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Project information

Toynbee Hall Youth Action

Toynbee Hall Youth Action supports young people to make the most of their future and have a positive impact on their communities. Our activities help build confidence and aspiration, improve school attainment, and develop individual and social wellbeing.

January 2019 - September 2020

Charity information: Toynbee Hall

Toynbee Hall logo
  • Need


    Over 50% of children in Tower Hamlets are living in poverty, the highest of any London borough. The strain this causes intensifies the challenges young people face, undermines relationships, and destabilises families and communities. Together, these challenges can limit individuals’ opportunities for success and their ability to make a positive contribution to their community.


    Our work helps young people make the most of their future. We partner with local schools and organisations to help identify young people that might benefit from a programme of activities that helps improve their social and personal wellbeing. The projects we run help build confidence and aspiration, support academic attainment, and enable young people to make a difference to the place they live in.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Develop students’ confidence, aspiration and educational attainment


    » School workshops that embed relevant local examples and the history of the local area into key curriculum topics at KS3-5
    » Awards schemes that drive attainment and encourage aspiration
    » Week-long summer school and art project that encourages students creativity and critical thinking while they learn about the local community
    » Skills development that helps improve school attainment and enhances employment and university prospects

    What success will look like

    Increased confidence and participation in activities demonstrated by positive responses, engagement, and feedback from coordinators and teachers

    Aim 2

    Improve civic participation and the sense of belonging and connectedness within the community


    » Workshops on local social innovators that have shaped the community and how young people can make a difference to the challenges they face today
    » Social action and volunteering opportunities that will help young people make an impact in their community
    » Intergenerational activities, like oral history interviews, that help build positive adult relationships and develop connections between groups

    What success will look like

    Increased awareness about the community and its history, understanding of positive impact they can have, and their engagement in social action opportunities

  • Impact


    We aim to break the cycle of poverty by empowering young people to make positive life choices and a meaningful contribution in their own community. The activities we offer also help young people develop core life skills, which they can use and develop over many years, and which continue to have an impact on the lives of participants and their communities. Our relationships with partner organisations over several years mean that we can continue to monitor the success of our work


    Specific risks to the project are (a) a lack of funds to enable new activities, (b) a lack of volunteers, (c) organisations referring unsuitable participants or young people with extreme behavioural issues. These risks are managed through (a) a robust fundraising strategy including diversifying our sources of income, (b) accessible volunteer opportunities and a recruitment process using multiple channels, and (c) working closely with organisations.


    Donors to this project will receive regular updates if requested by email, letter, telephone or in person, as appropriate.

    At the end any project we compile a robust evaluation report, based on results from surveys taken by young people, schools and partner organisations and relevant adults

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £155,889

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £80,989 Staff Costs Full-time specialist youth workers, Part Time heritage learning manager, training costs
      £11,670 Group and Individual sessions guest speakers and volunteer training
      £23,950 Activities and Works community activities, social action opportunities, awards scheme
      £39,280 Core Project Costs Project management, monitoring and evaluation, communication and rent

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Heritage Lottery Fund £9,375 Guaranteed
    Private Donor £11,000 Guaranteed
    Funding from dedicated Trusts and Foundations and other supporters £30,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Our youth work operates primarily within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets; an ethnically and racially diverse area and one with great disparity of wealth. Despite being the home of Canary Wharf, Tower Hamlets remains one of the most deprived of any London borough and within the 10 most deprived areas of England. The impact for young people is considerable: more than 40% will grow up below the poverty line.


    Young people who we work with are referred to us by partner organisations or come to us from target school groups. They will be between 11 and 18 (Key-Stage 3-5) and will join activities suitable to their specific educational and support needs. Factors that we focus on when assessing the benefit to potential participants and groups include social isolation, lack of opportunities to develop specific skills, the need for extra support to help raise attainment or enhance confidence.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Toynbee Hall works on the frontline in the struggle against poverty. Based in the East End of London we give some of the UK’s most deprived communities a voice, providing free advice and support and working with them to tackle social injustice. We have over 20 years experience working with vulnerable young people in local schools, using methods of active learning and informal education to improve and support young people’s emotional and social wellbeing.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Elizabeth Archer

    Elizabeth has co-designed our youth projects with local young people. She drew on their interests and concerns to reinvent our youth offer for 2019.

    Lisa Wilkinson

    Our Heritage Learning and Participation Manager’s knowledge of using history to inspire young people is key to delivering our aims.


One day of peer-research training for 12 young people on our Youth Excellence programme.

“… I’m looking forward to the fact that I’m going to learn about leadership, teamwork and things like that, things that I’m not really good at.”

Toynbee Hall youth programme participant 2017/18