A boost for Mary’s and young people in Islington

February 17th, 2016  |  Published in General, Spotlight, Youth Club

The winners of the Big Lottery Fund awards for 2016 have just been announced – and Mary’s Youth Club on Upper Street is one of them.  The club has been awarded £325,000 over a three year period to expand its activities, particularly in the area of employability.

Said Rebecca Mills, Youth Development Manager, ‘We know from our regular surveys amongst young people in Islington that their most pressing issue is unemployment…not surprisingly, since youth unemployment in Islington is almost double the average for London as a whole.  That’s why we’ve wanted to be able to offer careers, apprenticeship and work experience advice, along with CV-writing and interview techniques to as many young people in Islington as possible.  This award will help us to do just that.’

Mary’s Youth Club will continue to offer a wide range of health and fitness activities, drama and dance and life skills sessions to 11 to 25 year olds, but the Employability Hub will be where most of the new development is focused.  The grant will enable Mary’s to increase the size of its dedicated youth development team, providing extra capacity to work with more volunteers and more partners, such as Baker & McKenzie, the City law firm, some of whose staff are providing one-to-one mentoring sessions for our young people, and the London School of Economics.

‘Of course’, added Balazs Csernus, Chief Executive of Mary’s, ‘we still have to raise a further £100,000 over the next three years to meet the terms of the Big Lottery Fund grant, but this award gives us a bit more time to build up sustainable funding to ensure Mary’s long term future.  We know we are making a real difference so we have to carry on seeking grants from charities and expanding our base of individual and corporate donors.  By doing that, we can continue to reach out to more young people in Islington’.

Mary’s Youth Club is run by Mary’s, an independent charity created by St Mary’s Church to serve the local community from its site on Upper Street.

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