Helping the community

Monday 14th April 2014

To help complete their bronze/silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards with the Trust, participants have been taking part in a project, which is seeing community facilities being transformed and giving a new lease of life for local Royal Borough residents.

The project has been running for the past three months and aims to support young people through their award by offering them opportunities to develop new skills, work alongside community leaders and demonstrate the positive contribution that young people can make towards their local area. 

Working in a community facility at the heart of the local community in Plumstead, the group have successfully applied for funding from O2 to refurbish, redecorate and transform a well-used and loved community venue. The group have also managed to negotiate with local businesses to gain donations and free labour to fund parts of the project and see major works completed free of charge on their behalf.

The DofE participants have been central to the project along the way, right from the initial meetings with the end users through to getting stuck in and hands on learning the skills of successful painting and decorating, and even trying their hand at interior design when it came to selecting colours for new floorings and furnishings.

As part of the project the Trust has also applied to Starbucks Youth Action for additional funding to hopefully continue the project and give other community facilities the chance to benefit. The applications are ongoing and representatives taking part in DofE with the Trust have been invited to attend training days to further develop their skills and hopefully take our application through to the final stage.

The young people have dedicated time and commitment to the project and over a number of Saturday’s; they have worked hard to transform the building into something that will be used for many years to come. The project has built a strong community relationship between the young people volunteering and the older, frequent users of the facility. This has been another fantastic impact as a result of the work of the project and is just one of a number of benefits it is creating.

Patricia Holczimmer, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Coordinator at the Trust, said, “The project has gone from strength to strength and what started as a small scale project to benefit a local community facility has progressed to offer a host of benefits to the young people involved and has seen relationships created and strengthened within the local community. The young people involved have demonstrated a high level of skill both practically with aspects of the refurbishment and with their numerous negotiations and applications, which have all resulted in the successful securing of funding.”

Sapphire Hales aged 16 and a DofE participant with the Trust, added, “I have really enjoyed being part of the project. Not only has this taught me lots of new skills, which I can use when I am older, but has it also shown me that despite my age I can do big things! I am so pleased that our team effort has allowed us to apply for funding and be successful. I am now looking forward to the launch of the refurbished facilities and the future of the project, which looks great.”