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Gandalf’ McKellen launches bite size’ Canary Wharf volunteering

PUBLISHED: 09:26 11 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 05 October 2010

Sir Ian in Limehouse yesterday judging an art competition (Top) and meeting youths

Sir Ian in Limehouse yesterday judging an art competition (Top) and meeting youths

SIR Ian McKellen has started a youth project to help staff from the world of finance and commerce volunteer in community projects even if they don’t have the time. The Lord of the Rings star launched the scheme for bite size’ involvement when he looked in at the Limehouse youth centre

By Mike Brooke

SIR Ian McKellen has started a youth project to help staff from the world of finance and commerce volunteer in community projects even if they don't have the time.

The Lord of the Rings star known for his role as 'Gandalf' launched the scheme in London's East End for 'bite size' involvement when he looked in at City Gateway's Limehouse youth centre.

The scheme is targeted at Canary Wharf staff just half-a-mile down the road where busy financiers and bankers don't appear to have the time of day to get involved in the community.

DAY OFF

"This club brings people together from different backgrounds," Sir Ian said.

"I used to cross over the road to avoid groups of young people.

"Now I come here and I'm hanging out with them."

Many employees in Canary Wharf find their workloads prevent them getting involved, the City Gateway charity has found.

DAY OFF

The charity's chief executive Eddie Stride said: "We're providing 'bite sized' opportunities where they can come down in their lunch breaks or straight after work and still make an impact.

"It can be hard in some roles to take a day off to volunteer-even if your boss tells you to."

City Gateway works with 20 large firms running team volunteering days as well as work placements and a literacy project where mentors help the language and confidence of women from the East End's Bengali community.

Sir Ian also judged a youth art competition (pictured) when he visited the Limehouse project yesterday, just a stone's throw from his riverside home.

His has spanned Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction, including his roles as 'Gandalf' in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Magneto in the X-Men films.


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