25 years of inspirational young people - Janaury spotlight

To celebrate our 25th year of supporting amazing young people from the North East, we’re featuring an inspirational group of young people every month! To kick off our January group, we’ve got the brilliant young women from Key Group, Hand ‘n Hand.

Hand ‘n Hand won our 2016 Inspirational Group award after the girls managed to achieve fair trade status from the Fairtrade Foundation for their school, Hebburn Comprehensive.

The group achieved this through their inspiring Key projects which raised awareness of fair trade issues and products available with interactive talks and delicious tasting events. Through the sale of their own fair trade products, they also managed to raise £200 for charity and featured in The Gazette 3 times, inspiring countless numbers of other people to know more about Fairtrade.

We caught up with our inspirational group and asked them three simple questions:

  • What made you decide you wanted to focus on Fair Trade for your Key Project?

Megan: We wanted to look at Fair trade because we wanted to make a difference and try to bring awareness to the school on the issue of fair trade. We also wanted to make ourselves more of what fair trade is and how we can help.

Hannah: We wanted to help a wider selection of people who are less fortunate of us. We gathered a few ideas and we decided that fair trade would be the best option.

  • What new experiences and learning did you get from doing your key projects?

Abby: I gained a lot of self-confidence due to the tasks which have been put forward such as speaking to people in authority and decision making.

Megan: I learned more about fair trade and how it can affect people’s lives and that by buying fair trade it could actually help people. We were able to experience organising fundraisers and fairs to raise money and were able to learn what it is like working as a team and with others.

Lauren: All my Key Projects made me gain many skills such as confidence and talking to people in power and authority after speaking at many big events to the public and students from the school as well as having to organise these events by speaking to members of staff.

  • If you had to tell someone what The Key has given you, what would you say?

Abby: The Key have given me the opportunity to do something new and be able to help others in different circumstances. They have been able to give us the courage to proceed with the fair trade organisation.

Megan: The Key have given me a chance to do something that can actually make a difference. They inspired me to always get involved with new things and to continue raising awareness of fair trade.

Hannah: The Key have given me the confidence and experience to put myself out there and the ability to say I have helped others.

Lauren: The Key have given me an experience that will help me in the future, we have been able to set up events to raise awareness for an important cause that occurs in everyday life that not everyone knew about. It has helped me gain many skills that I will be able to use a lot in the future. Overall, it has given me a good experience of getting involved with everyone and actually being able to make a difference for a good cause.

  • If you had to give advice to your ever so slightly younger self what would it be?

Hannah: I would tell myself to be more confident and that your ideas are just as much important as others.

Lauren: I would tell myself that things may not be easy and may get stressful and hard, but if you push through that and persist in doing something that you care about or that you think is important, it will get you a long way. I would tell myself to always be confident when doing anything as it will always benefit you no matter the situation.

Abby: I would tell myself to be a lot more confident within decision making and be more independent when given tasks as I used to be afraid to share my opinion. I would tell myself to try something new which would help others in less fortunate situations.

  • If you had to give an inspirational message or quote to a young person what would it be?

Abby: Believe in yourself and never give up especially in the hard times.

Megan: I would say that you can always try to make a difference no matter how big or small it is, it still counts. You should always try to do something special and never give up on it.

Lauren: Never give up and never think you're not good enough to do something. Always push yourself to be the best you can be because at the end of the day that is what will get you somewhere in life. Don't give up doing something because things got hard, or they just won’t going your way, push through the negativity and carry on as you will succeed.

Hand 'n Hand are truly an inspiration group and never cease to amaze us with their brilliant ideas and thoughtfullness for others.