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Jack Petchey Logo


Jack Petchey Foundation

Jack was born into a poor working class family in the East End in 1925. He left school with no qualifications when he was 13. Jack joined the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm in 1943 during the Second World War. He applied for Officer training but was unsuccessful. On discharge from the Navy he began working as a clerk for the Solicitor’s Law Stationary Society. He applied for management training there and was told he would never make a businessman! Jack refused to give up! Investing his £39 discharge gratuity from the Navy, he bought his first second hand car and started a taxi business. He worked long and hard, overcoming  adversity and going on to become a multi-millionaire through his various business ventures, which have spanned from motor car dealing and garages to property, travel and investment.


Jack Petchey's taxi business

Since establishing the Jack Petchey Foundation in 1999, his businesses have given £100 million to support youth projects. What he ‘gives’ is greater than money though; the same entrepreneurial skills that he brought to his business have led to some really innovative schemes for young people.

Jack seeks to increase young people’s aspirations by rewarding their achievements and encouraging them to take pride in what they have done. He brings communities together to really celebrate and ensure that the young people have a moment of glory and that their parents/carers/ teachers and youth workers are there to witness it.

He focuses on the positives rather than highlighting the negatives. Yes, young people face problems and challenges, but Jack believes that if you focus on these you risk creating a negative spiral. Alternatively, if you reward success and help young people feel positive about themselves you can give them the confidence and aspiration to change, overcome adversity and live to their full potential.

Jack wants to encourage young people to make a commitment and put the effort in, so his principle is 50/50 – ‘you make the effort and I will support too’! He can often be heard quoting the ancient Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.


Almost 2,000 schools, colleges and youth organisations throughout London and Essex run the scheme, which contributes millions of pounds each year. The scheme is a reward and recognition initiative which enables schools and youth organisations to celebrate the achievements of their young people as well as receive additional funding.

“We do it because we want to help young people raise their aspirations, believe in themselves and make a contribution to their society.” Jack Petchey.



Recent Choir Jack Petchey award winners


Toni Ellen 

Toni Ellen-Etchells Winner in 2014


Jack Petchey award winners

Niall Windass,Charlotte Cleminson and Angus Easener

with The Mayor of Southend, Councillor Chris Walker

Winners in 2015



Clara Fisher,  Tom Rattner, Sam Willsmore with Cllr Moring

Winners 2016


Gabriel Chiddicks, Dominique Bradford, Elizabeth Wallen with Mhoira Brewer

and Cllr Derek Jarvis

Winners in 2017


Jenny Wells, Lewis Ritchie and Bessie Paice with Cllr Fay Evans, Southend Mayor

Winners in 2018




Heidi Hoxha, Nico Nowotarski and Dexter Legon

with Mayor Cllr John Lamb – May 2019


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