In Islington, London, it’s not just our Grandmentors volunteers making a difference to young people leaving the care system. It’s also the young people themselves who are helping others in their local community.

Throughout the pandemic, two of our mentees volunteered their own time with local charity The Little Things . Despite facing their own challenges, Hannah and Danayt supported the homeless community by running a local hot drinks station outside one of the tube stops. They offered warm beverages to those that needed them and continued to volunteer at the hot drinks station throughout winter. The freezing temperatures would discourage all but the most dedicated to stay at home, but Danayt was completely committed;

“It was really good, the people were amazing and when I was just making them hot drinks and remembering what they usually drink, I saw the smile on their faces. That makes me really happy”.

For Hanna, volunteering is a very positive experience; “for me, volunteering is the best experience ever in my life and boosts my confidence as I enjoy helping anyone by any means. Volunteering makes me joyful.”

Both mentees received a Civic Award from the Mayor of Islington, for volunteering throughout the pandemic. However, their youth social action journey didn’t end there!

Hanna and Danayt still actively volunteer at The Little Things soup kitchen, recently running a raffle at an event to raise funds for the charity. Together, with other young people who are also Islington Care Leavers, they raised almost £2000.

Despite what they have encountered personally, Hanna and Danayt continue to volunteer their time and energy to help those who need it.  Allison Bennett from our Grandmentors Islington team, works closely with girls and is proud of all that they have achieved; “It was so good to see how the girls took on the responsibility for helping other people and how clearly it fulfilled a need they had to feel useful.”

What is #iwill week?

#iwill week is an annual celebration of the work young people are leading up and down the UK. This year it is taking place from 21 – 25 November. We want to encourage meaningful conversations amongst all of us who work in the youth sector around how we continue to support youth social action into 2023.

For more information visit the #iwill movement website.