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  • Ten grassroots sports clubs renovated to survive and thrive across Greater Manchester
  • Over 50 local young people mentored in construction skills
  • Strategy to improve young people’s lives and create stronger, healthier communities

Volunteer It Yourself (VIY), a Community Interest Company (CIC) challenging young people to learn vocational construction skills whilst renovating community spaces through volunteering, has helped to renovate ten grassroots cricket clubs across Greater Manchester, thanks to funding from a joint regional strategy to use cricket to improve young people’s lives and create stronger, healthier communities.

Inspiring Generations: A Cricket Strategy for Greater Manchester, a joint 10-Point Plan between the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Lancashire Cricket Foundation and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), aims to improve young people’s lives and create stronger, healthier communities, and inspire a generation to take up the game.


In total, VIY will deliver 30 projects renovating grassroots cricket clubs in 10 priority areas across Greater Manchester over three years. They provide free hands-on volunteering opportunities for local young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), or at risk of disengaging from mainstream education and/or becoming unemployed, mentored by professional tradespeople, with the chance to gain Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations, whilst introducing them to local cricket facilities they may continue to use and benefit from.


Paul Singer, Chair of Wigan Sports Club, the tenth club to benefit from VIY’s renovations in just one year, said: 

“Our committee is delighted to be involved in the construction of a new decking areaoverlooking the cricket pitch. Not only will this create a new seating area for spectators, it will enhance our function room facilities to allow for greater financial sustainability. The project itself gives an opportunity to young students in the Wigan area to learn new and practical life skills which hopefully will give them a head start in their chosen career path.”

Other clubs to receive the VIY treatment include creating a pitchside decking area at Stalybridge Cricket Club, the first to be completed one year ago in July 2022, converting storage containers into refreshment areas & changing rooms at Springhead Cricket Club in Oldham and bringing out buildings back to life at Blackley cricket Club in North Manchester. More on their cricket club projects here.

Through these first 10 projects, VIY have so far supported over 55 young people from youth organisations such as Groundwork, the Hatch programme and the Prince’s Trust, including young people with special educational needs, with 70% gaining Entry Level 3 City & Guilds qualifications in skills such as Carpentry, Painting & Decorating and Health & Safety.


Caitlin, 17, NEET on becoming a VIY Volunteer at Wigan Sports Club through the Groundwork employability programme, said:

“I had thought I wanted to be a Netball Coach in the future, but now being here, learning carpentry from the mentors and being encouraged to do new things, it’s making me think I could do this instead!”


Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said:

“This is a fantastic initiative that brings so many benefits for young people and communities across Greater Manchester. Our Cricket Strategy is all about using the game to make a positive difference to young people’s lives and unite local communities through the power of the sport, and it’s great that VIY are supporting that mission with this project to renovate grassroots clubs and help young people access skills and training opportunities.”


Sandy Mitchell, Head of Community Growth, Lancashire Cricket Foundation said:

“The project is another great example of how the GMCA Inspiring Generations Strategy is being used to make a positive difference to individuals and communities through cricket. To have now delivered 10 VIY projects in cricket clubs across Greater Manchester is a great achievement and I look forward to seeing the long lasting impact they have on both the young people they support, educate and train and the cricket clubs themselves.”


Matt Mellor, Programme Manager for VIY North, commented:

"It’s inspiring to be able to help so many local young people to learn skills they wouldn’t ordinarily get the chance to try and to take positive steps in their lives, whilst helping clubs shape their own futures through enhanced spaces, to help grow the next generation of cricket.”

Projects are match-funded by Sport England, with materials donated by VIY’s Trade Partners including Travis Perkins and Dulux.

If you know a grassroots cricket club which you think could benefit from a VIY project, you can complete an Expression of Interest form here.  Equally, 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 across Greater Manchester, please contact the team at outreach@teamviy.com.

 For further information on VIY:

Hannah Denny, Communications Manager: hannah@teamviy.com

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