EPIC Youth and Beatfreeks form exciting new partnership

EPIC Youth and Beatfreeks form exciting new partnership

An exciting new partnership has formed between two Birmingham organisations that offer young people opportunities to change their own futures.

EPIC Youth, part of the Martin James Foundation, recently donated a sum of money to Beatfreeks project Fuel. The partnership has a natural synergy with both organisations currently supporting young people through grants, mentoring and support.

Beatfreeks, an engagement and insight agency, connects young people to brands, funding and government. Fuel is a pot of money for those aged 18-30 in the Beatfreeks Community to use to react to important social issues. Eligible young people can apply for up to £500 by sending a WhatsApp voice note answering a number of questions. A panel of young people who are paid to sit on the panel for one year, decide whether or not the applicants are successful. Decisions are made within 48 hours and the money will land in their account to kickstart their idea within 2 weeks.

Amy Clamp, General Manager at Beatfreeks says:

“We are super excited to be working with EPIC Youth to give Fuel funding a further life after 2 years of great success and obvious need. Firstly, because our organisations have such similar aims and values. But also because we feel that by working together, we can grow the impact of our work for young people by offering more opportunities to access micro campaign funding.”

Fuel aims to break down the barriers young people often face when applying for funding for social action work. Both organisations are excited about the prospect of young people who are funded by Fuel, turning their ideas into companies with EPIC Youth.

EPIC Youth provides those aged 14-25 with a business idea, with grants, mentoring and business coaching. The funding to Fuel will allow young people to trial ideas with lower stakes, and the partnership provides a natural pathway for development.

Lindsey Hyde UK Programme Manager for EPIC Youth says:

“EPIC Youth is delighted to be partnering with Beatfreeks. We have such similar visions and we look forward to developing our relationship. Together we’ll be able to help one another reach more young people, whether it’s through Fuel funding or through business development with EPIC Youth. We’re two very passionate organizations and we are excited to see what the future holds for us.”

MJN celebrates entrepreneurs week with EPIC Youth

MJN celebrates entrepreneurs week with EPIC Youth

This week, Martin James Foundation and EPIC Youth are celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020. Hear the stories about our EPIC Entrepreneurs Dion and Rennae who have been working with EPIC Youth over the last few months.

 

Dion Fanthom – Mindful Monday

 

Dion joined EPIC Youth in June 2020. Dion had already launched her business the previous year however required some further support to develop and grow her business. With the help of EPIC Youth we were able to trademark the name ‘Mindful Monday’ as well as providing intensive business and financial support.

The inspiration for Mindful Monday came about from bad experiences within the workplace, when it came to employee mental health and wellbeing. I had openly spoken about my mental health challenges and encouraged my colleagues to do the same but the support was non-existent. It seemed at the time that managers didn’t really care about or know how to approach the topic of mental health in the workplace.

I saw my colleagues burn out, experienced terrible anxiety myself and as a result ended up dreading going to work on a Monday morning. My one wish was to simply have a more mindful Monday, hence the name for my own business came to life.

When I left these toxic working environments I was filled with frustration towards my prior managers, I was left damaged by the poor experiences myself and my colleagues had been through. It was only after reflecting I started to think maybe it’s not their fault, maybe it’s not always about being ignorant, maybe it is about being uneducated. That is why I created Mindful Monday, to be proactive when it came to mental health. To create understanding and educated environments across all industries for individuals to thrive, completely shame-free.

 

Since launching at the beginning of the year we have held fully booked events, launched a project to give over 100 people a free box of positivity at the beginning of lockdown, created online content, and sold a range of products via our website.

Some of these products include mugs, coasters, pocket mirrors, and as we approach December we have created an alternative advent calendar that provides self-care and mindful prompts each day in order to inspire people to be kind to their mind over the festive period.

When it comes to Mindful Monday, success to me is achieved every day. With each message or order that comes through I get a sense of success as I know we are helping those who want to get a better understanding of mental health. Long term success would be seeing a real change when it comes to mental health in all industries and environments, normalised conversations and support systems, individuals thriving in work with constant support for employees mental health.

I have very ambitious plans for Mindful Monday and I am confident I will achieve them. There is a need for an organisation like the one me and my community have created, this pandemic has shown there is a clear demand for more organic mental health support and I am determined to continue providing that for as long as it is needed.

Rennae Smith – Tressamore

Rennae joined EPIC Youth in January 2020, she had a passion for hair extensions and wanted some support to launch her own business as she was unsure of how to do it on her own. Rennae received intensive support from the Martin James Network which included business and financial help. Some of the ways in which the network was able to help was by guiding her through trademarking her name, registering her business, helping her to design logos and branding as well as ongoing pastoral support.

When Rennae was asked why she chose to start a hair extension business she replied ‘ I chose to start a hair business as it was something I’m passionate about as I’ve always been doing hair from a little girl to make extra money on the side. And it’s a skill that I have naturally become very good at. I am very fond of the hair industry and origin; it’s something that I find really interesting’. 

Due to COVID-19 it has unfortunately delayed the launch of Tressamore as products have become unavailable or hard to get hold of but Rennae is still hoping to launch online after Christmas.

‘I’m excited to finally launch so everyone can see the amazing quality hair extensions I have in store as I have so many ideas up my sleeve. I am hoping to Launch after Christmas’  

Rennae has a clear idea of what being successful means to her. ‘What drives me is the idea of being successful and meeting my end goal that I have worked so hard for. Coming up with new creative ideas to improve business & just becoming the best version of myself and becoming a role model to my siblings.’

Lindsey Hyde – EPIC Youth: I am so excited for Rennae to launch her hair business, she has been committed driven and passionate to get this point. I am sure the business will be a massive success and I can’t wait to her see her launch and to finally start selling her products. Good luck Rennae!!

Please look out for more information on where you can purchase some of Rennae’s amazing products…………

 

Find out more about Martin James Foundation and our EPIC Youth scheme by clicking here 

Mayor of West Midlands officially opens ‘CoLAB’ – a creative incubation centre to nurture young talent

Mayor of West Midlands officially opens ‘CoLAB’ – a creative incubation centre to nurture young talent

On Wednesday 6th October, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlandsvisited the Martin James Network offices to officially open CoLAB – a creative incubation centre to mentor and support entrepreneurial talent across the Midlands. 

In December, Martin James Network launched EPIC Youth – a charitable project to help young people who have experienced adversity by providing them with pathways to business and entrepreneurial success. Fast forward to today, where it’s opened its doors to CoLAB to further enable the ongoing nurturing and mentoring of those individuals who form part of the project. 

The launch of CoLAB will provide a dedicated safe space to cultivate entrepreneurial mindsets within the Martin James Network, for those involved in EPIC Youth to utilise to further their business, as well as external people such as local schools, local community groups and other business minded groups in the Birmingham area. 

Equipped with all the tools and inspiration that people need to get creative and turn ideas into opportunitiesCoLAB will allow individuals to work collaboratively on projects, express themselves candidly, and pursue new ideas. And what’s more, a series of engaging taster workshops will be hosted over the upcoming months to help people develop skills in disciplines ranging from photography and cinematography to coding and virtual reality. 

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We know young people are most at risk from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, and we must do all we can to support them. 

“The work of The Martin James Network and Epic Youth is a brilliant example of the kind of help that is already available to young people, including mentoring, business advice, and financial support. 

“Their new CoLAB will help to build on this great work, and I was honoured to be asked to officially open the new facility.” 

The Martin James Network strongly believe in supporting young people who have experienced adversity. Its mission is to unlock hidden potential through practices and products which challenge and empower communities to think, act and behave differently, in the pursuit of positive lasting outcomes for everybody. 

Jim Cockburnexecutive chairman at The Martin James Network, comments: “We’re hugely excited about the potential of CoLAB and we can’t wait to see the impact it has for anyone using itNot only will it serve as a creative hub for training and stimulate innovation, it will boost wellbeing by giving our communities the opportunity to get creative, learn new skills and express themselves. 

CoLAB will provide essential hands on experience and specialist skills thanks to the modern-day technology available – we can’t wait to watch individuals grow and prosper! 

Martin James Network founder marks National Poetry Day with city-wide graffiti trail, inspired by his experiences of Covid

Martin James Network founder marks National Poetry Day with city-wide graffiti trail, inspired by his experiences of Covid

To mark National Poetry Day (Thursday 1st October), Birmingham poet – Basic Existential Boy – has installed a city-wide graffiti trail, inspired by his own experiences of Covid.

Basic Existential Boy, or Jim Cockburn as he’s also known, launched his collection of Covid-19 poetry last month after falling ill with symptoms of the virus back in February.

Now, as we approach National Poetry Day, Jim hopes to inspire others and share his love of the written word with this thought provoking ‘clean graffiti’ art trail.

The trail aims to highlight the importance of art and poetry at times like these but also analyse how the pandemic has radically altered our society, rendering everyday life virtually unrecognisable overnight.

Showcasing excerpts of the poet’s work, the graffiti can be found in a number of locations throughout Birmingham such as Moseley, Harborne, Digbeth, Broad Street and New Street, as well as Moor Street and Snow Hill.

Speaking about his Covid poetry collection, Jim says: “Lockdown created time and space for me to reflect and writing this poetry has been a cathartic experience, helping me to deal with the mixed emotions the pandemic has brought about.

“The Coronavirus has disrupted every part of our lives in profound ways and no one has been immune from the effects. Within the pages of the collection, I have tried to capture some of these momentous times, good and bad.

Available to purchase on Amazon, Jim’s collection – called Covid Spring – features 17 poems reflecting on the world we’ve come to witness during the pandemic.

All proceeds from the collection go to EPIC Youth – a project set up by the Martin James Foundation to help disadvantaged young people with business and entrepreneurial success.

For more information visit www.basicexistentialboy.com or to purchase the Covid Spring anthology, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/Covid-Spring-Basic-Existential-Boy/dp/1527268446.

Follow @BasicExistentialBoy on Instagram and use the hashtag #BEBTHEPOET if you spot his work across the city.