A mentoring project linking nine charities from London's Olympic boroughs with some of the largest corporate supporters of the Games has announced significant results as it assesses its work ahead of the Games.
Pilotlight, a national charity which brokers mentoring partnerships between charities and businesses chose nine small charities "in need of a bit of Olympic glamour" to benefit from mentoring by Adidas, BP, BT, Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance and Deloitte, all sponsors of the Games. The project was endorsed by London 2012's Inspire Programme making it an official Olympic Legacy project, which began two years ago.
With a number of different aims, many of the charities supported have seen significant benefit from the partnerships. One charity, Aanchal Women's Aid, based in Newham, saw the number of women and children survivors of domestic abuse they were able to help increase by almost 60 per cent.
New Choices for Youth, a Plaistow charity helping young people leaving the care system initially contacted Pilotlight to develop a business plan but soon after, in 2010, lost its government funding, facing a 60 per cent cut in its turnover from £1.2m to £500,000. The support of the mentoring scheme allowed the charity to deal with the difficult situation of how to cut its services, how to get rid of staff and how to rebuild its funding base, advised a spokeswoman for Pilotlight.
"We all know that charities are facing a tough time at the moment," said Fiona Halton, chief executive of Pilotlight. "We saw the chance to bring together ambitious charity directors, who understand the problems local people face, with the Olympic partners and their outstanding business talent. We wanted the charities in the Olympic boroughs to grow faster, higher, stronger thanks to the Olympics."
The nine charities supported by the project, some of which have not yet completed their one-year-long term of support, are: Aanchal Women's Aid, Access Sport, Alcohol Concern Tower Hamlets, Age UK Waltham Forest, Home-Start Newham, Kinetika Art Links International, New Choices for Youth, Step Forward Tower Hamlets and StreetGames UK.
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