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London City Airport launches new programme to support the local community

LCY’s London City Helpers programme will see the airport work to tackle unemployment and support mental wellbeing in the local community.

London City Airport launches new community support programme

Credit: London City Airport - CEO of LCY, Robert Sinclair.

One year on from the escalation of the COVID-19 crisis and the first national lockdown in the UK, London City Airport (LCY) has renewed its commitment to supporting its local communities in East London with the launch of the London City Helpers programme.

This new programme, delivered in partnership with the East London Business Alliance (ELBA) and with support from other community partners, will see the airport deliver bespoke engagement activities in the community to: tackle unemployment and address inequality; raise the aspiration of disadvantaged young people; and support the mental health and wellbeing of residents in Newham and across East London.

A new bespoke mentoring scheme will also be launched to raise young people’s aspirations and support their mental health and wellbeing. In partnership with 15BillionEBP, a London-based charity, volunteers from the airport will mentor Newham school students who are at risk of becoming not in education, employment or training (NEET) due to the impact of the pandemic. This will be conducted via online workshops and other engagement activities aimed at fostering resilience and motivation and breaking the cycle of deprivation and low attainment.

As a responsible employer committed to recruiting locally, London City Airport is also supporting students to develop their employability skills, with airport staff volunteering to deliver mock interviews and CV workshops and review LinkedIn profiles to help prepare young people for the world of work as they leave higher education.

In addition, the airport continues to engage with local schools to facilitate online tours of the airport, as well as to arrange work experience placements for young people. In February 2021, the airport also donated 26 laptops to the Riverside School in Barking & Dagenham to assist disadvantaged students with their online learning.

Airport staff are also volunteering in the community to support local residents in their time of need, including partnering with Newham-based food banks to help to deliver food parcels and hot meals to local residents who are shielding as a result of COVID-19.

In March 2021, the airport’s Chief Executive, Robert Sinclair, spent time volunteering with Year 9 students from the Willowfield School in Walthamstow to talk about his career journey and the qualifications and skills that local employers are looking for.

Robert Sinclair, London City Airport‘s Chief Executive, said: “We have a long-established record of supporting our local communities, and I am really pleased that our new London City Helpers programme has been launched to help young people, in particular, to achieve their potential. Looking ahead, we are hopeful that international travel can safely restart this summer and, when it does, just as we have in the past, we want to work with our local partners to ensure that we reflect the vibrancy and diversity of East London by ensuring that as many of the new jobs we create go to local people.”

Ian Parkes, CEO of the East London Business Alliance (ELBA), said: “London City Airport is one of the most significant employers in East London, and we have worked with them to support the local community over many years. We have worked to promote local employment at the airport, build the employability skills of local people and to support students to get interested in and pursue science, engineering and technology careers. In this last COVID-19-hit year, despite the downturn in the aviation sector, LCY has been amazing, they have continued to work with us and other local organisations to support the community through their London City Helpers programme for 2021 – helping foodbanks, giving careers insights to school students, and exploring work experience. They have also donated surplus laptops to local schools to help narrow the digital divide faced by local families.”

Glynis Webb, Community Foodbank Coordinator at the Royal Docks Learning and Activity Centre (RDLAC) in London, said: “I would like to say a massive thank you to London City Airport staff for their volunteering efforts during this challenging period for our local community. Our Foodbank has seen an increase in users since the start of COVID-19 in the Royal Docks, and it has been great to receive their support.”

The London City Helpers community engagement programme builds on the airport’s strong track record of supporting the local community. Over the past four years, staff have participated in volunteering activities across East London focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as wellbeing, equality and biodiversity, and have invested over 7,300 hours of their time. As part of its current investment programme, the airport has also spent over £7 million on education, employment and community investment initiatives in the local area.

As well as the new initiatives, a key element of the programme is the airport’s £75,000 Community Fund, which continues to allocate funding to local groups and charitable organisations to enable significant and positive change in the communities surrounding the airport. 

In addition, London City Airport’s Women in Aviation programme, which was established in 2018, has been undertaken virtually during 2020-21 due to social distancing requirements, with a focus on ‘the sustainability of the passenger end-to-end journey’. But the programme has once again engaged 10 local schools and 200 female students in workshops designed to motivate, inspire and educate about the career opportunities available in aviation and the importance of STEM skills.

London City remains the only airport in London to be accredited as both a London Living Wage employer and certified by the Mayor of London’s Good Work Standard.

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