Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A message from Tony Garnett

As you may know from my last post, I was recently fortunate enough (along with Alex 'Croydon' Quang) to meet Tony Garnett, the producer of the 1966 BBC television play Cathy Come Home.  I wanted to share the email conversation we had, in which he showed his support for Team v and called on young people like us to act now and make a difference.  Alex has organised an event in Croydon on Sunday 2nd December and has just announced that Tony Garnett is attending and will be interviewed live which is fantastic - if only Croydon wasn't so far from Derby I'd be there!  

I'm not very good at approaching people or asking for things so my first Team v campaign has definitely given me more confidence in doing so - in fact someone approached me about getting involved with a volunteering project today saying 'if you don't ask, you don't get' so it seems appropriate that I adopt that as my new Team v motto! As I said before I'm grateful to Alex for speaking up for both of us, it's great that someone of high profile like Tony Garnett is willing to take time to respond to mere volunteers like us and especially to travel across the country to attend a Team v event.  
At the end of the Team v programme I don't want to be thinking 'What if I'd...'.  I'd rather try and fail than not try at all.  Thanks to Tony Garnett, I feel a lot more prepared to try.  

My message to Tony Garnett 

Dear Tony, 

I attended the screening of Cathy Come Home at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts on 10th November and had the pleasure of meeting you briefly at the end of the talk to tell you about a campaign I am volunteering on alongside Alex Quang.  Supported by youth volunteering charity vInspired, we are part of Team v which is a network of over 100 volunteers aged 18-25 across England running 3 campaigns over 9 months.  

Our first campaign is raising awareness of youth homelessness.  We are encouraging people to sign Centrepoint's petition against housing benefit cuts for under 25 year olds, and speaking to young people about the organisations they can go to for support in our local area if they ever find themselves having problems with housing or at home.  My campaign in Derby will culminate on Saturday 1st December in an event/exhibition showcasing the stories and talents of young people who have been affected by youth homelessness, asking the public to look beyond the stereotype of homelessness and realise that it can happen to anyone.  We are running creative workshops with residents of YMCA Derbyshire and anything they produce - artwork, poetry, photography - will be at our exhibition at YMCA's Campus for Learning and Development.  

As part of this exhibition and our campaign I wondered whether you would be able to email me with a message of support for the campaign.  If you have time, it would be great if you could mention how/whether your view of homelessness in the UK changed when you were working on Cathy Come Home, and/or between 1966 and today.  I think you said that you had volunteered with Crisis at Christmas, so if you have spent any time working with young people (or any age, if not young people) affected by homelessness I would love to share this on our blog and at the exhibition.  I hope to encourage the general public to volunteer with organisations in Derby and nationally that support people who experience homelessness, so anything you wish to write about your own experience would help us to inspire others.   

I read Film with Television Studies at the University of Warwick, and we studied Cathy Come Home as a seminal piece of television history.  I remember speaking to my parents after I had seen it for the first time, and they both recalled how powerful it was when they and their parents saw it first broadcast in the 1960s.  Hearing you speak about the production was fascinating and the reaction of the audience at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts is testament to the fact that Cathy Come Home is as poignant and thought-provoking today as it was in 1966.  I am a strong believer in the power of the arts to create social debate, so it was truly inspiring to meet you having studied your work and heard about it from older generations of my family, and I appreciate the time you spent talking to us.    

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope to hear from you soon.  

Kind regards, 
Lucy Dean
Team v Derby City 


Tony Garnett's response to me 

Dear Lucy,

I have written a note, which appears below. If it is not what you want, please let me know, with some notes, and I will rewrite it.
I am much encouraged that there are young people like you who refuse to walk on the other side, but go out of their way to campaign for those who have nowhere decent to call home.
I wish you luck with your campaign. Please let me know if there is ever anything I can do to assist you.
Yes, I do some work for Crisis, like so many others. I know it is sticking plaster when what we need is surgery, but it helps at a personal level and raises consciousness. Please tell everyone about the good work Crisis, with other charities, does. It welcomes participation from all over the country. I am sure they will send you more information if you ask them.
Good luck with your event on the 1st.

Best Wishes,
Tony Garnett

" By now the 1966 film "Cathy Come Home" should be just a matter of historical interest. The contemporary buzz around it is a shameful reproach to us all. How can one of the richest countries in the world be so uncaring that is deprives so many of its citizens one of the basics of life? How can we allow whole families to live in damp, cold, rat and cockroach infested overcrowding, with no indoor toilet or bathroom, where the children have nowhere even to do their homework?
The situation depicted in 1966 shocked the nation. But nothing was done. The policy of succeeding governments, including all three main parties, has made the problem worse than it was in 1966. How could we have allowed that? Next year it will be worse still. Will we allow that? 
My generation, through indifference and selfishness, has failed its more vulnerable fellow citizens.
It is up to you, the younger generation, to put the matter right, so that we may genuinely be one nation.
I praise you for your compassion and wish you luck."


It's up to us

I am really grateful for Tony's passionate and honest response.  For me the words 'It is up to you, the younger generation, to put the matter right' sum up exactly what Team v is all about - a group of young people taking action on social issues because we care.  

I only hope we can make a start in putting the matter right, and encourage others to do the same.  

Homeless not Hopeless

The last time I made a poster was probably at least eight years ago, back in secondary school. vInspired gave us some great resources to work with though and I created this little number for our 'Homeless not Hopeless' exhibition at YMCA Derbyshire on Saturday 1st December.

This is a free event where anyone can drop in between 12.30pm and 3pm and see the canvas artwork created by young people - some have experienced homelessness, others have not.  We're showing that all young people have hopes and dreams, regardless of their circumstances, in the hope that we will challenge perceptions of homelessness and help young people to see the support available in our community if they are ever at risk of becoming homeless.  

Come to our exhibition and see for yourself - learn about youth homelessness and find out what you can do to make a difference.  Because together we can.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Cathy Come Home

Two weekends ago I hopped on a train to Birmingham University to attend a screening of Cathy Come Home at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts with Team v East Croydon leader Alex.  When our first campaign was announced at the Team v residential in October, we were given training by Shelter and the charity's representative mentioned the importance of Cathy Come Home in bringing about the creation of the national charity for single homeless people Crisis due to the unprecedented reaction from the public.  

The Power of the Play

Cathy Come Home is a television play first broadcast by the BBC in 1966.  Directed by Ken Loach and written by Jeremy Sandford, it tells the story of Cathy and Reg, a young couple who face endless housing problems when Reg is unable to work after an injury.  The documentary style and the use of true facts about the housing crisis in Britain opened the public's eyes to a problem many were unaware of. 

In my days as a Film with Television Studies student at the University of Warwick, we looked at Cathy Come Home as a seminal piece of television history.  As it was at least four years ago that I studied the television play, I jumped at this opportunity to view it again especially when I heard that the screening would be followed by a talk from the producer Tony Garnett.   

Ask the Producer 

Tony Garnett spoke passionately about the fact that the homelessness situation now is far worse than in the sixties, and suggested that if he wanted to produce Cathy Come Home today he would have great difficulty in getting past the first stage at the BBC.  When questions were opened up to the audience, most wanted to know about production of the play and one gentleman was desperate to discover the reason for naming the main character Cathy (there wasn't one).  Other questions concerned what the government should do to solve the housing crisis.  Alex and I were both itching to ask a question but struggling to find a way of mentioning our campaign within one, until a golden opportunity was presented by a fellow young person: 

"What can we, as young people, do to tackle homelessness... because we've been really affected by the play?"  

In the blink of an eye Alex' hand shot up and the professor guiding the talk realised he wanted to answer the question rather than ask his own.  Alex gave a fantastic 'elevator pitch' style answer to the whole lecture hall, explaining about Team v and how we're encouraging other young people to take action through our campaign. 

Tony Garnett responded saying "Well done and what a positive note for us to finish on."  In his own answer to the young lady's question he encouraged her to go and volunteer with charities that help the homeless, learn from that, and then tell people about it so they do the same - create an impetus.  

Spreading the word

When the talks finished we raced to the stage to try to speak to Tony Garnett.  On the way we stopped to tell the young lady who asked the question to search for Team v in Birmingham and look out for the stunts and events, as we knew there are a lot of Team v leaders based around the city.  I really hope they found it.  Two older ladies came to talk to us and wrote down the website so they could find out more, because they were so impressed by what Alex had said about what we were doing.  When we reached Tony Garnett he kindly gave us his email address and praised our efforts. 

I'm always being told how softly spoken I am so I have a massive fear about speaking in public, especially to a large audience in case they can't hear me, so I am enormously grateful to Alex for speaking up for both of us - and our fellow 100 Team v leaders.  Just by attending that event and Alex's courage in sticking his hand in the air we were able to spread the word about the many campaigns taking place across the country.  We spoke to the producer of one of the most important pieces of drama in television history and were given his blessing and encouragement for our campaign. 

If Alex and I hadn't made the trip from Croydon and Derby respectively, the fifty people in the audience may not have heard about Team v.  If Alex hadn't been there, maybe I wouldn't have had the guts to approach Tony Garnett by myself, and he would never have known about the group of young people taking action on a problem that affects over 75,000 of our peers every year.  

I suppose that's why it's called TEAM v. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

International Men's Day... it's not just for men!

This Saturday (17th November) Team v Derby City will be at the International Men's Day event at Pride Park in Derby.  

We'll be talking to people about youth homelessness and the various local organisations that provide advice and support to prevent young people from becoming homeless.  We'll also encourage people to sign Centrepoint's petition against housing benefit cuts for under 25 year olds, and share the various ways that you can help young people affected by homelessness - such as volunteering opportunities in Derby at local charities that support people who experience homelessness.  

The event is open to anyone (not just men!) and is completely free to attend.  There will be over 30 exhibitors and plenty going on to keep you entertained, including tours of the Rams dressing rooms!  More information on the event can be found here

We're really excited to be part of International Men's Day, it's set to be a fantastic event so please come along and say hello!  

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Team v and Lord Sugar's Young Apprentice

As I watched Young Apprentice on Thursday night I followed the reaction on Twitter which was overwhelmingly critical of everything the candidates did (or didn’t do) and said.  Of course the nature and style of the programme invites the audience to laugh at mistakes made and cringe at overly bold statements and I would be lying if I said I didn’t share those responses.  But as a fan of rose-tinted spectacles I always try to look on the bright side and see the good in people – call me naive but I think there’s enough miserableness (that’s a word, right?) and grumpy people in this world without me becoming one of them.    

My brother runs an awesome site that looks at Young Adult TV - any programmes/series made for, and about, teens.  He asked if I’d like to write about the first episode of Young Apprentice and I jumped at the chance of finally doing something related to my degree (Film with Television Studies) two years after graduating.  When I told him my piece was focused more on the overall concept and I was putting a positive spin on it he joked ‘really?!’ and basically wished me luck... 

I’ve met some incredible young people, especially the bunch I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the Team v programme with.  Bursting with energy and ideas for how they want to change the world, I’ve been amazed by how they’ve already made an impact in their communities in only a few weeks.  As one of the Team v leaders bordering on vInspired’s maximum age limit, seeing those up to six years younger than me take on this project alongside their college/uni/work commitments and do so with more confidence than I could dream of having even now, never mind at that age, has been inspiring.  

Organisations such as vInspired are vital in giving young people the tools to fulfil their ambitions and contribute to society in positive ways.  Just like Lord Sugar’s twelve candidates the 105 Team v leaders have been given an amazing opportunity to show what we’re made of.  We may not get £25,000 at the end of our programme, but I have no doubt that the skills, knowledge and confidence we develop will be priceless for the rest of our lives.  

You can read my attempt at an upbeat look at Young Apprentice here and check out the other brilliant posts on Young Adult TV while you’re there. 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Lone Nut

At the Team v residential last weekend, which marked the start of our ‘leadership journey’, we were shown a Youtube video.

Take a few minutes to witness the ‘lone nut’, an ordinary guy who stands up in a crowd and makes himself noticed.  

The moral of the story?  ‘The first follower transforms the lone nut into a leader'.  If the first person hadn’t joined in with the crazy dancing, this guy would have remained a strange man doing a weird dance in a public place.   

Just as the lone nut required followers, Team v needs volunteers. 

Team v leaders all over England are looking for 16-25 year olds with a passion for social change to get involved and make our voices heard on important issues.  The first campaign has just kicked off and it’s all about raising awareness of youth homelessness, which affects over 75,000 young people in the UK each year. 

It doesn't matter how much time you can give or what skills/experience you have, we will support you.  Together, we can make a difference.

So come on, please, don’t let me be a lone nut! Sign up here 

Friday, 19 October 2012

Team v needs you!

Following the announcement of Team v’s first campaign, tackling youth homelessness , we have started recruiting volunteers to help us complete our mission! As a youth-led project, we want other young people to join us in running campaigns in our local communities, all over England. 

                                                    *   Are you 16 – 25?
                                                    *   Got some spare time?
                                                    *   Want to change the world?
                                                    *   Learn some new skills?
                                                    *   Be part of something special?  

Each team needs 3 to 5 core volunteers who will commit three hours a week in a specific area.  These roles include Event Co-ordinator, Marketing and PR Manager, Community Engagement Officer, and Director of Photography and Video.  If you have an interest in any of these areas, get in touch today! You don’t need any experience or qualifications, just a passion to get involved and make a difference in your community.  We also need general volunteers who can give any time they possibly can, even an hour! 

If you’re aged 16-25 and live in Derby, you can apply here: 

If you’re aged 16-25 and don’t live in Derby, don’t panic! You can find your nearest Team v here:       http://vinspired.com/teamv

 What are you waiting for? 
Join the Team v revolution and do something about youth homelessness. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Team v year 2 takes off!

***You can read the full version of this blog post on http://blog.vinspired.com/team-v-year-2-takes-off - why not sign up to vinspired.com while you’re there!*** 

Last Friday 105 eager young volunteers gathered for the launch of Team v’s first campaign.  In a jam-packed three day event, we received training on all the important stuff, from budgeting to being a Purple Cow (standing out from the crowd, not being an actual...yeah, you get it).  Sessions were led by vInspired staff, Dare2Lead, Shelter, NYRG/St. Basils, and we were supported by representatives from the partner organisations for Team v: The Rank Foundation, NIACE, and CAF.   

It was revealed that the first issue Team v are tackling is Youth Homelessness.  75,000 young people are affected by homelessness in the UK every year, and it could happen to anyone – we want other young people to be aware of this.  

Watch the campaign video to find out more: 

One of the best things about the weekend for me was the opportunity to talk to my fellow leaders.  I knew it already, but there are some seriously inspiring young people out there.  Everyone has other commitments – some barely have time to sleep already, the amount of things they do – but that won’t stop them giving as much as they possibly can to Team v.   

We can’t do this alone, we need 16 – 25 year olds to volunteer with us to plan and deliver the campaign, and help to raise awareness of youth homelessness across England.  Together, we can change it. 

Sound good? To find your nearest Team v leader go to www.vinspired.com/teamv
If you live in Derby you can sign up to help with my campaign here - I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, 12 October 2012

The moment we've all been waiting for...

The time has come: shout it from the rooftops and tell everyone you know – Team v’s first campaign is Youth Homelessness                                                          

Over 75,000 young people in the UK are affected so this is a really important issue for us to raise awareness about.

Look out for updates soon on the next steps and recruitment of core volunteers. 

If you have any stories or experiences relating to homelessness then please get in touch, we want to make this campaign as powerful as possible and need your help to do so! 

Email: Lucy.Dean@vinspired.com          Twitter: @TeamvDerbyCity  

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Campaign Countdown Creeps Closer!

In exactly one day (precisely 24 hours) the big reveal will take place and we will finally discover the theme of Team v’s first campaign! 

Stay tuned to Twitter @TeamvDerbyCity to be first to find out what important issue we will be tackling in campaign number one.  If you'd like to get involved or find out more, get in touch! 

Lucy.Dean@vinspired.com    www.facebook.com/TeamvDerbyCity 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Back to the Bubble

This weekend I’m off to Warwick University for the first Team v residential.  Enthusiasm has been building since the warm-up day which gave us an opportunity to meet the 100-strong crew of Team v leaders, but I have particular reason to be excited about where it is being held.  I graduated from Warwick Uni just over two years ago, having spent four years of my life as an undergraduate there.  I loved my time there and haven’t been back to the university campus (or the ‘bubble’, as it is affectionately named due to the detachment from reality you feel when you’re there for more than a few days) since graduation so it will be brilliant – if a little surreal – to return as a... ahem, mature, non-student.   

In my third year of uni I was lucky enough to be on the youth advisory board for vinspired, then called v20.  Being on v20 undoubtedly changed my life.  I met some incredible young people who were unbelievably inspiring and I came to realise that my passions lay in helping others.  Having volunteered since the age of eleven on various projects both in and out of school, I suppose I always knew this, but suddenly it dawned on me that you can make a career out of it without being a teacher or a doctor.  The voluntary sector doors had finally swung open and I could see the range of opportunities out there as an employee, not just a volunteer.  Now I’ll admit I haven’t managed to get a foot on the ladder yet, but by throwing my efforts into volunteering for numerous different organisations and gaining experience in various areas, I’m acquiring the skills, experience and contacts to stand me in good stead (hopefully) for a brighter future. 

I had to work hard for my degree.  I’m not the type of person who can skip lectures, roll into an exam after a late night, leave the exam an hour early and go home with top marks (not that I’m bitter) but during my time as a student I managed to dedicate time I wasn’t in lectures/writing essays/stressing out to a few projects, inspired by my involvement with v20.  This ranged from assisting the Volunteer Co-ordinator at a Community Venture on a weekly basis to teaching English and Maths for one month in Rajasthan, India.  In 2009 I received a Warwick Advantage Award for my work with v20, recognition of the time I had committed to volunteering whilst at university.  So for a little of my time I got a lot in return. 

I hope my experience shows that whether you’re in college, uni, or a full-time job, if you spare a little time to help others, you’ll soon realise you’re also helping yourself.  Volunteering with Team v is a fantastic opportunity to develop your skills, meet new people, and you might even discover a career path you had never considered before.  Not bad for a few hours of your time, hey? 

Email Lucy.Dean@vinspired.com if you’d like to find out more about Team v Derby City.       

Monday, 8 October 2012

Campaign Countdown Continues!

In just over 90 hours the first Team v campaign will be revealed to young leaders from all over England ready and raring to take a stand and make a change in their communities. 

Last year the three campaigns led by Team v focused on:  
·               *  Food poverty
·               *  Isolation and loneliness in older people
·               *  Improving children’s literacy

We have absolutely no idea what the campaigns will be this year, but can’t wait to find out!
Keep an eye on @TeamvDerbyCity twitter on Friday afternoon to be the first to hear what campaign number one will tackle. 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Are you sitting comfortably?

Blimey, this has been quite a week for national celebrations.  We’ve had Older People’s Day, British Egg Week, National Poetry Day, and it’s also Children’s Book Week.  

The final campaign that Team v ran last year  was ‘improving literacy in children through the power of stories’ – surely what Children’s Book Week is all about too.  The 2011-2012 leaders achieved great things, with many organising storytelling events for primary school children, inspiring them to both read and write stories.   

Take a few minutes to watch the results video and be inspired: 

In less than one week we'll know the theme of our first campaign and the wheels on the Team v Derby City bus will be in motion! 

If you're interested in getting involved or want to know more, please get in touch: 

Lucy.Dean@vinspired.com   @TeamvDerbyCity    www.facebook.com/TeamvDerbyCity

Thursday, 4 October 2012

How many words rhyme with volunteer?

Another celebration today - it's National Poetry Day! After a quick rummage in the depths of my primary school memory I put together a little acrostic (fancy, I know!) poem for Team v...

Teams of young people, like branches on a tree 

England get ready! This is your opportunity 

Anyone, anywhere, soon you will see 

Make a difference in your community 

Volunteer with us... and join Team v! 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

How do you like your eggs?

(Disclaimer: This post contains bad puns.  You have been warned.) 

So, it’s British Egg Week.  It seems only right that I honour it with an eggcellent blog post. 

As part of the interview for Team v we had to take along an object that represented our passions and talk about why.  I chose an egg box.  No, I’m not yolking.  

I had numerous reasons for this selection:  

> As a farmer’s granddaughter, it represents family values and happy childhood memories on the farm.
Eggs are always a key ingredient in baking, a scrummy skill and hobby passed down through the generations of my family.    
It symbolises my belief in people power when it comes to making social change – like if everyone buys free-range eggs, there will be a lot of happy hens.  
The egg box itself represents my love of creativity and crafts.  Something so simple and everyday, with a dollop of glitter and a handful of pipe cleaners, could become a caterpillar or a spaceship within minutes.  I love the idea of turning the ordinary into (yep, you guessed it) the eggstraordinary. 

Team v leaders are like eggs – on our own we could be good, but mixed together with a bunch of eggstra ingredients we will combine to make something really spectacular.  

And that’s why I’m thrilled to be a part of Team v.        

You could say....I'm eggstatic :-) 

Monday, 1 October 2012

Older People's Day

Today is Older People's Day in the UK, tying in with the UN International Day of Older Persons. 

The aim of the day is to 'tackle negative attitudes and outdated stereotypes' by celebrating the contributions that older people make to society and the economy, and the amazing things they achieve.  

The second issue tackled by last year’s Team v leaders was around loneliness and isolation in older people.  Learning that 1 in 10 older people in the UK were affected, Team v leaders across England organised events for older people in their communities, creating new friendships both with their peers and the younger generation.  I found this to be an incredibly emotional and inspiring campaign to watch come to life via the Team v Twitter and Youtube accounts, so being involved must have been wonderful.  

I only hope that as a Team v leader for 2012-13 I can achieve even a small slice of the fantastic results that you can see here - take a few minutes to watch this and be inspired: 

It's the first day of October - why not make this the first day of a new exciting journey with Team v? 

If you're aged 16 - 25 and live in Derby, get in touch.  Together we can do amazing things. 

Lucy  -  Team v Leader for Derby City 

Lucy.Dean@vinspired.com    @TeamvDerbyCity   www.facebook.com/TeamvDerbyCity

Sunday, 30 September 2012

A wheely good idea - spare a minute!

With no plans yesterday I decided it would be a good opportunity to explore a part of Derbyshire I didn’t know. Having only lived in Derby for just over two years, there are plenty of areas I still haven’t visited and don’t know much about.  So with pin in hand, eyes closed, standing over a map (okay, actually just a quick search on the internet – but the old way sounds much more adventurous) the place of choice was Melbourne.  No, I wasn’t hopping on a plane to the other side of the world.  There really is a place just a few miles out of Derby called Melbourne.  After a lovely hike through the woods amidst the beautiful autumnal leaves and conkers galore, we came across this and it made me smile:

As part of Melbourne Festival, artist Sally Lemsford created ‘Can you spare a minute of your time please?’, a piece to show that volunteering happens everyday, everywhere, between people on the street.  I wholeheartedly agree that volunteering does not have to be organised and structured, and I know from working with vInspired before that the outdated image of volunteering as a formal, weekly commitment in a charity shop can still deter young people from getting involved.     

Simple acts of kindness that the people of Melbourne did for each other were recorded and added to the clock, each representing a minute spared for the benefit of others.  ‘Tom drew me a map’, ‘Sharon peeled an unripe banana’ and ‘Ann directed me to a cafe’ are almost effortless tasks that took just a minute.  But that minute spared could have made someone’s day or helped them more than you or I may realise.           

Team v Derby City needs people aged 16 – 25 to give as little or as much time as they want to help run campaigns in Derby, tackling important social issues, and changing our community for the better.  Volunteering for Team v Derby City won’t be formal or strict, and it definitely won’t be boring! Any time you can give will make a difference.  Like the people of Melbourne, we want to prove that society isn’t ‘broken’ and Derby is full of young people willing to spare a minute (or more!) to do something good.     

Can you spare a minute?  Get in touch!  

Email:  Lucy.Dean@vinspired.com 

Twitter:  @TeamvDerbyCity 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The power of volunteering

This summer I was very lucky to get a job working on one of the most exciting events in the East Midlands as part of the London 2012 cultural olympiad.  Joining the stage management crew, I was involved in the three outdoor shows which took place in Loughborough, Northampton and Derby.  The show itself remained the same at each location but the volunteer participants were from the areas we performed in respectively, meaning there was a real sense of community amongst the cast.    

Games Time was a colourful choreographed battle with incredible costumes, performed by people of all ages (from individuals to dance schools and community groups), with giant video projections, pyrotechnics, and the best fireworks displays I have ever seen. 

The main reason I was offered the position was because of my experience volunteering.  When I was in my final year of secondary school I did a week’s work experience at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod – an annual festival of international music and dance in North Wales.  After a shaky start (running around the field in the pouring rain, wearing uncomfortable shoes and lugging a silly amount of chairs here, there and everywhere) things picked up and I enjoyed the week.  So much that I went back.  For the next seven years.  Committing one week per year to being a stage manager of a small outdoor stage gave me a fantastic understanding of working on outdoor performance, communication and people skills, organisation, problem solving and smiling in the face of adversity (mostly weather-related!).  Without this experience I would never have been considered for the role on Games Time and I would have missed out on an incredible opportunity. 

Volunteering can be whatever you want it to be.  Do something you love – I’ve always been interested in the arts so that’s what I put my time and effort into.  And eventually it paid off.  It certainly doesn’t guarantee a job, but there’s no doubt that the skills I gained, the people I met and the experiences I had combined to give me a good chance of being taken seriously as a candidate for this type of work.  

I’ll never forget the goosebumps I felt watching the final Games Time fireworks in front of over 16,000 people as I thought about the hard work everyone – the volunteer participants, the professional artistic team and crew had put in.  Seeing people from all walks of life come together, giving their time to weeks of rehearsals to create an exciting free event for the people of their community was truly magical.  
For me, that’s the power of volunteering.  And if Team v Derby City can achieve anything like a small scale version of this sense of community cohesion then I will be a very happy volunteer. 
 (Photo credits – my Dad)

Friday, 28 September 2012

The countdown begins!

In just two weeks the 100 plus army of Team v leaders from all over England will get together for the first residential with vInspired  

That's when we'll discover the theme for our first campaign so I'm really excited!

Last year Team v tackled food poverty, loneliness and isolation in older people, and literacy for young children.  I have no doubt that the issues we build our campaigns around this year will be just as relevant and powerful, and I can't wait to get started. 

I need a team of enthusiastic 16-25 year olds to join me in the Team v Derby City revolution!  You'll be involved in every step of the process, from planning the campaign to delivering it, which means you'll gain fantastic skills and experience to put on your CV and you'll meet some lovely people who all want to do something good in our local community. 

If you're interested, get in touch: 

Email:  Lucy.Dean@vinspired.com 
Twitter:   @TeamvDerbyCity 
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/TeamvDerbyCity

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The man on the train

"It's volunteering"


"So you won't get paid for it" 

"Yep, that's right"

"And you're going to Leeds... just for the interview" 


"Wow, that's dedication.  Not many people would do that.  Especially your age."

On the train heading to my interview for Team v, a man in his late thirties struck up conversation.  As much as I like spontaneous bouts of train talk with a stranger, that was not the time.  Feeling nervous about the interview, I was hoping to enjoy a peaceful, relaxing journey, keeping myself to myself - not face twenty questions before I had even entered the interview room.  When we got onto where I was going and why though, I couldn't resist boring him with the details because of my excitement.  His reaction (as seen in the above conversation) reminded me that not everyone gets it, which is why organisations such as vInspired and programmes like Team v are so important. 

I've been volunteering on long and short term opportunities almost non-stop since I was eleven years old, so I was let in on the secret from an early age.  You know, the secret... that volunteering is good for the mind, body and soul (and not forgetting the CV).  If you didn't already know this, you're in the right place to be enlightened.  If you are lucky enough to have already been bitten by the volunteering bug, then you should definitely stick around too! 

Team v is a network of over 100 volunteers (aged 18-25) who want to change things for the better.  It's a programme run by  vInspired, the youth-led organisation that aims to inspire a new generation of volunteers (aged 14-25).  Team v leaders across England will recruit other young volunteers to help them plan, organise and deliver three social action projects to make a difference in their communities.  

So how about we prove the man on the train wrong?  As Tom Jones wisely said, 'It's not unusual' at all - young people across the country are volunteering their time for causes they believe in and Team v are set to deliver three amazing campaigns and show the world what we can do when we put our minds to it and are given the right support and guidance. 

There are perks too, of course.  Meet new people, learn new skills, do something good for your community and have fun...all at the same time! All you have to do is commit some of your time (as little or as much as you want) to help make Team v Derby City's campaigns come to life.

If this sounds right up your street, or you'd like to know more - get in touch today! 

Email:  Lucy.Dean@vinspired.com
Twitter:  @TeamvDerbyCity
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/TeamvDerbyCity

Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you know anyone aged 16-25 living in Derby please take a minute to share it with them.

I can't wait to hear from you! 

Lucy - Team v Leader for Derby City

Team v - Changing the world...One campaign at a time

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Team v Taster

The first campaign for Team v last year was tackling food poverty.  

Watch this video to see the amazing results and to find out more about Team v.

The first campaign for Team v 2012-2013 will be announced in under three weeks and I know it will be as important and inspiring as last year's... get involved with Team v Derby City now to help make a real difference in our community. 

Twitter:  @TeamvDerbyCity
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/teamvderbycity 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Team v Derby City is go!

Hello and welcome to the blog for Team v Derby City

My name is Lucy and I'm looking for people aged 16 to 25 living in Derby to help me make a real difference in our community.  As a Team v Leader for 2012-2013 I'm part of a network of over 100 young volunteers across England selected by vinspired to design and deliver three social action projects to tackle important issues that affect people living in Derby.  
But I can't do it alone!! 

In just 3 weeks time our first campaign theme will be announced and I need a team of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to help me with every step of the process.  You can give as little or as much time as you want and in return you'll make new friends, learn new skills, and do something good for your community. (And of course there will be cake along the way!)

I'll post with more details soon, but for now please get in touch if you'd like to find out more or have any questions: 

Email:  teamvderbycity@gmail.com

Follow us on Twitter:  @TeamvDerbyCity

Find us on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/TeamvDerbyCity

Together, we can change the world - one campaign at a time