Posts Tagged ‘vinspired’
The first Retail Ready People (RRP) pop-up shops were open for one month only. November is over, which can mean only two things: that Christmas is nearly here (yay!), and that Make Away and Cosy Cove have closed their doors for good (boo!). The Brighton and Enfield teams created two unique shops to entice customers through the doors. Here’s a little look back at what they did:
The Brighton team created Make Away, where products were screen-printed right in front of you and sold in pizza boxes (get it?!). They used prints by local designers, and also sold artwork and jewellery made locally. Customers also had the option to print their own product.
The 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 riots last summer. Cosy Cove is a great example of how young people can bring their communities together and tackle negative stereotypes through volunteering.
Why Retail Ready?
The Retail Ready People programme was created as a way to bridge the skills gap for young people hoping to progress in the retail sector. Our RRP volunteers gained experience in all aspects of retail – not just customer service, but buying, merchandising, recruitment, PR, marketing… If it happens in a shop, our volunteers probably experienced it! In doing so, they gained insight into the retail industry that would have otherwise been out of reach, or only available to those with connections or specific (sometimes expensive) qualifications.
Many of the RRP volunteers hope to start their own businesses or gain access to higher level jobs in retail, such as buying. And if they don’t, they’ve gained the right experience to make this decision, and now have transferable skills that will help them, whatever career they choose.
Applications for Round Two!
If you missed out on the last round of pop-ups, all is not lost. We’re running the programme in 10 different locations across the UK over the next two years, so there’s plenty of time to get involved. We’re heading north for the second round. The next two shops will be in Leeds and Rochdale, Greater Manchester. If you’re interested, please visit the Retail Ready People recruitment page to apply, or go straight to our application form!
The Good Childhood Report 2012 published earlier this month by The Children’s Society, gives us rich food for thought. Perhaps not surprisingly it found that family is the most important factor in children’s well-being, particularly its harmony and stability. Having friends and the quality of peer relationships feature highly too, though to a lesser degree than relationships within the family.
Feeling safe both at home and at school are important to children’s well-being but around 7% reported not feeling safe at school. In fact those reporting regular and recent bullying by peers are six times as likely to have low well-being as those not bullied at all. On the issue of feeling safe, girls feel safer in rural areas than in urban ones.
Changes to household income were found to affect well-being, particularly in the poorest 20% of households. I welcome the news that most children are happy with their health and place importance on doing well at school. However, one must be concerned by the link between poverty and lower educational aspirations and expectations.
A real fascination of mine is body image in adolescence, so I was particularly struck by the results pertaining to children’s feelings about their appearance. No surprises really: negative feelings about appearance increase with age and more so for girls than boys.
As an advocate of youth-led activity and active listening to the young, the most striking, fundamental issue in the report for children’s quality of life is that related to choice, freedom and autonomy. A substantial minority (23%) feel they have very little choice, with 23% feeling that their views are not listened to locally. This also worsens with age. For those of us who work with the young: take heed and do more!
The Good Childhood Report set out what children need and how they can get it and I believe that volunteering can play a significant part in many respects. Especially on issues of self-esteem and confidence, relationships with others, opportunities for free play, access to the outdoors, feeling safe, experiencing care and caring and having plenty to do in the local area. Volunteers can provide opportunities for children to experience all of the above – and volunteering itself enables young people to experience these things for themselves.
Here at vInspired, opportunities for young people to be heard occur through programmes like vcashpoint and Team v; and we also link young people to many wider opportunities in the charity sector through our website, vinspired.com.
Of course there is little that can replace the fundamental of a stable and harmonious family. But we can most certainly supplement it and fill some of the gaps to give children the best possible present and future.
Well, what a task the Youth Advisory Board has on its hands!
As we all know, money makes the world go round. vinspired is an independent charity that needs money to ensure its many successful projects continue to support young people all over the country.
It does seem like a huge challenge – but as Winston Churchill once said: “out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge”. And just what has emerged as one of the solutions for vinspired? Good old fashioned community fundraising, led by none other than the Youth Advisory Board!
I’ve been working alongside vinspired’s Commercial Relations team as we explore community fundraising for the first time. And there have been many, many positive outcomes, culminating in a community fundraising strategy.
Community fundraising is going to be of vital importance to us for a number of reasons. Firstly, spreading the word about all the amazing things the charity does for young people is going to have an impact on the amount of people hearing about vinspired, which will hopefully mean increased donations and number of 14-25s accessing volunteering opportunities through our website.
Secondly, community fundraising really brings people together and offers the opportunity to connect with other individuals in your local area with similar interests and values – it’s called COMMUNITY fundraising for a reason! One of the best things about raising money is that you realise just how many people believe in supporting a good cause and want to get involved to help you. It restores your faith in people, in a way.
And finally, local fundraising brings about a real sense of accomplishment and being valued by the community. To have been faced with a problem and worked together to overcome it and see a real tangible result – it really does fill you with a sense of pride and spur you on to do other great things.
So this is the work that everyone in the Youth Advisory Board is hoping will help vinspired continue to carry out its amazing work with young people. Watch this space for more details on our project!
It is with huge pleasure that we congratulate the Chair of our Board, Rod Aldridge, on his knighthood.
Rod has been our Chair since our very inception, leading the transition from the Russell Commission Implementation Body to v, the independent youth volunteering charity. He guided us as we smashed our numeric target by 265%, engaged a very diverse group of young volunteers and achieved a social return on investment of between £6 and £12 for every £1 invested. His relentless commitment to young people is truly deserving of this honour.
His passion, drive, creativity and genuine determination to give young people the best start in life has been a great inspiration over the last six years – and in particular over the past year, during which our organisation has experienced a massive period of change.
At the end of one of the most difficult and disheartening years for young people in recent times, we cannot think of a more fitting time to recognise the achievements of a man who has done so much to inspire so many.
A colleague recently brought to my attention a vinspired poll (of 1,500 young people, November 2011) issued by Research Bods in which young people were asked: ‘what are your New Year’s resolutions related to this year- education; health and fitness; social life; or supporting causes or issues you care about?
As a charity with volunteering at the core of our ethos we’d hope others would be enthusiastic too – but disappointingly, supporting causes and issues you care about polled last.
However, what I really hope can be learned from this poll is the fact that we don’t have to cordon off aspects of our lives into tiny boxes. It is this trait that I believe has left supporting causes behind.
I would like to focus on is how the lines can be blurred. Volunteering is so much more than just giving back to others – it can have great outcomes for all involved.
If your resolution is to find a new job why not take the first step to expanding your CV by volunteering? If you want to be healthier why not get involved with outdoor practical work as a conservation volunteer or gardener?
Remove the vague label of volunteer and think about the true benefits of what you are doing both for yourself and others. When you begin to look at the endless possibilities, you realise that through the act of giving your time, you actually “tick off” all three of the above options in the process.
If like me your resolution is to spend more time with friends and family then why not get them to volunteer with you? 2012 could be the year you give back to get back – what will your resolution be?
Upon meeting vinspired’s Youth Advisory Board, I was amazed at what a clever, creative and innovative bunch of people they were and what a valuable asset they all were to a young people’s charity. It got me thinking: why aren’t groups like this being set up and used in the commercial sector? For example, retail.
It’s common practice for businesses to hold focus groups in order to gain a better understanding of their customers’ needs and behaviours. But most of the time, these people are complete strangers with very little understanding of how the business operates internally.
Last month, the ‘Queen of Shops’, Mary Portas warned that the high street is in serious decline and that many businesses needed to innovate or face extinction.
Having your own youth board specifically tied to improving business performance throughout the organisation may be the breath of fresh air that many industries need in this economic climate.
Sir Philip Green announced last month that he’s closing around 250 of his Arcadia stores, with almost a third of employees being young 16-24 years old.
But businesses need to think very carefully before they lay off their young staff – especially if (in Philip Green’s case) they are the company’s primary customer base. Their grass roots experience may just hold that golden nugget in keeping your business alive in 2012.
With the online retail sector looking to break the £56 billion mark by 2014, businesses need to take advantage of the new digitally savvy members of Generation Y/Z and use their fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to move forward. Setting up your own youth board may be the answer.
They say the children are the future, but they are also your customers – listen or lose ‘em.
It would be (quite literally) the understatement of the century to say that digital technology has come a long way since 1988, when teaching of ICT in schools first became compulsory.
Yes, the “there’s an app for that” culture of present day is a far cry from the basic computer usage for word processing twenty years ago. So you might expect that schools have been keeping up and altering tech teaching to ensure its relevance to the modern world. Right?
Wrong. Ofsted delivered a damning verdict of ICT teaching in schools last week. Its conclusion: schools simply aren’t doing enough to make technology lessons current and engaging enough for young people.
We now live in a world where everything from the way we shop, to how we socialise or listen to music has been (mostly) enhanced by a combination of the internet’s ubiquity and the astonishing ingenuity of the latest app or gadget. Yet schools’ teaching of the subject seems to have done the equivalent of sitting in a darkened room, feeling a bit miserable.
But going forward there is hope. From calls for coding skills to “become the new Latin”, to a brilliant scheme run by Apps for Good, where pupils in south London are taking part in a competition to design their own smartphone apps, the penny seems to finally be dropping that it’s time for ICT teaching to get up to speed with the 21st century.
In light of the present tough economic situation, schools and businesses alike should realise that investment now in the development of these kinds of skills among young people will ultimately reap rewards in the future.
At vinspired, the use of technology is at the heart of everything we do to assist young people. Our website helps young people find meaningful volunteering opportunities and our own smartphone app is the result of our belief in constantly innovating to help young people realise their potential in the easiest possible way.
If you’ve studied ICT at school in recent years, what’s your verdict? Would app-building or blogging lessons make you more likely to take up the subject? Share your thoughts here.
Exciting news! Ahead of the 2012 vinspired national awards, our judging panel has whittled down the hundreds of nominees who were put forward for an award and named the winners within each region across the country.
The annual awards are the largest of their kind and a really important part of vinspired’s work. They celebrate the achievements and dedication of young volunteers and aim to challenge negative attitudes towards young people by highlighting their inspiring creativity, motivation and generosity.
Really well done to all our nominees – we hope you all have an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas and feel immensely proud of your achievements. Our judges found each and every story shared totally inspiring and a real testament to the outstanding work that young volunteers do and the positive difference they make to their communities.
So what happens next? The regional winners will be shortlisted to national finalists in January 2012, with the overall national award winners revealed at a start studded awards ceremony in March. Check out the full rundown of winners by region, over on our national award pages.
n pl -roes
Any of various comic-strip characters with superhuman abilities or magical powers, wearing a distinctive costume, and fighting against evil.
The last thing I expected on my commute to work this morning was to save a life. Ok, ‘saving a life’ might be slightly over-stating the case – but you never know what could have happened if I hadn’t taken action.
It all began with an elderly man dragging an oversized suitcase onto the escalator at Walthamstow Central. I could see he was having some trouble and so kept an eye on him as we crossed paths (me going down, him going up). And then he fell…
Acting on impulse, I jumped off my escalator, ran around and managed to catch the falling man before he hit his head (followed by his trailing feet which caught me in the face for my troubles). I know in superhero movies there are more explosions, evil villains and lives at risk – but there it was, my “heroic” deed for the day!
TFL reported 1,173 injures last year on London’s escalators and who knows, if I hadn’t been there this morning and decided to take action, that man may have been the latest addition to the statistics.
What’s more, I was reading the newspaper five minutes earlier and spotted a story hailing Britain as the 5th most charitable country in the world, based on how likely people were to perform good deeds.
Our 12 days of Christmas campaign is a great starting point in doing simple good deeds for others. You don’t have to have super-human abilities, magical powers or wear a spandex outfit to make a difference (well, the last one is optional at least!). Just visit the site, choose one of the 12 actions and make a positive difference over this festive period.
What all of this hopefully brings home is that it’s the little things we do in everyday situations that can make a big impact on the wellbeing of others and those who need our help the most. If we all adopt this mentality then maybe if one day you find yourself needing to be saved, there will be someone just as willing to catch your fall.
At vinspired we have a Youth Advisory Board (YAB) for a reason. They don’t just hang around to look good, they get their hands dirty too…
On Friday 9th December the Board came to vinspired’s office in London to meet with staff and get involved in their work. The morning session began with the YAB looking at and feeding ideas into an important bid which our programmes team are working on.
This was a great warm up for what was to follow. The YAB fed in ideas for the design of our future vision for vinspired to propose to our trustees in the new year. This proved to be a really great opportunity for the team to get their teeth sunk in to a really important piece of ongoing work here. Their input has laid the foundations for the charity’s future development and ensures that young people’s views genuinely inform the direction we take going forward.
Young people really are at the heart of what we do here at vinspired. They continue to work alongside our Senior Management Team and our board of trustees; and going into 2012 and beyond we’re very confident that the Youth Advisory Board will ensure young people’s needs, wants and aspirations are at the forefront of our work.
We will be keeping you posted on the developments and the work that the YAB are doing over the coming months. Watch this space! In the meantime, you can follow us @vinspiredYAB for latest news from the team and information about how you can get involved.