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….

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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:

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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.

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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

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