The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has praised the 19,000 volunteers from Team London, who have donated 250,000 hours of their free time to help boost literacy, skills and green projects. Over the last 12 months, the army of helpers has taught IT skills to older people, trained youngsters as sports coaches and helped families with literacy support.
The projects, which were funded by a £2 million grant from the Reuben Brothers, and supported by Bloomberg LP, aimed to improve youth opportunity, quality of life, and help cut crime. Team London is the Mayor of London’s volunteering programme for all Londoners, which aims to make volunteering easier and more rewarding. It follows the successful cities of service model originally set up in NYC by Mayor Bloomberg.
The key seven projects last year used more than 250,000 volunteer hours to help people across the capital. An evaluation of the projects found that 47 per cent of the Team London volunteers were aged 15 – 24 years, with 43 per cent of the overall total in training or education, reflecting the desire of many participants to learn new skills and boost employability. 60 per cent of volunteers were women, whilst 71 per cent, of those asked had never volunteered before. Overall, 69 per cent said they would be willing to use their free time to volunteer again.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Our ‘free time crusaders’ have helped train and motivate thousands of people, and made a real impact in boosting green spaces. I can’t thank our Team London volunteers enough for giving up 250,000 hours of their free time to help others and urge them to keep the momentum up throughout 2013. All of this tremendous work would not be possible without the generosity of the Reuben Brothers, who provided £2 million in funding for these great projects.” Jamie Reuben said: “The Reuben Foundation is delighted with the tremendous impact of the Team London programme. It has helped unlock the generous spirit of Londoners, who are giving increasing amounts of their own time to help those in need and to make our city a greener and better community. We are proud to have played a part in this remarkable initiative, which we are sure will continue, its success in 2013”.
The seven evaluated projects included:
- MiCommunity – 1,450 older people were mentored in schools by student volunteers to help improve their IT skills. This helped them access local services, and tackled the problem of isolation by helping them use social media to keep in touch with friends and family. The project worked with AgeUK and schools in Barnet, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea and Redbridge, holding sessions and short courses across London and sourced students from three Zenos IT academies in Croydon, Romford and West London
- Love Libraries – Libraries across 13 boroughs with approximately 700,000 customers, used 2,884 volunteers to support family activities, helped locals with IT support, and promoting the services of the libraries to the wider community. Boroughs included: Barnet, Bromley/Bexley Shared Service, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield Hackney, Havering, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest
- Londoners Love Trees – 6,376 volunteers planted 27,000 trees with many having additional vocational training placements Barking and Dagenham, Brent , Bromley Ealing Greenwich Hackney Haringey Islington Lambeth Merton Newham Redbridge Southwark Tower Hamlets Westminster
- Young readers – supporting over 1,600 families improving the home learning environment and supporting literacy across Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Haringey, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Wandsworth
- Love Latin – 2,000 pupils across 53 schools received Latin lessons and talks 18 boroughs – Barnet, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Harrow, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster
- Active London – provided coaching and qualifications for 1,058 young people in every borough
Team London recognises the work of everyday Londoners and the many voluntary groups and charities in the capital. Building on all the work that is already taking place, Team London focuses efforts on areas of need where volunteers can help make a real difference.
The Mayor will be announcing his future plans for Team London in 2013 next week (4th February).