South west based charity, People against Poverty (PaP), starts 2015 with the announcement of its newly-appointed Youth Ambassador, Jessica Docherty. The move sees the charity launch a new youth community to engage under-25’s from schools, colleges and other organisations across the region.
Jessica Docherty, currently a final year student of French with International Studies at Warwick University, worked with PaP for five weeks over the summer of 2014, and recognised the potential to grow youth engagement. Together with PaP Chair, Bill Huxley, she has developed a model to build a youth community that will support the charity whilst providing valuable experience and insights for those involved into working with the third sector.
We asked Jessica about why she offered her services as Youth Ambassador and her vision for the role.
Q: How did you hear about People against Poverty?
JD: I’m based in the south west and wanted to find a local charity to work with for a few weeks during the summer. Having found PaP, I rang them and after an interview went to work with them.
Q: Why did you decide to stay engaged and take on the role of Youth Ambassador?
JD: People against Poverty is a tiny charity that does amazing work. Having seen the heart, vision and passion for making a real difference in the communities where PaP works, I couldn’t simply walk away. The youth project has tremendous potential to make real impact – and I want to remain a part of it.
Q: What do you have planned for 2015 and what would you like to achieve?
JD: I’d love young people to represent PaP within their schools, colleges and social circles – we want to build a network across the region, educate them about the charity sector and the difference they can make, and support them in delivering fund-raising events. We’ll provide information about working with charities and explain some of the NGO (non-governmental organisations) and charity terminology. I plan to write a Young Voices blog and run social media campaigns to share ideas and experiences.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for PaP to develop a youth community?
JD: Young people working with charity should be a priority for both parties. Young people have time, energy and passion, as well as extensive personal networks through their friends, families, colleges, clubs, etc. Armed with the right information, these qualities can be harnessed resulting in additional resource for the charity and hands on experience for young people. In a tough jobs market, they can include this experience on CVs and personal statements, standing them in great stead for the future. PaP’s mantra is “a handshake, not a handout” and the youth project is aligned to this ethos.
Chair of PaP, Bill Huxley, commented: “We’re delighted to have Jess on board as our Youth Ambassador. Engaging youth is a logical next step and initiates a pipeline of supporters for the future. In addition to the project Jess is working on, we’re also looking at offering an apprenticeship. This year is shaping up to be a very exciting next chapter for People against Poverty.”
Jessica and PaP are keen to find representatives at schools, colleges and other organisations. If you would like to volunteer or to find out more about how else you may get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01225 718920.
Pictured above: Jessica Docherty, youth ambassador for People Against Poverty