Archive for the ‘vInspired news & updates’ Category
vInspired’s Cashpoint superstar, Prince Ahmed, became our Youth Social Action Ambassador for a day. His duty was to attend a lunch date with HRH Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. Cucumber sandwiches anyone?
Prince represented us at the launch of the Step Up To Serve campaign. He joins Prince Charles, David Cameron and some of Britain’s most important people. We’re all working to show what young volunteers do for the good of the country.
Prince Ahmed took a break from Buck House tea to tell us how he became a social action champ.
What motivated you to set up your own social action project?
As a volunteer at Tower Hamlets Council I became heavily involved with a mix of young people from my borough. Many young people were falling through the net, simply because they didn’t have a support system. To tackle this problem I decided a grass roots intervention project was needed.
How did you go about starting it?
I used my experience as a volunteer to organise my own small community projects. One of these was a football training scheme funded by vInspired’s Cashpoint programme. I was rewarded a £500 Cashpoint grant to start Prince’s Football Scheme. It’s a project that connects local young people with coaches from West Ham United FC. I used the project as an outreach system to connect with young people before they fell through the net. I also got a v100 award for my volunteering hours.
What do you think the barriers are for young people wanting to become more socially active?
Poverty is a classic barrier that prevents many young people engaging in social action. It’s hard to get involved in community projects when dealing with financial pressures. Plus recent cuts in funding led to many community groups closing down, reducing the local volunteering opportunities for young people.
How would you get more young people involved in social action?
I would start more local community groups to improve community cohesion. Supporting the creation of stronger community ties would encourage young people to get involved more, as they would feel like valued members of their communities.
At a national level I think more emphasis needs to be placed on social action. Campaigns like Step up to Serve are needed regularly to encourage young people to get involved in their communities.
Favourite inspirational quotes?
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” - Maria Robinson
Have you made your pledge to Step Up To Serve?
That’s 2 billion garments wasted each year in the UK. vInspired are blinging up old clothes instead of spending money on new outfits. And all whilst saving fashion from landfill.
Get an eco-friendly new look on a budget by joining us on 24 November for Car Boot Disco. We’ll be transforming your unwanted clothes with a swap shop and customisers to help you bling your things. Or just gather some mates, raid your wardrobe and get customising at home with our top tips.
Make sure you post some snaps on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GetTrashed.
Tip 1 – Tailor your trainers
Everyone has an old pair of trainers that they don’t think should see the light of day again. But are you sure you want to bin them? Grab yourself some fabric pens and make your trainers tell a story. Doodle your favourite characters and watch your shoes come back to life.
Get really creative by paint-spatting, sketching or simply re-lacing with ribbon. The options are endless.
Tip 2 – It’s not dud if you stud
Studding is a cheap and easy way to customise your clothes. Stud up your shirt collar, jeans, shorts or converse. In fact, stud anything you can get your hands on.
Tip 3 – Bling them, don’t bin them
We love things that sparkle. That’s why we’re working with Spanglewear to bling up your wardrobe at Car Boot Disco. Add a few sequins to jumpers or glitter to shoes to spangle your things. Sew them. Stick them. Spangle them.
Tip 4 – Repair it and wear it it
Ripped a hole in your favourite t shirt or jeans? Don’t throw away what could easily be fixed. Sew those buttons back on. Fix that zip. It’ll feel good as new.
Get involved and see how easy it is to save 10,000 items from landfill.
Whatever they say, mum and dad don’t always know best. The jobseeker’s world is now social media and technology led. Meaning you guys could be better at getting employed.
Our Dare to Compare quiz pits young people against their parents. See who survives the 2013 world of work whilst getting interview ready. Play now for the chance to win £1000 development grant or a laptop.
Fancy some quiz cheats? Here’s some advice to help you become more employable.
Volunteering experience stands out
“The last few years have brought more and more young job-seekers to our door, especially for roles in Retail and Telesales. Finding quality candidates is really important. CVs that highlight relevant volunteering experience are an excellent way to stand out from the crowd.”
Jemimah Parnell, HR Director, Three
Volunteering = transferable skills
Loads of young people have landed jobs by volunteering with vInspired. The opportunities you sign up for give your CV a kickstart. It could change your whole future…
“Volunteering has made a huge impact on my career. It got me the job I have now as it displayed lots of transferable skills I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Without it I honestly believe I would still be looking for jobs after uni.”
Emma, 24, London
Beware of Facebook
Let’s think about taking down those beer bong pictures, shall we?
Apply the rule “if you wouldn’t shout it in a crowded room, don’t post it” to your Facebook and Twitter posts. Avoid your updates coming back to haunt you.
Stalk your employer
Interviewers aren’t the only ones who can check up on people. If you’ve done your research, you’ll have scoured the company’s online channels. Look out for:
- The company goals
- Every service they offer – online and offline
- Their social channels and how they talk to their audience
- What they could do better/ideas you think they could try
Pointing out something they could change or improve on in an interview shows you really did your research. As long as you’re not arrogant about it, they’ll be impressed.
Polish up your LinkedIn profile
There are now over 238 million registered LinkedIn users, with 13 million in the UK alone. One in five employers hire someone based on their LinkedIn profile. A profile is now an essential tool to getting that dream job.
Be creative with your CV
Especially in creative sectors, a Word document CV on it’s own just doesn’t cut it any more.
Play to your skills and have another CV at the ready. A creative version.
You could use YouTube, Pinterest, photo montages, Facebook pages… the list is endless. This guy even made a QR code CV for himself.
It’s been one year, 60 volunteers, 7,000 volunteer hours and four pop-up shops since our Retail Ready People programme first opened its doors.
Retail Ready People, and our partnership with Retail Trust, has now come to an end (sad face). The last shops in Leeds and Rochdale are now closed, but our volunteers blazed a retail trail that communities will remember.
So how exactly do you shake up bargain hunting enough to make it stick in a customer’s mind? That was the challenge conquered by our Retail Ready volunteers.
A crafty takeaway
In 2012, the Retail Ready People of Brighton created Make Away. In this store, t-shirts, bags, aprons, tea towels and cards were screen-printed before your very eyes. The goodies were even sold in pizza boxes – the very definition of a guilt-free takeaway.
The shop was unique because it encouraged customers to print their own product, not to mention craft their own wares during in-store workshops. They used prints by local designers and sold artwork and jewellery made locally.
A community Christmas
Enfield volunteers chose to focus on keeping customers warm and ready for Christmas. They sold clothes, gifts and accessories made in Enfield, supporting local traders and designers.
The volunteers brought fresh energy to Enfield, which was affected by the 2011 summer riots. Cosy Cove is a great example of how young people can bring their communities together and tackle negative stereotypes through volunteering. Plus they kept everything cushy and comfy throughout the festive season. Let’s raise an Eggnog to them this year.
Colour me creative
The Rochdale team pulled off a highly interactive way to bring community spirit back to the town. The shop sold posters, t-shirts and tote bags designed by local artists with a very successful ‘Made in Rochdale’ theme. Locals flocked to the store to co-design their very own Rochdale merchandise, actively supporting the talent flourishing on their doorstep.
Our volunteers offered workshops and tutorials on graffiti lettering, peg animals, t-shirt design and more to help every customer be as creative as possible.
Meanwhile in Leeds, the team went above and beyond the call for customer service. Embracing chill-out vibes to the max, visitors could unwind in the shop’s social space.
The ‘in-shop living room’ came complete with comfy seating, games, books and live entertainment from some of Leeds’ best local talent. All over a strong cuppa, of course.
Inspired by what you see? Check out retail volunteer roles near you.
Music, people and change made their mark in the capital at vInspired Live.
Hundreds of young people displayed the power of social media at the event of the summer. vInspired Live trended on Twitter twice throughout the UK on July 6, reaching a total of 24 million people. It’s now time to make an impact. Pick up your phone and take part in #MyPowerIs.
The very best inspirational role models spoke at vInspired Live. Check out…
- Anti-knife crime campaigner Brooke Kinsella
- YouTube sensations Jack and Finn Harries
- Olympians Zoe Smith and Kristian Thomas
- Musician and Reggae Reggae sauce founder Levi Roots
Join in with #MyPoweris
Ready to do your bit to stamp out low self-esteem?
- Think of something you’re good at
- Write it on your hand
- Take a selfie
- Share it on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook (or all three!) using #MyPowerIs
- Feel good about yourself.
What if I missed it?
Here’s a snippet of what people were saying about vInspired Live.
Just a small thing can make a good difference. Be part of the movement.
Didn’t snap up a ticket to vInspired Live? Grab the popcorn and tune in online!
You applied for tickets to the event of the summer in your thousands, and they’ve now been snapped up. If you didn’t get one, don’t despair – you can still get in on the action.
Pour yourself a lemonade and pull up a chair – vInspired Live is being broadcast live between 4.45-5.15pm this Saturday.
What will I see?
Tune in for performances by Professor Green, A*M*E, an inspirational talk from YouTube sensations Jack and Finn Harries and to learn how you can support our cause: #MyPowerIs.
Where do I see it?
Simply head to vInspiredLive.com for the 4.45pm kick off on Saturday 6 July.
How do I stay involved?
- Tweet. Keep tabs on all the juicy backstage gossip by following the hashtag #vInspiredLive. Our very own @DoSomethingUK will be reporting live, so give them a cheeky follow.
- Rock out. Loving the beats from our awesome vInspired Live artists? Hit them up on our exclusive Fairshare playlist. Every download donates money to charity, so every song you buy counts.
- Get your camera ready… We can’t tell you why yet, but keep an eye out on social media for #MyPowerIs. we’ll be uniting young people across the nation to make a difference to a case they care about.
Our Team v leaders are really inspirational people. Here’s what you can learn from them.
Every year we recruit 120 committed, hard-working and passionate young people who want to be future leaders. By the end of the programme, they’ve become an employer’s dream candidate.
We’re recruiting our next round of Team v leaders. Think you could be one of them?
Ask any burning questions about Team v and talk to some of our leaders directly this Thursday 20 June during our #TeamvGo Twitter Q&A.
While you decide what to ask them, here’s a few inspirational quotes from the people at the heart of Team v.
1. It will knock your socks off
“Through Team v I’ve discovered my talent and potential, and grown into someone I could only dream of being at first. It’s pushed me into scenarios I never thought I would face, thrown me challenges I never thought I was capable of taking on…” Dharsha, 19, Team v Liverpool
2. You’ll meet amazing people
“What you get from Team v is not only experience for future jobs but also inspiration from your fellow leaders. They are very talented people who want to devote all their energy to the community.” Long, Team v London
3. You’ll transform communities
“Team V has given me the confidence to believe in my abilities and hold my head high. It’s given me the rewarding opportunity to truly make a difference – no matter how small – to my community, and also taught me the value of teamwork.” Dharsha, Team v Liverpool
4. Anyone can do it
“[It] doesn’t matter what your background is. Team v is accessible for everyone. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I signed up, but joining Team V was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” Naomi, Team v Leeds
5. There’s no time to lose!
“I would really encourage anyone who is up for a challenge, ready to be to be pushed to their limits and ready to grab this opportunity with both hands! I promise you will never look back.” Caroline, Team v Cambourne
All fired up to do some good? Join in with the Team v Twitter Q&A this Thursday.
Can’t make 1pm? Tweet your questions beforehand to be included!
British families throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food every year – 50% of which could still be eaten. Even worse, 13.5% of our population are living in food poverty, unable to afford to feed themselves healthily. That’s 4.7 million Brits in need of a meal.
You can help change all that by volunteering with FareShare to collect food in Tesco stores. Four volunteers over a four-hour period will collect one tonne of food. That’s enough to make 2380 meals.
10 million meals and counting
FareShare redistributes surplus food from food business across the country to the charities on the frontline of fighting hunger. Last year, they sent out food for more than 10 million meals. Surplus food is traditionally fresh produce so FareShare are asking shoppers to donate kitchen cupboard essentials, like pasta, rice and tea, so they can deliver even more to the charities they support
But that’s only half the story. FareShare says that 59% of the charities they support are seeing more and more people turn to them for help, and more than a third of them are facing funding cuts.
Who needs food most?
Charities range from breakfast clubs for children to those helping out disadvantaged groups. Homeplus is a drop-in centre in Belfast for migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers. The charity aims to provide them with food, while giving them a community.
Sean O’Brien-Smith, the project manager, said: “The supply of food from FareShare allows volunteers, staff and clients to prepare different dishes in a tradition similar to that of their country of origin.”
Birchfield Primary School in Manchester started up a breakfast club eight years ago to feed children who aren’t getting breakfast at home.
Christine Clarke, who runs the club, said: “Originally, we were only able to provide toast as it was all we could afford, but now we are working with FareShare, we receive cereal and cereal bars along with toast, yogurt and fruits for the students to enjoy.”
Where you come in
All these charities rely on the help of volunteers to collect food for FareShare.
Can you spare a few hours on 5 or 6 July to volunteer for collections at Tesco stores nationwide? Apply now.
Whether you want to lead a scout group, a community project or the country, a great leader needs key skills to get where they need to be. vInspired supports young people as they develop and shape their future as working adults so you’re ready to achieve your dreams from the get-go.
Here are eight things you can do to be a great leader.
1. Be a problem solver
Not every day is a perfect one. Problems come up all over the place. If you can be the one to solve them, you prove that you’re reliable. Being the glue that holds a great plan together is a mark of successful leadership.
Be the one to look ahead and identify where something may go wrong. If you flag a problem before it has a huge impact, you make yours and everyone else’s job easier.
2. Lead by example
No one listens to a hypocrite. If you are voicing opinions and dishing out instructions, you’ll be expected to reflect them. Practice what you preach so others have a reason to believe in what you say.
3. Consider others
A selfish leader will lose faithful colleagues, and if you’re constantly left to undertake projects by yourself it gets pretty lonely at the top.
Be ready to listen and take feedback on board. It will inspire bigger and better things as projects develop, spark new ideas and build the foundations of a solid team.
4. Encourage openness and creativity
People feel great when they have the space to get creative juices flowing. A leader who lets that happen will be regarded as a great person.
Being creative sparks ideas and is a great team-building exercise. If your colleagues can speak freely about their ideas and how they feel, they’re less likely to feel unloved. Allow everyone this freedom and watch ideas and good feelings flow!
5. Be positive
Even if something goes really wrong, getting moody about it doesn’t solve anything. Even worse, it discourages everyone around you.
Get your problem solving cap on in the face of a nightmare and be the ray of sunshine that keeps everyone motivated. If everyone’s happy, they’ll feel more like they can conquer the problem (and they’ll want to).
6. Think of the big picture
Keep planning ahead so that every decision you make leads to a grand plan. It’ll help stop aimless decisions being made and reduce problems along the way.
What you should end up with is a well-planned project that sticks around for a long time – meaning you have ages to enjoy your work.
7. Take responsibility
Have you heard the saying “With great power comes great responsibility”? It’s time to take it on board and put it into practice, because a great leader doesn’t play the blame game.
If you make a bad decision, accept that it wasn’t a great move. Let people know what you’ve learnt from it and what your next steps are. You’ll gain much more respect for righting the wrong and being upfront about mistakes.
8. Learn from the best
You’re going to need to demonstrate all these great skills to employers one day, and we’ve got just the thing you need. Team v recruitment is now open!
Being recognised as a Team v leader highlights that you can dedicate yourself to a project. That entails mature decision-making and teamwork, so you can add those transferable skills to the top of your CV.
The project experience speaks for itself. You’ll learn:
- Project management
Consider Team v the toolkit you need to show the world you’re a great leader. Apply now!
The RRP Leeds and RRP Rochdale stores will run by teams of volunteers aged 16-25, who have been given retail training and support by vInspired, in partnership with Retail Trust. Shopping trip anyone?
Tricks of the trade
Building and running a shop from scratch is an art. Our volunteers gained in-depth training from our favourite high street shops including JD Sports, Hotel Chocolat, Disney and Dixons. They even visited Swarovski’s flagship store in London’s Oxford Street.
Our RRP volunteers were mentored at Swarovski by an inspirational leader called Remi. He explained his journey from a pot washer in a small Kentish pub at the age of 16, all the way up to Store Manager in just 5 years. His story demonstrated how opportunities to make great things happen are out there for young people in the retail industry.
Here are the tips we learnt from the retail professionals.
1. Every detail counts
You need to have an edge on your competition. If you want customers to come back to you, you need to work on the little things that draw them to you. Attention to detail is key.
- Schedule tidy ups. Give the shop a once-over every hour, or at least get the place straightened up during quiet periods.
- Don’t get caught daydreaming or with a sad face. A welcoming smile can make all the difference to your customer’s experience.
- Notice a process in your shop that could be better? Be the one to improve it. If it helps other staff they’ll be happier, and that will rub off on customers.
2. Patience is key
Any retail employee knows that you’ll have bad days. Things can go wrong, and that’s ok if you’ve got the correct attitude and approach to deal with it.
If a customer complains to you, never get angry. It’s best to start with an apology and good old empathy. Talk through the problem even if you’ve heard the same thing a million times. Treat this like the first complaint you’ve heard. Work with a manager to reach a solution.
3. Go above and beyond
Your happiest customers are those who receive amazing customer service. Think about how you can make their visit as smooth as possible by being helpful.
- Don’t stock the product they need? Look up where else they could find it. Give them an address, telephone number and directions if possible.
- Think they might need some accessories or extra services to go with the product they’re buying? Show them what they could buy to enhance their item (without giving them the hard sell).
- Escort them to anything they want to find rather than just pointing, and make sure they know you’re on hand to help at all times.
4. Aim high
Always remember that if you work hard and show an interest in learning about retail outside of your role, it demonstrates enthusiasm to succeed.
Our RRP stores
The first Retail Ready People store opens in Rochdale on Saturday 11 May.
The Rochdale shop will be a creative and crafty space championed by local craftsman and designers. Rochdale visitors will be able to get hands-on with their purchase by customising clothes, bags and more. Meanwhile Leeds volunteers created a social shop space with free tea for all. They’ll showcase the work of local artists with handmade gifts, and will even be hosting events in-store.
Fancy a visit? Head down to Unit 1 of Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre, Rochdale this Saturday 11 May and Leeds City Centre on Saturday 18 May for launch day activities and giveaways.