A social enterprise scheme aimed at helping young people learn practical DIY skills has refurbished the New Malden YMCA Dickerage Sports and Community Centre.
The refurbishment project, which finished three weeks ago with support from Toolstation, will help YMCA Dickerage increase its range of services, attract new community members and boost its revenues.
Toolstation has partnered with the community interest company, Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) for the second time this year.
The VIY programme combines DIY and volunteering by challenging young people to help repair and refurbish community facilities, whilst learning vocational trade skills on the job.
This helps them become more employable in the construction sector.
Greg Richardson, head of marketing at Toolstation said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the VIY team in helping refurbish an important community space in New Malden”.
The project saw 31 volunteers, aged between 14-24 years old help to refurbish the community centre’s kitchen and café area, create a new digital education space, build benches and tables and completely redecorate the interior and exterior space.
Daniel Slocombe, Youth Support Worker at YMCA St Paul’s group has worked at Dickerage sports and community centre for over 20 years.
He said: “The centre and its community have become a huge part of my life.
“This is the most excited I’ve been since working here – the refurbishment will make a huge difference to young people and their lives.”
The centre is a hub for the local community, providing free sessions for all ages from football games for young people to coffee mornings for senior residents.
Daniel explained: “Community is so important and after COVID-19, the centre is helping bring everybody together.
“It is more multicultural and multi-generational than ever before.“
VIY participants are mentored by local professional tradespeople.
National head mentor, Imran Younas said: “The young people really enjoyed the carpentry as they got to see their work come to life very quickly and they surprised themselves when they realised what they can build with a little nudge from the mentors.”
The majority of young people who take part are disengaged or excluded from mainstream education and training.
The volunteers came from the following organisations: The Amber Foundation, Raynes Park School, YMCA Dickerage and South Thames College.
Tim Reading, CEO and founder of VIY said: “This project has been a great example of how VIY enables young people to gain trade skills and employment outcomes whilst helping to transform a community space they use and benefit from”.
The volunteers spent 560 hours in total on the project.
38 Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations in Carpentry, Painting and Decorating Health and Safety were also earned by the volunteers.
Toolstation, one of Britain’s fastest growing suppliers building materials and equipment, funds the City & Guilds accreditations, skills training and mentoring of the volunteers.
Alongside Toolstation, Travis Perkins supported VIY by donating building personal protective equipment, materials and tools for the project.
Toolstation plans on funding a further five VIY projects throughout the year and aims to help over 150 young people gain qualifications and consider a career in the trades.
Toolstation opened its 500th store in New Malden in August and this tie-up with VIY will see the team give something back to the New Malden community.
Photo credit: Daniel Slocombe from YMCA