Kettering firm helps redecoration at town youth centre

A team from RCI have helped carry out a redecorating job at the Keystone Youth Centre in Rockingham Road, Kettering
A team from RCI have helped carry out a redecorating job at the Keystone Youth Centre in Rockingham Road, Kettering

One of the county’s largest youth centres has received a significant boost after a major local employer provided 26 members of staff to help with the centre’s refurbishment scheme.

The volunteer team from RCI’s IT Shared Services department spent a day helping to repaint the Keystone Youth Centre in Kettering, which has recently undergone a £90,000 eco re-fit.

The Keystone project, which bosses believe to be the largest volunteer-led ‘eco retro-fit’ scheme in the UK, has so far seen more than 80 local people give about 2,000 volunteer hours to transform Keystone’s home, a large Victorian town house in Rockingham Road.

Frieda Murphy, HR Director at RCI, said: “Each year RCI looks for a Kettering community project our staff can get involved with – in 2013 we worked successfully with the Green Patch community allotment project and a local school through the Young Achievers

initiative.

“We are passionate about working with our local communities and when we heard about the amazing Keystone project we just had to get involved.

“The representatives at Keystone presented us with a decorating scheme that would have even challenged the BBC’s DIY SOS team. We are immensely proud that our staff, unfazed by this, completed their task.”

Keystone Youth Centre has been undertaking a major refurbishment of its building, aiming to bring it into the 21st century.

The building has been a youth centre of sorts for more than half a century.

Trustee Dave Lane said: “Until we got started, Keystone still had many of its original 1891 windows that were rotten, the massive loft had never been insulated, the lights were old and expensive to run and the place cost a lot to heat.

“The eco works we have done has made the centre so much warmer and cheaper to run and really slashed our carbon footprint.

“While large-scale fitting out of old buildings is nothing new, what makes the Keystone project so unique is that nearly all of the works have been undertaken by local people who have given their times and skills for free.

“It’s this approach that makes ours the largest community energy-saving scheme of its type anywhere in the UK.”

Keystone chairman Nick Wills added: “This is the first time we’ve had a big staff voluntary scheme like this. Keystone is all about the local community so when a large local employer such as RCI supports us like this it means so much to us and tells us that we really are doing the right thing.”

Earlier this week, volunteer Sean McNally received a Prime Minister’s award for the work he has done at the centre.