21 July 2016
Since 2013 we have been delivering Build-it, which combines youth work support with a focus on positive employability outcomes to give young people furthest away from employment the experience, training, skills and support they need to progress into construction careers.
We initially began delivering Build-it as part of a large ‘Millennium Now’ grant from the Big Lottery Fund focused on testing new ideas and the programme has thus developed as we learnt the best way of meeting the programme’s aims over these last few years. In the three and half years of operations to date Build-it has supported almost 1,500 young people through the programme, a great percentage of whom have gone into positive outcomes through the support of the team.
At the end of the second year of delivery, with the Big Lottery grant coming to an end, we made a decision to continue to back Build-it for an 18-month period during which we would seek to find a more sustainable way of delivering high quality outcomes for the young people the programme supports. Now 16 months into this period in which we have scaled back delivery from three sites to one, changed the model of delivery to focus almost entirely on housing associations’ properties, written a business plan on how to monetise the outcomes we deliver and ultimately become less reliant on grant funding. This plan centred around working almost exclusively with Housing Associations on their disposal properties and seeking income from the added value that Build-it creates at the point of auction. In doing so we hoped to be able to reduce the need for grant income and move Build-it towards a social enterprise model.
Although we are incredibly proud of what the programme has achieved, the outcomes that the programme continues to deliver, and the progress made with charging clients for work, the changes abreast with the housing association sector, and more broadly with training funding, means that it has not been possible to secure long-term funding to make the continuation of the programme viable.
The Trustees and Senior Team at London Youth have been considering a range of other options to secure a legacy for the programme during the last six months including partnerships with other construction programmes and companies but none of these discussions have proved successful – largely due to the market constraints that Build-it itself experiences. We have therefore made the tough decision to close the programme at the end of summer 2016.
It goes without saying that we are incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped to make the programme a success, especially the support that our current funders have given.
Clearly ending programmes like Build-it is a very tough decision for us all but we feel it is the right one and are now focussed on closing well and ensuring all the brilliant young people we have supported get started with the career of their choice. Although the programme will formally close at the end of August, plans are in place to ensure anyone who needs it can get this support beyond this close date.