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13 March 2013

The Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) project, in which young people complete essential repairs and renovations on their youth clubs, is being rolled out across the country. 

Now launching in Birmingham, young people will gain qualifications and skills through the pioneering Lottery-funded programme

Local Wickes tradespeople will mentor and train young people to renovate five Birmingham-based youth clubs: King’s Heath, Shirley, Selly Oak, Rednal, and West Tyseley.

The project will see young people renovating 47 youth clubs in total across England and Wales, receiving mentoring from local Wickes tradepeople and gaining qualifications from City & Guilds.

One of the clubs that will be benefiting is All Saints Centre in Kings Heath. The club’s Young Leaders Co-ordinator, Kiu Wai Lam, said:

“The Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) Scheme is a real life line for making this much needed youth club a reality. Not only does it serve to realise the vision of the new youth wing to our community centre, it provides valuable opportunities for our young people to learn new skills and gain accreditations for their efforts. Moreover, it offers them the unique privilege to contribute to the bricks and mortar of the new building – quite literally!"

London Youth Chief Executive, Rosie Ferguson, said:

“VIY is one of the most important and ambitious programmes we’ve ever been involved in at London Youth. The combination of giving young people the chance to plan and then carry out the renovation of their club, learning from mentors drawn from the local community and supported by nationally recognised partners in Wickes and City & Guilds contains all the elements of what we believe high quality youth work to be.

“We’ve been delivering the programme successfully with youth clubs in London for the past nine months, and are delighted now to be taking what we have learned into a partnership with Birmingham Association of Youth Clubs so that many young people in the West Midlands can benefit. We know how serious an issue youth unemployment is in this region, and will work hard to ensure that VIY complements other local efforts being made to provide young people with opportunities to learn new skills in sustainable, high quality community settings.”

VIY has been made possible following a £940,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund. 

The training that the young people receive as part of VIY will all be accredited by City & Guilds, to assure its quality and ensure the participants get the best out of their experience.

An event to mark the progression of VIY to youth clubs in Birmingham will take place on Thursday 14th March at 5pm, at All Saints Youth Centre, 2 Vicarage Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7RA.The event will include talks from project stakeholders as well as an opportunity to see DIY training in action amongst young people and Wickes tradesmen. Interviews are available on request.