Trevor Nelson shows the true meaning of ‘soul’

On 25th October teenagers from one of the most disadvantaged areas in London will have the chance to train with leading DJ and presenter, Trevor Nelson, as part of the CSV Make a Difference Day campaign.

Some of the other 4,000 UK projects taking place across the UK include repairing racial tensions in Birmingham, fighting alienation of Muslim women, bringing football to blind children and guerrilla gardening.

CSV Make a Difference Day, which is supported by Barclays Communities Investment Programme, is the UK’s volunteering campaign for improving lives in just one day. A record breaking 115,000 people are expected to take part throughout the UK giving time instead of money to help others.

Nelson will be giving his time for free to inspire students from the Media for All project in Lewisham. Media for All is a charity that provides radio and TV training for young disadvantaged people aged 13-20 years old. They also provide a wide range of work experience in the industry to give young people opportunities to make programmes of their choice and interest.

“The broadcasting industry is notoriously difficult to get into if you have no or little experience, “said Nelson. “This is why projects like this are worth their weight in gold. It’s a privilege to be part of the CSV Make a Difference Day campaign and to be able to give these young kids a helping hand.”

Nelson has volunteered for many years. His community work earned him an MBE in 2002.

As part of CSV Make a Difference Day the young students are also revamping an old pub at the same site, turning it into an internet and youth bar. The space will be turned into a bright contemporary area run by young people for young people. They have received support from Jamie Hewlett from the Gorillaz who will be donating some of his award-winning visuals and art work, and wall painting, wallpaper and furniture will be donated from contemporary designers, including Jimmy Turrell and Showroom Dummies.

This event is part of a week of activities that lead up to the main day on Saturday 28th October. Just some of the other activities that will be taking place across the UK include:

* Teenagers tackle racial tension in Birmingham – Wednesday 25th October *

On the anniversary of last year’s disturbances in Birmingham a group of Afro-Caribbean and Asian teenagers are taking action to improve race relations.

As part of the CSV Make a Difference Day campaign, the teenagers will begin renovating each others community centres. They’ve enlisted the help of staff from Barclays and the CSV Action Desk at BBC WM. In total around 60 volunteers will be involved in improving facilities, including the improvement of computer facilities.

“We want to show that this area isn’t all about guns and gangs, that real unity does exist. We want to show through our actions that this is what our community is really about,” said Shaid Khan from the Lozells Recreation Group. “The project gives the young people a chance to put something back into the local community which helps them feel more part of it and take better pride in it.”

* Muslim women fight alienation – Tuesday 24th October *

This Eid young Muslim women will be sending gift boxes to other young Muslim women in prison to help break isolation and ease depression. The gift boxes will include a CD donated by Cat Stevens, a copy of the Qur’an and information on where to get support after their release.

Last year the Muslim Youth Helpline won a CSV Make a Difference Day Award for their work with young Muslim men in prison.

“Young Muslim women can be very naïve and are often pushed into situations where they don’t know what they are getting themselves into,” says Faridha from the Muslim Youth Helpline. “Many women prisoners are alienated by their families who believe they have brought shame to their communities so they might not have any visitors and little support.”

* Guerilla gardening – Thursday 26th October *

You may not be aware but there is a growing army of green-fingered activists fighting filth in public spaces with flowers and forks. Known as Guerilla Gardeners, the cells work under cover of darkness, digging, planting and watering, turning wasteland into community gardens. There are cells working around the world, from New York to the Shetland Islands. Now one of the south London cells is joining up with CSV Make a Difference Day to encourage even more people to take direct action in their local communities.

The ‘dig’ will take place on 26th October in a secret location in south London. They’ll be turning a particularly forlorn planter into bright and blooming flower bed

“We hope to delight passers by putting a bit of colour and structure back into public gardens and planters”, said Tim Sarson, who’s organising the dig. “We also want to generally to improve the dire aesthetics of the uncared for and neglected open spaces in our cities.”

* Premier football for blind children – Saturday 28th October *

Top premiership clubs Arsenal, Spurs and Charlton will be giving blind and visually impaired children the chance to become football stars for CSV Make a Difference Day.

As part of the campaign, the three teams will be taking part in a mini tournament at Tottenham’s home ground, White Hart Lane. Volunteer coaches, many of whom have visual impairments and other disabilities themselves will be training and motivating the children who may not have otherwise had access to sport.

CSV Make a Difference Day is an opportunity for people to try out volunteering for just one day, to see if they like it.

Claire Ghoussoub, CSV Make a Difference Day campaign Manager explains: “Around 55% of those people who took part in CSV Make a Difference Day last year were new to volunteering, and 63% of those have gone on to volunteer since. (1) This shows how the campaign provides an excellent taster opportunity for new volunteers and provides a stepping stone into more sustained volunteering.”

But despite record breaking figures expected this year, the campaign organisers feel there is still much more work to do.

“Research shows that there are around 11 million people waiting to be asked to volunteer. (2) Many are uncertain what to do, or are worried about having to make a big time commitment. CSV Make a Difference Day is a way of trying volunteering without commitment and finding out what suits you best.”

CSV Make a Difference Day is on Saturday 28th October, with activities taking place a week either side.

If you would like to make a difference in your community visit www.csv.org.uk/difference or call FREEPHONE 0800 284533. Activities call be registered up until 4th November.

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Name: Esther Freeman