Young volunteers support local food bank whilst gaining work experience

12/12/23 - A group of young volunteers have helped improve their local food bank whilst gaining valuable work experience as part of an initiative run by the Broxtowe Community Projects. The initiative received £14,000 from Broxtowe Borough Council’s UK Shared Prosperity Funding, after they made an application through its Good Ideas Fund.

23 volunteers from Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) have worked with Broxtowe Community Projects to deliver a two-week project at their base on the High Road in Beeston. VIY is a Community Interest Company (CIC) who challenge young people to learn vocational construction skills, mentored by professional tradespeople, whilst breathing life back into community places.

As part of the work, they have:

  • Created a decked gazebo area which will allow private conversations between staff and service users to take place
  • Built and planted vegetable beds which will allow volunteers to grow fresh supplies for the foodbank
  • Constructed a canopy and foldable tables which will allow more parcels to be made and more families in the community to be supported.

The volunteers were mostly in their late teens/early twenties and not in education, employment or training. In addition to the two-week project, training and ongoing support is being provided to the volunteers.

Katie Booth, Programme Manager for the East Midlands at VIY, said: "It's been great to see our VIY mission expand across Nottinghamshire thanks to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, boosting more local community spaces and places, whilst helping 23 more local young people on this project here in Broxtowe to learn trade and employability skills with hands-on experience, gaining City & Guilds accreditations too." 

Some of the comments from the volunteers include:

  • "I enjoyed building, joining the wood together, helping to make the pergola using the power tools. The whole experience and the mentors have been good."
  • "Basically everything I've done has surprised me - I didn't believe I would be able to use a drill, saw safely and neatly and challenging myself with digging fence post holes. It has been good to work with the mentors which has improved my communication skills."

Andrew Morley, Pre-16 Vocational Studies Tutor, Foundation Learning, Nottingham College: "The Team at VIY have been fantastic welcoming our learners, getting them involved and helping them to develop new skills outside of their comfort zone. It's been brilliant for our students to contribute to the community project, and it has opened their eyes to the employability skills required for the world of work, as well as the experience of working in the construction industry." 

Broxtowe Community Projects, an organisation and space entirely run by volunteers, runs a community food and nappy bank, with the mission to alleviate food poverty and social isolation across the constituency of Broxtowe. They are very short on space inside and as demand has grown, the project wished to utilise the outside small garden area.

£240,000 of UKSPF grant funding is currently available for community projects in Broxtowe.

Grants of £5,000 to £40,000 are available for community projects in the Borough to be delivered in the 2024/25 financial year. A very small number of exceptional projects requesting grants of up to £100k will be considered.

Projects should support one of the following themes:

  • Town Centres and High Streets
  • Community Infrastructure, Resilience and Engagement
  • Improvements to Green Space, Active Travel and Energy Saving
  • Enhancement of Culture and Heritage Offer
  • Sports Facilities and Teams
  • Digital Infrastructure for community facilities

Full details on how to apply, as well as eligibility criteria can be found at

The deadline for applications is 22 January 2024.

Find out more about Broxtowe Community Projects at (Opens in a new window).

Communications Team