So I made the effort to attend the Youth Funding Network get-together tonight, having been invited to previous occurences by my bro Matt Kepple and not being able to make it due to work commitments.

After the nightmare finding the venue and getting wet in the rain (I am not an East girl) I was pleasantly surprised to enter a venue that looked a lot like someone’s living room – full of bean bags, fairy lights, arts and crafts and culinary delights. Nice! Big up the woman behind the Samosas.

Handcrafted Heaven.

So the event format is that 3 projects are chosen prior to the night and get to pitch to the audience on the eve. All attendees pay a £10 entry fee and get an equivilant cash value voucher. Once all 3 projects have pitched, audience members then chose to donate their vouchers (and more if they wish) to which ever project(s) they feel are worthy of support.

Once the giving formalities were over (not that they were at all formal, more like a sexually charged auction (with no sex) thanks to Matt’s compare style), we were entertained with Brazilian beats, acoustic guitar and some serious spoken word (BIGBIGBIG).

Lyric of the night: ‘I miss you like Dre misses NWA’.

Rum and Ginger was the tipple of the night. Not for me obvs, it’s still Lent.

Anyways, it was a great eve, big ups to the whole YTFN team, and as ever, it was just wonderful to be immersed in the energy created by a room full of socially-conscious-passionate-about positive-change people. Vibes galore.

Great concept. Great formula. Great event! Really looking forward to the next one. Date has not yet been announced but in the meantime join the YTFN mailing list to get in the loop. I’ll see ya’ll there. x

Engaging Young People In Social Action…

Firstly happy Social Enterprise Day! To all current and future social entrepreneurs. It is a fantastic privilege to be able to contribute simultaneously to lasting social change and the economic well-being of ourselves and the world at large. I hope you are all enjoying and making the most of the fantastic week that is Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).

Last week I had the luxury of having a hot chocolate accompanied by a rather thought – provoking discussion with two very dear friends and fellow social entrepreneurs, Matt Kepple and Duane Melius.

Sharing stories and frustrations with these two fantastic young men is something I’ve had the pleasure of doing for a while, but this time it was different. In amongst our usual creative and visually aided ramblings and disagreements about the parameters of youth, engagement, social change, the economy, politics and the plight of the social entrepreneur, we stumbled across something rather beautiful, an Idea.

Well to be honest first we argued quite a bit and drew lots of random diagrams, but that’s normal. And then we came up with a cool question which is also pretty normal (we are a pretty cool questioning bunch) :

How could we combine our resources, experience and contacts to create a broader movement of improvement within youth engagement for social change?

And then the Idea came. Ragged, unformed, imposing and dangerous. It stormed upon us bit by bit until we got so dizzy with excitement we were quite frankly shouting the Coffee Shop down. We actually scared the lady sitting next to us away (but the guys wouldn’t let you know that!) We played with the Idea, pulled at it, questioned upon questioned it (and each other) and ‘thought-showered’ on it until we’d rubbed it up the wrong way so much that we could actually see our faces in the darn thing. Poor Idea.

So, here it is:

We now are creating a practitioners model for engaging young people in social change. One that acknowledges the variety and homogeneity within youth, the spectrum of ‘engagement’ and the tension between adult leadership and youth empowerment.

What do you think?

As the sunsets on Social Enterprise Day, please join the discussion around how we engage this next generation.

Please check out Matt’s blogpost on this same topic here

❤ Naomi Jane


Twitter: #SocEnt #GEW


Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.
– Plautus