Bringing our flagship programs online

In response to the pandemic, volunteers from across our UK offices adapted two of our flagship community investment programs, Debate It! and Steps Into Employment, into virtual offerings to support the development of essential skills within our local communities.

Led by colleagues from our London office, Debate It! is an education program that teaches young people public speaking and debating skills as a way to boost confidence, develop critical thinking skills and raise awareness of current affairs.  Volunteers delivered fortnightly Debate It! clubs within six schools across London culminating in an interschool debating competition. Impact data from the program found that students reported an improvement in their essential skills with team working, creativity and confidence particularly improved through the program with average self-reported levels of 90-100 percent.

In response to the pandemic we created an online hub to host Debate It! sessions filled with educational resources and pre-recorded presentations to enable students to participate in the program online. We are working with the schools to facilitate live virtual sessions that will sandwich the resources on the online hub so that students at our partner schools can continue developing their debating skills.

Volunteers from our Steps Into Employment program also developed a virtual interactive hub to support individuals gain the skills and confidence to enter or re-enter employment. Our people created bespoke resources to help individuals looking for work during the pandemic, recorded training videos and are working with partner organizations to host live sessions for participants who requested 1-1 support. Prior to the pandemic contacts from Hestia and St Luke's Community Centre participated in our Steps into Employment program at our London office covering sessions, including effective communication, confidence building, interview skills and CV workshops.

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