1,000 London schools sign up to Team London Young Ambassadors scheme

08 June 2015

The Mayor of London hailed the latest milestone for the Team London Young Ambassadors programme today (8 June) as he announced that 1,000 schools across the capital have signed up in just two years, and over 190,000 young Londoners have become active citizens in their local community by taking part in the programme. Pupils and teachers visited City Hall today, Monday 8 June, to meet the Mayor and celebrate the programme’s milestone. Team London Young Ambassadors is the Mayor of London’s youth volunteering programme and is inspiring young Londoners to engage in social action, both in their school and the local community. One in three London schools is now participating, with the programme on target to reach 2,500 schools by 2017. Supported by Unilever and Spirit of 2012, and delivered in partnership with Free The Children, over 190,000 Londoners aged 5-18 have participated since the programme launched in 2013. Young people from every borough have taken part in events and projects focusing on a variety of issues including food waste and poverty, the environment, homelessness, gardening, community spirit, bullying and friendship. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This is a hugely exciting milestone for Team London. The Young Ambassadors programme is a fantastic way for young Londoners to get involved and lead on issues they care about. With 1,000 schools signed up in just two years, almost 200,000 young people from across the capital are taking social action and being active citizens in their local community and in their schools. It is a great achievement and I look forward to the programme being rolled out to 2,500 schools by 2017.” Recent initiatives include volunteering at the Oasis Community Farm Waterloo, which saw young Londoners from Oasis Academy Johanna take part in food and plant growing, helping to educate them about the advantages of living in a cleaner, greener and more sustainable community. Pupils from Jo Richardson School took part in Free The Children’s We Are Silent campaign and marched in silence to City Hall to stand up for those whose voices are not heard as a result of issues ranging from bullying and racism to child labour and gender inequality. Building on the volunteering legacy of the 2012 Games, the Young Ambassadors programme forms part of the wider work of the Mayor’s Team London volunteering programme, which has seen almost 90,000 Londoners help out across the capital over the last three years. Senior Advisor to the Mayor of London, Veronica Wadley, said: “Volunteering through the Team London Young Ambassadors programme is a great way for young people to understand more about the communities they live in, and I’m delighted that the programme has now reached and inspired hundreds of thousands of young Londoners. As well as volunteering, the programme helps young people to develop an awareness of the world around them and gives them the opportunity to lead on projects to tackle issues they care about, which will help them develop valuable citizenship skills for the future.” Marc Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children, said: “Today’s generation of young people have the power to create and lead real systematic change and we are thrilled to have delivered the Team London Young Ambassadors programme to 1,000 schools across the capital. Volunteering is a great opportunity for young people to bring their ideas for social change to life and make a difference in their school and local community.” ENDS Notes to editors: 1. Teachers who are involved in Team London Young Ambassadors have said 100% of young people who have taken part in the programme now demonstrate more consideration of local issues in their everyday life and 99% of the young people are more likely to demonstrate positive behaviour. 2. 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 has 89,000 registered volunteers and promotes volunteering opportunities for almost 1,250 organisations. For information about volunteering opportunities in London, please go to http://volunteerteam.london.gov.uk @teamLDN 3. Team London Young Ambassadors is supported by Unilever and Spirit of 2012 and delivered in partnership with Free The Children. The programme’s activity is targeted at pupils throughout London’s state primary and secondary school. These pupils will act as catalysts to lead projects and inspire other pupils to get involved in activities to support local community issues, chosen by the pupils. 4. Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner. Founded in 1995 by international activist Craig Kielburger, Free The Children believes in a world where young people are free to achieve their full potential, and empowers young people to remove barriers that prevent them from being active local and global citizens. The organisation’s domestic programmes—which include We Day, Free The Children's signature youth empowerment event—educate, engage and empower two million young people across the UK, North America and around the world to become engaged global citizens. Its international projects have brought more than 650 schools and school rooms to young people and provided clean water and sanitation, health care and food security to two million people around the world, freeing children and their families from the cycle of poverty. The organisation has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child, the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful partnerships with leading educational associations, foundations and organisations. For more information, visit www.freethechildren.co.uk 5. Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2 billion consumers on any given day. It has 174,000 employees and generated annual sales of €48.4 billion in 2014. Over half of the company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (57% in 2014). Their portfolio includes Persil, Dove, Knorr, Domestos, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s ice cream, Marmite, Magnum and Lynx. Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) aims to double the size of the business whilst reducing environmental footprint and increasing positive social impact. It says the USLP is their strategic response to the challenges businesses face operating in an uncertain and volatile world. Its three goals are: • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being • Sourcing all their agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020 and decoupling their growth from their environmental impact • Supporting these goals, the company has defined nine commitments, underpinned by targets encompassing social, environmental and economic areas. For more information about the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/. Unilever was ranked number one in their sector in the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In the FTSE4Good Index Series, they attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2014 they led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey - for the fourth year running. In 2014 Unilever was named in LinkedIn’s Top 3 most sought-after employers across all sectors and is also LinkedIn’s No. 1 most sought-after FMCG employer worldwide. For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com. 6. Spirit of 2012 is an independent trust established with a £47m endowment from the Big Lottery Fund. It’s working to recreate the spirit that radiated from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by investing in events as catalysts for change for people and communities across the UK. It funds partners that provide opportunities in sports, physical activity, arts and culture, volunteering and social action.