In 2018 we launched our Outreach programme, created to connect and engage our company with the local community.

As a business, we recognise the importance of building a culture that has a social conscience, reflecting the core values of our company (independence, integrity, adventurous and team) and our people, in turn helping attract likeminded talent and clients.

What started as relatively small Outreach projects whilst we were based in Kensington, on our move to our new Soho home, we sought to find a local charity with whom we could develop a real partnership with.

We approached this with rigour – listing charities in the area, investigating the opportunities available with them and meeting with a shortlist of organisations to seek a team we felt a genuine connection with.

There were some fantastic potential partners, but when we met with the Young Westminster Foundation, we knew we had found an organisation with the potential to build a strong relationship. It was important for us to find a charity where we could utilise the breadth of skills, experience, and passion of our employees to ensure everyone felt fully engaged with the programme. YWF provided this opportunity.

Young Westminster Foundation

Founded in 2017, Young Westminster Foundation supports local youth clubs and organisations through grants, training and networking opportunities. YWF believes all young people in Westminster should grow up healthy, safe & happy with the best opportunities for brighter futures, a cause we knew Total Media employees could relate to.

YWF believes in finding innovative solutions to some of London’s greatest challenges through effective collaboration at a local level, and this is why we believed there was genuine scope to work together as a partner, not just in a fundraising capacity.

Since partnering with YWF, we have been working with them to help achieve their objective of supporting young people on their three key priorities across the borough (identified by their research and collaboration with youth organisations and young people):

  1. Serious youth violence
  2. Mental health & emotional wellbeing
  3. Youth employability

We have worked on over 40 projects with YWF – even through lockdown we were determined to still be able to provide support to their various workstreams.

These have ranged from small and large fundraising events, training workshops (in person and virtual), guidance to members, free media space and financial contributions.

We are immensely proud of all of the collaborations over the last three years, here are some examples of just a few:

1. Soho Pop-up

YWF ran a photography exhibition in Carnaby Street to challenge perceptions that youth clubs are just for “bad kids” and instead demonstrate the support they offer young people in the community. They did this by displaying powerful photos from youth clubs in the Westminster area over the years. We supported with the set-up, design of marketing collateral and running of the event.

2. Art Exhibition

Total Media and Young Westminster Foundation held an art auction fundraiser in February 2020. The auction was hosted by the Lord Mayor of Westminster and aimed to fundraise in support of vital outreach youth work in Westminster. The brilliant collection of art included bespoke and newly released pieces, epic music icon photography and even photography from our very own Mike Sell and Guy Sellers. It was a fantastic event and raising £20,000!

3. Free media space

Through our strong relationships with media owners and their generosity we have managed to secure free, local media space to promote various YWF programmes. Most recently we ran a regionally-targeted TV campaign through Sky to raise awareness of  the launch of their website “Our City, Our Future” (a website promoting free and low-cost activities across Westminster and Kensington aimed at keeping young people motivated and connected). The campaign was worth £10,000 and delivered 230k ads to London Households who had children aged 12-17.

This campaign achieved a CTR of over 4% (vs. 0.8% benchmark) with the number of users surpassing August data during the peak of summer holidays, a truly fantastic result.And in May 2020, we secured the massively premium “Piccadilly Lights” for their “We Are Together” campaign, aiming to raise funds to help young people in Westminster receive the support they needed during Covid. This campaign picked up an award for ‘Best Collaborative Campaign during Covid 19’ at The Drum Awards for Out Of Home.

4. Work Experience programme

As an agency, we want to ensure that we are offering work experience to local candidates who may not have contacts who can open up these opportunities. We have developed a work experience programme that will enable a small group of candidates to embark upon a 2-week work programme together at Total Media, where they can experience working with different teams, have access to relevant training and also work together on a mock-pitch project. We will be recruiting candidates through YWF’s member, 2-3 Degrees, whose aim is to equip young people with key personal developmental skills.

5. Behave project

In 2021, YWF launched a consultation process to address the growing issue around Serious Youth Violence (SYV) in NW Westminster. Part of that work included surveys with members of the community, and verbal feedback sessions with groups of young people who attend youth clubs.

Our behavioural counsultancy, Behave, supported this project by creating the consultation process and subsequent analysis of the findings. In 2022 our Behave team will be joining roundtable discussions hosted by YWF, alongside councillors, the police and other local institutions to develop an action plan to tackle SYV based on the research findings.

6. Hackney Half 2022

A group of fighting fit Total Media employees braved the heat to complete the Hackney Half Marathon on Sunday 22nd May. Although it took a lot of training, and plenty of water, the whole team managed to cross the finish line, raising over £1,000 for YWF. A fantastic achievement, making the sunburn slightly worthwhile!

An Award Winning Partnership 

We are proud to announce that this incredible collaboration hasn’t gone unnoticed! Our partnership with the Young Westminster Foundation won the award for the Best Charitable/Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at the UK Company Culture Awards 2022.

Talking of our partnership, YWF’s Director of Strategy & Communications said:

“Our partnership with Total Media remains one of our most innovative…The Total Media team has maintained a fundamental value of working with communities – listening, learning and being led by the needs of young people and community organisations. We shape ideas together, reflecting on the skills of the Total Media team and the needs within the Young Westminster community.”

It’s only going to get stronger! Our partnership with YWF continues to grow stronger and I can’t wait to see where the next few months and years take us. The support from everyone at Total Media throughout the past three years has been amazing, and I’m proud to work for a company with such strong values and a sense of community.

For more information on Total Media’s culture read our other blogs on Our New Family Friendly Policies and B Corp and Beyond.

Lemeece Page-Shepherd - Business Director

Author: Lemeece Page-Shepherd - Business Director

Lemeece is a Business Director on our UK client service team, and plays a large role in our Outreach programme with Young Westminster Foundation.