Who are Local Village Network and what do we do?
LVN is a grassroots charity serving the young people of London. Our purpose is to reduce the number of 14-24 year olds that are not in education, training or employment by tackling ‘network poverty’. Network poverty is a lack of contacts, positive role models, or confidence to learn, put learning, or desired action plans into practice.
Our purpose is to create significant social change by mobilising positive influences in the community to support underprivileged young people in London into employment. We improve social mobility, removing barriers and increasing educational achievement by giving them access to a wide range of corporate and professional networks and opportunities they wouldn’t usually have.
A lack of networks directly impacts on a young person’s prospects and can carry the risk of them becoming susceptible to negative influences. Gangs, knife crime, sexual exploitation and recruitment into county lines continues to be a huge problem across London, especially post COVID-19 and with unemployment rising and opportunities becoming harder and harder to find.
The young people we work with lack confidence when engaging with new and diverse people. An essential skill to have in the workplace. We address this and inequality by providing a bridge between young people and employers.
Our ‘Power of an Hour‘ model offers a unique Assets-Based-Micro-Mentoring-service that provide exposure to a wide range of professional adults in a variety of settings to teach these young people the behavioural skills needed to build successful pathways to employability. We ask professional adults to give just 1 hour – the Power of an Hour (PoH).
During the hour, adults tell the young person about their journey to their chosen career and give an insight into their profession. One hour might not seem much but if the young person has 10 of these sessions from different professionals, it has been proven to be enough to transform a young person’s life, giving them perspective, a vision of what’s possible and the confidence to go for it.
We deliver our solution by training youth practitioners already in the field. They could be working in Youth Centres, Pupil Referral Units, Youth Offender Services, Job Centres or in Colleges serving deprived areas of London. We train and upskill them to deliver our model either face to face or online. We deliver all of this using our digital youth hub.
Who are the main beneficiaries from LVN’s work, and how does LVN meaningfully support under-represented groups?
LVN supports the inclusion and equality of vulnerable young people typically at risk of exclusion or NEET. These young people are majority:
- Black, Asian or of mixed ethnicity
- Inter-generational unemployed white families
- Prison and Care leavers
- Living in deprived communities often characterised by high density living and crime hot spots
LVN’s aim is to:
- Ensure that every young person has an equal right to positive networks.
- Create a fairer London by giving underprivileged young people access to the right type of networks that will enhance their future prospects and give them support and visibility of opportunities. We want an end to ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’.
- LVN recognises the extreme wealth gap across the capital. We believe that access to networks are vital for social change and community cohesion.
Local Village Network gives young people access to professional networks and employment, training and skills development opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
What skills does a young person acquire via LVN?
Skills development is an essential element of LVN’s programmes. Young people have told us they lack basic life-ready skills and the Power of an Hour is designed to cultivate these:
- communications (listening and verbal)
- critical thinking
- self-management (including time, self-control)
- interpersonal (including peer to peer, team working) skills
- enhanced self-awareness and confidence building
Which London boroughs does this charity have impact in? Is the impact broader than London?
We are currently solely based in London. Up until COVID, we were primarily based in Islington and Camden. However, with lockdown, our services went completely online, and we have been able to partner with front line organisations to deliver our services across London. We have had interest from boroughs throughout the UK to take the LVN methodology nationwide.
How does this charity align with our purpose to address social issues and build resilience of local communities in most urgent need?
A lack of access to positive networks is a significant and serious barrier to a young person’s progression. This is starkly illustrated by the shocking fact that only three in every ten jobs are advertised. It’s still who you know, not what you know that counts. It is the least advantaged that suffer the greatest network poverty. They are the furthest away from the job market and their situation is set to deteriorate further.
The number of young people not in education, employment or training is set to increase by 30% by the end of 2020. They will be competing on an uneven playing field for a smaller number of jobs. Networks and the associated life skills, knowledge and confidence they bring have never been more important.
Young people have told us they don’t understand the opportunities and scale of job roles that are in the workplace and would value hearing from a diverse group of people in their areas of interest. They have also told us that they don’t believe that they would be taken seriously when applying for jobs and they don’t have the confidence to attend interviews. They feel they don’t fit in, that they don’t have a chance.
LVN is here to give young underprivileged people confidence, resilience, know-how and skills to confidently move forward into employment. And we use the local community to do this. At a time of mistrust, we build community cohesion. It is imperative that young people have a network beyond their usual sphere of influence in order to give them hope for the future.
Current Conditions: LVN Funding down But Demand up
Demand for LVN services has risen and LVN’s conventional fund-raising platforms all but vanished since Covid-19. With youth unemployment sitting at 15% and due to rise to 27% by the year end, LVN is experiencing a huge increase in requests to access our methodology and technology.
Demand is coming from every quarter, both local and central government, other statutory providers and charities. Some notable examples:
- Partnership negotiations are well advanced with the Department of Work and Pensions to bring LVN to employability coaches, job centres and outreach workers.
- The Metropolitan Police has just started using the LVN app to signpost youth services.
- Several London Boroughs have approached us to deliver in targeted youth service teams; Pupil Referral units and Care Leaver support programmes.
- Three FE colleges in Barnet, City & Islington and Croydon (representing a roll of 14,000 learners) want us to extend our activities to support vulnerable16-18 year olds at risk of dropping out of education.
What LVN need: a long-term partnership for sustainable impact
LVN’s fundraising strategy is to identify four strategic partners committed to a two-three year relationship. LVN trail-blazers with the capacity to:
Increase Employee Volunteering Opportunities
Individual: LVN’s community inclusion model is based on volunteering. We offer an ideal platform for those new to volunteering – very flexible approach, 60 minute commitment, ability to volunteer in pairs, deliver to groups or 121s, like it you can do more, no long term commitment. All sessions are virtual. A taste of current opportunities:
- City & Islington College weekly employability skills sessions
- Mary’s Youth Club Homework Club
- The Zone
- Help grow the LVN volunteer bank
Corporate: The LVN Corporate Further Education Partnership programme offers organisations a more structured volunteer programme. Working alongside local FE colleges, this is an academic year project with 10 Power of an Hour sessions each featuring a different, relevant business discipline (planning, marketing, economic modelling and forecasts, legal, analysts, business development etc). It is structured around a corporate challenge e.g. how to improve diversity in business or launching a new retail app.
Pro Bono Support for LVN HQ Team
Build on existing activity including review and upgrade of LVN Youth Practitioner Training; advise on using monitoring and evaluation methodology to develop impact assessment models; (see corporate pro bono leaflet for other ideas).
How might professionals at my organisation engage with LVN?
LVN’s success is down to our amazing volunteers and we’d love your volunteers to become part of our movement and to champion our cause. We appreciate that everyone is busy, that’s why we ask for just an hour of people’s time – the Power of an Hour. If they’d like to give more, then we’d love that too. But giving just one hour of your time, explaining your journey, telling the young people about the challenges you overcame is hugely beneficial.
The young people we have supported have benefitted hugely from work experience that our brilliant corporate partners have offered. It has given them insight, work-ready skills and confidence to enter employment. A work experience programme would be an invaluable experience for our young people.
We always welcome extra funds into our pot, so any fundraising activity is always very much appreciated, whether that’s a bake sale or running the marathon, we appreciate every £1 you can raise! As a grassroots charity, pro bono support is really valuable to us and we really appreciate the ability and opportunity to tap into our partner’s resources and expertise.
We would appreciate the opportunity to work with your Corporate Citizenship Manager (or equivalent) to help implement our strategy and business plan.
How your funds would be spent: High Quality Return on Your Investment
£10,000 will fund one corporate/college programme where a BTEC Business Studies Class will be set a real life challenge by you and you will run 10 sessions to help them solve the challenge. This corporate programme will support 20 students to develop their skills, networking and confidence as well as give them an excellent content for their CV.
£5,000 will train one college tutor or employment champion at a FE college in the LVN methodology and technology which will allow them to run more interactive, real life homework clubs and employability sessions. This will support over 1,000 students.
£5,000 will train one employment coach at a Pupil Referral Unit or Youth Offenders Service in the LVN methodology and technology. This will enable them to show over 20 young people in their care who are heading down the wrong path, that there are other options and that people do care about them and will support them to make the most of these opportunities.
£20,000 will fund a social media campaign to attract more young people to download the LVN app and take advantage of the Power of the Hour. This could attract 500 young people.
LVN are proud to work with a wide range of partners:
27 Pear Tree Street
London, EC1V 3AG
Registered Charity 1161275