Volunteers give youth club a makeover - The Rugby Observer

Volunteers give youth club a makeover

Rugby Editorial 20th Jun, 2023   0

A BELOVED century-old youth club has been given a makeover by a team of enthusiastic volunteers.

The Bradby Club’s premises in East Union Street has been repaired and refurbished by social enterprise Volunteer It Yourself (VIY), which helps young disengaged young people learn DIY and vocational skills.

Guided by female Midlands illustrator duo Pickle Illustration, they transformed the entrance of the clubhouse with bold mural artwork, and freshened up all of its interior spaces, including the boxing gym used by local young people on a daily basis.

The project saw 18 young VIY volunteers aged 14-20 pledge up to five days work on the project, with all participants being awarded a City and Guilds accreditation in Painting and Decorating.

For three days of the project, they were joined by 15 colleagues from across the Travis Perkins Group to help redecorate the club.

Colleagues from the LEAP Apprenticeships & Early Careers team also delivered a careers and employability talk to some of the young volunteers, sharing insight on routes and opportunities into the industry following their VIY experience.

Club Leader John Robertson said: “People walking past didn’t know what we offered before. Now if you look at the club, inside, outside, everywhere, it’s brighter and more inviting.

“People are going to know what we do from the new murals and signage. I anticipate a lot more young people walking past will be intrigued, want to come in and then participate in the sessions and sports activities we run in this new, modern, welcoming space.”

The VIY volunteers included a group of Year 9 and Year 10 students from The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College, who were responsible for painting and freshening up a number of rooms at the clubhouse.

Their VIY mentor Mark told the school the students were ‘a credit to your school’, and their Headteacher Alison Davies added: “This is something that the students have thoroughly enjoyed. It benefits them hugely as it helps them to develop their confidence and also to develop skills that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to develop in the classroom.”

The project has been match-funded by Think Active and Sport England to help motivate more local people to participate in the range of physical activity on offer at The Bradby Club, including CrossFit, tennis and acrobatics. All of the paint was donated by Dulux.

The initiative is helping more young people learn DIY skills and consider a career in the construction and building industry, while renovating a space they use and benefit from.

Travis Perkins and sister company Toolstation plan to support a number of other VIY projects throughout the year, and has set a target to help over 100 young people gain qualifications and consider a career in the trades.

Toolstation is funding and helping the volunteers gain City and Guilds qualifications as part of its partnership with VIY.

Jag Nagra, HR Director at Toolstation, said: “Charity and community is about supporting others and making positive change happen in the communities where we live and work, and we’re delighted to continue our support of the VIY team by helping create this fantastic space at Bradby Youth Club.

“This project will encourage young people to develop confidence and learn practical trade and building skills and earn a qualification.”

Margaret Ollerenshaw and Alison O’Connell from Travis Perkins, who volunteered on the project, said: “We and the volunteers were really excited to be involved with this project, and had our paint brushes at the ready!

“We’re looking forward to supporting more VIY projects over the coming months and we’ve had lots of interest from our colleagues. It’s a great opportunity for Travis Perkins to be able to help and support where they can through supplying materials, volunteering and working collaboratively with our Group businesses.”

The Bradby Club has been working with young people in Rugby for 103 years. Its open-access evenings provide a safe centre for young people aged 8-25, with sport, cookery, residential courses and more. Professional youth workers offer informal education in safe relationships and substance misuse in schools and other clubs. Visit www.bradby.org.uk for more information.

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