The keen adventurers among you have made a new year’s resolution to go travelling this year.
Take charity action for vInspired to a whole new level. Raise money while you travel the world. See amazing sights, broaden your horizons and fundraise to help young people achieve their dreams.
Whether you want to climb mountains, trek deserts or serve an international community, let’s get you out there.
Trek to Machu Picchu
Hike between the peaks of the Andes in Peru and discover ancient Peruvian life that has remained untouched for centuries. You’ll travel between the communities and to the famous hot springs of Banos Del Inca at an altitude of 2,667m, and have the ultimate opportunity to explore the Lost City of the Incas.
Want to experience the amazing lives of this ancient civilisation? Find out more and sign up.
Walk the Great Wall Of China
Though its exact length has never been known, the Great Wall of China is the longest manmade structure in the world. This trek will take you along the wall (and up and down the thousands of steps that loop along the mountains either side of the Gubeikou Gateway) spanning from the East to West borders of China, bringing to life that wall’s history as the frontline defence of imperial China.
Got the stamina to cover 12kms per day of the winding wall? Find out more and sign up.
Dog sledding through Lapland
For the dog lovers and snow bunnies among you, this challenge has a special edge. Aside from breathtakingly beautiful life experiences such as sledding through Swedish mountains and snow topped forests, plus a chance to see the spectacular Northern Lights, find a true connection with wildlife as you tend to your husky dog troop on your travels. Undertake Artic adventures such as coastal fishing, fur trapping and reindeer herding with your trusted companions by your side, learning about the lives of the indigenous Sami people as you go.
Ready to sled your way through an amazing icy challenge? Find out more and sign up.
Saigon to Angkor Wat bike ride
See the sights of ancient Cambodia and the beautiful
Mekong Delta in Vietnam by bike. Venturing off the beaten track, you’ll visit temples, colourful pagodas, havens of calm and tranquillity and bustling markets whilst being greeted by locals who will have seen few bikes in their tradition-led lifetime.
Inspired to get pedalling? Find out more and sign up.
As part vInspired’s Get Trashed campaign, we’ve been checking out the easiest ways you can help the planet this Christmas. And it all revolves around not chucking your clothes into landfill.
Loads of our charity friends make it really easy to recycle clothes. Here’s how to make your old jeans do more good than Superman’s cape…
1. The good old fashioned charity shop drop
Everyone’s got a local charity shop. Clear out your closet and give them what you don’t wear. You’ll be raising cash for causes you care about while making space in your wardrobe for incoming Christmas presents. Find your local shop and check out what you can donate.
Top tip: Trouble getting there? Some charities run their own collections service, like the British Heart Foundation. Check online to see if yours does too.
2. Bag it up!
Seen those charity bags that come through the letterbox? Grab one and fill it up. The charity will provide instructions with the bag on how to set up a collection, or send someone round to pick up donations.
3. Give online
Clothes will raise more money if they’re donated directly to charity. If you can’t do that, Clothes For Charity is an online service that lets you order a bag, pick your charity, and schedule a collection. Simples!
4. Do good while you do your shopping
Grabbing a sandwich or a bottle of coke at lunchtime? Most big supermarkets have clothing banks where you can drop off donations. Find your nearest one on RecycleNow. Make that trip to the shops count.
5. Donate to your community
Lots of homeless shelters, refuges and crisis centres accept donations of clothes for the people they support. Contact your local centre beforehand to check what they can use. Charities like Women’s Aid and St Mungos’ have details of their centres on their websites.
DON’T FORGET: Snap it before you drop it! Take a photo of any clothes you’re donating. Post it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with our #GetTrashed hashtag and the total number of items you’ve saved from landfill. We’ll add your numbers to the Get Trashed totaliser.
But while the rise of fast fashion bags us bargains on the high street, the human and environmental costs it leaves behind are huge. 10,000 items of clothing are binned every five minutes in the UK. That’s a whopping 2 billion garments every year.
Numbers speak louder than words. In this case they’re screaming. vInspired’s Get Trashed campaign tackles this throwaway culture head on, and we need your help!
Go green by launching and leading your own Cashpoint project to help us save 10,000 items from landfill. And develop employability skills while you’re at it.
Need Some Inspiration?
You can decide what kind of project you want to run with your Cashpoint money. As long as it benefits a community, we’ll dish out the dosh. But here’s an idea to start you off.
- Find yourself a location (anything from a community hall to a nightclub to an empty shop).
- Turn-up the tunes.
- Throw in some very cool stuff you can customise clothes with.
- Fill the place with fashion forward young people.
Can you picture it? That’s one way to run your very own upcycling event. We’d love to hear how you run yours.
Our Car Boot Disco event kicked Get Trashed off in style (quite literally!). From tired trousers to shabby shoes, our guests exchanged or upcycled old, unloved clothes instead of leaving them for landfill. In one day, an impressive 1480 items were sprayed, studded and spangled instead of taking a trip to the tip.
Miss out? Fear not. vInspired Cashpoint is offering you the chance to run your very own ‘trash to flash’ project.
Flash up Your Trash (with our cash)
From Car Boot Discos to make and mend workshops, eco- fashion shows to up-cycling classes. If you’ve got the ideas, we’ve got the cash. How would you use £500 to put sustainability on the catwalk?
Ready to get eco-fashionable? Get your hands on a Cashpoint grant or call us on 020 7960 7003 to find out more.
Our friends over at EY are all about community. Finance is their bag. So they literally help school leavers get in on the money by supporting them into a job at EY. On the EY School Leavers programme, young people learn practical business skills at EY headquarters. By the time they’re done, they’re experienced in the workplace and as qualified in business as some of their peers who spent that time getting a degree.
School leaver Shiva Varma works in the Business Immigration team at EY. He’s exposed to a variety of different clients, tasks and responsibilities. Shiva talks to vInspired about a typical day in the office as part of the EY School Leavers programme.
- 9:00am – 9:30am: Check my e-mails to prioritise the work I’m going to do today.
- 9:30 – 10:00am: Conference call with partners across Europe. We’re discussing a new business opportunity and reviewing the proposal I’ve written. This is possibly the most exciting and terrifying meeting I’ve been involved in. Some of the partners involved have held/do hold extremely senior positions globally within the firm.
- 10:00am – 11:00am: I take on board suggestions throughout the meeting and redraft my proposal with the partner from the UK portion of the team.
- 11:00am – 12:00pm: I’m working with the rest of the Business Immigration team on our various UK inbound clients, as well as internal clients at EY who may be travelling abroad. This could involve administrative tasks (like photocopying or creating client files) or searching through legal guidance to answer queries.
- 12:00pm – 1:00pm: Lunchtime! Great time to socialise with other team members and School Leavers. Sometimes you see some of the office celebrities in the canteen – I even spotted the global CEO eating his lunch once!
- 1:00pm – 2:00pm: Meeting with a client to discuss their needs and what EY can do for them. As usual, my priority is to provide exceptional client service. They need guidance on legal requirements – they’re trying to obtain full British Citizenship. We also help them fill out application forms and complete legal documents required to prove they’re eligible to become a citizen.
- 2:00pm – 4:00pm: I have to finish off my tasks for the day. This can be simple stuff like photocopying documents, filling out application forms and setting up meetings. Harder stuff includes running a shared mailbox and tracker. This helps coordinate a global project for one of our biggest clients.
- 4:00pm – 5:00pm: Revising for my professional exams. EY is fantastic for this. They not only pay for our training and exams but they even allow us to study during the work day. Everyone here has done some form of professional exam. They understand how demanding working a full work week and revising can be. I certainly appreciate how much the team care and how understanding they are.
- 5:00pm – 9:00pm: Met with some colleagues from the School Leaver Programme. It’s always good to catch up with everyone and find out how they’re getting on. Sometimes you can share good advice with them and sometimes they even have some good advice for you.
No two days are the same at EY. Sometimes you can spend all day in the office on different projects. Other days you could be meeting clients or even meeting prospective School Leavers at their assessment centres. Will I see you there?
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.
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…
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.
Facing a room full of people you don’t know can be nerve-wracking. What’s the best way to approach someone? What do you say when you get there? What should you do with your face?!
Put down the smelling salts and stop that nervous twitch. There’s no need to be worried about meeting new people when team v are holding your hand.
“Smile (like you mean it)”
Lucy Dean, Team v Midlands
‘I really like chatting with someone who has a face like a slapped arse’ said no one ever.
Swallow your nerves and approach new people with a smile. You’ll fall into conversations easily if you look like a happy person.
“Ask them about their hometown”
Danielle Falcus, Team v North London
Follow up your first “Hello, my name is…” by asking where they’ve travelled in from. Everyone knows the answer to this question. You can’t go wrong.
Danielle says, “I find it starts conversations with something I know how to talk about confidently. For example, everyone will complain about living in London or about train commutes, then once the rapport is built you can ask a question like ‘What do you do there’?”
“Find out what makes them tick”
Alex Quang, Team v South London
When you’ve found out what your new acquaintance loves, take the opportunity to learn more about it. Perhaps it’s an interest you share – in which case, rave about it with them. New friend = made.
“Find out what motivates them to do what they do. Ask all about it. Your interest leaves you with a better understanding of them. That helps build a stronger relationship.”
“Let them get a word in edgeways”
John Morris, Team v Midlands
We all love to talk about ourselves. It’s great for filling awkward silences. But do make sure you’re not hogging the spotlight the whole time. If ten minutes goes by and you haven’t learnt their name, where they’re from or what they do, it’s time to share the stage.
“Make sure you actually talk to the person rather than over-selling yourself or commanding the conversation. Having a general chat (though by all means talk about the reason you’ve come together to network) with someone will often help build that relationship quicker. A one way conversation can feel like a sales pitch.”
“Keep in touch”
Glenn Gridley, Team v North London
What’s the point in meeting all these interesting people if you forget about them as soon as you leave your event?
“Once you’ve got something you want out of someone, keep them up to date with how you’re doing and stay in touch. Then they know you value them.”
Unless you’ve made arrangements to meet up or are really firm friends, asking for phone numbers might be a bit forward. If that doesn’t feel appropriate, see if they’re heading to any other events that you may go to. You could even ask for their Twitter handle or blog address if they have one. If all else fails, ask how you can keep up to date with their work or projects, and see what they offer you.
Ready to get stuck in? Volunteer with your local Team v leader.
Watch carefully as these 4Music stars volunteer their way around London to win exclusive vInspired prizes. Your bundle will include t-shirts, wristbands, tote bags and – if you’re really good – a pen or two. Just check out each clip, answer our quiz questions and pop your answers in the comment box below!
Closing date is 13 September.
Ollie and Cheska get recycling
Bet you didn’t think you’d see THESE Made In Chelsea stars outside the Royal Borough, let alone litter-picking at Latitude.
Summer is the ultimate time to get your festival on. But after a weekend of live music and crazy antics, someone has to clean up. Otherwise it’s no more festivals for you lot.
Ollie and Cheska ditched the Gucci to drop into Latitude festival and get their hands dirty. To their surprise, they had a whole bunch of fun with their mates while learning to recycle properly. Who knew?
Answer to win #1: What’s the worst thing Ned and Fred have recycled at a festival?
A*M*E DJs on hospital radio
We don’t need to tell you why volunteering to help the sick is a worthy cause. That includes keeping them entertained!
We had pocket rocket A*M*E scouting the wards for song requests from patients. Like a modern day Florence Nightingale, but better dressed.
Music holds strong emotional connections for lots of people. Having your favourite song played on the radio when you’re feeling poorly is one little thing that can make a big difference, and in hospital that’s down to our volunteers.
Answer to win #2: Which hospital is A*M*E volunteering at?
The Loveable Rogues care for kittens
Hands up if you love a cat picture!
Get ready to have your heart melted. We sent the Loveable Rogues off to volunteer at Battersea Cats and Dogs Home. Funny how they seem extra loveable with kittens in their hand.
The boys did their bit for the charity by caring for critters at the animal shelter. They spoke to volunteers, and learnt the plight the animals cared for at Battersea.
Answer to win #3: What planet was the Lovable Rogues favourite cat named after?
Will Best takes part in Street Games
Cheeky chappie Will Best couldn’t wait to get stuck in again since volunteering with us on Taking Care Of Christmas last year. This time we sent him off to channel Olympic spirit at Street Games Festival.
Will helped participants out-race twelve year old girls, refereed matches and learnt to gain respect from sports fans. All whilst helping young people get fit, and relive the inspiring time that the 2012 Games brought to the country last year. Oh, and face-planted the tarmac once or twice.
Answer to win #4: Name four sports played at Street Games festival.