There have been a number of reports over the last two years that have described Weymouth and Portland as a coastal community with a ‘poverty of aspiration’. Just last week the Dorset Echo pointed to a report that described the borough as a ‘social mobility coldspot’. We at #Weyforward believe that the people of Weymouth and Portland are a strong community that are rightfully proud of the place in which they live. After all, it’s stunningly beautiful what with the glorious Jurassic Coast stretching off towards the Purbecks, the nature reserves at Lodmoor, Radipole Lake and Lorton Meadows and the unique Chesil Beach linking the mainland with the fantastic cliff faces and climbs of Portland.
It is for this reason that we have set up the Weymouth and Portland Idea League. We want to develop and build on the strengths that we have as a community; progressing the economy and infrastructure for the benefit of all that live and visit this stunning part of the country.
Over the last 12 months we have been working on the Idea League in order to launch it in the local schools and colleges, bringing the community together to inspire the young people of Weymouth and Portland to produce solutions to our economic problems; to encourage them to start new businesses, both online and real (be they fully-fledged or micro); to develop mobile apps to sell online or as free social enterprises that support existing industries in the area; to create new and exciting events for a variety of tourists and locals; and to create community-based projects like art groups or beach cleans.
We have started to recruit mentors from the local, national and international community to help take these ideas and turn them into a reality. We are asking for no specific time commitments as we believe that the projects should have a team of relevant mentors so that the young person or people get a variety of different perspectives to move their project forward and so that mentors can drop in, out and back in again as time allows. This is a critical point; for volunteers have busy and demanding lives. Modern technology and social networks will enable this type of mentoring to be possible.
We are working with a number of national organisations such as Teach First, Youth Employment UK, Apps for Good, Enterprise Child and Startacus to develop the mentoring and safeguarding materials that will provide mentors with support and training to develop their skills. We are also closely working with Dorset County Council, the Dorset Councils Partnership, the Weymouth BID, the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce and the Chesil Education Partnership in order to develop the employability skills, resilience and the enterprise and creativity of our young people.
With your support we can make a massive difference.
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