Friday, 6 July 2012


Our new volunteer, volunteer broker – Shelagh West is now getting her feet under the table and beginning to make the changes needed to enable member organisations to recruit more volunteers. We have tweaked our website to give greater prominence to volunteering, and she is also developing links already to organisations like Business in the Community who are looking for projects for their corporate volunteers. It will take a while to build up this service, but it is a key capacity building contribution from Surrey Youth Focus.

I am working with uniformed organisations (military and civilian) to put in an imaginative bid to the Armed Forces Community Grant Fund to enable the two groups to share resources and links. Talking of uniformed organisations, I have received a great video from Girlguiding Surrey West about the long term value of girlguiding to personal development and achievement. It will be on our website shortly.

My week has also been taken up with building up another impending bid to the Lottery and grant-making trusts for our Surrey Youth Enterprise support service aimed at encouraging young people into self-employment and social enterprise. The good news is that our own “Woking social enterprise” is progressing well now.

However, the real highspot of the week was going with my colleague Kate Peters to Shepperton Film Studios to watch two short films made by students (Year 10 and 11) of Magna Carta School who were taking a diploma course in film and media studies. They made the films with technical support from a professional – hence the film show at the private cinema the Korda Theatre at Shepperton Studios. The first film explored the negative images that young people encounter in their daily lives especially following last August’s riots, and they contrasted footage of the riots with filming from our Celebration of Youth event about the great things young people do.

The second film absolutely exemplified the last point and was the inspirational account of, and by Ben who is 16, and cares for his 19 year old sister, Ashleigh, who has Downs Syndrome. It was a "fly on the wall documentary" to which the whole family had very bravely consented. I was struck by the link between the two films with their underlying theme of the experience of discrimination, and yet the optimism and inspiration of young people.

It is a great project, and as soon as we get the films we’ll put them up on the website. Well done to Clare Erasmus (the teacher) and the students of Magna Carta school!”  

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