The IIC 500 Purpose Challenge has been developed by Investors In Community (IIC) to give young people the opportunity to broaden and develop their skillsets. Through a series of events or development of a mini enterprise, students start to engage with mentors and businesses to formulate their challenge ideas.
From there seed funding of £50 is provided by businesses registered on the IIC platform. The young people are then helped and guided through a planning phase to kick start and shape their ideas further. Individuals or teams on the Purpose Challenge look to turn their £50 in to £500+ with the final total being donated to a charity or community project agreed on by the students and/or business.
The first to get involved in this project were The Door Openers, UNIHEADS Ambassadors from The Sheffield College. Shani Hammon, Employer Relationship Coordinator for the award-winning employer skills academies programme at The Sheffield College, said: “We were initially drawn to this project because this was an opportunity for the students to develop their skills and understand projects centred around social value. It was also an opportunity for the College to build relationships with local businesses and other community organisations.”
The Door Openers team were sponsored by Mantra Media, a Sheffield-based branding and marketing firm, who gave the team advice, guidance, and their seed money of £50. Not only did they receive the donation from Mantra Media to complete the project, they also received an array of donated prizes from some of the College’s employer skills academies sponsors and City Centre businesses; Kier Construction, City Taxis, James Hadley Fine Diamonds, Clarks Shoes, Vulgar Fashion, Thou Art as well as donations from The Silver Plate Restaurant, Revive Hair and Beauty Salon and Gregg Rodgers who provided them with a fantastic custom-made cake. Local businesses showed an overwhelming amount of support for this project which has proved to be an amazing opportunity for employers to network with the future workforce of tomorrow.
The team decided to raise funds for Sheffield Futures, specifically the charity’s program, Door 43, which is a health and wellbeing service that provides free support to young people aged 13-25 in Sheffield and the surrounding areas, helping them through counselling and providing a safe place.
When asked why they chose this charity, the students said: “We know that COVID has had a negative impact on mental health. As ambassadors for UNIHEADS, with a goal to support students and staff with mental health and wellbeing, we recognise how vital Door 43 is for our community. We hope that the money we raise will contribute to the amazing work that Door 43 are doing with young people in Sheffield, and that we will be able to see the positive impact that we have made first-hand.” Shani Hammon added: “Our students are ambassadors for our recently established UNIHEADS Mental Health and Wellbeing Academy. Being able to choose a charity that was relevant for their purpose was the perfect opportunity. Also, Door 43 at Sheffield Futures is a service that our students may need to access at some point in their lives. This opens up the opportunity for them to engage and become aware of the services out there.”
Over the past year, Covid has had a massive impact on mental health for a lot of people and the service provided at Door 43 is an incredible initiative to support young people going through this extreme change. The students have also shown a huge growth in confidence by pushing themselves out of their comfort zones and having this opportunity to innovate after such a long time of projects being put on hold. This challenge has also helped The Sheffield College achieve their goal of providing each of their students with some form of work-related activity and they are thrilled they have been able to combine this activity with giving back to the Sheffield community.
To raise their money, The Door Openers hosted six different events, which spanned across a week from 14th June – 18th June 2021. The events included were a quiz, an Auction of Promise, Sports Day, Create Your Monster, What’s In The Box? and a cake raffle. They saw an excellent turnout with the team achieving the fundraising target and Sheffield Futures are beyond grateful for their hard work! Sheffield Futures shared with us some of the ways the money raised will help local young people:
- £500 is the equivalent of providing a 1:1 counselling session for 25 young people to support them through more complex mental health challenges.
- £500 can provide a 1:1 ‘check-in’ activity for 50 young people from a qualified wellbeing practitioner.
- £480 can fund 8 wellbeing cafés for a group of young people. These are interactive groups led by wellbeing practitioners that enable peer to peer support and provide therapeutic discussions on key issues, such as self-care.
Regarding the success of the project, The Door Openers team said: “It is valuable to see how the money we have raised can help Sheffield Futures, especially because the work they do aligns with our passion for supporting young people with their mental health.”
The Sheffield College were delighted with the successful outcome. Shani Hammon said: “Raising money for Door 43 at Sheffield Futures has allowed the students to see how important mental health and wellbeing is for young people. This organisation was the reason we launched the UNIHEADS Mental Health and Wellbeing Academy so it’s wonderful to see our students getting involved in this support through exciting challenges such as these.
“But, without the generous £50 donation from employers such as Mantra Media, we would not be able to provide our students with this real-life work experience. This is crucial because it allows our students to put into practice what they learn in college. Our students have also been able to grow and develop their professional and personal skills and with business leaders like Johnny from Mantra Media, the students have been inspired to continue to develop these skills.
“Finally, we want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Investors In Community who have been a pleasure to work with, they were very supportive of us and our students and encouraged them to create and implement their own ideas into the project.”
The Sheffield College: https://www.sheffcol.ac.uk/
Mantra Media: https://mantrahq.com/
Sheffield Futures: https://app.investorsincommunity.org/charity/196/preview