Tag Archives: advocacy

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#Youngpeople today are living in a world which has changed dramatically. This is the digital era – the age of social media – whole lives are projected online via sites such as Facebook and Instagram. The world is rapidly evolving and young people are facing a life where terms like cyber-bullying, ‘Facebooking’ and ‘going viral’ are the norm. On top of this the opportunities to advance their lives and carve successful careers are limited compared to previous years, thanks to the relentless stagnation of our economy. Older generations are staying in work longer thanks to increased pension age and longer life spans and free higher education is a thing of the past, potentially restricting individuals from getting better job. Those who do go to university face enormous fees of up to £9000 a year and a lifetime riddled with debt. Many public sector organisations and private companies have reduced their apprenticeship schemes and youths are scrabbling in their hundreds and thousands for low or unpaid internships even if they have degrees.

Life is not easy for young people of today.

“Teenagers and young people have an unmapped mountain to climb and most of them already have grit under their fingernails from making a damn good try. We shouldn’t be bashing them – we should look a little harder at what we’ve done.”

But what about young people who are living in poverty, as well as facing the general problems of growing up in a recession-riddled digital age? Can we really blame the kids or are they victims of their era? In contrary to the (sometimes) mass perceived notion of young people – especially those who end up on benefits – is that this is their choice; their accountability. Most young people do not aspire to a life in the dole queue and want the opportunities many poverty-stricken baby-boomers had in their time. Social mobility is more inert than ever and blaming young people for their inability to progress is unfair and short sighted.

What can be done to help young people in poverty in the UK?

Many charities like No Limits, offer an olive branch and the prospect of enabling young people to take positive steps towards a better life – a future which may not have been deemed possible by the young person.

Thanks to the generous donations we’ve received and the money raised for No Limits, we have been able to raise some of the funds to send four young people to complete The Challenge Adventure Charities Rad Vlaanderen Stuttgart Challenge 2013 at the end of September, which is in aid of Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

By including disadvantaged young people in this challenge we are supporting them in their quest for a positive life and better future. The skills and experience they will inevitably gain will be transferable to many aspects of their lives and increase overall confidence.

“I am at the beginning of my adult life, just starting to find my feet. I struggled in the past due to criminal behaviour, always looking for ways to get money but I am now realising my potential working with No Limits. I was referred by Probation to No Limits. Their Next Steps project always helps keep me busy and active. I enjoy cycling to get out and to keep fit and am really looking forward to the trip if we can raise enough to participate”

Young people of today are facing such adversity and struggle – let’s start helping them pave the way for a positive future by providing opportunities like the Rad Bike Challenge. Help support charities like No Limits who enable young people to help themselves.

Give some of our young people – disadvantaged or not – credit for fighting back against the problematic society we live in today. Let’s help them move forward and enable them to make something of their lives, irrespective of background or financial wealth.

Young people are more resilient than we think. Let’s help them, not crush them.

Max Willis

Marketing & Communications Intern

No Limits

Want a successful business? Donate to Charities

Non profit organisations and charities such as #nolimitshelp work hard to invest in ways to help the community and provide invaluable services to people often in need. By investing in your community, you or your company could give back to the community who potentially keep your business afloat.

By helping a local charity raise funds by volunteering your time, or donating, the list of benefits to you on a personal level and your company is endless.

There can be many ways of measuring success, so “it’s really important to have some clear goals in mind, and make sure those are shared and delivered for both partners”, as well as a clear exit strategy that leaves the charity in a better place.

“Charities sometimes say they find it challenging working with business, so having a good cultural fit between the two organisations is also vital.”

There are tangible advantages to giving back to the community too. For one thing if you give enough, you’ll be able to reduce the tax you pay based on charitable deduction on your income tax.  Information can be found on HM Revenue & Customs website. Why not increase your business profile too? By being affiliated with a charity that helps the local community, more potential customers may become aware of your business. Also it makes your company look good by adopting ‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)’.

Although this is usually a term associated with big companies and brands, it’s still important to socially aware and accountable within a local community. Within our current society and austere economical climate, people are becoming disillusioned with corporate fat cats and companies who make huge profits but give nothing back to the communities who helped them thrive. By helping charities, you help yourselves as a business and the community – that’s a win-win situation, surely?

“When companies implement ‘strategic CSR’ they can find there are many benefits, including strengthened corporate and brand reputations and enhanced trust with key stakeholders (customers, employees, regulatory agencies, suppliers, and investors), improved risk management, increased revenues from innovation to identify new business opportunities, and reduced costs from efficiency improvements. “Chris Howells, Forbes

How can you specifically help No Limits?

Businesses are well placed to help No Limits by:

  • organising  a team building event e.g. refurbishing a room,
  • encourage employee volunteering with us
  • donating gifts in kind e.g. food, office furniture, prizes, venues
  • nominating No Limits as your charity of the year giving us publicity and greatly needed funds.
  • developing payroll giving e.g. so a proportion of employees pay goes directly to No Limits in a tax efficient manner
  • offering  a secondment e.g. to support an area of need within No Limits
  • By helping support local charities who help those less fortunate than others, we can strengthen the resolve of our local people, as well increasing awareness of local businesses, which in turn serves the community. By working together we can strive to bring back a sense of unity in our communities.

    We are all part of our society, so we have to take responsibility for it.

    Help others and help yourselves.

    Max Willis

    Marketing & Communications Intern

    No Limits, City

    #YoungParents Should Read This

    Life is a lottery and where you are born can mean everything…

    The #DuchessofCambridge is in labour and the #RoyalBaby’s birth is imminent. The press are waiting with baited breath, “boy or girl, future king or queen?” What a life awaits this child. No financial concerns will dog its parents, no housing problems or school dinner money worries will keep them awake at night. A life without many of the problems facing parents in the UK today.

    What about young parents? For them life can be tough on myriad levels. For those who lack the vital support of an extended family unit, parenthood can be even harder. Isolation can have a devastating effect on a young parent and create future problems for the children. In addition, young parents often face a barrage of criticism and judgement from the media who continue to stigmatise them in the press. Some may feel left out by their child-free peers who don’t have time for them anymore, as well as facing a future without a formal education – limiting future job prospects. Others slip into a life using drugs and alcohol to combat seclusion.

    The list is endless, but there is hope.

    No Limits run a project for young parents called Bright Beginnings. By working on an individual basis with young people we aim to extend our knowledge and experience of parenthood to those who need a little extra help and support. No Limits encourage young people who are pregnant or who have small children under two to maintain good relationships with people and build strong, positive connections with their children. The Bright Beginnings’ mentors are focused on building parenting confidence, encouraging and teaching the methods that will enable their children to flourish.

    Young people will continue to have babies in the UK despite the customary sex education in schools and the rudimentary knowledge of how tough life can be as a parent. When it does happen though, instead of dismissing and condemning, we should continue to offer ways of improving an outcome which could be potentially disastrous long-term.

    If you are a young parent who needs our help, please visit us at No Limits, 24A Bernard Street, Southampton, SO14 3AY or call 02380236237

    If you would like to volunteer as a Bright Beginnings Mentor, get it touch – No Limits need you! If you would like to provide No Limits with much needed financial support to continue fundamental services then send £3 via TEXT to NLMO1.

    Facebook Generation

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    Over 901 million people worldwide use Facebook currently. Of those, an average of 526 million people use Facebook daily. Facebook, as well as Twitter are two of the most common social media platforms which have changed the face of the world. How businesses, individuals and charities operate has been radically affected and influenced by what some term ‘The Facebook Effect’.  When considering the huge amount of users and the ‘virtual communities’ created by the social media channels, No Limits have adapted and increased the mode of online communication. Twitter and Facebook allow content to be shared quickly and easily and encourages user interaction, which websites do not always offer.

    No Limits are committed to providing a useful and readily available advice service for young people in the Hampshire area, so it is vital funding opportunities continue. Social media is now integral in this process. A range of social media platforms are utilised, targeting two specific demographics: young people and individuals/businesses who currently or will potentially donate to the charity.

    Facebook specifically is ideal for posting current and relevant news articles, as well as No Limits’ blogs written by staff members and volunteers – often relating directly to services provided at No Limits. This encourages cohesion between current affairs and services we offer to the young people who use our charity. In today’s UK’s austere climate young people are struggling with common social concerns, such as: unemployment, homelessness and crime. Using social media platforms to highlight factors contributing to young people’s problems may help to dispel common misconceptions about why they face so much adversity in this country and encourage people to support us financially or through volunteering.

    The importance of creating compelling content for our social media users is paramount, so the overall personality of No Limits is consistent, positive, socially and ethically responsible and politically objective.  The aim of social media within the charity is to convert visitors of our multi-channels to No Limits service users, or donators who support the continuation of our vital services through funding.

    Over the last month the amount of visitors No Limits’ Facebook page has reached for example, has been increasing and in the last week alone has gone up by 290.78%. The amount of engaged users – those who actively talk about No Limits beyond the parameters of our pages – has increased by 192.86% in seven days. Twitter has seen an increase in re-tweets, suggesting a surge in interest and approval of No Limits’ brand personality and perception.

    These figures are encouraging and allow content to be target driven, so we can continue to provide engaging information which is talked about via Twitter and Facebook, thus increasing the awareness of the charity.

    The social media arena continues to progress and evolve, signifying the importance of a continuous and stimulating online presence.

    What do you think about Facebook and Twitter? Friend or foe?

    Like it or not social media is here to stay for now so it must be embraced – not ignored, or we face potentially vanishing into the void of social media oblivion, which in online terms is equivalent to extinction!

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    Do you have what it takes to change a life?

    Do you want to make a huge difference to someone’s life?

    Do you enjoy going to the cinema, cafés or playing football? If so, why not become an Independent Visitor volunteer and make a huge impact in a young person’s life by building not only rapport, but confidence – you may even enjoy yourself at the same time!

    If you have 4 hours a month to spare, you can be a truly significant and positive influence on a young person, who may lack an adult role model to enjoy life’s simple pleasures with or gain emotional support from.

    Like some young people, Paul 15 has lived most of his life in care and foster housing and has received regular support from various organisations, including No Limits’ Advocacy service. Aside from the essential help he has been provided, Paul would love a mentor, a supporter, a friend -someone he can relate to, talk to and spend time with – independent of an official capacity. Like Paul, other young people require a male IV and currently demand is outstripping supply.

    No Limits will provide necessary training for our Independent Visitor Volunteers (IVs), support and expenses, to enable the successful relationship between young person and IV to continue for at least a year. We ask that you as a volunteer are committed enough, so a sustainable relationship with the young person can be managed. Many individuals in care and foster homes lack the consistency many are fortunate to have and we want to nurture the rapport with the young person, over a minimum period of time. No Limits will assist the process and facilitate the Independent Visitor volunteer, so the needs of the young person can be met.

    Try our statistics quiz on young people and care – it may surprise you (answer at the bottom)

    #1 How Many children are in care at any one time in the UK?

    33,000                    88,000                       44,000           91,000

    #2  What percentage of looked after children were in foster care placements?

    20%                           50%                         73%               49%

    #3   What % of care leavers go onto University?

     45%                           62%                          6%              15%

    #4 In 2010 1 in 10 children had how many different placements? (foster care)

    5                                10                           3                         1

    #5 By the age of 19, how many care leavers are not in education, employed or training?

    1/3                               ½                         80%                       60%

    Imagine the huge difference you could make by spending time with a young person who just needs encouragement, support and your time.  Many youngsters would benefit from spending time with an unbiased adult who can listen to problems, or take a young person to a café for a cup of tea and cake.

    No Limits needs you! You can apply by emailing enquiries@nolimitshelp.org.uk or calling 023 8023 6237 and visiting http://nolimitshelp.org.uk. You do not need youth work experience just a positive attitude, commitment and a wish to be a encouraging and consistent influence on a young person.

    Answers:

    #1 91,000 #2 50% #3 6% #4 5 #5 1/3

    nolimits_blue_green_960x180.jpgVolunteers are an integral and highly valued part of No Limits. Last year we estimate that 115 volunteers contributed around 12,000 hours of their time, worth about £140,000 to No Limits. Without volunteers many of our projects and services would not exist. The number of volunteers needed by No Limits continues to rise. Currently we have aroundf 150 volunteetrs who help in a variety of ways. Would you like to be one of them? For more about volunteering with No Limits go to http://www.nolimitshelp.org.uk/page/volunteering
    No Limits. Helping young people help themselves.

    Shape The Future

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    If you are out of work, looking for experience or hoping to give back, volunteering your time is fast becoming recognised as a great way to improve not only someone else’s life, but your own.  This mutual relationship between charity and volunteer has numerous benefits for both, enriching understanding of aspects of life which may be unfamiliar and alien.

    “Long term volunteering is a form of pro-social behaviour that involves commitment given over an extended period of time”. (Chartered psychologist Ruth Lowry)

    Not only are your job prospects advanced by additional much-needed experience, but your social-conscience and awareness of concerns affecting the local or extended community are increased by working for a charity or organisation that really help people improve their lives.

    1#volunteering makes you more employable

    Volunteers may wish to increase their skill-set, gaining experience within various environments to improve future job prospects. Many companies are influenced by candidates…

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    Caryl: From No Limits: Helping vulnerable young people by managing No Limits’ Services.

    Caryl EyersCaryl works at No Limits as a Manager. Like many paid staff Caryl   started off fifteen years by volunteering at No Limits as a Youth Worker. Caryl is one of four managers and is responsible, in particular, for those projects that focus on counselling, advocacy, child sexual exploitation and children’s rights. This includes our Just4U (supporting looked after children)) and Miss U Turn projects (children who have run away from home) U turn (those young people who are at risk  being sexually exploited) and our free counselling service that supports a whole range of young people who have several different issues.

    In a typical day Caryl needs to maintain contact with her two team leaders, monitor and evaluate the various  projects, write reports (her favourite!) and attend meetings with a whole range of other organisations including other charities, statutory bodies such as Social Care and CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health).

    Although Caryl is not a ‘front line’ worker now she still gets inspired by  getting individual reports about young people who, through her teams work and support, have moved on and made real progress.

    Caryl also has a life outside working for No Limits:

    Biopic: Caryl is the No Limits vegan. When it comes to cultural issues she likes a whole range of music and films. She enjoys yoga, eating out, going on exotic holidays. At work she is very focused and determined to get the best for the young people that she supports. Caryl assures us however, that she does have a compassionate and giving side to her nature 🙂

    No Limits:Helping young people help themselves