25 June 2014

Our Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) programme has reached the finals of The National Lottery Awards 2014 in their "Charity/Voluntary" category.

This is superb recognition for the programme which has seen London Youth work in partnership with other national/regional youth organisationsCospaWickes and City & Guilds.  

VOTE FOR US (via the logo below)!

VIY combines volunteering and DIY by challenging young people aged 14-17 in deprived areas to learn vocational trade and building skills on the job by committing to fix local youth club and community buildings in need of essential repairs.

Over the past two years. VIY has worked with 59 clubs across England and Wales, with 1,299 young people taking part, of whom 1,047 have now gone onto attain the City & Guilds qualification. Furthermore, to date, 96 VIY graduates have directly progressed to paid work placements and apprenticeships as a direct result of their participation in the project. At the same time, 293 local tradespeople and Wickes staff have volunteered in total more than 9,000 hours on the project as skills mentors.

Why does VIY make a difference?

It's about investing in people AND communities.

One of the VIY projects in London took place at Islington Arts Factory in Holloway in March 2013. With support from Richard ‘Beef’ Franklin, Youth Services Manager at another local London Youth member club called Prospex, a group of young people supported the regeneration of the Arts Factory including laying a new floor and painting the walls in the community café area.

Lucy, a local Islington resident and a member of Prospex who was aged 16 at the time was one of the participants. Lucy got involved in the project as she was looking for something to occupy her time and wanted to develop her DIY skills in order to be self sufficient. On completion of the 10-week programme, Lucy achieved an entry level 3 City & Guilds qualification in Health and Safety, Painting and Decorating and Carpentry. Across the whole programme, Lucy particularly enjoyed the flooring aspect, where wood laminate flooring was cut and laid throughout the community café area of the building as this was completely new to her. She also picked up some new painting and decorating techniques!

Lucy says of the project:

On the VIY project, I loved getting messy and getting the job done. I think it’s important that once you start a job, that you get it finished so that’s what I did.”

On of the other outcomes for Lucy was that she was offered a place on thecentre’s art classes after bringing in her own drawings and impressing the centremanager with her talent!

London Youth’s Chief Executive, Rosie Ferguson, said:

Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) is a brilliant way for young people to learn new skills and have a real stake in their local community. By leading on improvements at their own youth club, learning from skilled trades mentors who live and work in the local community, VIY supports young people to build their confidence and leadership.  

Over the past two years we’ve seen more than 1,000 young people across England and Wales take a real lead and make a difference in their neighbourhoods by truly transforming local spaces. It is great that the work of all the clubs and young people who took part in VIY has been recognised, along with the contribution of Cospa, Wickes, City & Guilds and the other partners. Whether or not VIY  wins the award isn’t the most important thing – what matters is that so many young people benefited from the programme and all the other nominated projects. So we are delighted that the young people’s achievements are being recognised in this way.


London Youth is one for seven finalists for this award, and all are just as worthy winners! But if you think VIY should win this year then we need your help and your votes! Voting is now open until midnight on . 

You can show you support by voting online and clicking on the logo below:

Or by phone on 0844 836 9718.

Calls will cost no more than 5p from a BT landline.  Calls from other networks may vary, calls from mobiles could cost considerably more. (Please note that any calls made outside of the voting periods indicated above will not count and may be charged at a higher rate).

Thank you for your support!