Barnsley becomes latest council to commission a VIY project

Monday 25th July 2016


Barnsley Council has become the latest local authority to commission and co-fund a VIY Volunteer It Yourself project.

In Grimethorpe, Barnsley, one of the most deprived wards in the country, VIY is partnering with the council and Milefield School/Milefield Community Farm to transform a derelict former caretaker’s bungalow in the school grounds into a new classroom and community learning space. Once renovated, the building will host activities that support the school farm’s aims and objectives, including helping pupils, parents and local residents develop a healthier lifestyle by thinking and learning about the food they eat and how it is produced. Plans for the building include: kitchen facilities enabling pupils to cook meals using produce grown on the farm’s allotment; food education, healthy eating classes and gardening clubs for local residents; and a community café run by pupils and parents as a social enterprise.

The renovation/repurposing of the bungalow will take an estimated six weeks and involve a team of young people referred into the project by Job Centre Plus, local youth work organisations such as The Prince’s Trust, and local secondary schools and colleges. Pupils from Milefield School will also be given the chance to contribute and get involved.

As with all VIY’s partnership work with councils/local authorities, the aim is to enable Barnsley Council to make significant savings on the building repair/renovation works required while also achieving hard education, training and employment outcomes for young people.

Cospa founded VIY in 2012 and the scheme has since grown from one project in south London to 100 locations across England and Wales. VIY is now a CIC (Community Interest Company) and Cospa continues to provide cross-sector partnership development services to the CIC.