Be Inspired by vInspired

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story here), and on Friday I share a story of an inspirational person, project or cause.

You know what? I don’t think I have used the word ‘inspired’ so much in my life. Now it seems to be a regular appearance in my vocabulary. And that’s pretty good, I reckon. Also, no matter what whingeing and moaning I am doing by the end of the week (about the most trivial of things – I was just doing it five minutes ago), these Friday posts remind me to shut up. They leave me feeling as if I should be doing more - that I should be more.

So, here is the next project on my list – vInspired….

10519728_10152536542090873_2819285984597296795_o

What is vInspired?

vInspired is the nation’s leading youth volunteering charity. They were formed when the Government created the Russell Commission in 2004 with the focus on developing a new national framework for youth action and engagement. The charity is dedicated to helping 16-25 year olds with volunteering opportunities in their local communities and relies on voluntary contributions to continue to support those involved.

vlogo“We believe that young people can change the world. Young people are our greatest assets – they will shape our future “, the independent British charity recognises. Through the volunteering opportunities and placements that are presented to the young people, there is a hope that in return for their time they are given valuable and transferable skills to prepare them for the world of work, including vInspired awards that can go on to a CV.

And is it working? I think the numbers below say it all:

vinspiredquote

Funding

There are a vast range of volunteering opportunities: career-related, outdoors, events, festivals, online, international. But the most exciting area of vInspired, in my opinion, is that people are able to create their own social action ideas. If there is a cause in the community that someone is passionate about helping with, they can pitch their project with the chance to receive funding through the Cashpoint programme. Successful projects ideas will receive a £500 grant to get them started. Alternatively, there is the option of crowdfunding through the igniter scheme.

Young Leaders

Team V is a group of young leaders (77% of which are made up of existing volunteers), who are responsible for running three campaigns over the space of a year while learning leadership, project planning and project management skills along the way.

10380497_10154179453550048_5933742804797113119_o

Schools

Now calling all teachers! In the past year 192 schools have signed up to the vInspired Schools programme. I think you should join that list. Schools are provided with websites, support and materials to get students involved in helping their communities. To find out more about registering your school for the project click here.

Campaigns

rickedwardsswingthevote#Swingthevote is a campaign set up by the charity and broadcaster/writer, Rick Edwards, which is encouraging young people to vote in the May 2015 General Election and pushing politicians to consider what matters to the younger generation. The BBC Free Speech presenter is asking 18-25 year olds to upload an Instagram video of them explaining, ‘I would vote if….’ with issues they would like to see addressed. Of course, this is to raise awareness and increase the predicted figure of just 12% of that age group voting next year, but those videos will not just remain in the world of Instagram. Rick and vInspired are compiling the best of them to present to political parties later in the year in the hope that they will finally listen to Britain’s young voices and take the points raised into consideration for their manifestos.

I wish I’d known about vInspired before I slipped over the 25-year-old mark. Darn it! This is exactly the kind of thing that I love to hear about. I agree with their quote whole-heartedly - young people are our greatest assets and it is fantastic to hear that so there is a growing amount of opportunities for them to develop skills, help the community, meet new people and use a platform for their voices to be heard.

I look forward to following what this exciting charity are up to and I really hope that the #Swingthevote video shakes things up a bit later in the year.

Happy Friday to you all. Have a great one.

Rachael x

Dorset to London & Unfinished Business with NYC

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story here), and on Friday I share a story of an inspirational person, project or cause.

Dorset to London

I have just returned from a brilliant weekend. Just so many lovely moments.10494905_10152530435820873_4437600669961468343_o

Amy (Paris crew) picked me up from Poole train station and we drove along listening to the local radio station, imagining that we were eighteen again. Laughter ensued as we questioned whether we have changed all that much since that young, innocent (?) age. We spent the afternoon in the garden, embracing the afternoon sun, sipping wine and picking from a mezze platter of Waitrose joy (trying to forget the fact that the Waitrose in our town centre has been built on the much-loved cricket pitch. Controversial). Beth (Paris crew) joined us with her gorgeous baby boy, Sebastian, followed by Stewart (also Paris crew!).

We were all back home for the weekend to see our school friend, Helen, and long-term love, James, tie the knot. Now, the best way to get to the wedding venue was on the sandbanks chain ferry but disaster struck last week when one of the chains broke. We were lucky – normal ferry service had resumed in time and we made it to the stunning cliff top setting of Harry Warren House in Studland ready for a beautiful day. And beautiful it was. The fizz was flowing, croquet and boules were played on the lawn, a scrumptious hog-roast was devoured, speeches were delivered with wit and warmth and by the end of the evening the dancing was getting pretty serious.

The rest of my weekend was spent catching up with the sisters and the father over dinners and lunches. Dad was getting geared up for the 60 Postcards Cycle Challenge which starts at Tower of London this Thursday. (If you haven’t seen the video for it, please check it out here!) I am still bursting with pride and I will be there as they set off to wish them luck and take some snaps. Just before I caught the train back, I nipped over to see Helen (my publicist from Simon and Schuster) in her perfect, pretty new abode in the Dorset countryside (as I joked that it would only be a matter of time before Country Living came knocking on her door).

As I sat on the train for my return to the city, I left the laptop in my bag, my phone to one side and I read non-stop from Dorset to London. Travelling seems like one of the few times that I am able to fully immerse myself in a book these days. Well, that and holidays, of course. At Poole station I had been looking out to Holes bay and as we drew in to Waterloo station I welcomed the sight of the London Eye out of the window. I felt happy. I felt lucky. I feel like I can call both places home.

Unfinished Business

Book readers often ask aboIMG_1398ut another place I love – Paris – as it was where my postcard project began. BUT, there is a very special city that brought equal amounts of serendipity and magic: New York City. Some people, when speaking to me about my project are not even aware that I did leave 60 postcards out there too. Because, I did. I really did! With wonderful results, too. And it feels like there are stories still untold and more to be made. Unfinished business it will be no more as I have booked a two and a half week trip for the end of September. It is going to be epic.

The Plan 

I need to do some serious planning for this trip. I want the whole two and a half weeks to be jam-packed with fun and adventure with a real focus on people. I am going to reach out to my postcard finders once more and try to visit as many as possible. I want to continue with Project Inspire, asking New Yorkers what inspires them and why. I want to throw myself into a million and one situations and to make the most of every opportunity out there. I want to be the, ‘Yes Man’ that Danny Boyle writes about.

Can you help with NYC contacts? 

IMG_1165I am working on a few new postcard challenges and will feature them on a blog over the next month as would really appreciate your assistance on deciding one to do out there!

Also, I only know a few people out in NYC and if you have anyone that you could put me in touch with or suggest that I get in touch with then please let me know. People that I am looking for in this project based in NYC are:

  • Inspirational people – those who are involved in individual or group projects, causes (with particular focus on turning a bad into a positive).
  • Authors/Bloggers/Writers
  • People running any art projects or festivals

If you have an ideas then please get in touch with me on 60postcards@gmail.com! Muchos gracias!

Right, back to planning for me!

Speak to you later in the week. Enjoy :).

Rachael x

A Whole Lot of Inspiration

60 Postcards: Create. Share. Inspire.

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story here), and on Friday I share a story of an inspirational person, project or cause.

It’s a Friday eve and I have been sitting with my Dad in his Dorset home having a catching up. As I brought the Mac to write this post (with a wine by my side, naturally) I decided not to post about a new person, project or cause today. I have plenty stored and ready to share, but this one is a reminder of stories told before.

What is the definition of inspiration? “The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”

My mother inspired me to create the 60 Postcards project. It was her kind nature, her zest for life, her selflessness and her love for her family that inspired me to create something to honour her. All of my family inspire me. The way they handled the toughest time in our lives and how they are so unique in their wonderful ways but how we work so well as a team when we come together.

It was through the development of my postcard tribute that encouraged me to explore other people’s thoughts and feelings on the matter of inspiration. On my trip to NYC last year I put Project Inspire in motion – asking people to hold a sign and tell me what inspires them. The results were eclectic and wonderful and included answers from my Dad and sisters, too.

image

My Dad always reminds me how much he loved this task. And it was encouragement from him to keep on that path of sharing inspirational stories that has resulted in me posting weekly about them.

I am going to take a look back at some of my previous posts. It may be a re-read for some and a first look for others – I just don’t want them to get lost in the online world. The people or projects discussed within them are all equally evocative, thought-provoking and will make you smile in admiration.

A Wall of Inspiration

It was on a stroll around the West Village in NYC that I stopped in my tracks outside a hair salon as I saw what was written on the wall.

My Return to the Blog with a Tale of Magic

A book stall outside Kings Cross station was not all it seemed. From speaking to the girls running it, there was far more to it – including Harry Potter and a fantastic cause.

Merry Christmas with a #Smilebomb

Leaving notes for strangers to find was something that I could relate to. When I heard about the mysterious Free Help Guy’s campaign, I had to get involved.

Pop Up 38 – A Vintage Delight for an Inspiring Cause

Just moments away from my house in Kings Cross lies a very wonderful vintage store run by a lady on a quest to complete a mission first started by her father.

May the Thoughts be with Margot

A #Helpmob by the Free Help Guy was organised to help save little Margot who has Leukaemia and along the way I met a lady determined to create happiness through words and illustrations.

Natasha’s Story – The Creation of Leaf

After Natasha was diagnosed with Leukaemia she was determined to create a personal support system for others in her situation.

Social Media at its Best

A look at just how powerful and positive social media can be with three examples of campaigns by Team Margot, Stephen’s Story and Shake 4 Mike.

Souls with Real Soul: Gandys Flip Flops

Tsunami survivors Rob and Paul create an awe-inspiring social enterprise, driven by their love for the wonderful parents they lost and a passion to help fellow orphans.

A Collaboration: Beauty Despite Cancer & Brow Boothe

One beauty expert joins another on their business of bespoke skin care and treatments. “Women don’t stop being women when they are diagnosed with cancer.”

So please have a read of the above when you can or save them for a rainy day, perhaps and make sure to spread the word.

Question: What inspires you? Let me know your answer by email (60postcards@gmail.com), Facebook or Twitter.

Have a great weekend.

Muchos love,

Rachael x