Team London target smashed nine months early with 100,000 volunteers

30 July 2015

The Mayor's Team London volunteering programme has smashed its target to reach 100,000 volunteers nine months ahead of schedule. Across the capital, Londoners of all ages are now lending a hand in their local communities as a result of signing up to Team London, which the Mayor Boris Johnson set up to ensure a volunteering legacy following the London 2012 Games. More than 43,000 adults and 58,900 young people have signed up to volunteer through a range of programmes that includes Team London Ambassadors, 600 of whom are currently to be seen at key locations around the capital providing a warm welcome to the millions of tourists who flock to London. This weekend, Team London volunteers will be out and about at the Ride London cycling festival, one of a number of major events they volunteer at throughout the year. One thousand schools have also signed up to the Team London Young Ambassadors' programme, which encourages children to get involved in social action – it is anticipated young Londoners will have given 285,834 hours of their time for the year 2014-2015 alone. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'I am thrilled that Team London has beaten our target nine months early to meet this marvellous milestone of 100,000 active volunteers. It shows Londoners' passion for helping others and contributing to their local communities is stronger than ever. Team London offers a fantastic variety of opportunities that will appeal to many different people, regardless of how much time they can commit, from sprucing up green spaces, to working with young people or getting involved with major events. I hope many more Londoners will be inspired to sign up to an initiative that brilliantly enshrines why London is the best big city in the world.' Team London has developed a number of programmes to help young people develop valuable skills and increase their future employability. This includes HeadStart London, through which 16-18 year olds earn their way to a guaranteed job interview through volunteering and businesses volunteer to support them build their employability skills. Tottenham 639 also aims to increase employability through volunteering for local projects. Veronica Wadley, the Mayor's Senior Advisor for Volunteering commented: 'As part of the volunteering legacy of the Games we wanted to create the next generation of volunteers. I am delighted that nearly 60,000 of these volunteers are young people who are not only connecting with their community but building their skills through their social action projects which will support them on their pathway to employment. The overwhelming support we have had from London’s business sector to recognise the importance of volunteering has been a real motivator for our young people. I hope even more schools and more organisations will sign up to join the Team London movement.' Other activities include the Pocket Parks and Capital Clean-up programmes and the new Speed Volunteering platform has been set up to make it easier for people who do not have much time to volunteer. Team London also supports 1,400 organisations across all London boroughs to promote local opportunities and provides small grants to up to 20 organisations a year. The Mayor was at the Wide Horizons Centre in Shooters Hill this morning, to see first-hand how it used a small innovation grant in 2014 to transform a once derelict site into an important green space, with trees, birds, pathways, pond and other attractions and activities for young Londoners. More than 700 volunteers, including schoolchildren, cleared and transformed the woodland, which is now used to deliver Adventure Learning activities and the centre is already making an impact, working local schools, colleges and community groups. Alex Brooks-Johnson, CEO at Wide Horizons said: 'Working with Team London has been fundamental to growing our volunteering programme here at Wide Horizons. The volunteer programme has enabled us to transform a five acre designated nature area in South London, which was overgrown and had been subjected to repeated fly-tipping, into a well-managed Woodland Centre that is now an inspirational place for young people to learn and enjoy being outdoors. Through their time volunteering with us, we’ve seen volunteers grow in confidence and gain skills such as tree felling, habitat conservation, pond skimming and ecology and how to take care of the environment. More importantly volunteers have also learnt how local children will enjoy the woods, connect with nature and learn outdoors.' Oliver Knight, Head Teacher, Greenwich Free School, said: 'We have used their Woodland Centre for a 10 week course with some of our Year 9 pupils. The aim of the course was to help build confidence and resilience in our pupils prior to starting their GCSEs. Over the course of the 10 week programme our pupils have grown in self-confidence and resilience and pupils and parents have commented on the changes they have seen and felt. With the increased focus on how schools help develop character, resilience and grit, having access to a resource like the Woodland Centre is vital for us to enable all of our pupils to develop the skills and dispositions necessary to live a happy and successful life. We aim to now build a bespoke Year 7 curriculum around access to the centre to help our pupils make the step-up into the increased demands and independence of secondary education.' Notes to editors 1. Team London is the Mayor of London's ambitious programme to mobilise an army of volunteers across the capital. The aim is to improve life in London through programmes that will reduce crime, increase opportunities for youth and improve quality of life by cleaning and greening London and building stronger neighbourhoods. Team London promotes volunteering opportunities for almost 1,400 organisations. For information about volunteering opportunities in London, please go to @teamLDN MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Please call the press office on 020 7983 4070 or email [email protected] GENERAL PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100 DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000

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