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Roots n' Wings

Roots n’ Wings is an innovative youth programme supporting young people (17-25) who are not in education, employment or training.  

It was set-up to address the disproportionately high level of youth poverty and unemployment in East London. A partnership between Groundwork London and Raleigh International developed active links between local and global communities. The purpose? To inspire young people not in education, training or employment through participation in a life changing experience.  

A three-month local volunteering project helps build basic life skills, such as confidence and self-esteem, to prepare young people to apply for a fully funded 10-week placement in a developing country.  

Trekking in India

Above: Some of the Groundwork programme participants with other members of a Raleigh expedition on a trek in India. Photograph courtesy of Raleigh, for more information, see

Supported by a trained mentor, participants set their own goals and work towards a recognised accreditation. Locally based environmental projects with Groundwork London are run in partnership with community organisations to ensure results are based on local need and that young people can see a tangible impact from their work.  

In the first two years of the programme over 50 young people participated in volunteering activities in their local community. 4 of them received an accreditation and 24 went onto employment, training or education.  

A young person involved in the 2007 project said, “I’m calmer, refocused and more loving. Seeing people with so little yet being so happy made me realise there is more to life than drinking, taking drugs and getting into fights.”

A Youth Advisory Panel made up of ex-participants continues to support the project in recruitment, mentoring, and developing the direction of Roots n’ Wings  

The project was awarded a ‘Commendation for Good Practice’ by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies.

This project has been made possible thanks to funding from the Jack Petchey Foundation and v, the youth volunteering charity.

For further information on Roots n' Wings, contact: Naomi Pietersen, Groundwork London, 020 8985 1755, .