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20 May 2022 | 13:13

Coalition member Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) combines DIY and volunteering by challenging young people aged 14 to 24 - who are not in education, employment or training or at risk of becoming so - to help repair and refurbish youth and community facilities (the majority of which are spaces for physical activity), whilst learning vocational trade skills on the job. In this blog, read how the CIC is building skills and more active communities through improved activity venues. If you think you might have a further education, training or early careers progression opportunity for VIY’s young volunteers, or may know young people who may be interested in their free work experience opportunities, get in touch at [email protected].

VIY is just one supporter in the Sport for Development Coalition delivering on the collective mission to support individuals and communities in the greatest need through physical activity and sport-based interventions. Helping communities to build back not just ‘better’, but fairer and more inclusively for all. 

Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) combines DIY and volunteering by challenging young people aged 14 to 24 years old to help repair and refurbish youth and community facilities (the majority of which are spaces for physical activity), whilst learning vocational trade skills on the job.

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VIY participants are mentored by local professional tradespeople and can work towards and gain Entry Level City & Guilds trade skills accreditations. Since 2011, VIY has worked with over 12,000 young people, principally those disengaged or excluded from mainstream education and training, at risk of disengagement, and/or unemployed, with the aim of upskilling and supporting them to progress back into the workforce, education or training.  

VIY’s mission delivers on all of the objectives of the Coalition's #OpenGoal shared advocacy framework, but especially the following: 

  • Increased employability and skills 
  • Improved health and wellbeing 
  • Stronger communities and social cohesion 

This is particularly evident through its programmes of work with Sport England, refurbishing 225 grassroots sports clubs over three years, all in areas of the highest deprivation across the country. As a result of VIY’s support,  73% of venues have reported an increase in the number of young people engaged with their facilities, of which 73% are females and 55% more from an ethnic minority background. In addition, 76% of participants have gained at least one City & Guilds Entry Level 3 accreditation.

OPPORTUNITIES

Working with sports governing bodies and other key stakeholders, VIY has helped grassroots rugby clubs attract a more diverse membership, whilst improving their social spaces and revenue opportunities, supported boxing clubs to become more gender inclusive and more recently developed alternative spaces for physical activity and social cohesion, such as indoor skateparks, youth clubs and community centres with activity spaces.  

Helping clubs and spaces for physical activity diversify and become more welcoming to wider communities will also be key to the legacy and social impact of major sporting occasions across the nation this year, ensuring that even more young people across all different backgrounds and communities can improve their health, wellbeing and sense of social cohesion, to build a fairer, more equitable and sustainable future. VIY will be renovating venues in the West Midlands through the Gen22 programme with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, starting with Telford Hornets Rugby Club this summer and in local gyms surrounding the World Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool from October.

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You can read more about VIY’s work during its first decade in its 10-Year Review here

  • Think you might have an opportunity for young people following their VIY experience? The organisation would love to hear from you if you can offer further education, training or early careers progression opportunities such as apprenticeships, traineeships, employability programmes or entry level positions which might make a great next step for these young people. 
  • Equally, if you know, or work with, young people who may benefit from a work experience opportunity with VIY, those not in education, training or employment, or who are at risk of becoming disengaged from their current setting, its keen to hear from you too.  

Get in touch at [email protected] where VIY team members are keen to have further conversations and discuss opportunities with you.