Posted in News

Hope For Justice and Police Work Together

A charity called Hope for Justice has worked hard with the police and courts to jail 8 people from a gang who exploited 400 victims trafficked from Poland. This gang was part of the largest modern slavery ring in the UK and after three years, it is finally being disconnected. Shockingly, some of the victims were reportedly working for less than 50p a day. Absolutely disgusting.

The gang had recruited it’s victims through trickery. Many of them were aged between 17-60 and they had hopes of coming to Britain to gain employment, and instead were faced with squalor housing. They worked in disgusting conditions that had rat infestations and barely made enough to eat.

Hope for Justice is an anti-slavery charity who actually identified some of the victims of the case and alerted the police. The charity has multiple drop in centres and nearly 50 of the victims cam forward to these centres to get help after they heard of the arrests and convictions of the gang members.

Ben Cooley who is the executive of Hope for Justice said: “While the victims can never get back what the traffickers took from them – financially, emotionally, physically and psychologically – we hope that the knowledge their abusers are now behind bars will help them as they move on with their lives.”

The charity has supported those who seeked help from them as much as they can and they are now in employment including one who was able to eventually bring his partner over with him to live in the UK.

In this day and age it is really good to see that charities who are working hard with the police and other emergency services are being recognised for their efforts. I am super proud of the Hope for Justice team and here is to many more years of good, hard work!

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Posted in Ways To Fundraise!

Come Dine With Me

Bake sales are a really great way to fundraise but they can be hard to reel everyone in and get everyone to really listen to you about what your charity stands for. When you have a great group of friends or a tight-knit family, it can be a good idea to organise a Come Dine With Me where family and friends can come over to your house and you can cook them dinner for a fee.

Your dinner event can be as basic or as extravagant as you wish, remember at the end of the day you are the only person who knows the vibes of your family and friends and you will know the best entertainment to provide. Some good options can be playing guitar or singing if you want to provide entertainment, or maybe even a movie if that works for you!

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A really great way to make your event special is to do a three course meal. This may sound terrifying but making dinners can be so easy and you don’t need to stress about it. For example, a super quick desert can be some mashed up banana with cream, some amaretti biscuits and chocolate shaved into the top. Voila! Easy! Making the event special means that more people may be interested in coming and if you do it on a Friday night or on the weekend then those who have had a long week at work might be excited because they can relax and they don’t have to cook!

The not cooking for guests is a really good angle to go down as many people hate cooking! Do not forget to plan what you are going to serve and buy all of your ingredients early. You could also run a cheese and wine night or do some nibbles with a movie.

I suggest £20-£25 is a good price to ask people to donate. This means that with 4 guests you would have already raised about £100 and that’s amazing! Be careful to make sure that what you are serving is worth the price though, with you still raising a lot of money.

Make sure to buy some decorations, maybe some party favours and enjoy your dinner party!

Posted in RAG Resources

What is a DBS Check?

When taking part in charity work, or volunteering abroad, sometimes (and normally you should always have to undergo a DBS check!). DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service. This checks to see if you have a criminal record or are a threat to any children that you may be working with. Sometimes DBS checks are also known as CRB checks (Criminal Records Bureau).

Often these checks can seem annoying for many people and they do not see the necessity of having to undergo one. Especially since often the checks do not excuse any criminal records which aren’t to do with children or similar, yet still prevent people from working around them.

Why are DBS Checks Important?

DBS checks are important because everyone who takes part in charity work or who volunteers with children or vulnerable young people need to be trusted. If you cannot be trusted then obviously you cannot be allowed around children.

I personally have taken part in trips which I believe I should have been checked for. I was left alone with children for periods of time where they could have been vulnerable if I was dangerous. The company I travelled with said that they didn’t believe the checks were necessary as the volunteers would always be around adults and the children would be too, but I don’t think this was true as I was definitely alone at times. I think it is so, so important for charities and companies to check all their volunteers and if you sign up to one where they don’t, do what I did and request why.

I think RAGs especially should be trying to advocate for good checks for their challenges and trips they offer. Campaign for change if you think it is necessary!

Posted in RAG Resources

What is RAG?

RAG stands for Raising and Giving and is a student society run within the UK and Northern Ireland. RAGs can come under a variety of names including RADs and Karnivals etc. For the purpose of this article, I am going to use the term RAG as it is what I am most comfortable with due to my past RAG experience. RAG has a huge history and it has been running for many years, collectively raising bucket loads of money for charity! The purpose of RAGs is to raise money and offer opportunities for students to get involved with fundraising!

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According to online sources, the Oxford English Dictionary states that the origin of the word “Rag” is from “An act of ragging; esp. an extensive display of noisy disorderly conduct, carried on in defiance of authority or discipline” and offers citation from 1864 explaining this word was known long before that! There are different theories about where RAG came from, some even believed it derived from the act of collecting rags to clothe the poor in the Victorian era by students!

RAGs do many things in order to aid student’s unions and other students to get involved with fundraising, this includes having close partnerships with charities and often providing the chance to travel overseas by fundraising! ChooseaChallenge.com is a common partner used by many RAGs for their excellent overseas trips which I had the pleasure to embark on!

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Many RAGs have a “RAG Week” at their university. This week is there to give RAGs the chance to show off about the work they are doing, recruit for their overseas treks and at-home marathons, and also get more members to join their society, as well as of course, FUNDRAISING! In these weeks we tried to get many people to join our society and played fun small games with passers by in our students’ union!

Another thing that RAGs are often involved with are RAG Mags! These are fun magazines which RAGs publish including the treks that are being offered throughout the year, donation and volunteering opportunities and information about what the RAG is working on that year. There is some conflict over who had the first ever RAG mag, but it is thought they have been around since at least 1923! This is an amazing piece of history for student fundraisers to carry with them!

The challenges I mentioned above are often run by RAGs in partnership with chosen charities after they have gone through a due dilligence process, testing their ethical ways and seeing if they are safe. The students are recruited by the RAG and they fundraise a particular total in order to travel across seas to amazing places such as Machu Piccu, China and the Atlas Mountains. Often, the students raise the money and half will go to the charity and half towards the expenses of the trip. RAGs often also run marathons and other simple fundraising events such as bake sales.

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There are other challenges which RAGs are famously known for and these include “jailbreaks”. These events come in many forms and often involve scenarios such as races where students have to travel as far as they can without spending any money, get dropped of in mystery locations, or try to swap with other universities for a day by travelling with no money! These events can be super successful and people sponsor the students to do them by donating money.

Of course, RAGs are known as being gurus of fundraising (hence my charity guru title!) and they know how to get a lot of money raised! One way that RAGs tend to fundraise is by doing “raids”. “Raids” are street collections, involving RAG students taking to the streets and asking for donations to go in their buckets. They often come prepared in fancy dress and they are really fun events! “Megaraids” are very similar to these “raids” except they are often longer and bigger with students taking over London or fundraising over an entire week on the streets.

RAG is an awesome thing to be involved with and when I was at university it was the one thing that filled me with passion. I embarked on overseas challenges and learned tons about fundraising! If you want to join your university RAG, why not go and see your activities/societies department and ask the best way for you to get involved!?