Young people in Rochdale and Leeds are being offered the opportunity to breathe new life into the town centre, as an innovative volunteering programme heads to the town.
Retail Ready People (RRP), which is run by Retail Trust and youth volunteering charity vInspired, challenges young people to turn disused spaces into pop-up shops for their communities. The scheme is designed to give young people who would like to or who are already working in retail an opportunity to build new skills in business and retail, whilst doing something unique, fun and positive at the same time.
Volunteers needn’t have any previous retail or business experience, but should be keen to learn some new things and motivated to make a positive difference to their community. They will need to give 14 hours a week, over 14 weeks, and will receive training and support, along with opportunities to try out new roles in retail and use their creativity. The programme will welcome a range of young people with different backgrounds and motivations.
Previous shops have included a screen printing T-shirt shop in Brighton, and a gift store selling local crafts in Enfield, London. The idea behind the pop-up shops is to create a buzz and excitement in the local area, and offer something new to local residents.
Ellen, 24 from Enfield, London, took part in the programme in 2012 and would recommend the programme to other young people, “I was motivated to take part for my son, to show him I can be a strong single mum and give him a good future.”
You can watch videos summarising the projects in both Enfield and Brighton below:
Previous Retail Ready People volunteers are reaping the benefits of their involvement, with some securing interviews post-programme.
Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, said: “Retail Ready People is leading a quiet revolution to help young people get a stake on the high street and that’s why I approached them to make Rochdale’s case to pilot this fantastic scheme.
“I want to see young people have a bigger say in shaping the future of our high street and this is a great opportunity for local people to get the training, support and experience to turn their business ideas into reality. I’ve always said we have a lot of talented young people in the borough and they are crying out for a chance like this to show what they’re capable of.”
Young people who would like to apply to be part of the project, which will run from March to June 2013, should email firstname.lastname@example.org
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