Thu 15 Apr 2021 21:03

VIY combines volunteering and DIY by challenging young people aged 14-24 to learn trade and building skills, on the job, by committing to help fix local youth and community facilities in need of essential repairs or improvement.

Participants are mentored by professional tradespeople, and can gain vocational City & Guilds skills accreditations as well as access to further training, work placement and apprenticeship progression opportunities beyond VIY.Over 600 community facility improvement projects have been completed across England and Wales through VIY, involving more than 12,000 young people and 1,000 trade skills mentors.

Over the past three years VIY has been working with Sport England to help sports clubs improve capacity, host new activities and attract new audiences by undertaking essential improvements to areas like changing rooms/wet rooms, playing and storage facilities, and toilet and kitchen spaces. The programme works across different sports and with governing bodies such as England Rugby and England Boxing, but also spaces that host more informal physical activity such as youth and community centres. 

In addition to match funding from Sport England, these projects are also supported by VIY’s trade and construction sector partners such as Travis Perkins and Dulux through the donation of building materials and the recruitment of professional tradespeople as volunteer skills mentors for young people and to help undertake the building works required on each project. This means that for every £1 of value put into these projects by a funder such as NatWest RugbyForce, another £2 is added via Sport England, Travis Perkins, Dulux, and others, meaning that a £10,000 project can become a £30,000 project by virtue of being run via VIY. Along with offering significant social value for the young people and clubs involved, the projects therefore also offer great economic value.

VIY and England Rugby worked together on NatWest RugbyForce in September 2020 on three rugby union club refurbishment projects, two of which are pictured below. These were all successful in enabling improvements to club social areas, clubhouse space and accessibility whilst engaging young people in the projects, many of whom were new to the clubs in question. One project was also chosen as the focal point for a media campaign featuring James Haskell, Maggie Alphonsi and Dylan Hartley, who were surprise guests at the club in question.

Following this successful pilot VIY and England Rugby are working together via funding from Natwest RugbyForce to enable eight larger scale rugby union refurbishment projects across the country. These projects will enable the types of improvement works mentioned above, and England Rugby have worked with VIY to nominate eight potential clubs to be put forward for this programme, of which your club is one.

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