Celebrities To Step Up To Give Youth A Chance; Climb To Top Of Hilton London On Park Lane

This information originated in UK English.

June 17, 2009

LONDON -  As efforts continue to reduce gun and knife crime in London, it was announced today that a heady mix of celebrities, chefs, athletes and senior executives are set to take part in a unique athletic challenge this summer to help disadvantaged young people into work.

Celebrities including former England footballer Graeme Le Saux and Olympic medallist Roger Black are set to run the Mayfair Park and Tower Race - a 4.5 km sprint around the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park followed by a gruelling tower run up 28 floors to the top of the London Hilton on Park Lane.

The goal of the event, scheduled for Wednesday June 17th 2009, is to raise £30,000 for a new charity apprenticeship programme called Galvin's Chance, offering a series of apprenticeships in some of London's finest hotels. The project has been initiated by the Galvin at Windows restaurant, the finish point for the race.

Speaking at the launch, Graeme Le Saux said: "There are thousands of young people across London who can only dream of working in a place like Galvin at Windows - our aim with this fundraising event is to make that dream more of a reality for a handful of lucky youths."

Galvin's Chance, set to launch in the autumn, will provide an opportunity to disadvantaged young people aged 18-24 at risk of gun and knife crime on some of Britain's most violent housing estates. The programme will include industry leading training towards a ‘front of house' hotel career - one which requires dedication, ambition and enthusiasm.

Initially piloted at Galvin at Windows at the London Hilton on Park Lane, apprentices will also be placed at other luxury establishments. The programme is an initiative of Hilton in the Community Foundation - Hilton's charitable division which has a focus on helping children and which has raised around £7m in charitable funds since its inception in 2000.

This latest initiative is being run in partnership with the Solve This Ongoing Problem (STOP) campaign and Springboard Charitable Trust, which helps young unemployed and disadvantaged people improve their prospects by helping them develop skills and find sustainable jobs in the hospitality, leisure travel and tourism industries. The Mayfair Times is also co-organising the race and is the official media partner for Galvin's Chance.

Chef Patron Chris Galvin, who has been one of the driving forces behind the project, said: "The race will be fun, but the intent is serious. Galvin's Chance is there to help real people at risk change their lives. We hope it will grow over the years and make a real difference."

Inspiration for the project was gained when Fred Sirieix, General Manager at Galvin at Windows, read that South London teenager Alex Rose had launched a campaign to end gun and knife crime after seeing a close friend die, he decided to act. Fred, Alex and Chris worked together to design a scheme that would give young people a chance to change their lives.

Once the necessary funds have been raised, up to 12 participants will be identified and, after an initial introductory programme, they will go on to Westminster Kingsway College for training. Following that work experience and a potential job will be offered in participating hotels, with the London Hilton and Dorchester already on board.

Alex Rose, now 20, has worked with the Metropolitan Police operation Trident, which deals with shootings among young black Londoners. He has also been invited to No 10 to discuss knife crime with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and the Greater London Authority has involved him in an international gangs project in which former gang members from Los Angeles and Brazil meet to discuss ways to curb gun and knife crime. In 2008, he was given an Anne Frank Award for personal and moral courage.

Alex said: "Communities need to do more to educate their young people and prevent them from becoming stuck inside gang culture. If everyone gets behind this project we can make a real difference."

Other famous faces already signed up for the race include Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr and TV presenter / wine writer Olly Smith. More information can be found at http://mayfairparkandtowerrace.com.



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