Lisburn Community Self Build Ltd is a social economy construction business, formed in 2000, which also provides training in construction and life skills for young people who are leaving school with little aspirations or those who are unemployed with little prospects of employment. The Self Build project was established with an ethos of increasing volunteer’s skills in construction, with its first construction project completed solely by volunteers who gained skills for employment including health and safety, first aid and job seeking techniques. The project is managed by a voluntary board of directors with a key worker in place to coordinate the construction schemes.
Lisburn Community Self Build has built a positive relationship with Northern Ireland Housing Executive and is keen that this continues with opportunities to increase social housing and link with housing associations. Community ownership and asset transfer is key to the Self Build ethos with NIHE supporting schemes whereby vacant, unused land can be transferred to maximise opportunities for social housing, with a partnership approach leading to benefits for areas of disadvantage. There have been several contracts completed with NIHE including Rathvarna Heights where nine dwellings were erected and Glenavy Gardens having provided four homes for the social housing market. During the contracts the company delivers construction skills training which increases employability and local employment. There are also benefits for young people in the role of volunteer tradesman who pass on skills through a variety of schemes including youth intervention and Steps to Work. The project is achieving outcomes for young people and volunteer’s employability including core volunteer training, tackling educational under achievement, barriers to employment and skills deficits while promoting social enterprise.
The Self Build project is working towards self-sustainability with profits being reinvested back into the company to support local community initiatives and training. The project reliant upon maximising opportunities with NIHE and therefore contributing to the successful model of engagement within communities. It is recognised that the project uses a model of participation to increase opportunities employment and life skills for those involved in the project.
One major success and recognition of the groups work has been receiving the Queens Award for Volunteering, an award that the group is very proud of and one that reflects the work carried out by volunteers within the project.