City : Volunteering Mall : O2 GoThinkBig and Starting Your Own Project
If you cannot find a volunteer project that you are interested in then you can always set-up your own. Here is some advice on how and why you might want to do that.
Why Setting up your own project could be a good idea
You can gain some excellent transferrable skills that will help you in your future or current career and which will look fantastic when you are applying for a job or a promotion. You will also be able to make a real difference to you community by getting involved in a project that you are passionate about because it has come from you!
- Motivation: Finding what you want to do and building the project up from nothing is an incredibly strong way of showing that you have the motivation to go out and make your ambitions happen.
- Self-management: It will take organisation and good time management to be able to set-up your own project. These are really valuable skills.
- Leadership: This is a great skill to be able to demonstrate and will be impressive to any employer.
- Team management and interpersonal skills: If you have to manage other volunteers then you will develop great skills for dealing with other people in a work environment.
- Financial management: In managing a project you will have to think about how to budget for your project. This is great for dealing with your own personal finances as well as showing that you can do it in a work environment.
- Creative thinking: In setting up your project you will have shown inventiveness and creativity.
- Problem Solving: You are likely to face a couple of bumps along the way and remembering how you dealt with these issues will be a great way of showing how capable you are of dealing with unforeseen problems.
Things to think about before you start your project
- What will your project do? Does it meet a need in your local community?
- How will your project best meet the need?
- How much time can you devote to your project?
- How long will your project last?
- What skills do you need in the people working on your project?
- What problems or obstacles might get in the way? AND how will you overcome them?
- Are there any costs associated with starting your project? AND how will you budget for them?
- Make sure your project is manageable. Make sure that your project is a size that can succeed. Be realistic, solving world hunger may seem like a great idea, but it’s best to set yourself goals you can achieve.
Tips for Starting a Project
Getting funding for your project
- There are a number of opportunities for funding for local projects. Make sure you check out O2 Think Big for information on how they can help you below.
- There are a number of other providers of support: UnLtd, vInspired Cashpoint (for under 25s only) Awards for All (must apply at least 3 months before your project is due to start)
Working in partnership with an existing charitable organisation or social enterprise:
- If you set up a partnership with an existing charity you are likely to be able to launch more quickly as you will have the support of the charity behind your project.
- Your partner can offer a support network and resources that you may be able to use free of charge.
- When you get into a partnership you should make sure that your partner understands your project’s aim and ensure that you are both working together for the same aim.
When you are applying for funding or a partnership make sure that you are well prepared before you speak to them. Spend some time planning your ideas and practice a 60 second pitch of your idea so that when you speak to the person responsible you will sound professional and convincing.
O2 Think Big
The programme is sponsored by O2 UK and it is for anyone aged 13-25 who wants to set up their own community project
They offer an initial payment of £300 to help you start your project. All you need to do is fill in their application form online
Reading is a Think Big Partner Town, so you can guarantee that your application will be considered by local young people. You can get support to think through your project idea and to apply from firstname.lastname@example.org. The partner code for Reading is REBC, which will speed up your application process
Fixers is a movement of young people tackling issues they feel strongly about to make a difference to others.
Fixers are young people who want to change things for the better. Many have been through difficult times, and have used that experience to campaign on issues that matter to them, like being homeless, domestic abuse, or drink and drug misuse.
To date, more than 11,000 Fixers from all over the United Kingdom have started (and are continuing) over 1260 unique projects.
Thanks to a recent grant from the Big Lottery Fund, Fixers is expanding over the next three years throughout the UK – including England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – recruiting up to 20,000 new Fixers to tackle issues affecting everyone today, often based on ideas from their own experiences.
If you think that you have an experience or idea that can fix the future and help others, get in touch with Fixers here.