VIY project expands to Wales

Thursday 25th July 2013

VIY Hall Green

Cospa’s VIY Volunteer It Yourself project, which involves young people renovating youth club buildings in need of essential repairs, has now launched in Wales.

On VIY, young people are mentored by local tradespeople and work towards an entry level qualification in building and construction skills. VIY graduates are then connected with local apprenticeship, employment and further training opportunities.

VIY is currently being rolled out in 47 locations across the UK over two years, enabled by Cospa in partnership with The Big Lottery Fund, City & Guilds, Wickes and regional youth networks such as the Boys and Girls Clubs Network of Wales and London Youth.

To date, VIY participants have successfully repaired and refurbished 11 clubs in London and the West Midlands, with more than half achieving a vocational qualification, and 10% already having progressed, as a direct result, to trade apprenticeship and employment opportunities.

Now, this summer, VIY is launching in five youth clubs in South Wales (in Pembroke, Swansea, Carmarthen, Newport and The Valleys), followed by another two in Newport and Swansea in the autumn. A total of 140 young people are teed up to take part across these seven clubs, guided and supported by approximately 30 local tradespeople recruited as volunteer skills mentors via local Wickes stores.

One project in The Valleys is unusual – even for VIY! – in that it involves young people transforming an unused army barracks building in Garw into a new youth space, and this new club will officially be opened with a media event in September. So watch this space, literally!

Ultimately, VIY tackles several issues worth solving, including helping youth clubs in need of essential repairs, addressing the trade skills gap in the UK, tackling youth unemployment, and increasing intergenerational cohesion and respect. VIY is also a great example of collaborative social innovation, with different cross-sector organisations bringing assets to bear to achieve something that none of the partners could achieve working alone.

For more information on VIY visit www.volunteerityourself.org