Making a genuine attempt to become part of the communities we work among, helping to combat social inequality, and campaigning for more and better opportunities for our young people is not only our moral responsibility, it is also absolutely necessary for the continued success of London as a world-class city and financial centre.
London needs a steady supply of skilled local workers. It needs thriving small businesses and it needs motivated, fulfilled employees who take pride in the companies they work for.
During my year as Lord Mayor I have seen some wonderful examples of community-based projects. None more so than the award-winning project I visited in February - the excellent Lloyd's Police Mentoring Programme. This enables police officers in east London to benefit from the business expertise of very senior and highly experienced insurance brokers.
I was also delighted to welcome some of our own City of London Police to the Mansion House in May. They came along with the teenage boys from Homerton Technology College in Hackney that they are mentoring, encouraging them to do as well as possible at school, to keep out of trouble, and even to think about a career in the police force for themselves.
I am told that those same teenage boys that I met are now in turn going to take on the responsibility of passing on what they have learnt from their police mentors to some of the younger pupils at their school. Isn't this a wonderful endorsement of the dedication and effectiveness of those volunteers?
It is the dedication of individual volunteers that makes your community involvement projects as special as they are. Whether as reading partners, web designers, befrienders, mentors, lawyers or even plumbers, the commitment and enthusiasm of some volunteers is astonishing.
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