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2nd May, 2016

Hi All,

For years now, JCI UK have been looking at how to make paying for your membership easier. It’s been a bit of a faff having to complete the sign up for, then go to your back and set up a BACS or Standing Order. It can also be a pain when it comes to renewing as well, you either have to make another BACS payment or potential set up a new standing order and if you don’t remember to do so, then you membership can lapse and you have arrears to sort out.  It’s not a very nice experience and it’s something we’ve been wanting to change for a while now, but not been able to find the right solution.

Earlier in the year, we found out about GoCardless, a quick and simple to use system that takes Direct Debit payments for organisations of all sizes from local scout groups and sport clubs, right through to companies like The Guardian and Funding Circle. It made taking repeat and one off payments easy to do whilst being low cost and no long term contracts or ongoing fees.

We decided to run a trial of the system with three chambers, Rotherham, Sheffield and Barnsley, to see how it worked. Over the trial period, it was clear the sign up process was quicker and ongoing payments were easier to manage and members had a greater view of what was happening with their membership.

As the trial was such a success, it was voted on at National Council on the 23rd April 2016, that JCI UK would use GoCardless for all recurring membership payments going forward and also offer the ability to pay yearly via the system as well.

We’re now in the process of rolling moving all current members who pay via standing order to the new GoCardless system. We’re doing it in stages so your chamber might not be for a month or so, but you will get an e-mail explain exactly what you need to do shortly. It only takes five minutes to switch over and will provide you with a better membership experience.

The reason we chose GoCardless is that is has very low fees (just 1% per transaction), at no point does anyone from JCI see you bank details (which at the moment, occasional we can see depending on the bank that has sent the standing order payment), and it’s a really simple system to use from both a members perspective and a admin perspective.

The new system will also be integrated into the new member sign up process as quickly as possible on both the current JCI UK website and the new JCI UK website (more info and another blog coming on that one soon!).

Below is a selection of questions we’ve been asked during the trial and since, but if you have any others, please let me know and I’ll be happy to answer them for you. You can drop me an e-mail to

It’s a low fee of 1%, but the standing order option is free. Aren’t we better stay with that? Whilst yes there is a charge, it is envisaged that by automating this process and eliminating paper being send to head office, we will save more in head office fees than the 1% processing fee.

What happens if people are signed up for a year, isn’t it going to just take without warning them? No. The Go Carless system would not automatically take the payment when the year is due for renewal.  As currently, members would get an email before the membership is renewed advising that their membership is due for renewal and supply them with a link to pay again via GoCardless, as well as the option to change to monthly or quarterly payments.

Will anyone in the organisation see my bank account details? No. At no point will any individual’s bank account details be seen by anyone in JCI UK. They are stored securely on the GoCardless system and we have no access to them so they are completely secure.

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1st May, 2016

A month in the life of a National President
by Sarah Beckwith on May 1, 2016 11:22


So what is it really like to be National President? What do we actually do? Well it's been a busy month, so I thought I'd share some of the highlights:

On 8-10 April, myself and six of the national board team travelled to Eindhoven in the Netherlands for our NOM2NOM weekend with our national twinning partners. This was a fantastic opportunity for the national board team to get to know their counter-parts and share best practice (you can read Abdulkader's blog here). For me the close relationship with my fellow national presidents from Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium is really important to be able to talk to those sharing the same experiences you are going through and also to liaise about international issues we'll be discussing when we represent our countries at the JCI EUropean Conference in Finland in June.

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The NOM2NOM Presidents: Jeroen from the Netherlands, myself, Sarah from Belgium and Martin from Switzerland

The next weekend I hopped on a train up to Edinburgh for the JCI Scotland national conference. JCI UK also has a very close relationship with JCI Scotland and JCI Ireland. There are several twinning relationships between the nations, lots of hanging out together at international conferences and the national presidents and other members each attending each other's conferences/conventions. It was great to see six other members and senators of JCI UK there. The weekend was packed with fantastic workshops, keynote speakers and speaking competitions and culminated in a black tie gala with ceilidh. It was during the gala that I and Brian Smyth, the national president of JCI Ireland, made our friendship speeches to Patrick Hughes, the national president of JCI Scotland. You make quite a few speeches as national president, but this one was a bit different, being a somewhat teasing take on the friendship. I was therefore quite nervous to get the balance right between humour without crossing the line too far! Patrick still seems to be speaking to me so hopefully the speech hit the right note (or else he's biding his time until he gets to return the favour at the JCI UK National Convention in November).

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Delivering the friendship speech at the Scottish National Convention

Last week was another huge learning experience for me as we had our first National Council meeting of the year. I had to chair the meeting using the JCI UK Constitution and Roberts Rules of Order, a parliamentary procedures system which is designed to allow everyone to be heard and votes to be taken democratically. Although I've sat in many meetings as both a local president and national board member where Roberts Rules have been used, it's a bit of a different experience controlling the meeting yourself. In the afternoon, we heard from Kaspar Ilves, our international Vice President, who taught us about strategic partnerships, something his home organisation of JCI Estonia is particularly good at. The knowledge sharing continued as Yorkshire Regional Group Chair, Phil and JCI Canary Wharf President, Andy (with special guest appearance by JCI Swindon President, Faisal) shared the benefits of using as a platform for reaching potential new members.

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My tools for chairing the JCI UK National Council meeting

On Sunday, I sat down with the local presidents to talk about how their year is going so far. This is one of my favourite parts of being national president. Our local chambers are the most important part of JCI UK, so I love hearing about the projects and events they are running and facilitating finding solutions to make those chambers even better through discussion and sharing of ideas.

Other activities throughout the month included:

  • Numerous conversations with National Board members
  • Writing up a report on the recent World President visit for JCI HQ
  • Meetings in person and via Skype in preparation for our upcoming Public Speaking and Training Academies
  • Creating my first ever video blog! Not easy for someone who isn't the most technology savvy
  • Lots of e-mails with local presidents, members, potential members, senators, head office, other national presidents and partners
  • Skype meeting with our appointed Vice President from the JCI International Board of Directors
  • Representing JCI at the Worshipful Company of World Traders Tacitus Debate which is supported by a partner of JCI London, the London Chamber of Commerce Commercial Education Trust

I hope that has given an insight into some of what I get up to as National President.  If you have any questions, please drop me a line:


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30th Apr, 2016

What it means to me to “Choose extraordinary”
by Sarah Beckwith on April 30, 2016 10:47


Everyone who has joined JCI did it for a specific reason and everyone who has been in the organisation probably stayed for others.

I personally joined JCI because I wanted to make new connections within the city and extend some of my marketing skills. I stayed in JCI because I realise that there is more to learn that I could have imagine and that I actually love to learn.

JCI will connect not only people but also organisations. We were last year approached by the American Embassy to join a program they have created. At first, my reaction was to think that it is another commitment, that I won't have time for it and then I remembered that opportunity rarely knock at the door, you have to create them.

I decided to apply for the program and was successful after a few days. The program aims to reinforce the link between the young leaders in the UK and the American government giving you access to monthly invitations to attend virtual talks or physical events.

 Now, have you ever seen on TV or looked at pictures in the news and thought how do ordinary people attend ''THESE" events? I have an answer, maybe not the only one but one. These people choose to push their boundaries, they choose a life where they are not scared by the unknown, they are not scared by the lack of sleep, they are scared of what they could be missing by not seizing an opportunity. That for me is my definition of "Choose extraordinary", our 2016 National Theme.

On Thursday 14/04/2016, I received an email from the American Embassy, inviting me to attend President Barack Obama speech in London Saturday 23rd April 2016. Yes, that's right, the American ambassador wrote an email to invite me (and program participant) to meet with "POTUS".

Blog » Misc » Celestine AmEm Post.png

Due to the high demand, a ballot system was organised and I was placed on the waiting list. I can fairly said that I was not bothered to be on the waiting list but I was honoured and proud. I have the privilege to be part of an organisation that is well recognise in the world and that give me the opportunity to meet Barack Obama. How many of us can actually say it? I was part of the 500 members onwards in the UK who have been given the chance to receive an email offering me the possibility to attend Barack Obama speech in London. If I didn't realise straight away how amazing this opportunity was, the faces and the reactions among the people I decided to tell reminded me how "uncasual this is". One of my favourite was " Now, I wish I had joined the program".

What I've learnt and that I would like to share with you is to make sure you don't live with regrets, don't miss out on an opportunity to choose an extraordinary path because you are afraid you won't be able to commit or you won't have time. If an opportunity arises, you will find a way to make time for it.

Joining a group of young professionals such as JCI is like planting seeds and waiting for it to grow. Opportunities like meeting the President of the United States of America don't happened by coincidence, I had to plant my opportunity by joining JCI and joining the US Embassy program and I just waited for it to grow and seized the opportunity to meet him.

Célestine, 2016 Local President, JCI Southampton

If you have any questions about JCI please do get in touch with me





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28th Apr, 2016

JCI UK partners with JCI Poland to help a child!
by Abdulkader Aljandali on April 28, 2016 11:49


JCI UK together with JCI Poland and the technological start-up company Talking 2 Rabbit launched a charity campaign aimed at the purchase of a drainage vest for seriously ill little girl Maja, suffering from cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is an incurable genetic disease, which floods the lungs, pancreas and liver with thick mucus. Some children with cystic fibrosis do not live to adulthood. 

Little Maja’s  story Maja was born in a small village in Poland. Since she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis her parents have been giving her the same routine treatment every day: clapping her on the back, a form of manual drainage of the lungs inhalations, during which the girl twists, bends, trying to escape, crying with the pain. This might change with your HELP!

For Maja to be able to breathe normally, a drainage vest is needed urgently. This device cleanses the respiratory system. Thanks to the vest, instead of the usual hours of painful and unpleasant treatment, it only takes a few minutes! She will use it daily like other healthy children and can go to school, play sports and enjoy life as a little kid! Unfortunately Maja’s parents cannot afford to buy the drainage vest by themselves.

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Wonder How you can help?

1. Like the project page on Facebook:

2. Click “LIKE” under the action banner which you can then share on your timeline to spread the word about the project and have more people involved.

3. Sign-up at  and start recording your voice over the Internet.


Recommended steps:

1. Check that your laptop or desktop has Chrome or Firefox and  equipped with a standard microphone (built-in or external). Note: Mobile devices like smartphones or tablets are not compatible with the web-based recording platform!

2. Make sure that you have stable Internet connection and try be seated in a silent room.

3. You will be asked to read out loud general English sentences and German names and locations displayed on the screen (as a British native speaker, German language skills are not required) which takes about 10 minutes!


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26th Apr, 2016

JCI Twinning 2016
by Abdulkader Aljandali on April 26, 2016 11:24


Twinning is definitely one of the best traditions that the JCI family has successfully adopted since its inception. I have had the chance to participate in few twinning weekends during my JCI career and also the privilege to organise one in JCI London last year. Back then, we had delegates attending from Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland. The weekend started on Friday night with dinner at Dishoom in Shoreditch; the highlight on Saturday was the comedy club session where guests enjoyed British humour first-hand! On Sunday, our twins were invited to join the peace conference organised by JCI London back in September.  

There are many benefits for twinning among which I would like to cite a continuous cooperation with fellow Jayces across within and across borders which is key to the survival of any local organisation. I am aware that JCI Cambridge, Southampton and London intend to organise a similar events this year. If any other chamber are looking to organise a twinning weekend this year, please let us so that we can support you and help you make the most of your experience. 

TWI 2015.jpg

For chambers that would like to explore twinning agreements with chambers across Europe or beyond, please get in touch as we have been contacted by national organisations from the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Finland, Morocco and Norway; they have all expressed interest in findings JCI partners in the United Kingdom. I am personally in touch with the international directors of the above-mentioned chambers and happy to facilitate contact and cooperation accordingly. If anybody wants to find more about twinning agreements and the JCI twinning policy, please let me know, I shall forward the policy document to those interested; It contains the information that you need to start up your twinning journey. For those of you who are new to JCI, twinning can be defined as:

"A relationship instituted between two Junior Chamber chapters in different countries. The motivation to twin originates from the members in two chapters who wish to establish a mutual understanding and friendship. The objective is to exchange personal visits, ideas, projects and culture. With modern communication and transportation systems, distance is no longer an obstacle. For this reason, chapter twinning is easier now than ever before. Twinning usually starts with correspondence between two chapters. This form of international cooperation does not require regular visits, and the link lasts for as long as the two chapters wish. One simple exchange of information is all that the cooperation requires. These activities enable chapters to make contacts with foreign chapters which may eventually twin in the future."

For any queries related to international events, please get in touch as we would love to help :)


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23rd Apr, 2016

NOM2NOM in Eindhoven, NL
by Abdulkader Aljandali on April 23, 2016 15:03


I had a lovely weekend attending my first NOM2NOM event with the JCI UK Team from the 8th to 10th of April 2016. The weekend took place in a small town nearby Eindhoven, a must visit destination for nature-lovers and those who would like to escape the stress of the city. JCI UK has twinning partnerships with the national organisations of the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. A total of 32 members from the 4 countries participated in the event which aims to maintain and strengthen existing relationships between JCI national organisations. 

The weekend started on a Friday afternoon as delegates were greeted, shown their accommodation and then invited to join the drinks reception that was taking place in the main hall. During the reception, I had the chance to get acquainted with the Swiss team and was pleasantly surprised to find out that JCI Switzerland is in the process of implementing the Know How Transfer project to their members the chance to shadow member of parliament in Bern this coming  September. The Swiss Know How Transfer programme is a benchmark of a programme run by JCI Europe in Brussels and I am delighted to say that JCI UK is working on a similar proposal that would enable our members to experience politics first-hand in Westminster!

We had a knowledge sharing session on a Saturday morning where Sarah and Ben gave tips  on how to write an award proposal; I personally found the presentation extremely informative and couldnt hep taking notes which I had summarised as follows:

  • Apply: familiarise yourself with the applications process
  • Fill in the forms: make sure that you included all the paper work required
  • Take a lot of photos and videos: do this throughout the project 
  • Tell a story: connect the dots for the jury 
  • Explain why you have chosen the project
  • How you are going to do it: talk to us about the process you have used
  • And prepare yourself to win: get ready for celebrations!

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Saturday afternoon focused on team building as we were given the chance to compete in teams against each other. The activities we performed in that afternoon were reminiscent of past training/activities I did when attending various leadership academies with JCI; the bottom line was that together, we can always have fun, learn and make an impact! Sunday morning we bid farewell to our lovely hosts and we started the journey back to the UK. Another memorable event added to my JCI CV :)

If you like to learn more about any of the topics mentioned in this blog, please feel free to email:

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22nd Apr, 2016

Pound a Day 2016 - Coming Soon to a Chamber near you!
by Katie Jackson on April 22, 2016 13:13


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What is Pound a Day?
The Pound a Day project is now into its fourth year and continues to grow year-on-year. This year we are doing it slightly later in the year to correspond with World Hunger Day (28th May 2016), to really understand the impact that hunger brings on our communities, not only locally, but nationally and internationally.

To take part in the project you will need to: 

  • Limit yourself to a £7 weekly shopping budget, for both food and drink
  • Donate the difference between your £7 budget and your normal food and drink spend through the Just Giving page

Rules include:

  • You can use basic seasonings of salt and pepper from your cupboard. However, you cannot use additional spices such as chilli and garlic unless you buy them from your budget
  • You can use oil for cooking purposes, but only in small qualities. It cannot be used in large amounts for things such as salad dressings unless you purchase it specifically for such dishes
  • You cannot use sauces or condiments such as mayonnaise or ketchup unless you purchase them from your £7 budget
  • You can buy items that come in large quantities, such as tea bags, split it and exclude the percentage of money for the amount taken out. However, you must declare this before the event and make sure you are not tempted to cheat and dip into the part that is from outside your budget! 

So how can you get involved? 

  • Register your interest to our UK Community Director - Katie Jackson - by emailing 
  • State how much your weekly shop normally costs, so we can work out how much you will be looking to donate at the end of the week 
  • You will then receive details of the Just Giving Page and a designated Facebook group (to share ideas with other participants and recipe ideas)
  • We are big fans of social media so whether funny or serious, get posting! We would love to see your shopping list, recipe ideas and meal photos. We also want to know how you are doing throughout the event; is it easy? Are you struggling? Be sure to use the hashtag #jciukpoundaday when tweeting so we can share ideas and keep each other motivated.

If you do not feel that able to commit to the full challenge, consider giving up a luxury item, such as alcohol or your favourite sweet treat, and donate what you would have spent.

How can I sponsor other members that are taking part? 
A Just Giving page will be launched shortly and will be shared on our social media channels, so watch this space and get donating! 

If you have any questions about the event please contact Katie Jackson on

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16th Apr, 2016

National President Q1 Review
by Sarah Beckwith on April 16, 2016 15:12


In this video blog National President Sarah Beckwith reviews JCI UK's year so far and what we have coming up over the next few months.

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13th Apr, 2016

Untitled post
by MichaelSteel on April 13, 2016 22:00


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