Stadium MK, home of Milton Keynes Dons, has undertaken a renovation project with young volunteers from Milton Keynes College installing a fully-equipped specialist disabled changing facility, thanks to the MK Dons Supporters Association, home improvement retailer Wickes and social enterprise VIY (Volunteer It Yourself).
The local volunteers boosted their skills by carrying out the project which involved transforming an old toilet and store cupboard into a disabled changing facility under the national Changing Places scheme, with scope of work including bricklaying, painting, decorating and tiling.
The work was carried out in association with VIY, which helps young people aged 14-24 to learn trade and building skills by fixing local community buildings.
After a summer of fundraising by the MK Dons Supporters Association, enabling the club to purchase specialist equipment to assist profoundly disabled visitors, the Dons launched the wider volunteering project with Wickes and VIY to create a fully fitted disabled changing facility, working alongside the in-house Stadium MK maintenance team.
The Bletchley and Milton Keynes Wickes stores donated materials required for the project free of charge, with Wickes also funding the cost of all of the external tradespeople and mentors on the ground.
The venture has enabled local young people to learn valuable trade skills while helping their local area by transforming the facilities at Stadium MK. Taking part in this project will also help open doors for the young people involved and help them to find apprenticeship and job opportunities.
Dons’ manager Robbie Neilson, who attended the project in a show of support, said: “It’s fantastic that so many members of the community have come together to help MK Dons offer this new facility. Seeing all those people pitching in to do their bit for the project was inspiring, and VIY and Wickes have done well to secure so many willing volunteers.”
Sue Dawson, Operations Director at MK Dons said: “We are delighted to be working with Wickes and VIY to create this new Changing Places disabled changing facility.
“We’re committed to providing a welcoming space to all our visitors and ensuring that they have everything they need to enjoy their experience at the stadium, so are delighted to be able to offer this new facility.”
David Sanderson, Store Manager at Wickes in Bletchley, said: “We’re delighted that we are able to help MK Dons by ensuring that the volunteers have all the materials and tools they need for this renovation. It is great to be involved in such a fantastic project which gets young people excited while teaching them useful skills.
“The team is working hard and have done a fantastic job so far renovating the stadium, and are a testament to how anyone can pick up a paintbrush and do some DIY to help make a difference.”