New Helping Hands campaign launches in Westminster



Young Westminster Foundation today launches a new film to spearhead a community programme and fundraising campaign working to address youth violence in the borough of Westminster, London. The film brings to life how youth violence impacts our young people, our community and wider society. And crucially, how this can be prevented through community cohesions and targeted youth work.

Marium Uddin, Programme Manager at Young Westminster said, “the ethos of our new Helping Hands Programme revolves around creating interventions that are led by the voices of young people and community members who have been directly and indirectly affected by youth violence. Working in collaboration with local youth clubs and partners, we will give communities ownership over creating innovative opportunities for the borough, building on the valuable work already being done to keep young people safe”.

Helping Hands is initially funded as a one-year pilot by the Violence Reduction Unit and BBC Children in Need and focuses on three estates in North Westminster. The Foundation hopes the new film will support their ambitious fundraising target to sustain the project and extend it across the whole of Westminster. They wish to raise £50,000 to create and invest in projects that directly offer prevention and intervention for serious youth violence in the borough. The Helping Hands Community Fund will support youth organisations and individuals with funding to deliver life-changing initiatives for young people.

In 2021, the Foundation worked in partnership with the local organisations to conduct a consultation with the local community to understand the impact of youth violence in North West Westminster. Responses were gathered from parents and adults, and focus groups with young people in youth club settings. 59% of respondents said that ‘knife crime’ is something that worries them about where they live.

The findings informed the development of the new programme. The consultation was generously supported and analysed by the Behave Team at Total Media, a behavioural planning agency and key YWF partner. An innovative approach led by behavioural science to better understand one of the most pressing concerns for young Londoners.

New partnerships helped create the new film too, with the Foundation benefitting from participating in Media Trust’s Volunteer Films project, funded by John Lyon’s Charity. They were matched with a filmmaker Jonathan Haldon who created the film for free. “I’m so proud of what we achieved” said Jonathan. “Working with YWF was a privilege, and I hope the love and effort that went into the film is echoed in its reception.”

Cathryn Pender, Grants Director at John Lyon’s Charity, said, “We understand the value and importance of youth workers, who in the last two years especially have worked tirelessly to adapt services; ensuring programmes remain covid-safe and young people have fun things to do, safe spaces to meet friends and access to support from trusted youth workers. John Lyon’s Charity is very proud to have supported Young Westminster Foundation through Media Trust in the creation of this film, which so expertly highlights the value of youth organisations”.

Young Westminster Foundation welcomes contributions from local youth organisations and strategic partners to share ideas and insights to help shape our long-term plan for addressing serious youth violence across Westminster.

The Foundation was recently appointed at the Charity of the Year 2022/23 by the new Lord Mayor of Westminster Cllr Hamza Taouzzale. Youth violence is one of the charity’s three thematic priorities, alongside mental health and youth employability.

You can show your support by donating to the new Community Fund which will be used to create and sustain helping hands for all young people growing up in Westminster.

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Young Westminster Foundation brings together youth organisations, young people, businesses, Westminster City Council, government, schools, funders and the wider community to create opportunities for Westminster’s young people. We’re part of a growing network of Young People’s Foundations (YPFs) established nationally by John Lyon’s Charity. Through working together at a local level, we hope to develop cross-sector solutions to some of London’s greatest challenges, including serious youth violence, emotional health & wellbeing and youth employability.

John Lyon’s Charity believe in transforming the lives of children and young people by creating opportunities to learn, grow and develop through education. Since 1992, John Lyon’s Charity has awarded over £21 million to support youth clubs and facilities across the Beneficial Area, providing recreational safe-spaces for young people of all ages to prosper, build relationships and learn essential life-skills.

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