Young people from Barking and Dagenham joined over 100 others from across the OnSide network to help showcase the charity at a glittering event at London’s Guildhall.

Over 400 people gathered at Guildhall to hear how businesses can collaborate with the public and voluntary sectors to tackle inequality and youth unemployment in the capital as part of our mission to build Youth Zones in London.

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The ‘Creating a better future together for London’ event was hosted by Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of the City of London, and our Ambassador Sir Clive Woodward OBE. The evening formed part of ‘The City’s Business’; a City of London Corporation report designed to provide institutions with guidance on how they can help tackle youth unemployment in the capital, which has the second highest rate of 16-24 year olds out of work in England.

Attendees included a cross section of representatives from city institutions, large employers such as UBS and Virgin Money, government, charitable bodies, borough councils and voluntary organisations.

A keynote speech by Sir Clive Woodward OBE focused on how business skills and sporting values can be blended to help inspire success.

Guests were also able to learn more about us as a charity, collaborative framework that enables businesses, philanthropists, local authorities and communities to work together to improve young people’s health, wellbeing and prospects.

This partnership approach has helped us create a network of state-of-the-art facilities which provide over 25,000 young people in the North and Midlands with access to a wide range of sports, arts and employability services.

Guests heard how we are now establishing ourselves in London with Youth Zones planned for Croydon, Barnet and Barking & Dagenham, with the latter recently securing Paula Hawkins, author of bestseller The Girl on The Train, as a founder patron.

Young people from across our network of Youth Zones were present at the event to share their experiences and a virtual reality tour of a Youth Zone gave attendees a sense of the facilities, activities and services on offer.

Georgia Flatman, from Barking and Dagenham, was part of OnSide’s ambassador presentation while other members of the Future Youth Zone young people’s development group were also present.

 

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Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said: “London’s long-term success depends on having a bold belief in our young people and supporting them with the investment needed to build their skills, capabilities and aspirations.

“The City of London Corporation is calling on City businesses to do more to help solve the youth unemployment crisis.

“With the right approach, businesses, communities, educators and charities can work together to make a difference to young people’s life chances.”

Charles Mindenhall, London Champion and Board Director of OnSide Youth Zones, said: “To tackle the issues created by inequality, society must ensure young people from disadvantaged backgrounds feel confident that they have every chance of reaching their full potential.

“It was heartening to see such a diverse range of stakeholders come together to explore how they can play a role in reaching this common goal.

“We’re proud to have had the opportunity to demonstrate our partnership model and to re-iterate our ambitious plans for extending the Youth Zone network across London over the coming years.”

 

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