young people every opportunity to realise their potential and enjoy fulfilling careers. The VIY project has provided local young people with valuable training and experience in trade skills and construction, and is something that the Council has been delighted to support. Ambrose Quashie, Economic Development Officer, Haringey Council
The VIY project has delivered a number of benefits to our community. It enables young people to get a taste of working in building and construction and gain real hands-on experience which is what many employers look for today. And by renovating run-down spaces like the Eric Allin Centre, these volunteers have also created a revitalised community space for local residents to access. Nikki Kelly, Head of Programmes, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation