New movement launched to help Bedford’s younger generations

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Bedford Giving logo

A brand new movement, Bedford Giving, which aims to tackle what Bedfordians feel are the biggest challenges facing young people in Bedford Borough, is being launched this week and the Bedford Independent is backing it every step of the way.

500 local adults and young people were asked what they thought were the biggest challenges facing Bedford, with the needs of young people identified as the biggest concern.

More specifically, an urgent need for career mentors, people who can act as guides and role models, was called out as a top priority.

As a result, Bedford Giving has been formed, thanks to the collaboration of eight founding partners who have committed to increasing opportunities for young people in Bedford by delivering new initiatives and bringing people and experiences together.

“We have listened to the community, and more importantly the voices of the young people of the borough,” explained Bedford Giving Chair Kevin Bolt.

“As a result, we are launching the Bedford Giving ‘movement’ with three fantastic programmes to help young people, especially those facing disadvantage, to develop their ambitions in order to thrive in the future.”

The first of these programmes is a volunteer mentoring programme for 13 to 15-year-olds which will help them raise their career aspirations.

For this, the ethos behind Bedford Giving, really comes into play, as people from all walks of life are being asked to share their knowledge and give something back to the community.

“You don’t have to be at the top of your profession, you could be starting out, but you will understand what you need to do to get a good start in life after school; be that through getting into work or finding a training or learning opportunity,” says Kevin.

“Or you might be someone at the top of their game, who wants to share their knowledge and give something back to the community.”

The volunteer mentoring programme needs experienced people, at any stage of their career, to help develop young people unsure of their options, who might otherwise slip through the cracks and end up not in education, employment, or training.

Kevin asks, “Perhaps you would like to give something back by helping a young person find their way? Maybe you were helped when you were younger, and so want to do the same?”

The Bedford Independent is encouraging its readers to find out more about the aims of the movement and consider signing up to become a mentor. You can do this at BedfordGiving.org.uk.

The movement itself is not designed to be one-sided, either. “One of the often-overlooked elements is the benefit to the mentor themselves,” added Kevin.

“It is such a rewarding thing to do, and you only need to commit to one meeting a month. It can also help your own development, by enhancing your leadership and interpersonal skills.”

Founding members

Bedford Giving is being built on a foundation of practising what it preaches, with several high-profile organisations founding the movement and helping to give back to Bedford by helping to improve the lives of children and young people in Bedford.

Hosted by The Harpur Trust, all funds provided to Bedford Giving go directly towards helping young people, and not running costs.

The other founding partners are bpha, Lousada PLC, The Connolly Foundation, The Gale Family Charitable Trust, The Panacea Society, St John’s Hospital Trust and The Worshipful Company of Founders.

The Bedford Independent is also proud to be supporting Bedford Giving as their media partner, not only helping to make sure as many people as possible are aware of the movement, but also providing mentoring to young people to help them develop communication and writing skills, and supporting any that may have an interest in journalism.

In a joint statement, Bedford Independent founders Julia Course-Crofts, Paul Hutchinson and Erica Roffe said: “Bedford Giving matches brilliantly with one of the Bedford Independent‘s key missions, which is to support young people in our local area, and we’re very proud to be a part of this movement.

“Each year we are joined by a number of young journalists and writers who gain the vital experience needed to develop successful careers in media, partnering with Bedford Giving will help us to support even more young people making sure voices from all backgrounds are heard.”

Bedford Independent media partner for Bedford Giving
The Bedford Independent is proud to support Bedford Giving as their media partner

As the programme develops, Bedford Giving will seek to expand the network to include other partners and funders and to seek further financial and practical support from other businesses, trusts and individuals that share an ambition to support young people in Bedford.

Bedford Giving is the charity partner of the Bedford Independent