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Just one hour to inspire a young person

10 Dec 2018

‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ is the notion that inspired Rachael Box to start the London Village Network (LVN), which provides opportunities for young people in Islington to hear from local professionals for one impactful hour. 

“Every interaction with a working person brings young people a step closer to a more positive future and helps prepare them for further education, training or employment,” says Rachael Box. 

The difference this programme can make in a young person’s life is what keeps Rachael Meyers from Macquarie’s London office involved with LVN following her participation in the CoRe programme; which connects local charities with corporates volunteers. 

Together with Macquarie colleagues Todd Fortescue and Max Stechman, as well as Shweta Vasani from Slaughter & May, the team worked with Rachael Box on a six-month project to prepare LVN’s business model and develop the strategy. 

“After an initial brainstorm, we decided we would each focus on a particular area of the project,” says Rachael Meyers. 

“I worked on the financial plan and analysis, Todd provided guidance on GDPR requirements and used his professional network to make introductions with HR and Marketing consultants. Max drove the development of the business plan and ran strategic sessions with LVN.”

“The project evolved as we worked together, and we all helped out with different tasks as they came up. We met frequently and were flexible to ensure we could make the greatest impact on the organisation.” 

The team was moved by Rachael Box, who started LVN as a way to connect to a group of young boys in her neighbourhood who would regularly cause a disturbance. She discovered that they had limited hopes for their future and sought to inspire them by providing them with networks and resources that they wouldn’t otherwise have accessed. 

“Rachael is a very inspirational person, she has amazing energy and has brought such a wonderful concept to life in Islington. She just needed help refining the process and helping the organisation to grow,” says Rachael Meyers.

For their contribution to LVN, the CoRe volunteers were finalists in the Voluntary Action Islington Awards earlier this year and are actively recruiting colleagues to give an hour of their time to speak at LVN sessions. 

“The Macquarie team has been amazing. The CoRe team went over and beyond to help prepare the LVN business strategy meaning we are now ready to upscale and widen our reach,” says Rachael Box. 

Support has come from across Macquarie for LVN. For many years Geff Parsons, also from Macquarie London’s office, has been serving on the board of trustees. 

As well as time, Macquarie staff have given money, with the Graduate Volunteer Network donating £30,000 to LVN (including matching from the Macquarie Group Foundation) through the fundraising activities they conducted throughout the year. This funding will have a transformational impact on the organisation, allowing Rachael Box to draw a salary from the organisation for the first time. 

“The funding was an unexpected blessing, it not only means that I am now paid a salary, but it also makes a significant difference to our delivery capabilities. I cannot thank you enough for the support and belief Macquarie has had in the London Village Network.”

Image caption: From left to right, Max Stechman (Macquarie), Shweta Vasani (Slaughter & May), Rachael Box (LVN), Rachael Meyers (Macquarie) and Todd Fortescue (Macquarie) at CoRe meeting. 

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