Last week saw the launch of a new scheme, giving young
people aged 14 upwards accredited construction and DIY skills while
refurbishing their own local youth centres.
The Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) scheme, run by young people's
charity London Youth and backed by a £940,000 Big Lottery Fund
grant, will enable young people across England and Wales to
renovate 47 youth clubs. Teens will also receive mentoring from
local Wickes tradespeople and gain qualifications from City and
Guilds, the UK's leading vocational education organisation.
"VIY is one of the most important and ambitious programmes we've
ever been involved in at London Youth," says Rosie Ferguson, London
Youth chief executive. "At a time when youth unemployment remains
very high it will give clubs and young people a massive boost - and
we believe it is something that other partnerships can replicate
and build on, so more young people benefit."
Wickes is also supporting the programme by recruiting
tradespeople through its nationwide network of stores and donating
tools and materials for the project. Additionally, every
participating youth club will be matched up to a local Wickes
"Last month, government figures revealed that the proportion of
16 to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training has
risen by 8%," says Tony Holdway, Wickes brand director. "In
parallel we know that although 60% of tradespeople entered the
trade through being an apprentice, a staggering 82% do not
currently employ one. The VIY project bridges these two problems
and provides an effective solution; training apprentice-ready young
people to address a specific industry need."
The scheme is launched in partnership with the Co-Sponsorship
Agency, which specialises in facilitating and enhancing social
action projects. "VIY is a great example of different
organisations working together to achieve something significant
that none of the partners could achieve alone," says director Tim
London Youth is a network of 400 community organisations
serving 75,000 young people across all London boroughs. Their goal
is to provide everyone growing up in and around London to have
access to high quality youth work including structured,
developmental activities, someone to talk to and a positive
peer-group in a safe, stimulating and supportive environment.
The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National
Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of
the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery. It aims
to improve communities and the lives of people most in need and
awards grants to health, education, environment and charitable
causes across the UK. Since June 2004, the Big Lottery Fund
has awarded over £4.4bn.
For more information on London Youth and the VIY scheme, click