Charity using London's green spaces to support young people's growth

·4-min read
Headliners UK uses personal development programmes to help underprivileged young people.
Headliners UK uses personal development programmes to help underprivileged young people.

A national charity is utilising landmark National Lottery funding to amplify the voices of young people during the Platinum Jubilee weekend, writes Storybeat's James Reid.

Headliners UK’s London Green Champions project is providing support to over 100 young people in the capital to help them access green spaces and document their experiences.

The charity, which operates in London, Newcastle, and Northern Ireland, seeks to use journalism and personal development programmes to help underprivileged young people.

To mark the Jubilee year, The National Lottery is providing over £22 million to communities across the UK to commemorate Her Majesty The Queen’s 70-year reign.

Funding has been given across community, arts, sports, and environmental initiatives that have galvanised their local community, whilst leaving a legacy in the name of the Jubilee.

Multiple grants are being made to organisations the length and breadth of the country, thanks to National Lottery players who raise over £30m each week for good causes.

And Headliners UK CEO Ali Talbot sees the Jubilee weekend as a perfect opportunity for expansion.

She said, “The aim of the project is to build young people’s confidence, to access green spaces, to make them more aware of climate change, and to create resources and media content that enables them to share that with other young people, which we hope is a legacy for the project.

“The media that those young people will create will always be there as a legacy and a record of their contribution to the project.

“Sharing that voice of young people and making sure those young voices are heard is vitally important.”

The crucial National Lottery funding is enabling underprivileged young people to access opportunities they would not have otherwise had.

And Talbot added, “We wouldn’t be able to do this project without the vital funding that we’ve received from The National Lottery Community Fund and, particularly, the Platinum Jubilee Fund.

“We wanted to make sure there was an opportunity for young people to have their voices heard.

“Our programmes support children and young people throughout the UK to enable them to raise their voice and have their voices amplified.

“We like to work with young people that maybe haven’t had the best start to life and live in under-served communities across the UK.

“It isn’t necessarily a career progression people have if they come from under-served areas or deprived communities and we want to give them those additional opportunities.”

The Jubilee weekend will see young people in Hackney, Islington, Tower Hamlets, and Lewisham undertake nature walks in the royal parks and produce media content on their experiences while also harnessing the positives of being outdoors.

“There are a number of benefits that young people gain from accessing green spaces,” said Talbot.

“We have seen the impact that interacting with nature has on individuals' mental health, particularly when compared to the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, when young people weren’t necessarily able to access green spaces.

“It means that those young people can develop vital skills that they probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to build, the opportunity to discover their local community and the green spaces within them.”

National Lottery Ambassadors Rachel Stevens and Roman Kemp visited organisations to learn first-hand how projects have gone beyond celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee and are creating long lasting change, thanks to The Platinum Jubilee Fund.

With music and theatre close to her heart, Rachel said, “What I love about working in music and the performing arts is its ability to connect people to inspire creativity and push boundaries together.

“One of the highlights of my career was performing for The Queen at the Golden Jubilee and it’s amazing to see others get the opportunity to use theatre and performance to celebrate her Platinum year.”

Roman added, “Thanks to National Lottery players, funding has touched so many communities the length and breadth of the UK – it’s amazing to see how the funding has been used.”

For further information on how The National Lottery is helping bring communities together to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, visit https://www.national-lottery.co.uk/jubilee-celebrations

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