Hull City Council funds social enterprise helping to boost community spaces

Volunteer It Yourself (VIY), a Community Interest Company (CIC) challenging young people to learn vocational construction skills whilst breathing life back into community places, has been granted over £60,000 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to renovate at least three community spaces in Hull in partnership with Hull City Council.

VIY will help to renovate community places and spaces to help boost local pride in place and build community cohesion, whilst providing free hands-on work experience opportunities for local young people not in education, employment or training, or currently disengaged, mentored by professional tradespeople. They’ll also earn the chance to gain Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations and up to six months careers support to progress thereafter. 

The first project in Hull has seen VIY transform a disused allotment on the Orchard Park Estate into a community hub and growing garden for local residents and school students. The land, now leased by Sirius Academy from the council, had no running water and had been affected by anti-social behaviour. VIY and over 20 local young people disengaged in education at the academy, have built a raincatcher on top of an existing shipping container to help to cultivate it into a garden to grow produce for the local food bank, along with protected seating for learners and fencing around the area to prevent unauthorised entry or vandalism.

An additional classroom unit has been installed on the site, complete with seating and facilities for refreshments, which will be used by the school for extra learning space including classes related to outdoor learning.

The container was donated by the Hull Citywide Developer Partnership which includes Keepmoat and Strata Homes. They are supporting VIY’s projects in Hull, through co-funding, materials, donations and local colleagues volunteering their time.

The second VIY project began on 13th November at Purple House Women’s Centre, helping to create an outdoor learning and play area for children living in and supported by the centre, who provide a range of holistic services for women and children affected by domestic abuse.

Alex Codd, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Regeneration at Hull City Council and member of Hull’s UK Shared Prosperity Board, said: “Hull City Council fully supports this project through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It is great to see the funds being used to turn an underused area into a great outdoor facility where people are able to grow, enjoy fresh air, and get involved in their community. Our green spaces are critical assets in a densely populated city and this scheme is a great example of vacant space being used for the benefit of the local community.”

John Pickles, Community Growing Coordinator at EMS Ltd, who will support this new site, said: 

“VIY have brought in their skills and expertise in construction to help turn some of the wish-list proposals for this site into concrete reality. The key elements that they have built give the site a much greater chance of long-term sustainability.”

Mark Burley, Social Value and Partnership Manager for the Hull Citywide Developer Partnership, said: “Whilst we do not have any new housing developments in Orchard Park it is important that we support projects like this in the city, we have been a long-standing partner with VIY and EMS whom have been working on this project. Improving mental wellbeing of young people via access to green health is so important and that is why we wanted to get involved.”

Tim Reading, CEO of VIY, said: “The aims of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund mirror those of our mission here at VIY; providing valuable opportunity to improve pride in place in areas across Hull, by transforming community places and spaces in areas most in need, and increasing life chances by boosting skills and employability amongst local young people volunteering on these projects.”

Projects will be match-funded by other VIY partners such as Sport England, and supported with materials donated by VIY’s Trade Partners including Dulux.

If you know or work with young people, those not in employment, education or training, or at risk of disengagement, who would benefit from these free work experience opportunities with VIY in Hull, please contact the team at

If you are a local tradesperson and are interested in working or volunteering with VIY as a Trade Mentor, sharing your skills and experience to inspire the next generation of tradespeople whilst renovating vital community spaces in your area, please contact VIY Mentor Manager, Karen Lilley, at