AY Group Community Services CIC is a not-for-profit organisation which objective is to provide community cohesion and wellbeing for people of all ages, cultures and abilities.
We believe passionately that London communities are in desperate need of community hubs to provide a safe, secure and proactive set of services.
AY Group was initially set up in 2015 as an education and training services hub helping residents gain skills and employment, and offering a wide range of activities. The hub is looking to provide a cellular office opportunity designed to offer a “place to work” and a “place to learn”. We help young people in your community, Hammersmith and Fulham (H&F) and other areas in London to go from being unemployed or unemployable to become skilled and then helping them get into work or start their own business.
Sine the pandemic AY Group’s aim as been to serve as a food bank as well as a community hub which helps the disadvantaged residents of our local community in Hammersmith & Fulham combat food poverty.
What is a CIC?
AY Group is a Community Interest Company (CIC).
CICs are limited companies, with special additional features, created for the use of people who want to conduct a business or other activity for community benefit, and not purely for private advantage.
This is achieved by a “community interest test” and “asset lock”, which ensure that the CIC is established for community purposes and the assets and profits are dedicated to these purposes. Registration of a company as a CIC has to be approved by the Regulator who also has a continuing monitoring and enforcement role.
Danny Barnes (CEO)
In 2015, AY Group was set up and so Danny was born! As AY Group Chef Executive Officer, he knows what he wants and is dedicated to help the youth make their dreams come true. Mix enthusiasm, target orientation, positivity and professionalism together with over 6 years of experience in management, you get a great team leader, called Danny Barnes.
Glory Kasongo (Director)
Glory is an outgoing individual that has a passion for psychology and mental health. She believes in women’s empowerment, equality, and inclusivity for those from marginalised groups. Glory has experience in mentoring young females from disadvantaged backgrounds and counselling adults with her excellent interpersonal skills. She strongly believes in improving communities for people to reach their full potential and leaving a lasting impact
Daniela Salvi (Director)
Daniela Salvi, AY Group very own highly talented graphic designer. With over 10 years of experience in graphic design, she is the secret of AY Group websites, logos, design and more. Without Daniela, this world would look less colorful. Nothing is too much and nothing is impossible!
A Word from our CEO
“I’m on a mission to help as many people as possible” – Danny Barnes
In 2012, while unemployed himself, Danny Barnes set up a community project in London called Acknowledging Youths to raise aspirations and make a positive contribution to the lives of young people in London and provide education and training and employment.
Danny had a troubled start to his life. Encouraged by his daughter to make a change, he decided to turn his life around and give back to the local area by supporting young people to make positive life choices.
“Whenever I tell people my story, they’re inspired to change their lives. I’ve been in prison myself, I’ve been in gangs, I’ve been homeless. My sister died of leukemia at 14, I grew up not knowing my mum. Because of this is how I’m able to engage with young people and I know exactly what they are going through, having been through the same experience.”
Danny wanted to raise the aspirations of young people in inner London who were unemployed and didn’t expect to get work because they lacked both skills and opportunities. He wanted to make a positive contribution to the lives of those young people, by increasing their self-esteem and confidence, giving them new skills and ultimately helping them become more employable.
Danny started Acknowledging Youths by working in the local community to find out more about what local young people needed to support them – he carried out focus groups with local people to work out what he needed to do. Acknowledging Youths now offers young people one to one support to help them identify where they could get work, with writing their CV and training in interview techniques.
They also offer the chance for young people to volunteer within the organisation so they can gain valuable work experience.
“When a young person comes to us, they might not be ready to go into a job, so we ask them what they want to achieve, work out what we can do for them and then help them to reach their goals.”
Danny recognises that some young people have the potential to start their own businesses. To help them get started, he set up an Enterprise Club in partnership with NatWest. This offers young people the opportunity to do a business course to make sure they’re on the right track and have the best chance to make it on their own.
Acknowledging Youths is going from strength to strength, now running a Community Interest Company staffed by volunteers with Danny as CEO. Their initiative has been recognised with several contracts from the DWP to work in Westminster, Chelsea, Kensington, Hammersmith, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Southwark and looking to expand in entire London.
“I know our approach works and I’m determined to carry on and show that it can be done.”
Acknowledging Youths has worked with juvenile ex-offenders, drug dealers, gang members young people in care, and pupil referral units – for young people who are not able to attend mainstream education, often due to exclusion. AY has engaged with over 4000 young people to date. Youth unemployment is the biggest single issue facing this country today and throwing money at the problem won’t solve it.