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Build Up: A London Charity Literally Giving Kids Tools to Thrive

Build Up: A London Charity Literally Giving Kids Tools to Thrive

London charities make the city a better place for us all and we love to shout about them! Build Up is a brilliant organisation that improves city spaces by empowering young people to design and construct their vision. Yes, they use power tools.

We spoke with Huan Rimington, founder and director of Build Up to find out more about the charity and its projects and how people can get involved.

Please introduce the charity.

Build Up is a charity that runs practical construction projects across London for young people aged 10 – 23 to design and build public and community spaces. Our work helps young people make decisions about their local area and become skilled, capable and confident citizens.

Why construction? How does that specifically benefit children and the community they live in?

Building something and shaping part of the world around you is a hugely satisfying and confidence boosting experience that equips young people with life skills for the future. Our young people know the spaces where projects are located better than anyone else, and this means the projects they build really benefit their community.

What exactly are the young people doing on the build sites – what tools do they use independently?

With the support of our experienced staff team, our young people are given the opportunity to run and manage our construction sites, taking on roles and developing skills they’ve never had access to before. We actively encourage young people to take part in the construction process and to learn how to use hand and power tools with confidence.

I can imagine many adults reading this will be thinking ‘but isn’t that dangerous?!’

Build Up puts an emphasis on trust, on our sites, young people develop their skill sets by taking managed risks.

What’s a project that you feel that really encapsulates the spirit of Build Up?

In 2019 a team of local young people designed and built a prominent public space at Flanders Way, Hackney. The project, known as Build Up Hackney, aimed to give young people a genuine say over how their local area is changing. (Read more about this amazing youth-led project HERE)

How can young people get involved?

We work with community and youth groups in London who help recruit young people to our projects. We also run projects where we provide an open access youth club for young people to design and build projects in their estates.

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Why is the work of your foundation necessary?

All young people need opportunities and experiences to be who they can be today and become tomorrow. However, growing up in London, many young people face stark social, economic and spatial inequalities.  Young people feel left behind by regeneration –  some local communities in London are undergoing major redevelopment, but investment rarely benefits young people.

What are any obstacles your foundation faces?

The projects that are most important to the young people we work with are located in communities that don’t receive a lot of existing investment.  This means it’s a massive challenge each year to get the funds together to make these projects possible.

What are your funding sources?

We get some grants from trusts and foundations and receive material donations from companies working in the construction trade. Other charities and community organisations also raise funds to pay for our projects in their local area.

How can adults get involved to help?

As a small charity we currently don’t receive many public donations, so are always very grateful for any charitable donations and assistance in spreading the word about what we do. We are also always on the lookout for new partners to fundraise, commission or collaborate to make projects happen.


Follow Build Up here:
website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook 

All photos provided by Build Up.

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