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London: Towering Challenge helps Young Londoners Reach Potential

Places Are Still Available for the Mayfair Park and Tower Race, an Opportunity for the Hospitality Industry to Support ‘At Risk’ Young People in the Capital.
LONDON, UK – (23 May 2011) – While bookings can be hard to come by at Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows on the 28th floor of London Hilton on Park Lane, one group will be going further than most to gain entry to the restaurant.
On 8th July 2011, guests at the iconic hotel will witness the unusual sight of more than 100 runners from the worlds of hospitality, business and athletics joining forces with the general public as they race across Hyde Park and up 56 flights of stairs of the 101 metre tall hotel.  Limited places are still left for the unique breakfast charity challenge, which starts at 8am on Friday 8 July. More information and the registration process can be found at
Chefs Chris Galvin, Andre Garrett and Michel Roux Junior, along with general manager of Galvin at Windows, Fred Sirieix, fellow star of the TV series ‘Michel Roux’s Service’, will be amongst the runners taking part. The Mayfair Park and Tower Race is a 4 km sprint around the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park followed by a gruelling tower run up the 475 stairs of London Hilton on Park Lane to Galvin at Windows. The runners will then have the chance to recover and re-hydrate with a champagne breakfast in the restaurant.
All fun and sweat aside, the event has a serious ambition as the runners will be fundraising for Galvin’s Chance, an into-work apprenticeship programme. The initiative offers ‘at risk’ young Londoners between the ages of 18 and 24, including ex-offenders, a series of apprenticeships in some of London’s finest hotels and restaurants as part of a course to train and support them into full time employment. The project is the brainchild of Fred Sirieix and Chris Galvin and is co-ordinated by Hilton in the Community Foundation, Hilton Worldwide’s official charity in Europe, which has a focus on supporting disadvantaged young people.
Chris Galvin said, “Working in restaurants, as I have now done for 38 years, has made me realise just what an inspirational sector this is and what a great opportunity we have to make a difference to young people’s lives.  Galvin’s Chance follows on from that by helping people to help themselves, to learn and to be inspired. Every step taken by our runners on the course is a step closer to helping someone who needs that second chance in life."
Fred Sirieix said:
“Seeing some of the young people on the Galvin’s Chance programme to seize the opportunity to turn their lives around has been truly inspirational, and I want to offer this chance to many more. Galvin’s Chance has been a big part of my life over the last three years and I’m desperate for it to continue to succeed. Together we really can help young Londoners to help themselves and to become role models for their communities.”
Galvin’s Chance, now in its third year, is delivered in partnership with The Springboard Charity, which specialises in helping young unemployed and disadvantaged people improve their prospects through developing skills and finding sustainable jobs in the hospitality, leisure travel and tourism industries. The initiative includes industry leading training towards a front of house hotel or restaurant career, inspiring dedication, ambition and enthusiasm.
Kamal Manhas, aged 24, who was one of the first apprentices on the programme, has since worked at Galvin at Windows and is currently working as a commis chef at another London hotel on Leicester Square. She said, “I was 21 years old and had just been released from prison. I had sent out thousands of CVs but no one was prepared to give me a chance. As soon as I heard about Galvin’s Chance I knew I had to grab the opportunity. My life has completely changed since Galvin’s Chance. I always used to think about the past and present, but now I have reasons to be excited about my future.”
All participants also have the opportunity to engage in training at Westminster Kingsway College as part of the programme. The Apprenticeship will take up to 12 months to complete and the college courses should lead to an NVQ Level 2.
Michel Roux Junior said, “Galvin’s Chance is an inspirational programme that exists to help real people who might have not had every opportunity to change their lives for the better. With so many challenges facing many young people at the moment, Galvin’s Chance is a pro-active initiative that really makes a difference.”
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23 May 2011
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