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27 September 2013

30 September 2013

The big VIY Challenge saw 270 young people from Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Haringey get their hands dirty to make a difference in their local communities

On Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 September we had a task force of 270 young people renovating community spaces right across London.

  • 4 sites, 5 community projects, 270 young people.The young people were from Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Haringey and refurbished local community spaces in North and East London
  • Almost every participant gained a City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditation in painting and decorating 
  • On Saturday 23 trades people volunteered their time to mentor the young participants and on Sunday there was 21

On this final weekend in September, 270 young people picked up their toolkits, donned their overalls and got down to work renovating youth clubs and community spaces in the most ambitious project yet to be delivered through London Youth and Cospa’s Big Lottery Funded ‘Volunteer It Yourself’ (VIY) project. They were joined by 30 volunteer tradespeople who gave their time to mentor the young participants. 

Stephen from Victoria Park said:

“Members of the public have been thoroughly pleased and impressed that a) we’re building something for the community, and b) so far it’s been completely done by volunteers and kind gestures.”

VIY is a multi-award winning programme which gives young people the chance to renovate their own youth club or community space, learning skills from trade mentors provided by the Wickes DIY chain and gaining accredited qualifications to set them up for careers in painting, decorating and construction. The raw materials for the project are also provided by VIY partner, Wickes.

Wickes Store Manager, Raj, said:

“The young people showed real determination to get the job done” and he offered three of the participants a job at his store.

The Big VIY Challenge was a chance for 270 young people who have been involved in the National Citizen Service (NCS)*, run by London Youth during the summer on behalf of The Challenge Network, to put what they have learned into action. In this final weekend of The Challenge, young people deliver social action projects to make a mark in their community. In this case, they were also giving the places young people go to within their communities a welcome and inspiring make-over.

A young participant of the Selby Trust project said:

“It’s been a really fun day and I’m pleased to have gained an accreditation for what I’ve done as it will help me to get a job in the future”.

The young people worked at four community projects throughout the weekend:

  • Selby Trust, Tottenham: the trust manages and supports community facilities that bring together a rich mix of individuals and organisations, primarily from BME, refugee and other historically excluded communities in TottenhamHaringey and North London.
  • Hackney Marsh Adventure Playground: the playground is based in DaubeneyFields and managed by the Learning Trust. Skilled playworkers are on hand to encourage and make possible access to a range of play opportunities and experiences – from swinging, climbing and digging to building dens, cooking and painting. Adventure playgrounds are usually open after school, on Saturdays and in the holidays, and accept children aged from six to 15 years.
  • The Lion Club, Hoxton: the club has been in existence for over 80 years. It provides a youth club and activities for young people, including a boxing club that engages between 30 and 50 young people every weekday evening.
  • Victoria Park: the park is one of London’s most important historic parks and its oldest public park. It has been used by millions of Londoners for nearly 170 years as a place of healthy recreation, sports, play and relaxation.

Rosie Ferguson, Chief Executive of London Youth, said:

“This weekend two of our most exciting programmes joined forces to offer practical and meaningful opportunities to benefit hundreds of young people across Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Haringey. Both VIY and The Challenge are a brilliant way for young people to learn new skills, and have a real stake in their local community. We’re excited to see young people take a lead and make a difference in their neighbourhoods by truly transforming local spaces”.

So far since July 2012, 13 youth clubs in London have been renovated as part of the VIY programme, bringing new pride and facilities to London’s communities. The project has been recognised as a model of good practice for involving young people and creating strong partnerships, and has won the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award as well as a number of other accolades.

For more information on VIY visit the programme website at: www.volunteerityourself.org

 

*The National Citizen Service (NCS) is a programme funded by the Cabinet Office which seeks to recognise the value of a summer holiday experience in developing young people’s confidence, character and commitment to social action. It is a personal development programme aimed at 16 and 17 year olds.