Our young are ‘Abandoning Ambitions’ – could corporate partners help earlier on?

Ariel shot canary wharfThe Prince’s Trust have just released some alarming new research ‘Abandoned Ambitions’, supported by HSBC, which shows that 1 in 3 young people leaving school with poor grades believe they will “end up on benefits” and 1 in 5 young people claim they have “abandoned their ambitions” due to their poor qualifications.

They’re twice as likely as their peers to say that they “struggled to concentrate on schoolwork due to family problems” and that their “homelife was so stressful that they struggled to focus” . They are also significantly less likely to have had access to a computer, the internet or a quiet place to do their schoolwork at home.

Martina Milburn CBE, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, believes it’s more important than ever to invest in ‘vocational support and training for young people who are not academically successful’ and that government, employers and charities ‘must work together to get them into jobs’. Without this, thousands will struggle to compete, leaving them hopeless and jobless which causes a huge impact on the economy.

I’m doing a mentoring programme with Timebank at the moment and during our training session we met the Major of Tower Hamlets (who was about 16 as he was a young ambassador). Having a quiet place to do schoolwork or study was something that cropped up then too. Also the glaring disparity of the wealth in Canary Wharf versus some of the poorest areas in Tower Hamlets.

It made me think, why don’t corporate companies open up parts of their offices to school children struggling, in the evenings or weekends to do their school work or study. Surely this is paramount in PREVENTING the issue in the first place, rather than trying to help people to find jobs and build confidence AFTER they’ve got low grades.

A lot of effort has to go into un-doing damage to self confidence so why not help make things more accessible before it gets to that stage. Corporate partners surely have a role to play in society and giving something back. Are there programmes focusing on opening up their offices to these kids to study?

Mos Def being force-fed to raise awareness of plight of Guantanamo hunger strikers during Ramadan fast

This video is bloody horrible and hard to watch but that’s the point. It was made by the human rights group Reprieve, to try to urge Obama to scrap his government’s policy of force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners during the month-long Muslim fast of Ramadan. They’re force fed twice a day and it takes up to 2hours typically to do. Brutal and a very good campaign.

Beabequ (blogger) reports that it’s ‘breaching the human rights of 130 detainees out of 166, who are reported to be on hunger strike. Over a half (86 out of the 166) detainees have now been cleared for release’.

They still remain in the Guantanamo due to the US Government putting a halt on any release efforts being made. So as a sign of protest ‘the detainees whose sentences have been lengthened for a number of years (some facing as long as 11 years in prison) without trial, are now seeking a way out by starving themselves to death’. They obviously see it as their only way out now.

Maybe Obama should test out being force feed #standfast

Foodbanks – an unlikely football club’s community programme doing good in Peckham

FoodBank

Millwall FC are ‘notorious for being the toughest and most violent set of football fans in England’. Seems scary. I don’t like football so this isn’t my opinion, just research from ‘The foodbankers‘. The concept for their blog is a a very topical idea (content about foodbanks in London), run by postgraduate journalism students at City University; Rachel Bayne, Tom Knowles, Charlotte Rettie and Henry Vane.

In 2009 there were 6 foodbanks feeding 400 people in the capital. Figures from the leading food bank charity, the Trussell Trust, reveal there are 325 foodbanks nationwide now feeding 340,000 (40 in the capital feeding 34,000). Foodbanks were set up to help those who were poorest in the community but they’re not to serve as an extra arm of the government, which it seems they now are.

Peckham foodbank’s co-ordinator Felicia Boshorin feels a change to benefits is the biggest reason for people suddenly needing to rely on food banks, the Foodbankers report. Often people have switched from Employment and Support Allowance to Jobseeker’s allowance, and will have up to four weeks when one set of benefits has stopped and money from the new allowance has yet to come through. They are unlikely to have any savings to get them through that period.

Rising costs of food and fuel combined with static income, high unemployment as well as benefit changes are causing more and more people to come to foodbanks for help.

Millwall are an unlikely supporter of foodbanks with their reputation, however they’re THE only football club foodbank. Their supporters bring food items to matches and it’s then delivered to Peckham foodbank providing extra support amongst a cash strapped local authority. Well done Millwall!

Maybe more public mass scale events should start doing this, the O2 springs to mind.

Could you live off £1 per day?

Live Below The line There are 1.4 billion, yes billion, people currently living in extreme poverty on less than £1 per day. This figure was defined by the World Bank as $1.25 US dollars a day, in 2005.

Live Below The Line is an innovative awareness and fundraising campaign which urges people to experience what it’s like to live on £1 per day for food, for 5 days.

I’m not even sure how I could live on that and I’m dreading trying but I think it would be a pretty intense challenge. So from w/c 3rd June I’m going to try to live of £1 (for food) for 5 days and see what happens. I’ll tweet my thoughts using #belowtheline anyone want to join me for support!?

United breaks guitars: a brand not being #kindaware

A musician named Dave Carroll had difficulty with United Airlines in 2009. They damaged his treasured $3500 Taylor guitar during a flight, very annoying. How did they damage it? The United baggage handlers were literally throwing his guitar around.

Dave Carroll spent 9 months trying to get United to pay for damages to fix his guitar, caused by their extreme negligence, seemed only fair. United refused though and Dave let them know he was left with no choice other than to create a music video exposing their lack of cooperation. The manager’s response “Good luck with that one, pal,” so he posted a retaliatory video on You Tube, which has since received over 12 million hits!

United Airlines obviously then contacted the musician and attempted settlement in exchange for pulling the video. Dave’s response “Good luck with that one, pal.” Doh.

Taylor Guitars sent Dave not 1 but 2 new custom guitars in appreciation for the product recognition from the video, which has led to a sharp increase in orders. United didn’t fully appreciate that Dave Carroll was a travelling musician with opinions plus access to creative people, who would all volunteer to help him with his protest song.

It’s interesting to see the new ventures Dave Carroll has since invested in, with Resolution1 and Grapevine cloud based solutions, to help companies manage customer complaints better and be more #kindaware

GOOD – pilot campus Ambassadors programme


Good on campus

If you haven’t heard of Good, check them out. They’re a brilliant global community of ‘people who give a damn’.

They’re looking for college students to form Good ‘super members’ – who all are united by their desire to change the world.

These GOOD super-members will lead the charge in expanding the GOOD global community. They’ll organise student innovators to collaborate and collectively drive change.

I asked Good if they’re offering any incentives to people ‘Our incentives are mostly based around professional development. We feel this is a great opportunity for students to gain leadership skills and to have a hand in shaping a program.’ Hannah Wasserman

Hannah’s informed me they were originally looking for US students only, but they’ve received lots of interest outside the US, so they’re currently considering expanding the scheme. What a great way to build the GOOD community and mobilise the masses. Great outreach strategy, for content creation too (and very cost effective).

The truck that’s spreading happiness

Whether you like Coca-Cola or not, I’m sure most people will like this.
They’ve created a ‘happiness machine on wheels’ which can surely only be a good thing?
I like the way the machine is now portable so you don’t know where it will strike next (the happiness drink vending machine from last year racked up nearly 5million views).
Roll on random acts of kindness!

The Kindness Cab

Last year Leon Logothetis gave free rides to strangers in his kindness cab, raising over £10,000 to fund books for Classwish.org. This year he did the Mongol Rally with his team mates, nicknamed the Flying Dutchman, and 10,000 books were donated to firstbook.org.

He swapped his life as a city broker to pursue his dreams to travel the world and spread kindness: “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” –Frank A. Clark