Mentor and student enjoying themselves.
Mentor and student enjoying themselves.
LVN started on estates in Islington, working in the heart of the community with young people who felt left behind and unsure of what to do.
When co-founder Rachael Box spoke to a group of young boys who were engaged in antisocial behaviour outside her children’s bedroom window, she realised that they did not feel like they belonged and did not know how to go about getting a job they'd enjoy and be good at.

At the same time, co-founder Paul Wheway, who had just spent 21 years in prison for knife crime, was working on estates with vulnerable young people. He said, “you can’t tell young people from poor and broken backgrounds not to go into crime if you do not work on their mindset”. This notion is at the heart of LVN and Rachael continues to pursue this mission following Paul’s passing in 2019.

One thing that many of these young people had in common was that they did not feel like they belonged and did not know how to get a job. They did not have enough people in their lives who could help them access work experience or jobs, especially in their areas of interest. You can’t be what you can’t see. When they left education many ended up Not in Employment, Education, or Training (NEET).
This situation was, and still is, making young people susceptible to gang culture and knife crime. Many young people told us they didn't feel there were other opportunities open to them and they were being actively targeted to get involved in harmful activities.

Out of every 10 jobs, 7 are not formally advertised and 85% of jobs are filled through networks. We saw that getting young people access to networks was a way to change their situation, so we started to connect young people with volunteers from the community who wanted to give back.

As volunteers spent time and showed interest in the young people, we saw how trust was built up and barriers came down. The change in the young people as they started to feel more accepted and valued was incredible.

Our Theory of Change outlines that we can drastically help change the mindset and life path of vulnerable young people by introducing them to ten adults outside their usual sphere of influence. This motivates them to set long-term goals and obtain meaningful and sustained employment.
Signed by Rachael Box, LVN CEO and Founder.
Rachael Box,
CEO & Founder of LVN