JCI World President visits the Steel City of Sheffield
JCI World President visits the Steel City of Sheffield
It was an absolute honour to welcome 2016 JCI World President Paschal Dike from JCI Nigeria to visit Sheffield on 24th and 25th March 2016, the home of the current most oustanding JCI chamber in the UK. The last time JCI Sheffield hosted such a visit was in 2012 when Bertolt Deams held this role and visited Sheffield known as the Steel City. President Dike visited Sheffield in Yorkshire after spending a couple of days previously visiting JCI London.
2016 Local President Gareth Carson and the JCI Sheffield team arranged a series of meetings with some key partners in Sheffield to showcase some of the organisations that we currently connect with and where further opportunities to collaborate exist.
We introduced World President Paschal Dike, National President Sarah Beckwith and Yorkshire Regional Group Chair Phil Cockayne to the 2016 President of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jillian Thomas as well as Tom Sutton from the Membership Team. We shared joint challenges and opportunities of membership recruitment and retention and discussed emerging issues including the devolution deal where central government plans to give more power to local regions like the Sheffield City Region in order to grow the economy and create more jobs.
President Paschal was pleased to see the strong links we have with our local Chamber of Commerce and encourages other JCI Chambers to develop links with their local Chamber.
We were delighted to have a working lunch with Rebecca Fielding Managing Director of GradConsult who run the award winning RISE scheme that aims to increase graduate employment in small medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs make up approximately 80% of the almost 45,000 businesses that operate in the Sheffield City Region.
JCI Sheffield has closely partnered with the RISE program since it began in 2012 and offers graduate interns trial membership and input on the business induction of each of the cohorts of RISE graduates. JCI Sheffield was proud to have been awarded the 2015 European Best Local Economic Development Program and 2015 Most Outstanding Local Project for their work with RISE.
Good news for RISE as the continuation of the project has been confirmed for a further three years, extending it to the City Region and which provides opportunities for other Chambers in JCI Yorkshire to collaborate with the scheme.
I have employed 2 RISE graduates at the charity I work for in previous years and were very impressed with calibre of candidates and the support the scheme offers employers.
We met with current Chief Executive Sue White of Voluntary Action Sheffield and Maddy Deforges her successor when she retires later in the year. Most towns and cities will have a Voluntary Action (VA) or a Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) and whilst they may vary in what they do, their focus is to provide infrastructure support for the voluntary and community sector, promote volunteering and active citizenship and strive for social inclusion of marginalised groups.
Voluntary Action Sheffield celebrate their 90th anniversary this year as JCI Sheffield start to prepare to celebrate their 90th year next year of operating in Sheffield, making them the longest service active chamber in the UK. As a result of the meeting, JCI Sheffield are looking to support VAS with a variety of projects including assisting with their voluntary sector awards to recognise active citizenship, hold focus groups with the business sector to identify ways in which the private sector can work closer with the voluntary sector.
If you've not already got links with your local VA or CVS, I'd certainly recommend it. Get in touch with Deputy National President Michael Steel who is leading on strategic partnerships for JCI UK or myself if you would like any further help.
Meet the World President - Q & A Panel
Following a busy but productive meeting with partner organisations, JCI Sheffield hosted a 'meet the World President' session in the evening of 24th March where President Paschal joined a panel with National President Sarah, Yorkshire Regional Group Chair Phil and Local President Gareth in front of a 20 strong audience. We were delighted that members of JCI Barnsley, JCI Bradford, JCI Doncaster, JCI Rotherham and JCI Sheffield joined the audience along with British Senate Chair Peter Duffy and JCI UK Foundation Chair Andrew Thompson.
President Paschal talked about his theme of 'just act' for the year where he is encouraging all members to take responsibility and create positive change as active citizens.
One of the questions President Paschal posed to us was if our local chamber were to cease to exist tomorrow, would our local community miss us? This rhetorical question was powerful 'food for thought' and made us think about what impact we are really making as JCI members.
After breakfast with some of our members and senators, we were delighted to show President Paschal the Sheffield Peace Gardens which seemed very apt with his Peace is Possible international campaign. JCI Sheffield Past President and Senator Tracy Viner joined us for breakfast to tell President Paschal about the work of the homeless charity Cathedral Archer Project that she works for and is one of JCI Sheffield's charity partners. Some of our members had given up a variety of things recently for lent (crisps, chocolate and takeaways) to then donate what they saved to help the homeless in the city. I also spoke to him about the children's charity SAFE@LAST I work for who support children and young people at risk through running away. JCI Sheffield have supported the charity for the last three years with fundriasing, volunteering and one of our members also joined the trustee board.
On behalf of JCI Sheffield, thank you to President Paschal, National President Sarah and Yorkshire RGC Phil for visiting Sheffield.
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