The work, which was carried out by the Armed Forces Veterans living on the estate, follows the successful refurbishment of St. Michael’s Church in February this year where they completed a full refurbishment of the church’s entre.
The communal room at the YMCA has been fully redecorated and work benches have been installed for youngsters attending group sessions to undertake projects including computing, arts and crafts and cookery lessons.
The redecoration has brought the building back to life and YMCA youth worker, Brian Young, said: “We are very grateful to the veterans for giving up their time to help us re-decorate the facility. The project has been really important and is a good example of different groups working together on the estate to make it a better place for the local community to use.”
The initiative came about at a recent community event organised by the Byker Community Trust (BCT), which aims to engage and bring the local community and providers together. David Jones, Head of Engagement and Community Development at the BCT, said: “It is reassuring to see groups on the estate working together to improve community facilities. I hope that other groups can learn from the work that has been achieved by the YMCA and the charity, Armed Forces’ and Veterans’ Launchpad, which runs Avondale House.”
David Shaw CBE, Chairman of Trustees at the Armed Forces & Veterans’ Launchpad said: “Launchpad is delighted that Launchpad’s veterans from Avondale House have helped the community by refurbishing the YMCA. Not only does this help the community in which they live, but the veterans get a great sense of satisfaction from being able to make life better for others and to work as a team.”
The veterans will be starting their next volunteer project in July at St. Lawrence’s Primary School on the Byker estate where they will be preparing groundworks for a new metal fence, which will be installed around the school grounds.
The Armed Forces’ and Veterans’ Launchpad is looking for other community projects to get involved with on the Byker estate and has asked for groups to come forward and contact the manager at Avondale House.