O2 Think Big is the latest winner of the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award for its work to help thousands of young people across the UK, turn their ideas for positive change into reality.
O2’s Think Big programme offers young people aged 13-25 funding, training and mentoring to help them kick-start ideas and projects which will benefit their local communities and deliver positive social change. Supported by the Telefonica Foundation and delivered in partnership with the National Youth Agency, Young Rewired State and over 40 other youth organisations, O2 Think Big has supported over 6,000 youth projects and helped young people develop their skills, confidence and employability.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“O2’s ‘Think Big’ is an innovative programme which offers 13-25 year olds funding, guidance and training to kick-start ideas and projects which will benefit their local communities and deliver positive social change. Partnering with National Youth Agency and Young Rewired State, they have already supported over 6000 ideas and have provided an opportunity to develop skills, confidence and experience for thousands of young people.”
Bill Eyres, Head of O2 Think Big, said:
“O2 believes in young people and is committed to helping them achieve their ambitions and potential. Our Think Big programme gives young people the opportunity to develop the confidence, skills and experience they need to deliver positive social change in their communities and helps equip them to succeed in the modern digital economy. We are thrilled to win this Big Society Award – it is wonderful recognition not just for O2, but for the thousands of young people that O2 Think Big has inspired and supported.”
Jon Boagey, CEO of the National Youth Agency said:
“We are delighted to be part of O2 Think Big’s success story. The programme unlocks the potential of our young people and provides the support to create the next generation of entrepreneurs and digital innovators. We’re proud to have been part of O2 Think Big since its inception and we’re daily inspired by young people’s talent and imagination.”
O2 Think Big has supported a diverse range of community projects across the UK – helping young people like Saeed Atcha to set up and launch Xplode – a successful youth media magazine in Bolton; and Chloe Hine to develop Beat the Bullies – a music project to help young people affected by bullying. O2 staff play a key role in supporting, coaching and mentoring young people, with over 74% of staff being involved since 2010.
The O2 Think Big programme is also helping young people use the experience and skills they have developed through the programme to launch their own ventures. In 2014 Hannah Catmur, a Think Big ‘graduate’, was accepted in to the Wayra Academy start-up accelerator, where she has had the opportunity to develop her Think Big project into Pocket Explorers – a digital app that encourages children to get out and explore the natural environment. O2 Think Big continues to partner with the Wayra Academy, UnLtd and other organisations to help young people turn fledgling social action projects into sustainable social ventures.