In 2009, with funding from the Big Lottery Fund, IARS launched London Youth Now, a youth-led, pan London integration project. It seeks to ensure that young people and organisations working with them can promote community cohesion by involving young people from a diverse range of backgrounds in policy, service design and service delivery.

The project offers volunteering opportunities to disadvantaged young Londoners who are likely to be excluded from decision making processes and discussions around how policies and services for young people are implemented.

The project is important because it enables young people to have their voices heard and to develop valuable attributes such as research skills, the ability to work in a team and an improved sense of confidence. The project is also important for enabling local organisations to better understand how to engage young people in the effective development of their services and to take on board their views and experiences in their delivery of services. Such services therefore are able to make the greatest impact possible since they reflect the needs of their young service users.

To keep up to date on the project and to find out how to get involved visist our BLOG


If you are aged 15 – 25 and you are interested in the issues that young people are facing today, we have a great opportunity for you: Click here to find out more.

Under the umbrella of London Youth Now, the following projects have been possible:

Recruiting now

We are looking for 15 – 25 year olds from across London who are aware of the problems facing young people in today’s society. To find out how to get involved click here

We are also recruiting for our Youth Advisory Board (YAB). YAB is a team of young people who work advising and reviewing the LYN project. The YAB meet with us quarterly (Every three months). If you are interested in getting involved click here for future information.

Policy Response Group

As part of London Youth Now, IARS also hosts the Policy Response Group. Organisations which have been involved in the Group include the Anne Frank Trust, the Prince’s Trust, the Citizenship Foundation, the Howard League for Penal Reform, Clinks and StopWatch. The Group puts in join consultation responses primarily to Government departments such as the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Department of Education.

Policy Response Group 2014: Call for membership. If you are interested in participating please contact Grace Loseby (

Youth Voice Journal

Youth Voice Journal is an international, multidisciplinary, refereed journal that publishes theoretical contributions and empirical studies on youth policy and issues affecting young people. In particular, the Journal aims to:

■ provide a medium, especially for young researchers and young academics, to inform debates around social policy through high quality research;

■ provide a platform for the intellectual exchange of ideas around the globe with the aim of influencing policies and practices;

■ actively encourage and aide those young people whose voice is rarely heard by policy makers to contribute to the journal.

From April 2013 Youth Voice Journal is onlineoffering everybody the chance to easily access published papers, articles and book reviews, for free.

Would you like to donate to our project?

A donation of £5 would contribute towards the out of pocket expenses for our young volunteers and youth advisory board members, for instance travel or refreshment expenses.
A donation of £100 pays for the running of a group skills session for disadvantaged and vulnerable young volunteers ivolved in our project.
If you would like to donate to the London Youth Now project please click here

Donate Online

99% Campaign

A youth-led initiative that aims to dispel negative stereotypes of young people, and promote their involvement in decision-making processes and civic life.

A key tool of 99% Campaign is the 99% Campaign Blog, written and run by young people/volunteers. The blog acts as a digital platform for young people to express their views, debate issues that they feel strongly about, be a voice for change in their communities, challenge negative perceptions and promote positive contributions in society.

Young Women in the Criminal Justice System

A user-led programme empowering 16 female volunteers to inform and influence how the police engages with young females with mental health problems while being in custody.The results informed the IARS 2012 publication Listening to Young Women in Police Custody: Mental health needs and the police response.

Safer Transport Project

Ayouth-led investigation into young people’s reporting preferences when faced with intimidating behaviour on their bus journeys home from school.

A report based on the investigation findings of the project was published, entitled Youth Violence and Public Transport: a Youth-led Investigation. It looks at the issue from the user perspective and produces recommendations for policy, academia and practice. The gap between the perception and experience of youth violence is analysed at the transport hubs of Elephant and Castle and West Croydon.

Race in Probation

London Youth Now links in with the activities of Race in Probation that seeks to influence decision makers and ensure that BME service users are able to positively experience allprobation services by establishing a comprehensive evidence base around the experiences of BME service users.

To keep up to date with the progress of the project, please visit the project’s blog

In 2008 IARS launched the Young People’s Hate Crime Project; a youth-led research project which aimed to explore the causes of race hate incidents in three British cities – Bradford, Liverpool and London – and the potential for restorative justice to be used to remedy such incidents. Findings revealed that race hate manifests differently according to the demographics of specific areas but is generally targeted at new comers; particularly refugees and asylum seekers and newly arrived Eastern Europeans. It was also revealed that the majority of young people responded positively to the suggestion that restorative justice could be used to address racial hatred, both within the criminal justice system as well as in the school environment.

It is on the back of these findings that “London Youth Now” has been launched. With funding from the Big Lottery Fund, IARS is moving the Young People’s Hate Crime Project into a new phase of project delivery. This is an awareness raising and training project which seeks to ensure that young people and organisations working with them can tackle hate crime and promote community cohesion.

■ Providing opportunities to young people to undertake action research and supporting them to carry out their own initiatives – particularly youth-led research and youth-led campaigning activities – in order to shape decision making.

■ Improving the quality of local services for young people that aim to improve community cohesion and tackle hate crime.

■ Diverting young Londoners from a culture of hate crime; making them feel more positive and able to participate fully in society.

■ Hosting the Policy Response Group and disseminating monthly e-newsletters which enables IARS to act as a network that brings people and ideas together, communicates best practice and encourages debate on current social policy matters


We are Sculpt

IARS International Institute to operate as Sculpt

*Charity CEO available for interview – details in notes 

A UK-based youth charity today changes its operating name from the IARS International Institute to Sculpt. 

IARS is an international NGO that’s been working to empower young people to forge a fairer society for over 20 years. Their work is guided and evaluated by young people themselves.  

Over the last 20 years, IARS has delivered more than 70 successful projects that have addressed real problems that young people face, in areas such as: 

  • Gender discrimination 
  • Violence against women and girls 
  • Supporting young people to find work 
  • Creating green and sustainable business 
  • Promoting collaboration among young people across the world and much more. 

In 2021, with the world changing rapidly and opportunities for their work shifting, they decided to refresh their purpose and identity, and made the decision to rebrand as Sculpt. 

Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of Sculpt, said: 

‘We are delighted to launch our new brand that speaks to our aim to empower young people to shape their future.

‘We believe that many of today’s young people are facing unjust challenges – economically, environmentally and socially. A fair, sustainable society can only evolve if all young people have the opportunities, the confidence, the ambition and the skills to make their voices heard and propel change in their communities, irrespective of who they are or where they come from.  

‘Our rebrand, like our work, has been guided by research and by young people themselves. As an organisation we base our work on rigorously researched evidence and are led in our approach by our youth advisory board. Their voices and insight are critical to solving the right problems in meaningful ways.’  


Notes to editors:  

Dr. Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of The IARS International Institute is available for interview. Contact Claire directly on: +44(0) 7833 224442  


Sculpt is a UK-based charity providing research, training and work-experience opportunities that empower young people to shape their own futures and those of their communities. 

We work directly with young people, employers and professionals who support young people. All our work is guided by young people themselves and based on carefully researched evidence. We: 

  • Facilitate forums for young people to make their needs and their voices heard. 
  • Publish a magazine by young people to express their perspectives and encourage debate around public policy issues. 
  • Conduct research to uncover young people’s real needs and what works to empower and support them. 
  • Deliver training to build young people’s confidence, skills, ambition, resilience and sense of responsibility, so they can shape their futures and change their communities for the better, as leaders, social entrepreneurs and active participants in civic life. 
  • Deliver training for professionals who work with young people, drawing on our research and expertise. 
  • Engage with employers to facilitate work experience and employment opportunities for young people to develop skills and access diverse jobs. 
  • Facilitate international exchange opportunities to encourage and enable young people to experience and appreciate other cultures, perspectives and ways of life. 

We tackle disempowerment from three angles: working directly with young people to build confidence and skills and their voice, working with professionals who support young people, and working with employers to break down barriers to opportunity.