Business Charity Awards 2016: Charity Partnership, Public Sector - Greater London Authority with The Challenge

For an outstanding partnership between an organisation in the public sector and a UK charity

The HeadStart initiative
The HeadStart initiative

What is the partnership?

The Greater London Authority came together with the social integration charity The Challenge to develop HeadStart, a new model for youth social action and employability. The partnership helps to bridge the gap between school and employment, while getting more young people socially active in their communities.

What happened?

The HeadStart programme challenges young people to complete 16 or more hours of volunteering. In return they get to take part in skills workshops and a guaranteed interview with leading employers such as Starbucks, the Lloyds Banking Group and New Look.

The GLA funds the project, helps to engage businesses, offers work-experience placements and has developed evaluation frameworks, as well as giving support with communications and business development. The Challenge's 19-strong operational team delivers the programme and markets it to young people.

Why did it win?

HeadStart exceeded all its targets in its first 18 months. More than 3,000 young people volunteered through the programme, giving more than 50,000 volunteering hours to support 234 charities. Seventy per cent of HeadStart young people were assessed as work-ready by businesses, compared with 20 per cent of standard applicants. A total of 253 young people have found employment with programme partners.

After its success in London, HeadStart is being launched in Birmingham and Manchester, and could be in six UK cities by 2017.

Highly commended

National Literacy Trust and Middlesbrough Public Health Department with Bliss

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