Employee volunteering event

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Make Volunteering Work: How can business partner with the third sector and make an impact?

FREE PANEL DISCUSSION, FOLLOWED BY DRINKS

Wednesday, 28th March 2012, 5pm – 6.30pm

The charity YouthNet which runs Do-it, the national volunteering service, is hosting a free event for individuals and organisations interested in employee volunteering. Hosted by Martyn Lewis, the former ITN and BBC television journalist, this will be an opportunity to learn from four key stakeholders about a successful volunteering programme – a charity, a company, an individual and a campaign manager.

There will be four short presentations followed by the opportunity for attendees to ask questions and share their own insights. The discussion will last for an hour and we would be delighted if you would join us for a drink afterwards. Key speakers include:

The Charity

Independent Age – Andrew Nisbet, Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator. Insight into the need for, and value of, volunteers from companies.

The Company

Centrica – Briana Whitlock, Corporate Responsibility Officer. Introduction to a successful volunteering programme looking at the benefits, opportunities and challenges of employee volunteering.

The Individual

YouthNet – Olly Benson, Head of Projects. A summary of the results from YouthNet’s recent volunteer satisfaction survey.

The Campaign

BBC – Kim Wilcocks. Introduction to the ‘Hairy Bikers’ campaign that encouraged volunteering with older people as part of an initiative to save ‘Meals on Wheels’.

We plan to make this session as interactive as possible, encouraging people to share their own experiences. Therefore places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, so please let us know by the 20th of March if you would like to attend. To register a place for you or any colleagues with an interest in this area please RSVP to events@youthnet.org.

The event will take place at YouthNet’s offices at 50 Featherstone Street, London, EC1Y 8RT,  near Old Street tube.

 

Employee volunteering event

News Previous events Raise money

Make Volunteering Work: How can business partner with the third sector and make an impact?

FREE PANEL DISCUSSION, FOLLOWED BY DRINKS

Wednesday, 28th March 2012, 5pm – 6.30pm

The charity YouthNet which runs Do-it, the national volunteering service, is hosting a free event for individuals and organisations interested in employee volunteering. Hosted by Martyn Lewis, the former ITN and BBC television journalist, this will be an opportunity to learn from four key stakeholders about a successful volunteering programme – a charity, a company, an individual and a campaign manager.

There will be four short presentations followed by the opportunity for attendees to ask questions and share their own insights. The discussion will last for an hour and we would be delighted if you would join us for a drink afterwards. Key speakers include:

The Charity

Independent Age – Andrew Nisbet, Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator. Insight into the need for, and value of, volunteers from companies.

The Company

Centrica – Briana Whitlock, Corporate Responsibility Officer. Introduction to a successful volunteering programme looking at the benefits, opportunities and challenges of employee volunteering.

The Individual

YouthNet – Olly Benson, Head of Projects. A summary of the results from YouthNet’s recent volunteer satisfaction survey.

The Campaign

BBC – Kim Wilcocks. Introduction to the ‘Hairy Bikers’ campaign that encouraged volunteering with older people as part of an initiative to save ‘Meals on Wheels’.

We plan to make this session as interactive as possible, encouraging people to share their own experiences. Therefore places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, so please let us know by the 20th of March if you would like to attend. To register a place for you or any colleagues with an interest in this area please RSVP to events@youthnet.org.

The event will take place at YouthNet’s offices at 50 Featherstone Street, London, EC1Y 8RT,  near Old Street tube.

 

Runners needed! – Brighton Marathon 2012

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YouthNet is looking for keen runners to support us at the Brighton Marathon this year.

Brighton marathon has a great atmosphere, with lovely seaside views and a fantastic crowd to keep you going.

There is a £750 fundraising target for the event, we can help you with fundraising ideas to get you there.  As a smaller charity all the money you raise will make a huge difference to us and the  hundreds of thousands of people that we support every year.

The details:

  • Date: 15th April 2012
  • Fundraising target: £750
  • Registration deadline: 1st March 2012

If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch, drop us an email events@youthnet.org or call Tania on 0207 2505761

Did you know?

  • YouthNet is the charity that runs TheSite.org
  • A young person visits TheSite.org every 20 seconds
  • YouthNet also runs the leading volunteering database, Do-it
  • Do-it holds over 1 million volunteering opportunities

Virgin London Marathon 2012 – one place left!

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The Virgin London Marathon 2012

Looking for a place at this year’s London Marathon?  You’re in luck, we have one spare place!

The London Marathon is iconic and has an electric atmosphere like no other running event.  It would be great if you could support YouthNet and take on this amazing challenge.  We will help you with training tips and some great fundraising ideas – not to mention lots of cheering on the day!

The details

  • Date: 22nd April 2012
  • Minimum sponsorship: £2,000
  • Deadline: 6th February 2012

Time is running out to get involved so please do get in touch ASAP if you’re interested.  Drop us an email events@youthnet.org or speak to Tania on 0207 250 5761

Did you know?

  • YouthNet is the charity that runs TheSite.org
  • A young person visits TheSite.org every 20 seconds
  • YouthNet also runs the leading volunteering database, Do-it
  • Do-it holds over 1 million volunteering opportunities

Exploring different types of online support – at the In Petto conference

Charity world News Previous events Volunteering Volunteering at YouthNet Youth YouthNet

As mentioned in my previous blog, last week was one full of explaining our services to others. Along with both colleagues and volunteers I presented to a range of people, from CEOs of large companies and business leaders at the Business in the Community, Seeing is Believing event (explored here), to youth workers from all over Europe at the In Petto conference ‘Exploring Online Peer to Peer Support

Structures and systems for providing online peer support.

At the In Petto conference ‘Exploring Online Peer to Peer Support’, we were focusing in more depth on peer support and how this could be given online.  Before giving our own workshop, we heard from a range of other organisations, each with quite different ways of offering peer support online.

Using online tools to support offline conversations and counselling.

The presentation given by Jo Van Hecke was interesting by it’s differences to a lot of the other projects being spoken about. Although the young people can share their learning and creations online, youth workers only uses online tools while sitting next to whoever they are working with – often as a way of starting offline conversations and counselling sessions. He spoke of using Ning networks to teach 8-12 year olds digital literacy, using tools like Google maps to encourage users to create a picture of their environment, including where their friends live and areas where they feel safe or get into trouble. Tools like Timerine enable them to work with young people on a timeline of their lives – using pictures and music if words are too hard to find. I asked him if he would ever consider providing services virtually, without sitting side by side with the young person involved, and he said never – that wouldn’t fit with what they were trying to do.

Young people giving peer support to users online whilst themselves being supported to do so ‘face to face’.

One of the things that can’t fail to strike you about SHare In Trust is the acronym and web address they use! In fact, it’s quite an impressive story. Young people came up with the name and, rather than vetoing it under government pressure, they stuck with it and have developed a whole structure around it – ‘Shit with your parents’, ‘Shit at school’, ‘Emoshit’ etc. Genuine user consultation in action.

Their basic structure of peer support seemed similar to that of TheSite.org peer advisors. Volunteer peer advisors provide online support to users, whilst being trained and supported by a project leader/manager. I asked whether peer advisors work virtually or in an office. Their volunteers work in an office, sitting next to a project leader. This seems to be mainly because of the age of those providing support – sometimes as young as 15. It was also because of the types of issues that they deal with. Advisors give peer support on a a range of topics, including those that they might be struggling with themselves – self harm was given as an example of a common area of concern for advisors and users.  As they are sometimes supporting a peer advisor who currently self harms to give peer advice on self harm to a user, it sounds like they must have to be very careful that the situation does not harm or trigger either party.

Interestingly, they also mentioned that parents will  bring their children from all over Belgium to work as peer advisors, presumably recognising the benefit that it offers them as well. The motivation for involvement and benefits in taking part for the peer advisors themselves is something that is sometimes missed out of discussion about peer support. I look at it in my presentation but it is interesting to see it so obviously here too.

Peer support in a virtual environment, where volunteers themselves work virtually as well.

Similar in many ways to our live chat service was the experiences of a volunteer who spoke about the work she does with Save the Children Finland. She signs in to a Habbo hotel community and moderates a chat room within the hotel where users can chat to her as well as supporting each other. She said that she felt one of the main reasons users come into the chat room is loneliness and that a lot of the support offered is about company and feeling part of a community. She doesn’t find that people often bring really big issues into the chat – she said she thinks this is because the Habbo using community are quite young, and that users might take bigger issues to some of their other online services.

She mentioned that one of the difficulties she faced was that she herself didn’t feel part of a community of volunteer advisors. I thought this was interesting as this is also one of the challenges we have faced when supporting volunteers who not only give support to peers in an online environment, but also work virtually themselves.

Peer support organised by peers with no external input from ‘experts’

One of the most interesting and perhaps challenging presentations was from Stopzelfmoord (StopSuicide). The two young people who set up this service were 15 and 16. They worked on it for a couple of hours a day each, giving peer support through a chat room. They were asked a number of questions by youth workers and peers in the room – ‘How do you decide when someone needs further support?’, ‘Who do you turn to yourselves when you need more support?’, ‘What happens when someone you know contacts you?’, ‘Have you considered working with other organisations?’, ‘How are you funded?’.

Their replies were that they used their gut feeling to decide when to pass someone on, that they spoke to each other to work out what to say to someone who needed it, or if they were struggling emotionally, that they spoke to their friends online just like they spoke to someone they didn’t know, that they did not want to work with other organisations as that would mean working with adults (and they did not think their users wanted that), and that they did not need funding as they used a free chat service on their website.

These young people were taking online the most informal of types of peer support and offering it to peers who were not their friends. They seemed to get an increasing number of contacts and repeat users so it was obviously a service that individuals appreciated. In fact, what they are offering is probably similar to the informal, uncaptured peer support that goes on between online friends through Facebook, msn, Skype, mobile and on many other online platforms all the time within friendships.

However, it certainly felt like some of the sentiment within the conference room was that, by ‘formalising’ the support that they are giving into a ‘Stop Suicide’ website, there should perhaps be more thought about what services they were offering, ensuring that they made it clear what they could and could not offer users and understand the risks involved, particularly when users needed more support that they could offer. But perhaps this was the complex ‘adult’ additions that they were trying to avoid. Should these be taken into account? Is ‘peer support’ within the context of a larger organisation which also contains non peers and experts somehow better or safer? Is is a problem that peers setting up their own service might not ‘know what they don’t know’ about the difficulties of offering support in a formal way? Do these questions undermine the idea of peer support in the first place? Does it depend on what type of support users are led to expect from a service? Are users always able to understand the different types of support offered?

Peer support on TheSite.org

In creating my presentation and workshop for the conference, I found myself identifying a range of different types of peer support that can be found on TheSite.org. You can see the presentation that Jenna Winter (a peer advisor – photographed) and I ran here.

Our workshop was at the end of the second day and, after having listened to the discussions and questions about where peer support is appropriate I found myself increasingly focusing on the hybrid nature of the peer advisor project, the fact that it brings together the ‘friend or peer’ and the ‘expert’ to provide an answer which provides our users with the beneficial elements of both – as well as an answer which is confidential, personalised and time bound. As you will see on the presentation slides, this isn’t by any means the only type of peer support on TheSite.org, but it is the one right for askTheSite users. This brings me back to the importance of understanding the types of support an online service can provide in order to identify which are appropriate and when. I explore the types of service TheSite.org provides in my previous blog.

Skills and Training

The range of projects we heard from highlighted how ‘peer support’ isn’t a simple concept. It’s one that can be interpreted and delivered in a range of ways. It isn’t something that can be easily defined, apart from in a very general way. One of the things I asked a lot of the projects was about the training they offered – what skills did they think that peer advisors needed in order to be able to offer support within their program. At TheSite.org, while our peer advisors are trained in some technical skills – an ability to research online or to use software, a lot of the training is in enhancing their personal skills of communication and empathy. These personal skills are things that we would presumably find to some degree  in everyone offering peer support whether formally or informally. Perhaps some further collaboration and discussion about the basic skills and character attributes needed to offer peer support would be a good way of finding common ground in a such a diverse area. It would also offer excellent opportunities for sharing good practice and training techniques – something I am always interested in!

Ed Speleers runs the London Marathon

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Actor Ed Speleers is YouthNet’s first ambassador, helping spread the word about YouthNet and the vital support our services provide to thousands of young people across the UK every day. On Sunday 17th April he will be running the London Marathon to raise money for us.

Ed says, “Running the marathon is a daunting task, but I’m enjoying the challenge and I’m optimistic about getting a good time.”

“I’ve seen that TheSite.org can truly change lives and with your support, YouthNet will be able to reach even more young people throughout the UK in some of their darkest moments.”

“I’m really enthusiastic about supporting YouthNet, because of the valuable service they provide and their forward-thinking methods of offering this support.”
In training

If you’d like to support Ed, please click on the below link which will take you through to his JustGiving page:

www.justgiving.com/Ed-Speleers

You can also follow Ed’s progress and training pictures on his Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/ejspeleers

 

London Triathlon 2011

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London Triathlon 2010

Entry  to the 2011 event is now closed but please email events@youthnet.org to register your interest in next year’s event.

We’re very excited to announce that once again, YouthNet has some guaranteed charity places in the 2011 London Triathlon! Take up the challenge on your own or as part of a relay team – whatever you choose, you’re guaranteed a fantastic experience.

This world-class event takes place at the ExCeL Centre in London on 30 – 31st July 2011.

We know that the prospect of a triathlon can seem fairly daunting but over half the participants are first timers and with a number of different distances to choose from, there’s something for everyone.

Here are the individual distances:

Race Swim Bike Run Age Race Date
Individual Super Sprint 400m 10Km 2.5Km 17+ 30/07/11
Individual Sprint 750m 20Km 5Km 17+ 30/07/11
Individual Olympic 1500m 40Km 10Km 17+ 31/07/11

If the idea of completing all three legs seems a little daunting, then why not enter as a team of 3, with each person completing just one stage?

Here are the team relay distances:

Race Swim Bike Run Age Race Date
Team Relay Sprint 750m 20Km 5Km 17+ 30/07/11
Team Relay Olympic 1500m 40Km 10Km 17+ 30/07/11

Last year saw teams of employees from Thales and YouthNet ourselves take part and have huge amounts of (competitive) fun!

Fundraising:

We will help you every step of the way to reach your fundraising target of £575 (for an individual) or £1,200 (for a relay team). To get you started, take a look at our fundraising tips, which will give you plenty of ideas to get the money rolling in.

What we will give you:

A start-up pack containing plenty of fundraising and training tips.A sponsorship form.Support and advice from our welcoming and dedicated events team, from the moment you sign up.Your own YouthNet T-shirt!Support from an enthusiastic cheering team on the day.A well deserved drink in a local pub after the event.Do you already have a place and want to raise money for YouthNet?If you already have a place secured in the triathlon, and would like to raise money for YouthNet, we’d be delighted for you to join our team.

If you would like to see a full set of the terms and conditions then please visit the official website at http://www.thelondontriathlon.co.uk/.

 

London Triathlon 2010

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Becca running in the London TriathlonThank you to all our amazing supporters who took part in the London Triathlon on 7 and 8 August 2010! Between them, our triathletes have already raised in excess of £10,000 for YouthNet and the funds are still coming in.

Here are some photos of the day, taken by our fantastic volunteer photographer Iain Farrell.

If you’re interested in taking part in the Triathlon next year, we’d love to welcome you to the team!  For more information or to register your interest, please email events@youthnet.org or call 020 7250 5767 and speak to Cat.