Rapidly expanding HeadStart picks up prestigious charity award

HeadStart, our socially integrated volunteering programme for 16-17 year olds, took home the award for Best Charity and Public Sector Partnership from last night’s Third Sector Charity Awards.

The programme, a joint project with the Greater London Authority, bridges the gap between school and employment while getting young people more active in their communities. Young people who volunteer for 16 or more hours with a local charity are rewarded with help in building their job-finding skills, and are guaranteed an interview with a corporate partner. This helps young people gain critical work-ready skills, gives partnering employers fantastic new staff, and increases social integration at a local level.

The judges were impressed by HeadStart’s runaway success in its first 18 months, as the programme smashed all its targets. More than 3,000 young people have volunteered through the programme, giving more than 50,000 volunteering hours to support 234 charities. 70% of our young people were assessed as work-ready by businesses, compared with 20% of standard applicants. A total of 253 young people have found employment with programme partners.

The Challenge director Jon Yates, who collected the award along with Natalie Cramp of the Greater London Authority, commented: “Thanks to the hard work of teams at both the GLA and The Challenge, we’ve had a huge impact on the lives of young people in London. The numbers speak for themselves – the programme really is a win, win, win for partners, young people, and society. We’re endebted to our corporate partners, including Starbucks, Bloomberg, Lloyds Banking Group, New Look and Zendesk, for providing work opportunities. We’re also very grateful to our main grant funders alongside the GLA: The Heathrow Community Fund and the Department for Education. We look forward to seeing HeadStart’s success in London repeated in Birmingham, Manchester, and beyond.”

For more details on the programme take a look at the HeadStart website.