The Mayor of London and several leading British businesses have led praise for our HeadStart programme, which has seen young people give up 100,000 hours of their time to good causes, encouraged them to broaden their ambitions, and helped to build a more integrated Britain.

 HeadStart100khoursHeadStart was created by the Mayor’s Team London volunteering initiative and The Challenge back in 2013 and now operates across London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. The programme was praised by Sadiq Khan for helping to build more cohesive and caring communities. This week participants will have volunteered for a total of 100,000 hours. The event will be marked by a celebration involving businesses and participants at City Hall tonight.

HeadStart gives 16 to 18-year-olds in full-time education an interview or internship with a leading British employer and workshops that help prepare them for the workplace. In return, participants commit to volunteer in their local community for at least 16 hours over a two month period. Starbucks, Lloyds and New Look are among the businesses involved.

The initiative aims to help young people build critical character traits and skills for work and life, while also connecting them with their local community to support a more integrated society. Inushka Sachdeva, 17, from West London, who participated in HeadStart in August 2016, said: ‘It opened up so many different opportunities and gave me the chance to meet all sorts of people. Even if I hadn’t got the job, the workshops were beneficial in the long-term because those skills and tips can be used for anything and everything in the real world.’

HeadStart is particularly valuable in helping young people improve their skills and boost their CVs at a time when employers are highly concerned about work-readiness. Research revealed that after taking part:

  • 9/10 young people said they planned to go on to university or further training.
  • 99% felt HeadStart helped improve their communication skills.
  • 83% said that they were likely to continue volunteering in their community.
  • 97% felt that it had helped them to push themselves out of their comfort zone.

Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Matthew Ryder, said: ‘Volunteering is a brilliant way ‎to make a real difference in our great city. As well as building stronger communities and ‎helping people to get to know and help their neighbours, it makes us a friendlier and more welcoming place to live in and visit. Team London and The Challenge’s partnership has helped thousands of young Londoners to become active citizens by getting involved in their local communities and building up the vital skills they need to fulfil their potential.  Initiatives like this demonstrate how volunteers benefit just as much as the causes they donate their time and energy to. Congratulations to HeadStart and its many dedicated participants on reaching this milestone.’

Interested in finding out more about our HeadStart programme? Take a look here.