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Party conferences are one of the biggest events in the political calendar. Our volunteers joined MPs to front our “Pop-up for a cause” events, showcasing the great things you’re doing across the country.
Wondering what volunteering at the conferences can teach you about British Politics? Our volunteers picked up four top tips.
1. Party conferences are a bit like freshers fairs
The entrance of a party conference looks like a university fresher fair. You’ll find exhibition stands from loads of organisations, hoping to catch the attention of passers-by. It’s worth noting that a cheeky freebie works wonders to attract interest in your cause. Pass the sweetie bowl…
2. Politics is for everyone
Think only middle aged men from Eton get involved in politics? Wrong.
British politics is made up of people from all corners of society. Our volunteers learnt that what they see on TV – a House Of Commons full of men – isn’t all there is to politics. There are more young people, women and ethnic minority groups actively engaged in British politics than meets the eye.
3. Politics isn’t just about Westminster
Party conferences give charities and businesses the opportunity to speak up on how to run the country. We come together to lobby for support on issues we care about. We work hard to get MPs listening to us, and become of interest to them and their political plans.
Organisations hold fringe events to discuss policy issues like youth unemployment, volunteering and even beer!
4. Politicians are normal people
Politicians may seem intimidating on TV. Don’t be scared – they love a good old chin wag!
The party conferences let our volunteers see how normal and impressionable politicians are. They wanted to speak to our volunteers about the struggles of young people. A couple even skipped the canapés to grab a bite to eat from McDonald’s…
Emma Norris is one of our most awesome volunteers.
Emma has found herself in the spotlight this year by heading up the champion cause for vInspired Live. She’s aiming to stamp out low self esteem in young people, and working with us to ignite the #MyPowerIs campaign via social media.
We’ve watched Emma give her time and expertise to her local community as a Team v leader. Here is her story.
First there were the riots…
On the anniversary of the London Riots, Emma joined the army of Do Something’s Reverse Riots to turn the negative perception of young people on its head, dipping her toe into the vInspired pool for the first time.
…and then there was Team v
Next, Emma bagged herself a place as a Team v leader.
She said: “One of the most appealing things about Team v was getting something personal for myself out of it, whilst giving something to the community. I wanted to strengthen and find more depth in my leadership skills, and the training Team v provided really gave me an opportunity to do that.”
She made students homeless (for a night)
Emma’s efforts have made a lasting impact on local homeless charities in her area: “My biggest success on the Team v programme was the lasting involvement the university now has with projects in the community. A local homeless charity was struggling financially before our campaign on youth homelessness. The university is now supporting the charity long-term. I’m really proud of that legacy.”
Her legacy didn’t stop there. Emma also ran a litter pick and organised a recycling scheme for students who were moving out of Canterbury at the end of term. This has now been adopted by the university as a long-term scheme.
She transformed lives
Emma’s second Team v campaign saw her running workshops to help improve young people’s well-being, with yoga classes, singing lessons and food tastings. Her team also ran a ‘random acts of kindness’ campaign on the streets of Canterbury before transforming the garden of a local Children’s Home.
Emma wanted to provide positive role models for the boys there, mostly from abusive and deprived backgrounds. After seeing young men volunteering, they were inspired and one of them has now begun helping out at the RSPCA once a month.
She’s the face of #MyPowerIs
Emma was chosen as a finalist in our search for a vInspired Live cause.
She’s fronting the #MyPowerIs campaign, which invites the public to share something they do that makes them feel great. She wants to inspire young people to overcome low self-esteem, harnessing the power of social media to do it. And it all started with a chat from one of vInspired’s Team v coordinators.
“Team v changes the way you think about the society around you. It’s about realising things about yourself. It works for everybody; it doesn’t matter who you are.”
Team v has been supporting volunteers like Emma to lead amazing projects and learn new skills. Apply now!
…and we do it in more ways than one. We want young people to realise that the time they give to their community comes back to them tenfold. Our job is to make sure that happens.
Here are five ways that we make sure our volunteers get rewarded for the time they put into their placements.
We turn volunteering into a job
Wouldn’t it be great if the volunteering hours you’ve recorded on your vInspired.com profile could be turned into a CV of their own to show to employers?
We’ve done that for you. And we’re even bringing flexible, paid micro-work to the palm of your hand.
Task Squad makes sure your volunteering hours pay off directly with job opportunities.
Where can I sign up for job alerts? Head to www.TaskSquadHQ.com.
We give you cash to do your own thing
Did you enjoy volunteering with us so much that you want to take things into your own hands? Or have you seen something in your community that desperately needs fixing?
Pitch it to Cashpoint and we could hand you £500 to run your own project. That means you get to make your own community better with our cash, and get a whole new level of project management experience to add to your CV.
Where can I find out more? Check out vInspired.com/cashpoint.
We swap music downloads for a good deed
You’re all busy people, and it would be silly of us not to recognise that. We also know that despite this, young people still want to be able to do good things.
We’ve got partnerships in place for those who just can’t spare those precious hours. For example, next time you want to buy some music, use Fairshare.
Fairshare Music donates proceeds to charity whenever you purchase a track from them. So while all you need to do is use vinspired.fairsharemusic.com, we give you cheap music and the chance to contribute as much as our other volunteers.
Want to buy music to support vInspired? Head over to FairShareMusic.com.
We send you to all the biggest festivals
If you haven’t nabbed yourself a festival volunteering post yet, do it quickly!
You could be assisting with campsite clean-up, helping festival go-ers pitch tents or be serving drinks to the crowds. Whatever it is you do to help at any UK festival, you’ll be rewarded with the chance to spend the rest of your day enjoying the festival… without the huge ticket price.
Where can I apply to volunteer? Sign up for a festival-filled summer with Oxfam.
We give you a setting to campaign, make friends and travel
Team V is our nationwide recruitment of volunteers that want to be great leaders. These young people work to improve communities and root for good causes, and are rewarded with a special Team v graduation and boundless leadership skills that help young people build their future.
Want to join Team v? Apply now at vinspired.com/teamv.
Celebrate Volunteers Week with vInspired – sign up to one of our fantastic placements!
Our awesome new platform brings paid jobs to young people.
With 1 million 18-24 year olds unemployed, that’s no easy feat! To get you ready to apply for summer jobs, we’re hosting a Twitter Qamp;A. The Task Squad micro-work team will be here on Tuesday 28 May between 1-2pm to answer your questions and get your CVs looking amazing.
Just tweet us using the hashtag #TaskSquad. We’re here to help job hunters through the tough times.
What is task Squad?
Task Squad is our new online platform that brings paid temp jobs to the desktops and phones of young people. It’s another way that we’re helping young people apply skills and confidence gained through volunteering to take their first step towards the careers they really want.
It’s flexible, it puts the job search in your hands so you choose what you want to do and when. Task Squad puts much-needed cash in your back pocket… and you don’t even have to put down your phone to apply.
What can we help with?
We can help with all sorts of career queries during our Qamp;A session. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- How can you get employed on Task Squad?
- What kind of jobs will be advertised on Task Squad?
- Where else can I start looking for summer jobs?
- What should I have included on my CV?
- How should I approach an employer for a job?
- Tips and tricks to get you through a job interview
How do I get involved?
Not around on Tuesday? Fear not – just tweet us now instead!
vInspired are letting four young people and four celebrity mentors battle it out with four campaigns that young people care about. The winning campaign will be the centre of our summer event, vInspired Live.
Make sure you’re registered for your chance to nab tickets to this revolutionary event. Our young people will be lobbying hard to change something that they see wrong with the world. Show your support by coming to vInspired Live for free on 6 July.
Mental health stigma
Perturbed by society’s unrealistic expectations of how we should look, Team v veteran Emma Norris is fronting the Love The Skin You’re In campaign. After returning to student life in the UK from Uganda, Emma realised how much of an impact the country’s attitude towards appearance had on her sense of self-worth.
The Love the Skin You’re In campaign is about realising who you are, what you want to achieve and the unique qualities that make you special. Our society has unrealistic expectations on what clothes size we should be, and stereotypes us into groups based on our choices and individual interests.
The ultimate aim? To change attitudes towards stereotypes and the way body image is taught in the UK.
vInspired National Award winner Eliza Rebeiro knew she had to change something after her friends were stabbed in gang-related attacks.
At just 14 years old, Eliza founded Lives Not Knives – an awareness campaign to prevent pre-teens carrying a knife. It’s now an organisation that employs mentors to run workshops all over the South East to teach them about the dangers of gang life.
The ultimate aim? To build the bridge between the business community and young people who are not in education, employment or training. Using a mentoring strategy, Lives Not Knives will ask business professionals to help young people create business plans, empowering them to start their own organisation.
Inspired by her time as a Centrepoint volunteer, aspiring young journalist Sophia Kichou is raising awareness of youth homelessness. It’s an experience Sophia has had herself. She knows more than anyone that the nation’s view of a homeless person is an incorrect stereotype.
80,000 young people find themselves homeless in the UK every year. They could be sitting next to you on the bus, at work even or in the park. But you wouldn’t know they’re homeless as they’re almost invisible – the stigma of stereotypes makes sure of that.
The ultimate aim? To raise awareness of the reasons why young people become homeless, and use these teachings to help those affected.
At the tender age of 16, Blessing Maregere had started up his own company. In the years that followed, he became a multi-award winning entrepreneur, inspirational speaker and passes on his skills and knowledge to young people so they can do the same.
His mission is to get young people beating the economic crisis by becoming entrepreneurs and creating their own jobs. The climate has created a huge youth issue, with 1 million 18-24 year olds currently unemployed in the UK.
The ultimate aim? Launch a UK Youth Enterprise Centre, which will be a hub for young people to develop their businesses and equipping young people with business enterprise skills.
And remember to register for your vInspired Live tickets to be there on the night!
vInspired have teamed up with Rockstar Youth, the UK’s top mentoring and funding organisation for potential young entrepreneurs.
They provide 18-30 year olds with business mentors and extensive funding opportunities to help make a business idea into a reality.
If you need something more than our £500 cashpoint grant to kick-start your new life as an entrepreneur, Rockstar is the way to go. There’s plenty of evidence to show that they’ve changed the lives of young people for the better, not least for Irina Alionte.
Irina was funded and supported by Rockstar to start her Club Cardio business. Today’s guest post documents her journey with them, and how her entrepreneurial spirit has changed every aspect of her life.
Want to get involved? Register for the next Incubator session on May 13th.
If you’d met me this time last year, you would have seen a 23 year old Warwick Business School student planning to go back to her home country and family business at the end of her postgraduate course. Then the Big Idea hit me, and I realised I had a solution that could change people’s mindset and attitude to keep fit. I knew my idea could make a difference and help people overcome the intimidating gym setting.
I called it Club Cardio. It’s the only workout fusing exercise with fun dance moves in a nightclub setting. After successfully organising a pilot event on my university campus, I saw real demand for fun workouts and the opportunity to bring this to venues wanting to monetise their off-peak hours.
All of a sudden I had to make a choice – go back to my family business in Romania as planned or start from scratch with a new life and a new business in a country I was barely acquainted with.
What really influenced my decision was coming across Rockstar Youth. They helped me so much and gave me the courage to step out of my comfort zone to make my idea happen.
Sometimes the scariest decisions in life are the best ones too. With so much support available, from start-up loan schemes to mentoring programmes, the idea of starting on my own already seemed less daunting. Through Rockstar, I applied for a Startup Loan back in November and showed up at the Incubator session, hoping to get financial help to launch my business.
During the one day event they took my idea and helped me turn it into a viable business solution. By the end of the day, I also secured £2,500, getting all the support I needed to turn my idea into a business. Together with the low-interest loan, I even got an experienced entrepreneur as my mentor.
Ongoing mentoring support really meant a lot for my business at this early stage. My mentor put forward his experience, expertise and contacts to help me launch, and even accompanied me to important business meetings. Having a mentor sit next to you in an important meeting boosts your confidence in the way you handle the discussion and it meant a lot to me, as he instantly added more credibility to my youth.
As a Start-up Loan recipient I also got access to an incredible community of like-minded people. I love to connect with other passionate mentees and work together with them to boost each other’s businesses. As I was getting ready for my London launch, it was really important for me to have got the support of other Start-up Loan recipients and a few of them helped me design a successful marketing campaign for promoting my events. Being able to benefit from a support network like the Start-up Loans community has been crucial for me. I had no family or business connections, but amazing people to turn to for support.
In a few short months I have managed to turn what started off as a campus experiment at Warwick into a concept ready to transform the UK nightclub scene. At my recent launch in Kingston, I managed to bring tons of Londoners together to groove to the beat of Club Cardio.
I really think that building a sustainable business is like climbing a mountain. Young people have the enthusiasm, the ideas and the energy to reach the peak, but obstacles can be tough and can kill the climb.<!> That is why you need a guide who’s been there before and can show you the way to the top.
Inspired by Irina’s story? Get yourself along to Rockstar Youth’s next Incubator session, taking place on May 13th.
We arrived, we conquered, we left a trail of joy and party streamers all over London Town, and we put the memories online so you can relive them again and again.
There are so many ways we’ve covered our National
Awards Ceremony that you’re spoilt for choice. We took over London’s Camden Roundhouse to broadcast live Hangouts, station our live social media reporters in the heart of the action and even weaved it all into a Storify for you.
Check out our handiwork and let us know what you thought of the event – we’d love to know your favourite bits!
Our Google Hangout has been viewed by hundreds, and captured all the backstage shenanigans that took place at the National Awards.
Led by our fabulous presenters Luke and Marita, we hosted a two hour side show with guest appearances from celebs like A*M*E, Will Best and The Saturdays. We threw in a few Malteser based volunteer games, our National Award winners and essentially created as much havoc as we could. Settle yourself down and re-live the evening – it was a great one.
Were you watching our Twitter hashtag all evening? If you were, you would not only have seen our live tweeting of the whole event, but our guests and well-wishers getting involved too!
Our #vInspiring hashtag reached a total of 2.2 million people in the form of excited tweets, photos, celebrity support and supporters who couldn’t be there on the night. Check out who said what and who snapped who on the purple carpet by checking out the hashtag this week, before it disappears into the Twitterverse.
Spotted this too late to follow all the #vInspiring hashtag action? Don’t fear – we’ve selected all the top tweets and best pics from the evening and put it all together into a Storify for you. Check it out here.
Think you could be our next award winning volunteer? Get yourself signed up to vInspired.com.
March’s Volunteer of the Month has been awarded to Robert Bellis for his work with the Ellesmere Port Sea Cadets as a Sea Cadet Instructor working to train Cadets aged 12 to 18 years old in Maritime Subjects.
Robert has been volunteering for over eight years, achieving his v100 award along the way.
Nominator Arron Ainslie, Officer in Charge, says, “Over the years Robert has taken part in many activities to help those, whom are less fortunate than himself, and has worked countless hours to ensure that his colleagues have the best opportunity. Many of the cadets that Robert trained and still takes the time to train today came from underprivileged families and wouldn’t have had such an opportunity if it wasn’t for his hard work and commitment. Roberts training incorporated team work and leadership, qualities that in the future will help these young people enter the world of work.
Robert’s enthusiasm is clear and he can often be found working to ensure that the cadets get the best opportunities available to them. It is this enthusiasm that is passed onto the young people within our organisation and helps them to progress quickly and with successes. Robert is a role model to the cadets within our organisation whether that be in that he presents himself smartly to the way he conducts himself, he is an excellent role model to young people and I would be most proud if any of them rose to be able to fill his shoes at some point in the future.”
Meet the winner!
When did you start volunteering and why?
Well I turned 18 last July and officially become an adult member of staff. But I have been a cadet for over 8 and half years now. 8 and a half years ago I joined as a junior cadet to develop myself.
What kind of volunteering have you done in the last year?
In the last year I’ve spent 2 nights a weeks at the local Sea Cadet unit. I am now the Training Officer at Ellesmere Port Sea Cadets and I am responsible for all of the in-house training. On Mondays I work with a group of cadets and take them through phase one training, its designed to help the cadets through the ranks by teaching them sea fearing knowledge, leadership, teamwork and community work.
How does it feel to win Volunteer of the Month?
It feels really great to be recognised and the nomination was unexpected.
In what ways do you feel you’ve made a different to others?
I train some of the younger cadets and it is good to see them develop, its great to see a change in them. Their self-confidence grows and they get opportunities they normally wouldn’t get.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering? And how do you feel volunteering has changed you?
Volunteering has changed me, its helped me with my self-confidence.
What do you do outside of volunteering?
I’m at university doing a degree in Nautical Science and I am off to the Merchant Navy as an officer.
If you were Prime Minister for a day, what would be the one thing you would change?
If I was Prime Minister, I would make everyone equal.<!> I feel that’s something that is lacking and would really make a difference.
What would you say to encourage other young people to sign up to vinspired.com?
I think vInspired is good because it is nice to be recognised and it’s great to have something credible on your CV. I have encouraged other cadets to sign up for vInspired and I will continue to.
These incredible young people tell us what they’d do differently if they were prime minister.
We’re chuffed to announce the names of our 18 finalists across six categories for the 2013 vInspired National Awards. Below they share what they’d change as prime minister for the day. We’d give them the job tomorrow!
All Round Commitment to Volunteering
Ryan Jay “I would change youth unemployment and child poverty.”
Beth Carty “I would increase the amount of opportunities for children and teens, so that people would stop seeing them as disrespectful youths or hoodies and see them for the positive things they can achieve.”
Rebecca McGuinness “Volunteering would be introduced at a much earlier age in schools for children, so they have the opportunity to succeed and help themselves and their communities and live a better life.”
Amy May Knowles (pictured) “The prices for operations being decreased and make Cirencester Hospital bigger with more facilities.”
George Taylor “I would ensure that the after care is there for our troops.”
Yakoob Seedat “To pay the public sector workers and community sector more for their hard work.”
Bringing Communities Together
Matthew Chambers “I would let young people have a say in what matters.”
Jessica Purchase “I would bring Jennifer Mildenhall back to Wolves Community Trust.”
Eliza Rebeiro “I think restorative justice is hugely important. I would make people who went to prison for gang membership volunteer and mentor young people at risk of going to jail for similar offences.”
NCS Tredworth (pictured)
Sophie Hill from NCS Tredworth “I would make volunteering compulsory in the curriculum, as it not only helps the community but teaches you things you never knew about yourself.”
Sophie Saye from NCS Padgate “ I would introduce more activities that involve whole communities.”
Paige Chandler from NCS Portsmouth “ I would change how young people are viewed in society today.”
Outstanding Contribution by a Youth Worker
Linda Markey “I would change the education system to ensure that it is compulsory for all young people to spend a year volunteering abroad to gain the best education through being in the real world gaining real skills.”
Fiona Tomlinson “Reinstate the buzz and feel good factor of youth volunteering that we had 2008-2011 when vInspired was government funded.”
Daniel Fry “I would have more projects for gay minorities, and give schools the option of teaching same sex education.”
Georgia Taylor from YoungStars “I would try to provide more job opportunities for the young adults who are currently struggling to find a job.”
Joe Maguire from Shaw Thing “Everyone should get a day off, but in order to receive it they would have to volunteer for at least four hours – people like days off, communities like volunteers.”
Zoe Giles from Epsom Phab “ I would change the fact that there is a lack of facilities that exist for people of all abilities to interact on equal terms.”
I’m Scottish. No one ever guesses because the accent never caught on (even though I lived there for 20 years), but I am.
Imagine my delight when I found out that not only were vInspired going to be providing volunteering opportunities in Scotland, but vInspired cashpoint would be pioneering the move. Cashpoint offers young people aged 14 – 25 grants of up to £500 to run their own volunteering project, supporting them to develop skills and experience whilst having fun and doing something positive for their communities.
With Scotland as a target area for the programme, someone would have to go up and promote it, and who better than a programme coordinator with conveniently Edinburgh-based parents to stay with. I’d actually be able to visit my homeland under the guise of official work business! So off I trotted to meet some of the leading Scottish educational, youth and volunteering organisations in the country and spread the word.
One of these was Young Scot, and we’ve teamed up with them to offer all Scottish vInspired cashpoint leaders rewards for the great work that they do in their communities.
Who are Young Scot?
Young Scot are massive in Scotland. When I was at school everyone had a Young Scot card (which I think I mainly used as ID at the cinema and for discounts at the leisure centre). Since then they’ve grown, offering young people in Scotland a whole range of opportunities and information on everything from jobs and education, to arts and sport, to politics and relationships. Alongside all of this, they give you points when you get up and take part.
What’s the benefit?
Young Scot cards offer you the chance to exchange points – which you can get for a whole host of things from taking surveys to writing reviews to volunteering – for rewards like shopping discounts, driving lessons and sports equipment. Do stuff, get stuff. Simples.
All vInspired cashpoint applicants from Scotland will get 250 Young Scot points for successful applications and 3000-5000 points for completing their projects. Well deserved rewards for the fantastic contributions that they make to local communities.payday loans And as the cashpoint projects in Scotland build up, I have even more excuses to slip back across the border when I go and see some of them in action!
How can I apply?