Creating a pipeline of community leaders: Lewisham Young Leaders Academy

Many small charities find it hard to recruit skilled trustees and this challenge disproportionately affects charities working with people from BAME backgrounds. We have created a replicable programme that provides a pathway for young people to play a leadership role in their community and gives them skills and experience to enter and succeed in their chosen careers.

The Lewisham Young Leaders Academy is an AQA-accredited programme for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 15-24. Participants on the programme reflect the rich and diverse mix of racial, cultural and economic backgrounds of young people living in the London boroughs of Lewisham and Greenwich.

The programme includes a range of activities, events and workshops, covering essential skills like digital content creation. It explores the political landscape and how it works, including a trip to the House of Parliament. It provides each young person with a mentor to explore their skills and challenges and help them reach their full potential.

As part of the programme, each participant undertakes up to 30 hours of office-based voluntary experience in support of a local charity or community group, working in areas such as communications, marketing, social media, campaigning and fundraising.

Participants also work together to identify a local issue they feel strongly about and develop a local campaign to address it.

At the end of the programme, participants receive AQA level 3 accreditation in Volunteering Skills.

Our national programme working with the Volunteer Police Cadets trains and supports young people to run social action projects in their local communities.