19 May 2022

YMCA London City and North and Sidley Austin LLP have today launched an exciting five-year partnership to help transform young lives across London, with support from YMCA England & Wales.

As part of the partnership, Sidley will invest £500,000 over the next five years to help YMCA build a new Youth Hub at LandAid House, Islington. The centre, which will be run by YMCA London City and North, will reach at least 1,000 young people in its first five years and will positively impact the wider community for years to come.

Exacerbated by the pandemic, many young people have been left feeling dejected, isolated and lost. With their freedoms restricted over the past few years, many have missed out on key developmental milestones from both a socialisation and mobility perspective. Many youngsters also have experienced the impact of recent cuts, with spending per head for 5-to-17-year-old in England falling from £158 in 2010/11 to just £37 in 2020/21.*

In response to this crisis, YMCA London City and North and Sidley will work together to transform two former retail units at LandAid House into a multi-functional space where young people can feel safe, and develop the skills and confidence they need to thrive within their communities and beyond.

The new Youth Hub will provide essential services for young people, including counselling, mental and physical health activities and a sexual health clinic. In addition, the building will be installed with a recording studio, performance space and general hangout area – all to provide holistic support and a safe and welcoming haven for London’s youth.

Thomas Thesing, Managing Partner of Sidley, comments: “Our office is in the heart of the City of London, so it is a key priority for us to support those within the surrounding area. The pandemic had a devastating impact on many, and as we emerge from it, it is evident that London’s younger generation needs greater support and guidance to help them thrive and grow in their local communities.

“We believe that our five-year partnership with the YMCA is an excellent way to shine a spotlight on the social issues young people face today. This project will also allow our team to engage with those utilising the Youth Hub to provide career guidance and support, as well as exciting work experience opportunities at Sidley’s office.”

Robert Thompson, Chairman of YMCA London City and North, said: “Thousands of young lives will be changed thanks to this partnership with Sidley, with the Youth Hub at LandAid House providing vital support to young Londoners over the next five years, and many, many more in the years beyond. We believe each young person should have the chance to fulfil their potential, and this collaboration will help make that possible.”

Alongside contributing financially to this new partnership, volunteers from Sidley will give their time and engagement to a wide range of activities in and around the new Youth Hub, including participation in youth programs, community events, and mentorship for young people interested in developing professional skills and experience.

YMCA London City and North currently supports more than 500 young people across six London boroughs and the City of London through youth intervention in schools, housing estates and youth hubs. Working with a range of partners to provide an intelligent, coordinated approach and helping young people to thrive, their programme of events improves the health and wellbeing of thousands of people in the communities they call home.