John Corfield Centre

Completed: 2011
Location: Streatham, South London
Region: London
Other local partners: Streatham Youth & Community Trust, Pimlico Plumbers, vinspired, A4e

About the project

Streatham Youth & Community Trust (SYCT) was the first youth club to take part in VIY, participating in the pilot project in February-April 2011.

Activities covered the repair and renovation of two separate club buildings managed by SYCT in south London, the John Corfield Centre and the Wellfield Centre, both in SW16 – with work undertaken including roof repairs, plumbing and general painting and decorating.

A core team of 43 young people committed more than 1,300 hours to the project and all achieved an entry level building and construction skills qualification.

26 of the 43 participants ultimately progressed to further trade skills training opportunities via a local vocational training centre in Brixton – while a further four secured paid work placements with local companies as a direct result of taking part in VIY.

Membership and attendance at the two club buildings also increased with young people feeling more ownership over their club.

The project was also visited and endorsed by Chuka Umunna, Shadow Business Minister and MP for Streatham, Chris Grayling, Minister of State in the Department for Work and Pensions, and Tim Campbell, special advisor to the Mayor of London on apprenticeships and youth enterprise.

"VIY is a fantastic example of partnerships creating real solutions, and I have seen first-hand the positive impact the project has had in our community. The volunteers have transformed this club – and themselves – doing much needed physical repairs whilst learning practical DIY trade and building skills on the job. It was a pleasure to meet the first VIY graduates and hear about the apprenticeships and work placements a number of them have secured as a result of their hard work and enthusiasm." Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham
"Attending the VIY graduation event in Streatham was a great honour and it’s wonderful to see businesses – small and large – supporting young people by offering up their people, products, skills and brands. The fact that young people have, through participating in VIY, gained awards and apprenticeships is fantastic, but it’s as important and gratifying to see a mix of different businesses and organisations working together to inspire young people to aspire to greater things. I hope that this pilot can be a catalyst for similar VIY projects and outcomes across the country." Tim Campbell, special advisor to the Mayor of London on apprenticeships and youth enterprise
"This project is impressive because it does two things. The first is that it clearly makes a big difference to the local community, refurbishing something that's been at the heart of the local community for a long time and needs a lot of attention. It is a real example of Big Society in action, with both big and small companies doing the right thing. But also, it is clearly helping develop the skills of young people, giving them a sense of the workplace for the first time and an introduction to valuable vocational skills – and some of them will undoubtedly go on to work experience placements and apprenticeships and build a career in this area. So, for both these reasons, VIY is a really exciting project." Chris Grayling MP, Minister of State in the Department for Work and Pensions