This project provided young people, from across London, with volunteering opportunities to be engaged with the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.                                    


The project was developed to ensure that young Londoners, and the youth-led sector, were provided with opportunities to influence the London 2012 Games.

In addition to supporting young people, IARS also identified a lack of infrastructure support for the youth-led sector, which led to the establishment of IARS’ forum The London Youth-led Sector Policy Forum (now the Youth Policy Response Group) as part of the London Youth Volunteering Project.

Project aims

The London Youth-led Sector Policy Forum provided opportunities for youth-led organisations, infrastructure organisations and representatives from other sectors and government to work together at a London-wide and strategic level on the following issues:

  • Providing capacity building information around the 2012 Olympics games for young people.
  • Ensuring that youth-led organisations received adequate support from relevant infrastructure organisations and authorities, especially around the 2012 Olympics.
  • Promoting networking between youth-led organisations, with particular emphasis around the 2012 Olympics.
  • Providing knowledge and expertise on the youth-led sector to infrastructure organisations, policy makers and other sectors.

Young Londoners received training designed to promote leadership, teamwork and skills development. The key aims of the project with regards to supporting young people included:

  • Advice – advice, information and signposting was provided for young participants through a dedicated youth-led website, publications and through special editions of IARS’ Youth Voice journal.
  • A short youth-led film was produced and disseminated by young people to youth clubs, youth groups and educational institutions.
  • Outreach – hard to reach groups were engaged with through active outreach.
  • Volunteering- volunteering opportunities were provided to young people across London.


  • Youth Voice Magazine – IARS produced three editions of its Youth Voice Magazine focussing on the Olympics. Details of the magazine can be found by following this link.
  • Training –  youth-led, face-to-face and online training was provided to young participants as well as opportunities to be accredited for their work.

Project related news:

May 2011 – Release of Youth Voice Magazine: The Youth Perspectice on the Paralympic Games

April 2011 – IARS’ Youth Policy Response Group responds to National Curriculum Review Call for Evidence

February 2011 – Inviation to discuss National Curriculum Review with IARS

December 2010 – Final decision made about London Councils funded projects

December 2010 – Jamie Lawson: My time as a young researcher with IARS in 2010

September 2010 – IARS Olympics 2012 Opportunities Bulletin No4

June 2010 – IARS’ Youth-led Sector Policy Forum gathers momentum

December 2009 – Youth Voice: Olympics Special Edition

Project updates, publications and resources archive

February 2011 Update:Funding for this project is currently under review by London Councils due to the latest government budget cuts.This project will continue to be funded by London Councils until the final consultation has come to an end. The previous consultation was ruled in court to be unfair to equalities groups and so the funding will undergo another review and consultation process. The next consultation will take into account consideration of equalities groups when it comes to impacts of withdrawing funding. We will keep this page updated on any progress. 
January 2011 update:The second edition of the Youth Voice Magazine has been completed and is undergoing the final editorial process. The next edition will contain a total of 5 articles, researched and written by young volunteers aged between 16 and 25. Filming for the youth-led video about this project has been underway since December 2010 and will be published on the website before the end of March 2011. One volunteer from this project took part in a reflection on her experience. To see Davina Merchant’s video of her experience on this project and with IARS please click here. 


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.