Dear friend, colleague and young leader,

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us but, as most of us are aware, the impacts on the black community in the UK have been disproportionate on almost all levels. Because of this we expect that our next cohort of young black people for our Young Leaders course in March will require much more support and it is paramount that no young person slips through these widened cracks. We are therefore asking for your support in our plans to mitigate against the impacts of Covid-19 that we understand have negatively impacted young black people’s mental health, sense of security, school attainment and life chances.

In order to mitigate against the disproportionate impacts Covid-19 has had on young black people’s home life, academia, physical and mental health and employability, next year we will be launching our Young Leaders course with a strong system of student support. This will include an initial process of assessing each young person when they join the course in order to identify their further needs. Young people will be signposted to the services that are most applicable to them which include;

  • a programme of mental health, wellbeing and resilience workshops that will run throughout the course as a series
  • 1 to 1 mentoring by our trained tutors who have lived experience and a talent for connecting with young black people
  • external mental health support such as counselling or therapy for a smaller cohort of young people who have much more complex needs and perhaps demanding home lives or trauma, something we see a lot and expect to have increased
  • and an academic learning platform ran by Ed Tree that will be available for all young people and has been successfully trialled with our young people
  • a live academic tutoring service with Ed Tree for a smaller cohort of young people who need much more support

This system of support will not only increase our capacity to retain and nurture our young black leaders but will also improve their school attendance, grades and attitude towards education as a tool to increase their live chances, create more positive and healthy interpersonal relationships such as at home and with their peers and effectively encourage them to be compassionate leaders within their community.

Furthermore, we will use what we learn from this system of support within next year’s Young Leaders course to inform a continued system that we will embed within our graduates’ scheme that leads on from the course and supports a young person for 3 years into employment or higher education.

As always, we are incredibly grateful and humbled by your ongoing support and participation,

Kind regards,

Paul Anderson MBE CEO


  • ONS (2020). Why have Black and South Asian people been hit hardest by COVID-19?. Available here
  • ONS (2020). Coronavirus and the social impacts on different ethnic groups in the UK: 2020. Available here
  • ONS (2021). Labour market overview, UK: May 2021, Estimates of employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and other employment-related statistics for the UK. Available here

Facts and figures:

As evidenced in government statistics throughout the pandemic, the Black African death rate for Covid-19 was significantly higher than any other demographic which may be partly due to their much higher exposure to the virus, where nearly 20% of security guards and related occupations and care workers are black, the occupations with the highest deaths related to Covid-19 (1). Further disparities can be seen through self reported financial capacity in which over a quarter (27%) of black people reported struggling to get by financially in April 2020 compared to 7% of white people (2).

This disproportionate financial struggle already existed before the pandemic but these disparities have widened with the rise in black unemployment rates to as high as the Brixton riots in the 1980s. From 2020 to 2021 BME unemployment rates increased by 41% leading to 1 in 11 BME people being unemployed compared to a 14% increase in white people and 1 in 25 white people being unemployed (3).

The mental health impacts from the pandemic on black people have been stark due to the financial struggle, higher risk to Covid-19 and much harder experiences isolating where black people are nearly four times as likely as white people to have no outdoor space at home (2).





Dear friend, colleague and young leader, 

We are grateful, pleased and really excited to speak about our plans for growing and expanding our programmes of work against a backdrop of so many unusual challenges. Throughout covid restrictions and the challenges of the pandemic Voyage has continued to support our young people and explore how best to support and nurture them as young leaders.  We remain committed to this.

I also wish to give thanks for the huge support, love and kindness from our amazing and growing network of environmental partners who have been so generous with their time nurturing us and being on hand to collaborate, debate and share best practice ideas.  Through them we have come a long way in devising our new green agenda and new course that has been created to diversify the environment sector, empower our young leaders and carve out new and more streamlined pathways into incredible careers. Especially in a sector with just 3.1% of those who work in the environment sector identify as from a minority, according to research by Policy Exchange. 

A key part of our green commitment is our new and bespoke Young Leaders for Sustainable Cities accredited course which is set to launch in March 2022 and will reflect much of the same structure and core elements of our unique and successful Young Leaders for Safer Cities course. Our new leadership course grew from our aim to address the lack of representation in the environment sector, which is only 3.1% non-white in the UK as well as our responsibility to change the current state of nature and the disproportionate impact environmental degradation and climate change has on black lives. To support our adoption of this new course we wish to ensure young people are supported as they learn by connecting powerful opportunities that will not just support our learning outcomes but also build their resilience and confidence to ensure they perform better at school and become responsible leaders in their community. This is why we are introducing in course support focusing young leaders on academic pathway scanning, skills development, work experience, professional mentoring as well as individual and group opportunities to visit green places of interest.

I am pleased to say we have just onboarded two amazing course contributors who will assist us with the writing of our new course, it’s teaching materials and its accreditation ready to be trialled with young people in the new year. We have a keen and committed sustainability network made up of young people who are working alongside us to ensure the course is dynamic and engaging, as well as a multitude of environmental activists, professionals and partners including Judy Ling Wong who will be consulting on our course and supporting us with pipelines into green employment. We wish to combine these efforts with our wider team of partners who are part of our Race for Nature project including Action for Conservation, RSPB and SOSUK as well as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, London Wildlife Trust, Client Earth and many more. All are committed to helping us to ensure we play a critical and unique role within the environmental sector to ensure it becomes even more relevant to black young people.


If you would like to join us on this exciting green venture to empower our young leaders with clear routes to incredible opportunities and careers please register your interest here. We have a plethora of opportunities to become a contributor to the course including being a participant in our roundtables, workshops, recruitment phase for young people, and course delivery and we welcome individuals with passion and from a range of backgrounds and skill sets. 


We look forward to sharing more with you as the course develops so watch this space and as always, we stay forever grateful and humbled for all your support. 

Please continue to stay safe and enjoy your summer.

Kind regards

Paul Anderson MBE CEO

In the light of the official report on racial equality released by the UK Government on 31st March 2021, we at Voyage uphold our commitment to challenging the institutional racism experienced by the young people with whom we work. We wish to emphasise the fact that these experiences are at the hands of police officers, teachers, and employers as youngsters progress through adult life and the world of work. We believe that these experiences result in both individual and collective traumas that work to negatively impact our society as a whole. Therefore, as citizens, we all have a duty to challenge and stop racial discrimination wherever it may occur.
We contend that racism is a public health crisis in London, and are thus concerned about its deleterious impact upon the lives of members of racialised communities within the UK. As such we will continue to seek access to a range of appropriate services and support across all sectors, structures and systems—including education, health, housing and employment—that continue to fail our young people.
We will continue to engage with statutory and non-statutory organisations; parents; teachers and other educators; healthcare professionals; children and young people; multidisciplinary teams of professionals; survivors, and community advocates from all backgrounds in order to challenge racist myths. We will commit to a contribution to wider public education around the impact of institutional racism upon individual  lives; many of which are so often minimised, forgotten or ignored.
In this aim, we invite the UK Government to recognise and acknowledge the seriousness of the impact of racism and its pernicious and detrimental impact on our young, their families and our communities.
We also appeal to all Londoners to reflect upon the impact of the reality of their own experiences, and those of their wider communities, and to come together to create a demonstrably fairer and more resilient society able to resist all manifestations of racism by adoption of robust anti-racist policies, principles and political practices that that speak to our common humanity.

It was amazing to be interviewed by Sky News to speak about our amazing new partnership with Action for Conservation, Generation Success and SOS UK.

Our contribution is focused on providing mentoring to support to over 120 young people who will be become the conservation sectors new vanguard. Our mission is to support them whilst the work with national charities and sustain them so we can build this new generation of young leaders for the future.


Dear friend, colleague and young leader

As of 6th January 2021, we entered another national Lockdown. Despite the lockdown we would like to assure all our young people that Voyage remains committed to conducting its usual delivery of services (Youth Advisory Board, peer projects, mentoring and mental health projects) but mainly online. In addition to this we will also be offering young people online support sessions (Zoom Hang Outs) so please stay connected and look out for text, emails and invites from our youth team.

We wish to use this email to let you know that we are still on-boarding corporate companies, mentors, amazing work experience opportunities and many many paid opportunities. Some of these will be available over lockdown and will serve to prepare young people for planned corporate work experience opportunities starting in June/ July.

To encourage young leaders to stay connected Voyage has booked a huge residential to Normandy in France taking place in mid July. This trip will available for up to 40 Voyage graduates who have signed up and participate regularly over the coming weeks/ months.

In order to ensure the appropriate staffing levels at all of our planned sessions we need you to confirm what your (young people’s) preferences are in terms of what days and amount of time they wish to commit to us. This will aid our planning purposes so please complete the following short survey:

Complete our online survey HERE – takes one minute.

In relation to more focused face to face work and balancing COVID19 risks we will continue to monitor the changing situation but it is likely we may ask you to join some sessions in person. In these cases, we will be following the National Youth Agency guidelines for support group sessions indoors with vulnerable young people (consistent with social distancing guidelines). Again please watch out for this. These changes are effective immediately and will be reviewed dependent on guidelines and any updated measures on youth work services (provided by the National Youth Agency).

In the meantime we encourage all our young people and their families to stay safe in these testing times so please reach out if you feel you are in need.

Please visit our website for information about new developments and how we make accessible in these troubling times.

Thank you for your continued support.

Voyage family

Check out our Winter Newsletter here

Voyage is recruiting for an events fund raiser who will help maximise our corporate relationships and create an exclusive events framework from which Voyage can grow and become more sustainable.

We are seeking an experienced individual majoring in corporate relationship building and stakeholder management and is able to help us tap a growing number of affinity, inclusion and diversity groups in the City of London and beyond. We hope to connect these networks and individuals to a growing events programme supported by a newly adopted customer relationship management software.

Please click here for a link to the Charity Job site site add here.

Happy new

#fundraising #diversityandinclusion #leadership #recruiting #sustainable #corporatefundraising

Voyage Youth want to do things a little differently this year, by having YOU design our Christmas Cards!

We are challenging you to design your best Christmas Card that will be sent to our young people, trustees, corporate partners, and other significant volunteers at Voyage. The judging will be by an all-star cast panel (some of our corporate partners and our CEO Paul to name a couple). This is a great way to express your creativity and have the satisfaction of your design being chosen.

The winner of the competition will not only have their design chosen, but they will also receive a £100 1st Prize, £50 second prize and £25 Third prize for the runners up.  Prizes will be given out at our Christmas Grotto Event we are currently awaiting full confirmation on 19th December 2020.

This is an amazing, fun, and exciting opportunity so please be creative and get designing!!

The competition closes on MONDAY 14th DECEMBER 2020 AT 10am.

All entries must be submitted via email to


Supported by an amazing company Arena Flowers, The GLA and our new partnership with the Black men for change Project we are incredibly proud present a summary of our impacts for our work in the mental health and well being space.

Our work on mental health is an implied part of our engagement with young people as we invariably introduce key topics, issues and impacts on our mental health through the different engagement methods.

In this case our work with Operation Smiles was framed as a project designed to relief boredom as a result of the pandemic, but effectively it provided great opportunities to

  • review young peoples attitudes towards lockdown
  • understand the effect of the lockdown on the community
  • develop solutions to improving our own mental health

The Operation Smiles project represented the beginnings of a much deeper and longer programme of work focused on developing a team of mental health peer leaders. The Peer Programme will be embedded into a number of our community projects, programmes and provide an opportunity for our young people to gain valuable work experience. As we progress the programme we will be involving

  • 4 Young Minds
  • Universal Board Games
  • Gamcare
  • Black Men for Change
  • OSTC
  • Money A & E
  • ED Tree

We look forward to continuing this work as lockdown eases.

Stay on our social media for more.




As someone with considerable experience running and sustaining charities for over 20 years I must say that I have become deeply concerned about how organisations like us will survive post the COVID19 pandemic. I have become a little confused about how we should explore the continuation our services (during and post lockdown) and how this could affect the vulnerable young people (13- 21 years) we work with. I ask this question as Voyage typically:

* engages young people through centre based, referral and outreach work in the community.
* relies on a mix of trust, foundations and donations for funding its work
* relies on working with proffessionals who often work in front line services as a main day job
* works with some of the most disadvantaged (but amazing, gifted and talented) under 21s in north east London

These factors alongside how to respond if there are other outbreaks in the future are forming more serious conversations with my staff, my board of trustees and ultimately with our beneficiaries. Now I wish to open this up to other leaders in a similar position.

Just when I thought these considerations are for our charity, I got a big shock after reading about the Charity so White campaign and realising this is not just a worry for us but also a equally an issue for the entire BAME charitable sector.

I was grateful to read @charitysowhite are now meeting key funders and asking important questions and so far they have found that funders:

* Actions to date are not matching urgency of the situation, with 9/10 BAME VCS organisations set to close in the next 3 months.
* Surface level action such as better marketing of funds will not suffice. In the long term issues of power and trust need to be addressed, in the immediate response we call for ringfencing and decision making led by BAME infrastructure to deal with these issues.
* The importance of monitoring where funds are going through race equality data – specifically looking at leadership & governance, whether funds are going to BAME-led organisations, not just organisations claiming to work with these communities.

These crucial sustainability factors mixed with real questions about how we should carry out our work in communities when:

* many key funders are redirecting funds to support COVID19 affected communities
* youth organisations maybe ill equipped to facilitate social distancing and handing our PPE
* many of our very own young people will have families suffering from the pandemic both here in the UK and abroad in motherland countries and may need alternative forms of support embedded into their services

These factors forced me to send a distress call out to other bame led youth organisations (on linkedIn) to explore these questions and more to hopefully bring some of us together to discuss strategies that reduce our chances of closing down. I got a huge response and as a result I hope to be joined by a number of CEOs, COO’s and chairs from youth charities to discuss. I look forward to these discussions and presenting the outcomes to anyone interested.

I intend to get out there (on my bike) to visit some of these London based youth charities and find out how they are doing and somehow link the feed back to a report I will inevitably produce in a few months time.

If you want to join on Thursday evening 21st May 2020 at 6pm on Zoom please click on the link here or below.

Further reading here

Dear VOYAGE family,

As always, the health and safety of our beneficiaries, partners, trustees, staff, volunteers and members of the public is of paramount important to us. With the current global concern around Coronavirus (Covid-19), we hope you are staying safe and finding time to help others who are in less fortunate circumstances. We are deeply concerned with the wellbeing of our community, so please remember to wash your hands or partake in social distancing if you can.

We thought to produce this message to assure you that we are keeping a close eye on the situation and were are actively listening and taking advice from our college hosts, the government and our NHS delivery partners.

Due to the current circumstances, we have decided to reduce our engagement work with young people until we get new information and we see and feel greater public confidence and desire to interact with people in public spaces. We aim to continue to carefully monitor official information on a daily basis, and regularly speak with our strategic partners to stay abreast of any risk concerns. We will be writing to our young people, teachers and referral partners to let them know about the changes we will be making with regards to the implementation of our programmes.

By way of a general update

In the UK, the cases of coronavirus have strongly increased from only 2 cases back in Jan 31st to currently, 1,391 positive cases and 35 deaths. Five days ago there were four confirmed cases in City and Hackney, which share a health authority. On the London Underground, where there is an extremely high density of people crowded into each carriage, previous research has suggested a link between commuting and the likelihood of catching respiratory illnesses. Read more here.

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, we will stay in touch with New City College and we aim to provide updates on their decision whether to close the college premises.
We appreciate this gives us all a level of uncertainty, but Voyage will of course inform you of any significant change to our planning due to Coronavirus.
For advice and information regarding Coronavirus/Covid-19 we would advise that you visit the websites below.

Should you or any of your family be suffering from any cold like symptoms feel free to use the following links to get any support: 

Kind regards,
Team Voyage