“I’m looking to develop myself and gain new skills - that’s why I wanted to be involved in the project.” - Dami, participant

A partnership: Community Links and Volunteer It Yourself

Dedicated to creating change and improving the lives of east London communities, Community Links resides in Canning Town in the former public hall and library with an interesting history. Once the location for talks by prominent liberal thinkers such as Sylvia Pankhurst and Bertrand Russell, the charity continues their mission of equal opportunities for all, by working to remove barriers to success through providing local people with the support they need to thrive and achieve their goals.

In a disused building provided by Community Links, we teamed up with Volunteer It Yourself, who give young people the opportunity to gain trade and employability skills whilst giving a new lease of life to community facilities. The aim of the project was to redecorate the building in order to bring it back into use as an affordable property guardianship home with Dot Dot Dot – the result was eight volunteers gaining crucial painting and decorating qualifications and skills, and a low-cost home for two property guardians who will contribute positively to their community in Canning Town.

“Dot Dot Dot and Community Links share many values around communities, helping people and focusing on positive outcomes. We had an empty building, and felt that the property not being utilised wasn’t sustainable. The participants were a group of BAME women from the Create Your Future programme, who were economically inactive or unemployed – The feedback was that they loved it and wished it could last longer.” – John, Community Links Partnership and Volunteer Coordinator


“We saw this project as a great opportunity to work with young women in the area, to help give them basic painting and decorating skills that they can use alongside employment and child care. They will all receive a city and guilds entry level painting and decorating qualification, as well as two days of site experience. We couldn’t do it without Wickes providing the materials for free, Community Links providing the building and Dot Dot Dot bringing the empty building back into use.” – Atma, VIY Project Manager


“It’s a brilliant project helping people to find a skill in something they’re interested in, and which can serve them in a variety of different ways in their life. It’s infinitely rewarding as instead of decorating big houses, I’m able to encourage others by teaching them employability skills – the students learn more than painting and decorating, it builds their confidence too.” – Bella, VIY Mentor


Get in touch with Volunteer It Yourself and see how you can get involved in their projects, or discover more about Community Links and their positive impact on east London communities.