Local youth charity SE1 United - which is 10 years old this year - says that a grant of nearly £190,000 from the Big Lottery Fund is "the best birthday gift we could receive".
SE1 United was set up in 2003 by nine young people from Lambeth and Southwark with the aim of providing a voice for local young people and promoting a positive image of young people while raising their aspirations through new youth-led opportunities.
Activities are created by young people for young people and are designed to encourage personal and social development enabling participants to explore their own potential and develop a greater understanding of themselves, achieve personal goals and gain meaningful education and employment.
The National Lottery funding of £189,161 will sustain the charity's SE1 Young Leaders Academy project for the next three years.
"At SE1 United we see that circumstances are more difficult for young people than ever, especially in light of high unemployment and cuts to services and benefits," said project manager Natalie Bell.
"The emotional impact on the young people we see has been harsh.
"This grant from the Big Lottery Fund is going to have a long lasting impact on hundreds of vulnerable young people with complex needs in South London, giving them the support to become leaders in their communities and to not only affect positive change for themselves but also for their peers and the wider community.
"SE1 United is actually 10 years old this year, so the grant is the best birthday gift we could receive!
"The SE1 Young Leaders Academy is now a stable core project for the next three years and has the ability to work more strategically without the stress of seeking continual funding from small grants which makes delivery inconsistent."