Inspiring Action: Tackling Food Poverty in Sheffield
by Guest Blogger on May 13, 2013 20:29
Last month, we held our community forum and had Chris Marriot from Jubilee Food Bank come along to talk to us about the rising use of food banks in Sheffield. We also had Soraya Bowen who is National Community Director skype in and join the discussions for a project idea.
JCI UK Community Director Soraya Bowen skyping into our meeting and Chris Marriot on the right
Chris gave a very informative presentation on food banks and their usage across the Sheffield area. This is not something any of us knew much about. In a year, the number of food banks in Sheffield has risen from 3 to 12 with more being planned to meet demand. With recent benefit cuts also beginning to take effect, demand is expected to increase further as more people find themselves unable to afford basics such as food.
The food banks look to signpost people to relevant services which can help them manage their situation and prevent them needing further assistance from a food bank again. Often recipients need debt and money management advice plus help with claiming the right benefits and support. None of JCI Sheffield’s members have any experience of food banks so we wanted to know more.
Discussing the key issues of food poverty in Sheffield
One of JCI’s goals is to help the community and with the theme of “inspiring action” we thought this would be a great project to run and help the people of Sheffield who are most in need. We have decided to start with a small project and hopefully this will lead on to bigger and better things. At each of our networking Wednesdays, we will have a box collecting food items for the food banks which will then be taken to them.
Nurturing talent is the sustainable way.
by Philip Cavalier-Lumley on May 9, 2013 08:37
When a leader such as Sir Alex Ferguson who has held the top spot at Manchester United football club for nearly 27 years retires, you're not looking for 'just' a replacement to manage 'just' a football team, you are looking for someone who must have the credibility and gravitas to fill the huge hole left behind by such change at the biggest football clubs in the world.
Sir Alex is not just a football manager. His name and Manchester United Football Club go hand-in-hand. The successful track record of the club and Sir Alex is outstanding. In the world of football, not many football managers have the success and job security that Sir Alex has enjoyed. Due to the nature in which football managers are recruited, succession planning (if that is what we should call it) has probably never been on the table until now. Within a couple of days of announcing his retirement it seems they have found a replacement already.
Nurturing talent within any organisation is the sustainable way to ensure the future success of an organisation, but are our talented and ambitious people quick to jump ship for the next best thing? Would you? It could be argued that experience elsewhere broadens your management horizons providing you with more objectivity and individuality as a leader.
Imagine that you have invested time, resources and money into your people only to find that they are off to pastures new because you've helped them achieve their potential and the opportunities for them to move forward in your company are limited or non-existent at the time. Have you lost them forever or will that person be heading back in the future? A stronger and more experienced leader? Could the personal development of people undermine loyalty in the short-term but over the longer-term that investment in people and their appreciation of it becomes a renewed and stronger loyalty to your company and naturally forms part of your organisation's sustainable future.
It's always going to be a fine balance between developing people in your organisation and providing them with opportunities that makes them an experienced and highly skilled individual.
If we think about this in terms of our local chambers, do you have members that you could nurture and develop to be the leader of your local organisation tomorrow? And equally, if you are looking to develop your employees and give them tangible opportunities to put these into practice then, once again, perhaps volunteering through JCI is that platform that they can thrive from. If we want to play a part in developing and becoming the leaders of the future, then don't we owe it to our JCI members, existing and potential, to provide development opportunities? With our ‘one year to lead' philosophy, then there is no reason why we can't support young people to realise their full potential, ultimately enabling them to use their new found skills to channel back in to the economy, the community and similarly, developing the next generation.
Of course, we wish the new manager of Manchester United all the best as he faces a whole host of challenges that come with filling Fergie's football boots. But we also wish all of our future leaders the best of luck....perhaps rather than waiting 27 years to step into someone else's shoes, you will create your own opportunities to take the lead!
Twinning is winning
by Paul Thwaite on April 29, 2013 09:16
Twinning is winning
When the twinning of JCI Mayo and JCI Sheffield was established I didn't think it would mean much! You hear about towns and cities being twinned but after that nothing really happens so why would chamber twinning be any different? I'm so happy to be able to say that because of the members of both chambers we have turned this twinning into a positive, solid and co-operative experience that I believe will last for many years.
As a new chamber, JCI Mayo has gained great knowledge and confidence by its twinning with JCI Sheffield. We have established many friendships that I know will last even beyond our JCI years.
We are very fortunate to be able to easily travel between the two branches which further deepens the bond between our members; even though we have monthly Skype calls there's nothing like meeting up and chatting face to face.
We have already arranged annual trips between the branches. The first twinning trip was St Patrick's weekend when members of JCI Sheffield came to Mayo. Over the weekend we carried out a number of teambuilding exercises, including pizza-making, took advantage of our county's beautiful beaches, walks and castles with a sightseeing tour and even took part in the Westport St Patricks Day Parade with our homemade banner.
JCI Mayo were privileged to host some JCI international training sessions, Impact and Achieve, at our recent twinning weekend. By having members from a different branch/city/country there I feel we benefited even more in our training as we were able to share project ideas and experiences with each other which as a closed branch we would not achieve.
JCI is an international organisation, but sometimes the international events can be daunting or hard to reach. Twinning with JCI Sheffield offers a more accessible side to being international and provides more realistic development opportunities for all members empowering them to make positive change.
It's easy to say you're proud of something, but thinking of reasons why can sometimes be difficult. Not when it comes to twinning with JCI Sheffield - a well established branch with years of experience and expertise. They have helped JCI Mayo, a newly affiliated branch, understand the reason why JCI is such an amazing organisation to be a member of. Their passion for JCI has ignited a passion in Mayo to develop and grow into a branch as long-lasting as Sheffield's.
I love the fact that friendships have developed between the members, and on our recent twinning weekend it was apparent that the bond would last and develop over the months and indeed years to come.
Deborah Mc Andrew
2013 JCI Mayo president
Ilona Alcock, JCI Sheffield Deputy President said: "The international aspect of JCI is hugely important but often seems inaccessible to many. By twinning with a relatively nearby Chamber (just an hour's flight away) and setting up regular Skype calls, it has become a regular feature for members of both Chambers. The recent twinning weekend gave us the opportunity to undertake two fantastic JCI courses (Achieve and Impact) together, and to share knowledge and best practice. In short, the twinning provides real development opportunities and is constantly empowering us to create positive change!"
Vicky Bulman, JCI Sheffield International Director explained: "The trip has been invaluable, giving us time to develop relationships between the two chambers and individual members. Our motto is "Twinning is winning" and this visit has confirmed the importance of building international bonds. I can't wait for the next instalment, when they visit us in Sheffield in July!"
Help JCI UK Eliminate Malaria Today!
by Soraya Bowen on April 25, 2013 07:25
Malaria kills up to 655,000 people every year, 90% of those are in 3rd world counties. What most people don't know is that the other 10% are spread out around the world and you can even find some of those come from right here in the Uk. Living in the UK we are lucky, we have the knowledge, Doctors and medication to fight malaria, but does everyone know what to look for?
Everyone gets itchy annoying bits on holiday that just won't go away when they get home and in January 2009 I was no different. After coming back from the Dominican Republic a tiny mosquito bit on my ankle would just not go away. After being ill on holiday and getting worse after I got home malaria was the last thing on my mind when I went to the doctors as I had taken every the recommended tables for that area and followed the instructions to the letter! Three weeks later, barely eating and after only getting worse with two trips to the emergency out of hours doctors at Barnsley General Hospital. The doctors were left with no option but to admit me.
Late on a Saturday night and with a mix of pain killers, anti sickness tables, other drugs I can't remember in my system left me very drowsy. When the disease specialist turned up! The next five days were spend on drips in isolation with nurses waking me up every four hours to check my body temperature and taking blood three times a day. One of the biggest signs of malaria after the flu like symptoms is the fluctuation in fever.
The signs of malaria can show up within 10 days of an infected bit and can hide in the blood in extreme cases for up to a year. In cases like mine doctors have to trust the symptoms they see and hope that the blood test reflect. I still have the bite on my ankle and the Doctor thinks it might never go but I'll have that over the other options any day. Anyone can catch malaria and we are lucky to know that in the Uk if identified then you have a very very high chance of surviving. But don't take the risk!
Next time you go on holiday follow ABCD:
Awareness - Check the risk, weather, climate and location.
Bite prevention - At the every least you will stop yourself getting itchy bites!
Chemoprophylaxis (anti malaria drugs) - take them and as they are recommended, where possible get an injection.
Diagnosis - know what to look for and at the fist signs of illness check with a doctor, this can be upto a year after you return home.
Then think about the people in areas that don't have the medial access that we do. Charities like Nothing But Nets are helping to try and defeat malaria. Why not leave the countries we visit in a better way, even if it is only tiny difference? By leaving/donating a bed net that cost nothing in comparison to the trips we take, to the effected countries we visit, we might just be able to give them the same chances we haves!
JCI Barnsley 2013 President
Register Now for LEAP – JCI UK’s Flagship Leadership Training Programme
by Sarah Beckwith on April 8, 2013 21:49
LEAP (Leadership in Action Programme) was launched with huge success last year and registration is now open for this year's course taking place on the weekend of 30 August to 1 September.
The objective of the programme is to equip young people with the skills they need to provide development opportunities to create positive change. It is aimed at rising stars and future leaders of JCI. Topics covered include understanding your organisation, understanding yourself and others, running an effective team and leadership and motivation.
More details about the weekend can be found here: http://www.jciuk.org.uk/events/2013-08-30/728-jci-uk-leap-leadership-excellence-in-action-programme/
Here's what some of last year's participants had to say:
"This [session] really made me think and learn to work with others under pressure." Katie Jackson, JCI Sheffield
"Even as an experienced member I was able to gain new energy and ideas." Stephen Wells, JCI Reading
"Understanding myself and others is relevant for any relationship and it gives a new perspective of how I can improve and learn from others point of view." Adriana Albarracin, JCI London
"Overall brilliant." James Alcock, JCI Sheffield
"Fab weekend. I'm so proud of you guys and of JCI." Paul Widger, JCI Manchester
Places are limited and the early bird price of £99 for members and £175 for non-members ends on 26 May so sign up now! Please note you need to register and pay by 26 May in order to qualify for the early bird price.
The price includes all training and materials, accommodation (in a shared twin room) on Friday and Saturday nights and all meals on Saturday and Sunday.
JCI Birmingham Lanuch Event Success
by Paul Thwaite on April 7, 2013 20:16
Thursday 14th March finally saw the launch night of JCI Birmingham after 8 years of lying in sleep! The event was designed to help give people the necessary info they needed about just what Junior Chamber International is and can offer them as well as introducing our chosen charity for the year, Help Harry Help Others.
Guest speakers for the night were JCI UK National President Emma Eastwood, Barry Hall and Daniel Clark from BPP, our event sponsors and Georgie Moseley of Help Harry Help Others. Between myself as MC and Emma we covered off what JCI stands for and gave some perspective about what we have gained from our membership. Barry and Daniel talked about what BPP can offer and the fantastic Vanta Centre, designed for collaboration working.
Our final speaker was the inspirational Georgie, who was delivering her late son Harry's message. Harry dedicated his last few years to raising funds for cancer research by making and selling bracelets and inspiring school children to set up their own bracelet making businesses. Georgie spoke with such passion and delivered a heartfelt message of just what the charity is striving for and how JCI Birmingham members can help support their aims and work together.
After the talks we moved onto networking and a chance for everyone to buy their own Help Harry Help Others bracelet. The networking continued for well over an hour and by the end of the night I was a very happy President with 5 new membership forms in my hand! We'd gathered contact details for everyone in the room, spread the JCI word and had fun along the way, just JCI is all about.
I'm really looking forward to working with our new members over the coming months and watching them grow on their JCI journey.
What is an Active Citizen? Active Citizenship Summit 2013
by Guest Blogger on April 4, 2013 07:03
By Ling Jin
I have always been passionate about making a difference in local communities, sowhen I got to know about Active Citizenship Summit, I was immediately drawn by theidea of bridging local government and local communities, by working collaboratively,to make a bigger and better difference.
I was very curious about those 'behind the scene' stories, so I got in touch withSoraya, one of the event initiators, to find out more about her thoughts.
1. To start with, how would you define active citizenship?
Active Citizens are young, empowered leaders who bring positive change in their communities through constructive social action.
2. What does active citizenship mean to you?
As a JCI member the answer above sums what active citizenship means to me. However you don't have to be a leader to be an active citizen and you don't need a title. It's about us as individuals living in communities across the global taking responsibility about the issues in our local communities.
I recently came across this saying the other day which I feel fits well "The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. Above all the world needs dreamers who do".
3. If you can only use one sentence to summarize this event, how would you describe it?
I feel one word would not describe this event. I feel our slogan for the year for JCI UK - Inspiring Action - encompasses what our members will get from attending this event; that they willbe 'Inspired to action' in their local communities.
4. What do you try to achieve with this event?
To help our members have a better understanding of how to get involved in the public discourse in the UK. There are a number of issues that are affecting youngpeople today. Top of the agenda is unemployment. We already have Chambers working on local projects to tackle this issue but we need to feed back our results and solutions into what is happening at local government level.
5. What would make you feel that it is a successful event?
After the event we decide to set a resolution to take action on a particular issue in our local communities.
To learn more about Active Citizenship Summit 2013, please visit: http://www.activecitizenshipsummit.org.uk/
To register, please visit: http://www.activecitizenshipsummit.org.uk/register/
To follow us on Facebook, please join us at: http://www.facebook.com/events/347822281997142/
Two more weeks on sabbatical!
by Emma Eastwood on April 3, 2013 16:59
So my last blog left me just having delivered debating training for JCI Portsmouth and resisting eating the Easter eggs that they had collected for charity! I didn't stop there. I immediately left to catch a train to Gatwick Airport. Arriving at midnight I had about four hours sleep before getting up and flying to Aberdeen.
I was lucky enough to have been invited to attend the JCI Aberdeen Grampian Industrialist dinner. That weekend our JCI World President Chiara Milani was in Aberdeen and I got there in time to visit a local charity Befriend A Child with Chiara and JCI Scotland National President Steven Wilson. It was amazing to hear how not only had the charity received financial assistance from JCI Aberdeen but also much needed help with raising their profile and increasing their network. We then went to a special lunch with a speech from Chiara to local patrons, members and senators. Then the main event of the dinner- a great evening was had by all and it was inspiring to see how JCI Aberdeen has forged such strong links with their local business community.
I left early to get a good night's sleep as the next day I delivered JCI Presenter training with our international Vice President Anna Gril to 11 members including two from JCI Barnsley. The group was of an extremely high standard. After training there was time for a quick curry on my last night in Aberdeen followed by a seven hour trip home the next day in the snow. No rest when I got back as it was time for a community meeting with Soraya Bowen but then I was at home for two days to relax.
On Wednesday 13th March I was back on the train this time heading to Boston to deliver Discover JCI training for their new members. I had great fun and the session was lively and engaging. Then it was off to the local pub for dinner and the quiz. I'd like to be able to report that team JCI Boston won but I will settle with its the taking part that counts.
I stayed overnight in Boston and was up and ready the next morning to get the train to Birmingham for the JCI Birmingham launch event. I got there nice and early and set up mobile office in a local Costa which brought back memories of the Southampton visit, this time I left making the drinks to the experts. The launch event was a huge success and the team were really energised. Their guest speaker Georgie Mosley from the charity Help Harry Help Others moved the audience to tears with her speech and many bought bracelets to raise funds for the charity. Five new members signed up on the night and I am so pleased to see JCI Birmingham so firmly back on the map.
My next JCI trip was to a senate walking weekend in North Yorkshire but I conveniently managed to arrive after the walking had finished and just in time for the black tie dinner. It really was a great event and I was pleased to speak on behalf of JCI UK and let the senators present know what you had all been doing. I am very proud of what we have achieved so far this year. The guests at the dinner held a charity raffle and raised £180 towards our Nothing But Nets target for the year.
The last week of my sabbatical was a whirlwind of phone calls and emails. I also managed to fit in a speech on behalf of JCI Leeds at an event to present a brand new city proposition to over 200 local business people. Members of JCI Leeds had been part of the consultation process and as such I was asked to address the audience on behalf of the people of Leeds. It was a great honour to be asked to speak and I hope that it helps to raise the profile of JCI. I also attended a JCI Leeds quiz event that week and I can confirm that my performance at this quiz was even worse than it had been in Boston!
Despite the snow over the weekend I still managed to make my way to Birmingham to join a fantastic group of past national presidents for a revival of the traditional past national president's lunch. This was organised by Immediate Past President Solveig Malvik and was a brilliant way to learn about the history of JCI UK and also to share what we are doing now. It was such a good event in fact that some people missed their trains and had to head back later than they had planned! This is an event that we hope to hold regularly going forward.
Before I could even blink it was time to go back to work! What an amazing experience this month off was. I enjoyed every moment of it and thank you to everyone that made it so special
Jamie was in the final 20 - TOYP
by Guest Blogger on March 27, 2013 14:25
By Ilona Alcock, JCI UK TOYP (Ten Outstanding Young Persons) Project Manager
Following on from my interview with Sofie on her experience of running TOYP in JCI London last year, I got chance to catch up with Stephen Wells, past president of JCI Reading.
Steve only selected one candidate to enter TOYP but he clearly chose well as Jamie Dunn made it to the top 20 shortlist in the world!
How did you get involved with TOYP? Why was it important to you and your Chamber?
I got involved in JCI TOYP by experiencing it first hand at the world congress in Tunisia. Going along the awards presentation and hearing all the stories of how people had been inspired and motivated to change something was in itself inspiring. Meeting two of the winners (Sabirul Islam and Emily Cummings) was the icing on the cake. JCI Reading then went on to invite Emily to our Gala dinner as a keynote speaker where I actually go the chance to find out a little about the person behind the achievement, proving that these are real people that have achieved outstanding things.
What was important to me, as much as JCI Reading, was getting someone recognised for the things they do. When I first started talking to Jamie I knew that I would eventually enter him for the awards, and I wanted to see if he walked the walk rather than just being talk, at Inspiration Day 2010 I was asked if I would be putting him forward, and I said 'Yes, but not yet' for it to be of long term benefit for JCI UK/ JCI Reading I needed to ensure we had a real relationship that could be beneficial long into the future, not just a few months of promoting him.
What challenges did you face when running the JCI Reading TOYP programme?
Jamie was a single application, rather than a programme, but the biggest challenge was getting the timing of the application right.
If you look at Jamie's history he is on what can only be described as an exponential curve. What he was doing 2 years ago is tiny in comparison to where he was when we wrote the application, and he has already surpassed everything he was doing at the time. This meant that we had to do the application close to the deadline so that what was judged and honoured was what he was still doing, this also gave us the most high profile and impactful events.
An example of this is that since, not because, Jamie went through the TOYP process his guest posts on Virgin.com are now receiving in excess of 250,000 views! On top of that he is currently in process of setting up Spark Global offices in California, Lebanon and Cairo, so I still wonder if we submitted his application too early, would this year have been better, or maybe next?
Even when we did the application so much was going it was very hard to nail down the actions to impact etc, I was not really happy with the application, but it went in.
What was the best part of TOYP?
Following on from not being happy about the application the best bit has to be receiving the email from the World President notifying us that Jamie was in the final 20. I think I was more excited that Jamie!
Your chosen candidate got to the top 20 global shortlist which is an incredible achievement! What advice would you give to people looking for candidates this year?
Know your candidate. As I mentioned earlier I waited nearly 2 years to nominate Jamie and included things he had mentioned to me about what he did, how he did it from conversations throughout those 2 years. I knew the stories, the impact and was able to frame it in a way that showed off his true achievement, even someone like Jamie is actually fairly modest about what they have done.
Any other tips for running a successful TOYP programme?
Just get on with it! And ask for help from the national team.
Start looking for one person today. Keep it simple and focused to start with. One application is all JCI Reading did and Jamie got to the final 20 IN THE WORLD. Read the categories and application form now, then park it at the back of your mind, you will be surprised how many people start to spring to mind.
Malaria can be eliminated by this generation
by Soraya Bowen on March 26, 2013 12:27
Did you watch Mary and Martha on Friday 1 March? If you were not moved, well I don’t know what will! I cried so much.
I really recommend that you take the time to watch this film on BBCi player. Believe me you will be inspired by this almost unbearably moving film. Just to give you basic outline, it based on the true story of wealthy American housewife Mary Morgan and English woman Martha O'Connell. They both travel to Africa and both end up losing their sons to malaria.
Trailer for Mary & Martha film
Prime Minister David Cameroon responded to the film, “Over 1,500 children die every day from this preventable and curable disease, leaving behind thousands of grieving parents. Malaria keeps people from work and children from school in communities and countries struggling to work their way out of poverty. I am proud that malaria remains a priority for the UK Government. We have seen progress, with deaths in Africa down by a third since 2000, but efforts must be sustained if we are to achieve our goals. We are committed to helping to halve malaria deaths in at least ten of the most badly affected countries.” Deaths from malaria are down by one third in Africa.
But over 600,000 children are still dying needlessly every year from a disease that costs £1 to treat and £5 to prevent. Through providing insecticide bed nets that cost $10 approximately £6. Well, JCI UK has always been committed to supporting the Nothing But Nets Campaign to help eradicate malaria.
In 2013, JCI UK pledging to save 1800 children lives from malaria through purchasing 450 which equates to a bed nets per member. JCI UK have a variety of fundraising events throughtout the year. We asking that oyur members to get involved with help us meet that target. How will you mark World Malaria Day?
What is the Nothing But Nets Campaign?
Is a grassroots movement involved in malaria prevention through advocacy, procurement and distribution of free bed nets. Every $10 donation to Nothing But Nets goes directly toward the purchase, distribution, and education about the proper use of a long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed net. Bed nets work in two ways: they stop mosquitoes from biting during the night and spreading the disease, and the insecticide on the net kills the mosquitoes when they land on it, preventing them from flying on to find their next victim. Bed nets can prevent malaria transmission by 50 percent and up to 90 percent in areas with high-coverage rates.
JCI UK Community Director