Since November 2014, Lizzy Izzet and Rachel Box have been leading new charity, London Village Network, which offers to unemployed youths of Islington some valuable networking opportunities which could further their career prospects.
According to Lizzy, helping these young people will have a widespread effect on the community as a whole, she says: “We’re hoping that people will realise that London Village is everyone’s, not just mine and Rachel’s, it’s for everyone as it takes everyone to be a village. So it’s all of ours- what we put in, we’re going to get out.”
Lizzy and Rachel, who live locally, are keen on improving the social environment for young people in the area. Rachel says: “When children hit teenage years, that’s when they start having peer-on-peer influences. Unfortunately, especially for boys, there’s a lot of pressure out there to be part of gangs. What they really need is to be part of a community.”
Since the recent gang-related deaths in the area, the pair have felt the need to reach out to people who are involved in crime, Rachel says:
“It is about having a purpose and a direction. A lot of young people are frustrated, which is what caused the (Tottenham) riots. Because they can see that there are lots of things going on in one part of London that they feel they can’t access
“Actually this isn’t true. I know, from speaking to professionals that they are embracing and do want to help these youths- but there just isn’t a platform available. So we’re hoping that’s what London Village Network is going to be.”
According to the charity owners, more needs to be done to ensure that young people are being pushed in the right direction and being given opportunities:
“Everyone should be able to take advantage of what this great city has to offer,” says Rachel
“We need to stop blaming the young, we need to start giving them more opportunities. What they need, more than anything, is experience and know-how,” she added.
The charity is looking for highly skilled workers who are willing to donate their time, rather than money, to come and talk to young people about their careers.
This week, the charity will be hosting its Be Your Own Boss event, during which young people will get the chance to network with professionals from various industries.
Highly skilled professionals will come to the event to help 16-24 year olds develop business ideas and build entrepreneurial skills.
“When you come to Be Your Own Boss, you’ll meet people who work in marketing , we have a banker coming in to talk about trading and banking, we have a business man coming in to talk about setting up a business,”
“There are all sorts of resources that are open to under- 24 year olds. So we’re going to be helping them access all of that,” says Rachel.
Since London Village Network’s beginning, the charity has received overwhelming support from professional workers from London who are keen to get involved with events.
“In terms of the professional uptake, it’s been great, we’ve had some really great people who are wanting to be a part of it. It’s been really pleasing to know that people are coming forward to help in this way; because it is knowledge that we’re asking for,” Says Box.
Starting this Tuesday until Thursday 26th, The Be Your Own Boss event takes place at the Underground Youth Centre, Ring Cross Estate, Holloway, from 11am to 3pm each day.
To find out more about the event, or how to get involved with the charity, email: firstname.lastname@example.org