Minister Nick Hurd visits VIY project in Birmingham

Friday 14th June 2013

Hall Green 1

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, yesterday visited Hall Green Boxing Club in Birmingham to see the VIY Volunteer It Yourself project in action. Developed and co-delivered by Cospa, VIY currently involves more than 1,000 young people and 200 trade skills mentors at 47 locations across England and Wales working together to fix and refurbish local youth club buildings in need of essential repairs.

As well as helping to fix and improve their club building, the young volunteers at Hall Green, all aged 14-17, will earn a building and construction skills qualification and get the opportunity to progress to work placement and apprenticeship opportunities with local employers.

The club has been partnered with the local Wickes store which is providing all the materials needed for free and also helping recruit local tradespeople as volunteer mentors.

VIY is backed by the Big Lottery Fund, and in addition to Cospa and Wickes, the other principal project partners are City & Guilds and London Youth.

Nick Hurd’s visit to Hall Green Boxing Club follows on from the presentation of a Big Society Award to the VIY project by Prime Minister David Cameron at the end of last year and he made the following comment: “This project is impressive. It gets young people involved in refurbishing their local youth club, which clearly makes a big difference to the local community, but it also gives them the opportunity to develop skills which will look great on their CV.”

Tom Chaney, Hall Green Boxing Club Manager, added: “Our toilets, showers and changing rooms have been run down for years and are in desperate need of repair. Fixing them is a great opportunity for our young people to give something back to the gym and for the whole club and its members to benefit, and the VIY participants are taking great pride in the work they’re doing. The fact that they can gain a vocational City & Guilds qualification down at the gym, under the guidance of professional tradespeople, is a big draw for the young people.”

Roger Winhall, Head of Policy and Learning at Big Lottery Fund, said: “VIY is giving young people across Birmingham the opportunity to gain new qualifications and improve their prospects, while at the same time ensuring that the city has a range of up-to-date facilities where young people can socialise and get involved in positive activities for years to come. The energy and enthusiasm of the young volunteers at Hall Green Boxing Club is palpable, and testament to what a brilliant and engaging project this is.”

Hall Green Boxing Club is one of six clubs across Birmingham currently taking part in VIY.