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27 September 2016

London is home to over 3 million young people who face negative influences, austerity and the challenges that come with growing up. With opportunities to get young people to participate in voluntary projects failing and the risk that leadership is not reflecting the diversity of the capital’s communities, London Youth have identified a need for role models to mentor and inspire the next generation so they are empowered to become successful leaders that have a positive impact on society.

Image ©Licensed to i-Images Picture Agency. 24/09/2015. London, United Kingdom. Mayor's Fund Dragon's Den with Levi Roots at City Hall, The Queen's Walk, London, UK. Picture by Ben Stevens / i-Images
Image ©Licensed to i-Images Picture Agency.

In 2011, we received funding from the Jimmy Dixon Charitable Trust to deliver a youth action programme aimed at developing young people into confident leaders of themselves, their peers and communities. Athan 31 helped youth clubs develop a culture of youth action where young people are regularly involved in decision making, designing and running their own projects whilst taking leadership roles.

There are three stages to the Athan approach:

1. Team: young people deliver an idea that helps their team to bond
2. Club: the group think about a project to benefit their youth club and pitch it to a small panel
3. Community: the group plan a social action project, focusing on issues that are important to them, delivering positive community change

Five years on, evaluation data suggests Athan 31 provides us with a vital structure to engage young people into social action. Participants are engaged within their clubs, delivering projects that benefit themselves, their peers and their wider community, while helping them develop their soft skills such as team work, decision making and confidence.

We have retained and refined the Athan model into our new flagship programme City Leaders. With the help of City Bridge Trust and Morrisons Foundation, the programme will engage 300 14-18 years olds over the next 12 months,

To boost the impact of youth leadership in communities, we have incorporated a fourth stage, giving 24 young people the opportunity to explore power in London and attend intensive training residentials whilst being mentored by leaders from their communities.

London Youth is looking for City Leaders mentors:

individuals and businesses looking to make a difference and challenging young people to become the best they can be. We’ll link Mentors to a club in their local area, where they will help teams to design, pitch and deliver their projects. Email Terry Boyce, Head of Youth Action, to find out more.