Young people and their communities have reason to celebrate as the Big Lottery Fund grants UK charity Volunteering Matters’ Positive Futures project funding to expand its work in East London.

Thanks to the Big Lottery Fund’s grant of £378,576 Positives Futures will support young people aged 13-25 in Hackney, Haringey and Tower Hamlets to identify and deliver volunteering and social action projects to positively change and benefit their local community.

Youth ownership and personal development is at the heart of the project. Volunteering Matters recruits and supports young people aged 18-25 not in education or employment to lead their peers (young people aged 13-18) in volunteering and social action activities.

Positive Futures began in 2009, supported by Hackney Council. To date over 800 young volunteers have led or participated in social action volunteering activities. These have included:

  • Wayside Community Centre – Intergenerational activities. Young volunteers used their IT skills to develop and deliver IT training sessions to enable older people to use their laptops, smartphones and iPads; and ensure safe internet usage and email.
  • Community Queens. The project worked with young women from the Gypsy and Travellers Unit in Hackney to gain valuable hands-on experience and build their employability skills, breaking down barriers and stereotyping of travellers in the process.
  • Hackney Children’s Theatre. Based at St Johns Church volunteers took on a variety of roles supporting the charity’s monthly performances. From helping backstage to front of house, participants reported a new enthusiasm for volunteering and an appreciation for the chance to build their networks

Of the volunteers involved in Positive Futures so far:

  • 87% felt more involved in their community
  • 86% felt more confident to try new things
  • 92% said volunteering had made them work ready

Recent volunteer Wasilat was involved as a Volunteer Leader and said

“Being a part of Positive Futures has really helped with what I want to do in the future. I was able to work with children and elderly people; I was able to help my community and make a difference. Working with different types of people really helped me with my self-esteem, confidence and motivated me to want to achieve my dream of becoming a social worker. I met so many great people and had the opportunity to work with amazing people from different backgrounds”

Project manager Verna Chung added “We are extremely pleased and excited to be able to continue and extend our work with young people thanks to this money from Big Lottery’s – Reaching Communities Fund. We look forward to seeing where this funding takes us, all the volunteers and their communities over the next three years.


For press enquiries please contact Alison Harvie at Volunteering Matters, / 020 3780 5876 / 07823413244

Notes to Editors

Volunteering Matters, formerly known as CSV, is a national charity leading UK volunteering in policy and practice. We believe that everyone can play a role in their community and should have the chance to participate; we build volunteering projects and programmes to reflect this. We focus on the needs of four distinct communities; older and retired people, disabled people, vulnerable families and young people. We engage over 35,000 volunteers every year, and currently have 150 active programmes across the UK. For more information please visit: