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30th Mar, 2015

JCI Barnsley Tree Planting
by Fiona Silvester on March 30, 2015 01:52


Last Saturday, JCI Barnsley members put their spare time to better use within our community by spending the day out volunteering with Martin Sugden from Voluntary Action Barnsley (VAB) and Trevor Mayne from Barnsley Council's Park Services.  With Tree Planting on the agenda, we were down for getting our hands dirty, as well as our boots, trousers, and possibly faces in some cases...!

This tree planting project also ties in nicely with the JCI project impact 100. As JCI is celebrating a 100 anniversary, they have asked members to get involved with a project that will make an impact of lives for 100 people.

With this in mind, through the means of social media, our Community Director Kathryn Brookes  contacted with Martin at VAB. VAB alongside the council have been involved in the National Improvement Area (NIA) of Barnsley.  By Tree Planting in designated areas of the Dearne Valley NIA, the scheme hopes to achieve a number of important goals, with the interests of wildlife and the benefits to the environment at the heart of it.


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At 10am,  full of energy and enthusiasm, wrapped in hats, gloves and scarves, 9 of us gathered by the Swanee in Kendray to make brief introductions with our organisers from VAB and Barnsley council.  You could have mistaken us for Snow White's dwarves as we set off with our shovels and spades back up the hill, armed with bundles of natively grown British saplings (chosen with success in mind, that native saplings will be able to survive in our climate, and have not been imported with diseases that could devastate our ecosystem) and with gusto spread out and started digging and planting.

While stopping for a mid-morning cuppa to warm us up it became clear to me, whether the others would agree with me or not, that the best way to keep warm was to keep planting trees!  Standing still let the chill of Spring nip at your nose and finger tips, so once we returned to planting, and with us now spread across the planned out planting area, we determinedly continued to dig and plant and join the existing areas of established trees with our saplings.

We dug deep and finished the day (okay it was early afternoon, but it felt like later!) exhausted, achy, but proud. Martin and Trevor estimated that we had planted over 500 trees a well deserved pat on the back.

While we weren't able to stand back and admire the impact of our handiwork in one day, I hope I'm not alone in putting March 14th 2016 and 2020 back in the diary to return to this spot, to hopefully see that our work has taken root and had a positive effect on the site. 

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29th Mar, 2015

Volunteering is ACE!
by Drew Charman on March 29, 2015 17:16




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ACE is back!

Established in 2011, ACE (Active Citizen Experience) is the free-choice volunteering programme which recognises the positive contribution that JCI UK members make in their communities through active involvement in a diverse range of activities.  

The ACE programme was initially created as a lcoal chamber activity for JCI Doncaster, but due to its popularity and success it was quickly established as a programme for the whole of JCI UK. 

Katie Ogley, former Local President of JCI Doncaster, came up with the original concept believing that, in addition to participating in organised JCI activities, members should be allowed to choose activities which are special to them and be acknowledged for this.  JCI UK couldn't agree more!  Volunteering can be a very personal thing and one of Katie's favourite quotes about volunteering is from Margaret Mead who said 'never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has'.  We believe that it is these small actions which add up to make big changes - something which JCI is all about.

The scheme has 3 standard accreditation levels - Bronze, Silver and Gold.  Members are awarded certificates for the number of volunteering hours (between 10 and 30 hours) that they contribute to community projects.  These can include volunteering with a local charity, participating in fundraising activities such as being sponsored to run a marathon, working with Scout or Brownie groups, or just completing simple gestures like supporting an elderly neighbour.  

Since 2011 JCI UK members have actively engaged in the programme and, in some cases, actually contributed more hours than the highest level ACE award category!  Here is why they do it:

"The ACE programme is a really great way to log all your volunteering hours, not just what do with JCI but in any setting.  It really gets you to think about how you are having an impact on responding to the outcomes of the Millennium Development Goals.  I was really shocked with how many hours I logged, often averaging 30-40 hours a month, which is like doing an extra week at work time-wise on a range or projects!"

Mark Smith (JCI Sheffield)


"The great things about ACE is it takes into account what you do both in and outside of JCI.  It was an amazing feeling to have my hard work recognised and I felt honoured to be presented with my award."

Jenny Storey (JCI Barnsley)


Since there is clearly so much passion for this area, we added an additional level to the awards in 2014!  There is now a Platinum award for any members who contribute more than 100 hours of voluntary service in any given year.

To log hours all you have to do is complete the sections on the ACE form each time you undertake an activity.

Let's get volunteering and make a difference in our communities!  For more infomation visit


Drew Charman
2015 JCI UK National President
Senator #73605




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25th Mar, 2015

Meet The Member - Leanne Bolan (JCI Barnsley)
by Fiona Silvester on March 25, 2015 19:33


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This week we are lucky enough to meet Leanne Bolan from JCI Barnsley.

Which chamber are you a member of?
I am a member JCI Barnsley.

How long have you been a JCI member?
I have been a member since October 2013.

What made you join?
I first met Charlie Pearson and Ben Hawley (then Local President and Deputy President) at a local networking event. I took away their cards and started following JCI Barnsley on social media. Over several months I attended a few events and decided to join after a New Members Evening helped me realise I wanted to be more engaged with the local community and gain new skills while meeting like minded people.

What is the most interesting JCI event you've been to and why?
The most interesting JCI event I attended was the JCI Barnsley annual dinner in January this year. I participated in 'J Club 9' - even though being on stage fills me with dread! I was also awarded with Most Outstanding New Member. Probably not interesting in the traditional sense but it was interesting to me to notice the difference in myself gradually becoming less shy over my time as a member - the wine may have had something to do with it though!

Has JCI presented any unusual/interesting opportunities?
I think the most interesting event is yet to come with JCI Barnsley hosting the National Conference in November as it'll be the first time I'll be attending a JCI event on a large scale.


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What is your job/career/profession/business?
I am a Marketing Executive at a West Yorkshire law firm with a background in content writing and journalism.

Has JCI had any impact on your job/career/profession/business?
Career wise JCI has given me the opportunity to speak with Greg Wright, Deputy Business Editor of the Yorkshire Post. At the event I got my workplace into the paper and picked up some press release tips. I'm also attending the Marketing Academy and my employer is expecting me to come back brimming with new ideas! In January I became the Marketing Director for JCI Barnsley and hopefully I can continue to transfer my professional skills to this role and things I learn as part of JCI to my career.

What's your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement is doing a job I love as life's too short to do one you hate. I'm proud of the fact I actively looked for and found freelance then permanent work (that's what I was doing at the networking event were I met Charlie and Ben). Going to my first networking event was a personal challenge as I lacked confidence in talking to new people.

What is your favourite colour of socks to wear?
I don't think I own a pair of socks that's just one colour! They all have things like cupcakes and polka dots on them.

Tell us something crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done
The craziest thing I've done is a reverse bungee job. I saw it in a pub car park on my drive home from work one Sunday afternoon and just thought why not. I'll admit to being scared when I thought my shoe was going to fly off and hit something/someone but overall I loved it!

Thanks Leanne.  I'm looking forward to national convention already :)

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18th Mar, 2015

Meet the Senator - Elaine Senior
by Fiona Silvester on March 18, 2015 12:59


It's time to meet another one of our Senators.  Today I have the pleasure of introducing Elaine Senior from my home chamber JCI Rotherham.

Name: Elaine Senior

Senator number: 55872

When did you first join JCI and which chamber were/are you a member of?
I first joined Rotherham Junior Chamber of Commerce & Industry in 1986

Why did you join JCI?

Well there I was, at work, dressed as a pig when a customer I knew said 'that costume would be brilliant for our visit to the children's ward at the hospital this Christmas, can we borrow it?'  The costume in question was the NatWest pig - Sir Nathaniel Westminster - and, of course, as a valuable piece of marketing we couldn't just let anyone have it.  I asked a bit more and found out that this organisation that Peter belonged to did a project where they visited those children who wouldn't be going home for Christmas and handed out comics, sweets and other goodies all while dressed up.  They took an instamatic photo of each child, with their favourite character(s) and stuck it in a card for their parents.

I asked the bank if I could take part, using the pig suit and was given the green light.  On that fateful Saturday afternoon, I met up with the 5 or 6 other members of this weird group I'd never heard of and we did our thing around the hospital.  Two things to say about that day - firstly I'm glad I had a huge foam head on - they couldn't see my tears as I sat with these critically ill children; secondly that I met 6 people that day who I consider to be lifelong friends, people who have seen me grow and blossom in to the confident person you all know (the other one, sadly has since passed away).

Of course, they also did a marketing job on me and invited me to their next meeting - I went along and got hooked.


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Elain visiting Yorkshire Regional Dinner in Boston in 2011.

Do you recall the moment you were awarded a Senatorship and can you explain why you were nominated for a Senatorship?

Vividly!  I was Regional Group Chairman for Yorkshire and Rotherham JCC were hosting the Regional Conference.  We'd had a great day - amazing speakers and training sessions and a wonderful banquet.  It came to the Awards and my two Awards managers - Nigel Bentley and Sarah Whittle - were doing a grand job, my only duty being to hand out the relevant trophy with a hug and kiss.  I'd been told that Sarah had been nominated for a Presidential Recognition pin and, to keep it secret from her, the certificate was wrapped up.  In due course, the Deputy National President, Keith Bottomley was invited to the podium to present this certificate - to Sarah.  I was holding the wrapped certificate as he started to speak.During his commendation I kept thinking, ah haven't we done some similar things - as indeed we had done - and then, very slowly, it began to dawn on me that he wasn't talking about Sarah at all.  I glanced at her, at Nigel, at my (then) partner, and at a few others - they were all grinning and my partner, Stuart was getting me in focus on his camera.

When Keith got to the high point and announced my Senatorship, I was completely, absolutely and irretrievably dumb-struck.  My acceptance speech went along the lines of 'oh, um, ah, err well, um, ah, whaat? Errrrr, oh' until finally Stuart said 'sit down, shut up!' and I complied.

You'd have to ask the members who nominated me, but I guess it because  I've always done whatever I could, to the best of my abilities; I've stretched myself time and again in JCI; I've done things I never thought possible and tried to do it cheerfully.  I had attended local, regional, national and international events; I'd held 3 previous roles at Regional level and all the Council roles within JCI Rotherham.  I'm there when needed and will always have a go.

What does it mean to you to be a senator?

To be honoured by my peers was an incredible sensation.  For me, it means that I've done enough to be recognised, that people - not just any people, my friends - appreciate what I've done and are prepared to make that public and that I've now reached the point when I can support and mentor others.  It was by no means the end of my Chamber career, almost like a new beginning.

What do senators get up to?

There are Senate events most months and we also attend Regional, National and International events.  Most National & International conferences have a Senate programme where we are taken off on trips or visits.  Our own events vary from a weekend walking in the Dales; weekends visited places like Whitby; factory tours; attending plays and theatres and so on - all very social. 

Most Senate events will include a Senate Breakfast.  Folklore has it that two Senators, attending a conference in Australia, spent the whole evening catching up and missed the gala dinner.  Eventually, at some unearthly hour they made their way to the kitchens of the hotel and asked if there was any food available.  The staff were starting breakfast but were also conscious that there was some champagne and steak left over from the night before.  They offered the two guys a choice and they elected to have the full cooked brekkie, with a piece of steak on the side, swilled down with a glass (or two) of champagne - the Senate Breakfast was born!

All this is well and good, and what we also try to do is support our local Chambers and JCI UK in any practical way we can - attending events, presenting training sessions, helping with funding/sponsorship etc.  Many Senators also train at the National and International events.


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How can senators help JCI UK and its members?

As I've mentioned, there are many active Senators who will help out at the drop of a hat - speakers, trainers, factory visits, sponsorship, attending dinners to boost the numbers, providing links in to the business and civic communities, allowing the JCI members to use their networks or contacts.  We'll turn our hands to most things - without taking over!  Just ask.

What is/was your job/career/profession/business? 

When I started my JCI career, I was in local branch banking; because of the train the trainer events I attended with JCI, I became a trainer for two periods of time within the Bank and now I am a self-employed training consultant.

Did JCI have an impact on this?

Oh, yes.  I can, hand on heart, say that I would not be where I am today without the experiences, lessons learnt and friendships made in JCI.  Being a part of this organisation gave my skills, confidence and a motivation which I did not have before.

What's your proudest JCI/Senator achievement?

Meeting the Queen and Prince Phillip when they visited Rotherham - as local President I was invited to be part of the Civic welcome committee.  Standing with the Presidents of the Chamber of Commerce, the Round Table, the Rotary Clubs and the Chamber of Trade I can still hear Prince Phillip saying 'Oh, look - it's the 'chain-gang', whoff, whoff'. Also seeing my home Chamber relaunch after 10 years of being without a true 'home' - I was delighted to be involved and be able to offer support to the team.


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Tell us something crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done:

White water rafting - as Regional Chairman I was told that I had to attend every Regional event and take part.  I have to say I have never been so scared in all my life.

And finally do you have any advice for our current JCI UK members?
Yes - commit to any task you are asked to perform and take on roles, challenges and tasks which you wouldn't ordinarily get to do; learn from everything you do; never use JCI to replace success at work - use it instead to build success outside the organisation - remember to blow your own trumpet when you've succeeded in something; your boss won't know unless you tell them.

Thanks Elaine!

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17th Mar, 2015

JCI Swindon Negotiation Skills Workshop
by Fiona Silvester on March 17, 2015 13:23


JCI Swindon is going from strength to strength and has a great buzz on all social media about their range events.  Thanks to Ed Harris a potential JCI Swindon member we can hear more about their lastest event.

Negotiation Skills Workshop - 05/03/2015 (by Ed Harris, Financial Controller at Business West, Swindon)
On Thursday the 5th of March a negotiation skills workshop was held by the Swindon Junior Chamber.  The aim was to illustrate the importance of negotiation skills, and provide an opportunity to develop these skills.

The workshop was broken down in to three distinct parts; a talk from Bob Gaught about the importance of relationship building & negotiation skills, an introduction from Faisal about negotiation techniques and then role play by the workshop's attendees.

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Jurys Inn in Swindon where the event took place

Bob's Talk
Bob Gaught gave a brief talk about his career in sales in the printing industry, and the importance of good negotiation skills.  Bob mentioned the need to create, and maintain, good relationships and how this often formed the basis of success in business.

The emphasis on relationship building meant that as opposed to having a transactional approach to sales the chances if repeat sales were much higher.  This in turn could form the basis of sustainable business success.


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Bob presenting at the event

Faisal's Introduction
Faisal gave a brief introduction on negotiation techniques explaining what should be said and how it should be said.  In brief the need for an introduction, making the offer and closing the deal.

The point being that how things were said (tone of voice, body language etc) was often as important, if not more important, than what was actually said.  So the emphasis being upon how the message is delivered.

Role Play
The role play sessions looked at three different scenarios; hiring painters & decorators to redecorate an office, buying a car and a job interview.

In addition to being provided with the general scenario the participants were given parameters within which to work.  The objective being for each participant to maximise their respective outcomes and stay within their parameters.

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Some of the role playing scenarios

Bob's talk was very interesting as he was able to provide several real world examples as well the background to put it in context.  In particular his point that people should avoid relying on technology too heavily and that electronic communication should not entirely replace face to communication.

The role play sessions (and Faisal's introduction) were also very useful as it enable the participants to practice the skills discussed.  This helped further by the feedback provided by the other attendees as it gave the role play participants a fresh perspective.

One possible change would have been to have time to do more role play examples, but though it was still a very informative session.

If you would like to know more about JCI Swindon and their upcoming events you can email Faisal Mooraby:


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16th Mar, 2015

Introducing the Feel Proud Award for 2015
by Drew Charman on March 16, 2015 21:24


I'm very pleased to announce the introduction of a new award for this year - the Feel Proud Award. 

2015 Feel Proud Award certificate

This award is designed to recognise the valuable contributions of members and Senators to JCI UK throughout 2015. 

Individuals can be nominated by anyone during the course of the year.  The nominations should provide some evidence of how the work performed or the contributions made by the individuals has particularly furthered themselves, their chambers, the JCI UK organisation, or a combination of these!  Nominations should be submitted to myself and JCI UK's Administration Director, Fiona Silvester.  The National Board team will review and decide on all appropriate recipients.

Nominations should not be shared with the recipients - the award should come as a complete surprise to them when received.  The recipients will receive a Feel Proud Award certificate and a 100 Year pin (as pictured), and perhaps a little something else too!

100 Year pin


Drew Charman
2015 National President - JCI UK National Board
Senator #73605

Tel: +44 7730 594408
Twitter: @JCI_Drew


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11th Mar, 2015

Meet the Member - Amy Melody (JCI Sheffield)
by Fiona Silvester on March 11, 2015 08:47


It gives me great pleasure to introduce our next Meet the Member (#JCIUKMTM) Amy Melody, JCI Sheffield Membership Director.

Which chamber are you a member of?
JCI Sheffield

How long have you been a JCI member?
15 months

What made you join?
I had recently moved back to Sheffield and didn't know many people, after speaking to my colleagues they told me JCI was a great way to meet new people, develop my own personal skills and take advantage of great training opportunities.

What is the most interesting JCI event you've been to and why?
I attended one at my chamber just recently with a gentleman called Russell Hobbs called Develop to Succeed and it was absolutely fantastic - gave me a different perspective!


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Amy promoting National Convention in Barnsley


Has JCI presented any unusual/interesting opportunities?
I did my first sleep out with JCI Sheffield which was unusual and very interesting...It was something which I was excited and anxious then at 3am all you can think about is the cold and how you only have to do it for one night, but for some people out there it's every night.

What is your job/career/profession/business?
Press Officer

Has JCI had any impact on your job/career/profession/business?
JCI has really helped me develop my confidence and apply that to different aspects of my job.

What's your proudest achievement?
Completing 9.5miles in 1hr 30mins - I'm a novice runner and that was an achievement, soon to be beaten by a half marathon though!

Who's your favourite band/artist?
It's a toss up between Sex Pistols and the Rolling Stones

Tell us something crazy/dangerous/inspiring/unusual you have done
I trekked the Ugandan jungle in search of gorillas...and we ended up being surrounded by a whole family. It was amazingly surreal.

Thanks Amy!

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10th Mar, 2015

Next Stop: Malta
by MichaelSteel on March 10, 2015 13:55


8th Mar, 2015

European Presidents Meeting 2015
by Sarah Beckwith on March 8, 2015 10:10


Just as JCI UK has its annual kick off event "Inspiration Day" at the start of the year, the European level of the organisation also runs an event to prepare national presidents and their deputies for what is to come in the year ahead.

This is why I found myself travelling to a place called Novi Sad in Serbia in February. Not a place I had ever heard of before or expected to go to, but this is not an unusual occurrence in JCI. And as with most international JCI events, the hospitality of the hosting nation was second to none. We received lots of very helpful information in advance and could feel the enthusiasm the members had for welcoming us to their city as soon as we were greeted at the airport and throughout our stay.

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A room packed full of delegates listening to an information session

The event involved a wide mixture of sessions and events:

  • World President Ismail Haznedar talked us through his plan of action and the initiatives being implemented thereunder.
  • We got a sneak preview of the latest skills development course: effective leadership.
  • An active citizenship framework session allowed different countries in Europe to identify and discuss similar issues they shared, including youth unemployment, lack of community spirit or care for the elderly. 
  • Open forums facilitated by the European Vice Presidents to discuss issues faced by national organisations & encourage sharing of best practice.
  • A networking event hosted by local government officials.
  • A fascinating free speech forum.
  • A "taste of Serbia" night, where we got to experience local food and drink.
  • A gala dinner with traditional Serbian entertainment.

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National President Drew Charman and I representing JCI UK at General Assembly

There really was a lot packed into three days, with us sometimes starting at 8am and still being in meetings at midnight! My personal highlights were getting to meet the other deputy national presidents of JCI Europe and being involved in my first international General Assembly (the decision making forum in JCI). I feel proud that JCI UK was involved in voicing opinions and became part of a subcommittee to put forward recommendations regarding an international programme.

At EPM I've experienced a new country, met new friends from all over Europe and seen the leadership of JCI working at a new level. I can't wait to continue my journey as JCI UK Deputy National President.

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JCI Europe Deputy National Presidents after our Deputies Training session

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7th Mar, 2015

Discovering JCI Brighton
by Sarah Beckwith on March 7, 2015 10:34


I was delighted to be invited to deliver a Discover JCI session in Brighton, one of our newly relaunched chambers recently. The session covers what JCI is, the history of the organisation, the areas of opportunity and how to get the most out of your membership.

The evening started off with some networking and it was fantastic to see three former members of JCI Brighton had come along to show their support. There is a group of former members who still meet up twice a year - that is the depth of the friendships formed during their time as JCI members. We heard some of the history of the chamber, including one of their biggest projects of hosting the national conference in 1976. In JCI's 100th anniversary year it is great to reconnect with past members of JCI UK and collect information about our history.

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There were several potential members in the room, some of whom were back for their second visit. Lots of questions were asked and we got great feedback that they now understood a lot more about JCI and what membership has to offer. There was particular interest expressed in public speaking and debating sessions in the future.

JCI Brighton has an enthusiastic President in Avsar. As a chamber just starting out, there are exciting opportunities for members to really shape the chamber into what they want it to be and make a big impact in their local community.

Look out for details of forthcoming social and training events coming soon and get in touch with Avsar if you want to get involved.

Contact Deputy National President Sarah Beckwith if you would like to run Discover JCI in your chamber.


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