March 2017 Breakfast Briefing

Date: 23 Mar 2017

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Joining the Action4Youth charity really did mean a leap of faith, its new CEO Jenifer Cameron told MK Business Leaders.

Soon after taking over at the organisation which improves the lives of young people across Milton Keynes and Bucks, Jenifer climbed a 30 metre telegraph pole at their Caldecotte activity centre -and jumped off onto a trapeze!  She told a recent MK Business Leaders Partnership breakfast briefing that colleagues at Action4Youth had also done it. “And we lived to tell the tale,” she said.

Jenifer and Development Director Nick Lund brought MK BLP members and guests up to date on Action4Youth’s ambitious plans for its Inspiration Programme for young people, and explained how business can play a role.

Action4Youth has 91 youth clubs providing safe environments for young people to meet, have fun and access organised activities. It runs the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme in MK and Bucks, is growing tomorrow’s young leaders and the UK’s top deliverer of the government’s National Citizen Service programme, with 350 young people taking part this year.

Action4Youth runs two outdoor activities centres, Longrigg in Cumbria and at Caldecotte Lake in Milton Keynes offering sailing, caving and climbing. Nick said: “We create opportunities for young people to have real challenging experiences, extend their horizons, see things from a different perspective and show them what they can achieve.”

The charity, which has been operating for 71 years, is now looking to the future and conversations were taking place with various people including the business community, said Jenifer.

“The message we get is that business finds it hard to engage with young people, to get them to understand what business does. So we are bringing together different sectors to develop something that will help young people better engage with society,” said Jenifer.

“The Inspiration Programme lets young people see the world, see what is out there and their part in it,” she said. The course looks at business; the military; faith; police and justice; arts and culture; and health and well-being. Completing it will go on a young person’s CV or personal statement.

“Young people will get accredited skills in leadership, team building and communicating while gaining self-confidence and understanding themselves,” Jenifer said. “And we want business involved so that young people can meet and engage with real entrepreneurs who have done well in life and can inspire them with their experiences.”

She said involvement could be as little as four hours once or twice a year. “Bring your colleagues along or take young people into your workplace.” And there are other ways business can support Action4Youth including sponsorship and naming rights, and the charity can host company team-building and adventure experiences.

“We are a charity but we act like a business and our product is the next generation, our investment in the future,” she said.

Dr Philip Smith MBE, chair MK Business Leaders Partnership said: “This has been an interesting look at a very worthwhile organisation that is doing valuable work among our young people, and businesses who get involved will find it rewarding in many ways.”

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The MK BLP Breakfast Briefing took place in March 2017


Notes for editors:

  • Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership (MKBLP) is a group of individuals from a broad cross section of backgrounds who utilise their skills and knowledge for the benefit of the wider business community.
  • As part of the vision for the continued growth and development of MK we are focusing on key areas identified as fundamental to the success of the city including: Transport and Communications; Smart Cities and High Technology; Sport, health and wellbeing; Economic Development; Education, Skills and Apprenticeships
  • As an independent organisation, funded through member subscriptions, MKBLP works to identify and develop interests that are specific to the business community in the city. The aim is to influence change as MK develops and grows by utilising proven senior leadership qualities from across the membership.  Member feedback provides a catalyst to enable us to work with other partners to help business thrive and prosper.


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