Phoenix Centre

Completed: 2022
Location: Mile Cross, Norwich
Other local partners: Norfolk County Council, Dulux, Travis Perkins Norwich, UK Government

About the project

The first of twelve projects in 2022 in partnership with Norfolk County Council through the UK Community Renewal Fund*.

The project:

The Phoenix Centre provides vital services to the local community in Mile Cross, Norwich, through food banks and children’s activities. Through our three week project there in March 2022, VIY were welcomed with open arms whilst we refreshed their interiors to make it a more inviting space for the community. The team even put on a lovely buffet to thank all of the team and young people for their hard work! We received another warm welcome as we returned to the centre in October 2022 to refresh even more rooms across the centre.

The young people: 20 local young volunteers, including those who use the centre itself, the Aspire project through City College Norwich and Future Education, for those with special educational needs.

The impact:

“The Phoenix Centre had an image of being dirty and unkempt prior to being painted and generally tidied by VIY. Some said they hadn’t come to events as it was unkempt and dirty – now people are actively booking rooms and attending events.” 

Christine Rumsby, Chair, Phoenix Centre

Archie, a young volunteer who was NEET on arrival at VIY through Norfolk County Council, has since been supported by VIY and local partners at the Clarion Housing Association onto an SIA course to gain his security license – although he’d also like to pursue a painting & decorating career in the future – as he told us below.

Bailey a young, regular volunteer to the centre, who struggles in mainstream education and watched hesitantly for the first week, was inspired to get involved and eventually said in their words (as seen below) they’d had the ‘best time of my life’.

Accreditations gained: 24 City & Guilds Entry Level 3 in Painting & Decorating, Carpentry and Health & Safety

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

I just want to thank you, you have all been so helpful, kind and supportive. Thank you for letting me be part of the VIY team, being a learner was amazing, the help and support I received was amazing, and I want to thank Alan and Sue especially for reaching out to let me be part of VIY. I have enjoyed every minute of it and I hope you will consider me for other jobs and work with VIY because I have had the best time of my life. Bailey, 17, VIY volunteer
I have really enjoyed the week- everyone has been friendly and welcoming. I have really enjoyed the painting and have learned lots of new skills. This experience has definitely helped me to decide to pursue a career in painting and decorating. Archie, 17, VIY volunteer
It’s very good for people who don’t know where to go. Before I go onto a [carpentry] course, I want to have as much experience as I can. If anyone’s considering it, I’d just say go for it. Just go there for one day and that’s all you need to make up your mind. Joe, VIY volunteer
My students and I have absolutely loved being involved in the project. The mentors and other members of staff are really approachable and helpful. My students have learned lots of new things and how to work as part of a team on a sizeable project. Its been a great opportunity to offer students work experience and for me to put a bit back into the community. Stacey Williams, Future Education (alternative provision)
What a fantastic project. The students have developed not only their practical skills but also their confidence from working with new people. The mentors have been knowledgeable and patient with all the young people. Lucy Hughes, Aspire Project, City College Norwich
As Chair of the Phoenix Centre, it has been so great to have young people and the VIY team in the building- they have been great! It’s given us new found pride in the place. We will miss everyone once you have gone! Christine Rumsby, Chair, Phoenix Centre