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Berkeley Foundation & Groundwork London Hold Graduation

Berkeley Foundation, in partnership with Groundwork London, held its first graduation event for the Youth Leadership Programme at West London College last week, 28 September 2023. Young people from West London College, Masbro Youth Club, and the College of North East London, spoke about their social action projects and experiences. The programme took place from May to June 2023 and included a three-day residential trip to Goblin Combe, near Bristol.

Staff with Uniformed Services students at the Berkeley Foundation Youth Leadership Programme Graduation
Staff with Uniformed Services students at the Berkeley Foundation Youth Leadership Programme Graduation

The 12-week programme was delivered by Groundwork London, a charity at the forefront of social and environmental regeneration in the capital and a strategic partner for the Berkeley Foundation.

Staff with Foundation Learning students at the Berkeley Foundation Youth Leadership Programme Graduation
Staff with Foundation Learning students at the Berkeley Foundation Youth Leadership Programme Graduation

The initiative, which is free to schools, colleges and youth groups in London and Hampshire, welcomed over seventy young people for the first time this year. The exciting scheme includes teaching, a residential trip and community-based projects focused on environmental issues. As well as benefitting their local communities, the young people taking part also develop employability skills and self-confidence.

Over twenty students took part from West London College from our Foundation Learning and Uniformed Public Services courses.

Student Abdelrahim Safi

Abdelrahim Safi, 18, studies Gatehouse, a Foundation Learning programme. Abdelrahim said: “We were studying subjects like traffic pollution, knife crime and food waste. My favourite activities were teamwork, how to be a leader, and making presentations. The subject that I was most passionate about was traffic pollution.”

Student Hala Kanaan

Hala Kanaan, 17, who studies Uniformed Public Services Level 3 at West London College spoke at the event. Hala said: “On the residential trip we learned how to light a fire without matches, and use navigational skills. Fabio and I led our group through the woods, just using a map to our destination. We also spent a whole day learning archery which was really fun, and we planned a meal too.”

West London College Enrichment Officer, Ayaka Littlejohn, said: “I’m really happy that I was able to get our students at West London College involved in this programme. There are so many young people with untapped talent and potential, so it is important to provide them with skills and tools to become the leaders of the future. Many of the young people who took part in this programme had never been out of London or away from their families so it was a great opportunity to see them thriving outside of their comfort zone and growing in self confidence!” 

Peter Fleet, Youth Development Manager for Groundwork London said: “This is a very challenging time for many young people. COVID-19 has adversely impacted on their education, health and wellbeing. The Youth Leadership Programme will help to change that so that young people can develop leadership and personal skills to transform their lives.”

Berkeley Foundation’s Chair Rob Perrins and Groundwork London Chair Alan Smith took part in a Q&A about leadership styles and skills, expertly facilitated by MC Dwayne at the graduation event.

Rob Perrins, Chair of the Berkeley Foundation, and CEO of Berkeley Group, said: “This is the first time we have made a significant investment into a partnership that is explicitly focused on developing a new, diverse, generation of young leaders. This new initiative with Groundwork London shows how empowering young people can make a real difference to places and communities. The innovation and social action projects we have seen are inspiring, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these young people.”

West London College is taking part in the Youth Leadership Programme this term too, and Olga Ambrosiewickz who is a programme tutor at Groundwork will be teaching our students once again. The residential trip this year will be to Brecon in Wales.

Shabaz Ferozdin, Youth Manager, Groundwork London, said: “We greatly appreciate our  partnership with the Berkeley foundation, which allows us to do what we do best: facilitating young adults on their paths to self-improvement and helping them reach their full potential. 

“At Groundwork London, we are committed to working with young adults to support their journey into leadership, recognising each and every participant has agency, power and ability to achieve, becoming competent and self-reflective leaders of tomorrow. We believe by doing so, we make our communities stronger and promote a conscientious society.”

The Berkeley Foundation is the independent charitable foundation set up by the Berkeley Group. They have committed over £26 million to more than 100 charities and organisations that we partner with to help young people overcome barriers, improve their lives and build a fairer society. They work in close partnership with the Berkeley Group, and the company provides the majority of our funding. Staff from across Berkeley do a fantastic job of raising money through fundraising events and Give As You Earn, as well as giving us access to a wide range of assets and opportunities, from staff volunteers, to work placements for the young people on our programmes.

Groundwork London is a federation of charities mobilising practical community action on poverty and the environment across the UK. They’re passionate about creating a future where every neighbourhood is vibrant and green, every community is strong and able to shape its own destiny and no-one is held back by their background or circumstances.

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