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Empowering communities

Empowering Communities is a social legacy programme for the construction of HS2 in London to deliver long-lasting benefits for local people for generations to come.

Converted double deck buses provide emergency shelter for homeless people, parked around a sitting area.
Buses 4 Homeless piloted its project with help from HS2 contractors.

Find out more about Empowering Communities

It is the first programme of its kind to be led by the construction industry and sets a new benchmark for major projects in the future.



Empowering Communities brings together the strengths of major construction companies ARUP, Costain, Mace Dragados, Skanska and STRABAG, which are all like-minded businesses delivering the HS2 programme in London.

The programme is collaboratively led by the partner organisations and the community, enabling local people to have a say in what the programme delivers for their communities.

Empowering Communities will involve working together to:

  • create jobs for those experiencing worklessness and homelessness;
  • help young people to develop new STEM skills and access apprenticeships; and
  • support community projects.

This joined-up approach enables us to deliver more together than we could individually, boosting outcomes for local people, ensuring communities along the route are benefiting from investment in HS2 and helping Britain’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

Projects we are supporting

This is the start of an exciting new programme and we will share information about our projects as they take shape. Empowering Communities has already provided:

  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education support to over 11,000 young people across seven London boroughs; and
  • jobs for over 200 previously unemployed people and supported nine homeless people into work on the HS2 programme.

Buses for Homeless (B4H), is a social enterprise which aims to get homeless people off the street and into full time sustainable employment and accommodation. B4H refurbishes decommissioned London buses into spaces suitable for their guests to live and takes them through an intensive 12-week training programme. The site set up includes separate buses for sleeping; cooking and eating; learning; and wellness and therapy.

Dan Atkins, Founder of Buses 4 Homeless commented:

From the day we moved onto the HS2 site in October 2019, we have had nothing but support from CSjv and HS2. The team gave us the opportunity we needed to be able to get our pilot programme up and running and it would not have been as successful as it is without their support and commitment.

Not only have they provided us with key equipment, supported us with paperwork and the land to run our project, most importantly, the team have helped us upskill our guests and through their Supply Chain, they have offered full time employment on the HS2 programme, giving our guests a big confidence boost to be able to gain independence and get back on their own feet.

We couldn’t be more grateful for the incredible support we have received since we moved onto site and we can’t wait to welcome the next cohort of guests on board so we can, together, help change their lives.

Watch Empowering Communities videos

Watch our videos to find out more about Empowering Communities and the projects we are supporting.

Watch this introduction to Empowering Communities
Find out how Empowering Communities has responded during COVID-19.

Launch Event

The Empowering Communities brand was launched by HS2 Minister, Andrew Stephenson MP and Mark Thurston, Chief Executive Officer of HS2 Ltd at an online stakeholder event on 17 July 2020.

Read the press release.

Or watch a recording of the launch webinar

This is a recording of the webinar launch for Empowering Communities.