Hundreds of inspired young people: a story

“I have a better idea of what the future looks like for me. I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it.”

Thinking big, preparing for life after school, recognising and celebrating potential; these are the inspiring themes we hear from young cohorts of the BIG Alliance (Businesses for Islington Giving) Mentoring Works programme, now successfully running in Islington for five years. Mentoring Works is one of the BIG Alliance’s flagship offers for businesses.


The pioneering work of the BIG Alliance is helping to grow a culture of giving in Islington. Any business can give back to Islington, and in turn gain valuable local insight, improve staff morale, boost retention rates, and upskill its people.

The BIG Alliance Mentoring Works Programme has matched 600 mentors with 900 students, drawn from schools and sixth forms across the borough. Mentors offer guidance for the mentees’ futures, from practical tips on CV writing, university applications, and interviews, to ‘softer’ life skills like networking, time management and organisation.

Below you can watch Clare (an employee of MUFG) and Winta (a student at City of London Academy Highgate Hill) reflect on how valuable these mentoring sessions can be.

“School is where I learn academic stuff but my mentor really helped me develop my life skills.” BIG Alliance Student Mentee

At a recent event celebrating mentoring in Islington, one headteacher said that for many of his pupils, the programme opened doors to new opportunities, and new ways of thinking. Mentors too are frequently impressed and inspired by younger mentees, and notice the positive impact mentoring has on their workplaces.


The BIG Alliance

Islington Giving and the Macquarie Group Foundation established the BIG Alliance in 2012. It harnesses the talent, ideas and skills of people working in Islington’s thriving businesses, from large multinationals to SMEs. The BIG Alliance offers a clear example of how we bring people and organisations together to make positive change possible in Islington. It opens doors for young people, whilst helping to make our workplaces more connected to the community.

Do you work or do business in Islington? Your skills and connections can change lives

You and your colleagues or employees can give time as mentors to help our young people shape their futures.

You can see the difference giving time could make near your home, workplace, or business by using our interactive map.