At the beginning and even in the middle of this week, I really wasn't sure how much I was going to have to write when it came time to write this week's blog... but I'm very happy (and relieved!!) to say that by the time today rolled around, enough has happened not only to warrant writing this, but also to make me feel as if things are really moving forward with my campaign :)
On Monday and Tuesday this week I was feeling a bit disheartened about finding volunteers... after my talk on the previous Wednesday I had had a postive response from a number of the students, but when I then tried to follow this up to arrange a meeting with all those interested, I didn't have many responses. In the end I decided to email the director of the course who had invited me to give the talk, and he very kindly sent an email around to the students reminding them to get in contact with me if they wanted to participate in the project. And suddenly, on Tuesday night, the emails started coming in! I went into the college on Wednsday to meet with two students who were interested in volunteering... they brought along a friend who also decided she wanted to sign up, and we had a really positive meeting, with loads of really creative and interesting ideas for the campaign. I was so impressed not only by the volunteering that these young people have previously, and are currently, involved with, but with their enthusiasm, motivation and fantastic ideas for the campaign. Anyone who claims that young people aren't motivated to engage with volunteer work or meaningful activities in their communities needs to come and spend five minutes with young people like this, to completely have their minds changed!! I always find it inspirational to meet such awesome and engaged young people, and that's what's so great about V, that it provides these kinds of opportunities for community action and engagement for young people :)
Following our meeting, the students and I liased with the college's student union, and managed to secure a whole day event at the college to kickstart a week where students and staff will be able to donate food. At the next meeting we're going to brainstorm ideas for the kind of things we can do to make the day as fun and engaging as possible, to encourage students at the college to get involved... we're thinking raffles, dressing up, and hopefully lots of silliness :p
And just to prove that word of mouth is a powerful tool for projects like this, I came away from my morning at the college with all my core team sign up sheets given out, plus at least 10 other students who want to get involved, and are coming to what will be the first weekly meeting next Wednesday morning. From feeling rather down about meeting my volunteer target, a few hours (and a LOT of emails!!) completely turned it around and I'm feeling very positive not only about having a fantastic team of young people to work with, but also that this is going to make it possible to reach our target... as one of my volunteers put it 'we can easily make that, we'll get more' !! Loving the positivity, this is what's going to make this happen!!
Also on Wednesday all the cardboard boxes I'd ordered arrived, and today I got my posters printed... they're looking great, and I feel all ready to go with collections!!
I've been reaching out to schools and churches this week to try and get them involved, and have had one church who are going to collect for us which is fantastic. I've made contact with 25 primary schools and 6 secondary schools in the area, and am waiting to hear back from them.
And the other thing that really made my week was having responses back both from the office of the local mayor, who may be getting involved with the campaign, and a personal response from my local MP, who said he would be 'delighted' to support the campaign and described it as worthwhile and socially useful. Which really just sums up for me what this is all about, and with the support of my volunteers I feel like we're now on track to be able to achieve the aims of the campaign. Things are moving forward, and I'm really excited to see what next week will hold for Team v Torquay! :)