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The relationship between students and Charity shops

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    Hello! For one of my university modules (Changemakers) , I have been trying to find ways to improve the relationship between students and charity shops. Please find below my proposed social venture. I would appreciate your feedback greatly. Thank you!
    ................................ ................
    Wider social issues:
    What issues have you considered before you selected the ‘Social problem’ that you are addressing in this social venture canvas? I originally started looking at littering and waste management.
    How did you select this problem out of all the possible problems you could address? I had previously looked at this topic in High School and had lots of background knowledge on it so I thought this would make a good start for a venture canvas.
    What voluntary experience have you used to explore these issues? In High School, I was a member of “Croydon Youth Parliament”, which worked on improving the reputation of young people through tidying up the town i.e. picking up litter and creating public art.

    Research methodologies:
    What strategies did you use to gain background information on the social problem and the beneficiaries? I used various websites, journal articles and case studies to find out about the damage littering causes.
    What is your evidence that there is a social problem, and how it is experienced by the beneficiaries? Anywhere you go in England, you see a lot of rubbish on the floor, especially where I’m from in London. England is one of the countries with the most street litter. I informally spoke to various people about how littering affects their lives and how they try to overcome the issue.

    Social Problem:
    What is the core social problem that this social venture canvas is addressing? The lack of a relationship between students and charity shops
    How do you know that you are addressing the right parts of the problems? Everyone I have spoken to agrees with me and I have found reliable journal articles and case studies that focus on it.
    What evidence is there that the problem exists? (literature review) I looked at journal articles that explore how charity shops and people can benefit from each other. There are journal articles detailing how charity shops are beneficial to towns and how of late, not many people visit them.
    How do your beneficiaries experience this problem? (research data) Because they aren’t aware of the benefits of charity shops, beneficiaries struggle to gain relevant experience for part time jobs, they don’t know that charity shops can help them to build confidence or save them money and they aren’t aware that volunteering at charity shops are a way of giving back to their community.

    Root Causes:
    What environmental and social factors contribute to this social problem existing? A lack of knowledge and understanding. Sometimes its due to an inherited ignorance. Or they haven’t been educated that recycling their belongings is just as important as recycling their rubbish.
    What behaviours and norms allow the problem to persist? Peer pressure/ pressure to shop at well known shops and have branded belongings. The belief that having second hand belongings make you poor.
    Express the complexity of the underlying issues. People are unaware of the benefits interacting with a charity shop can have in their lives. Charity shops can be beneficial to students in all kinds of situations. They can help students find part time jobs by giving them a chance to gain retail experience, they can be a way of allowing students to give back to the community, they can help those who need to gain confidence and get out more; as well as the obvious benefits of saving money. So many people are unaware of these benefits so struggle along when volunteering or buying from a charity shop is so easy. Without being aware of these things, students struggle to find solutions to their particular issue.

    Who would benefit from your venture? Students and charities i.e. Cancer Research and British Heart Foundation
    How have they expressed their experiences & needs to you? When speaking to students, I asked them about the issues they face as students and the biggest issue they have relates to money, whether it be not being able to find jobs while studying or being low on money all the time.
    What strategies do they already use to cope (what would they do if you didn’t intervene)? Many have applied to online student job websites but nothing ever comes of it; mostly because they don’t have the experience that employers are looking for.
    What assets & capabilities have they that you can build on? A willingness to try new things that could end up being their solution.

    What do you propose to do to address the root causes of the social problem? Have an awareness day
    What are you actually going to do to solve the social problem? Have a day at a charity shop or the university dedicated to students where they can come and learn the benefits of volunteering and sign up if they want to. Also have a donation station where students can donate or buy each others belongings (preferably student related belongings such as textbooks and kitchen equipment – especially useful for first and last year students).
    What are you already doing? Speaking to students online, making them aware of the benefits of shopping/ volunteering at charity shops.
    How do you know that your solution will actually solve the social problem? I don’t know for sure but I think it will at least be a step in the right direction to addressing the issue.

    Beneficiary Relationships:
    How are you going to ensure that the beneficiaries are going to benefit from your venture? Communicate with them via email and social networking platforms to make sure everything is going ok – whether they are reaping benefits or not and addressing the issues if they aren’t.
    How are they involved in co-producing the benefits? Spreading the word to everyone they know, encouraging them to build some sort of relationship with charity shops.

    Communication Channels:
    How are you going to communicate with partners and beneficiaries? Via email and social networking platforms.
    What channels are you going to use to get your message out there? Facebook, Northampton Students Facebook group, Twitter, Instagram
    What social media and advertising are you going to use to make sure everyone knows about your good work? Mainly the Northampton Students Facebook Group – posting flyers on there and around the university to make them aware of the event. After the event, regular Facebook posts to make students aware that it is ongoing – maybe post statements from students who have benefitted from the venture.
    What (brand) will you use to make sure everyone recognises your work?

    Key Activities:
    What will your day-to-day activities be? Posting on social media, emailing to keep updated on people who shown an interest in my venture.
    Who needs to do what to deliver your social venture? I will need to recruit some other members to help with the venture – maybe set up a society. Then we can can all share responsibility of posting online, emailing etc. to keep it going.

    Key Resources:
    What materials and resources do you need to deliver your social impact?
    Focus on the key necessities that allow you to deliver your key activities. Computer and printing to create and print out flyers

    Key Partners:
    Who do you need to work with to deliver your social venture? Charity shops, societies and the student union
    What help, advice, resources and networks will they be able to provide? Charity shops to rovide a place for students to donate, buy and volunteer.

    What are the big items of expenditure that you need to run your venture? The only necessary expenditure would be for printing flyers. If 1 A4 flyer costs 5p, £5 for 100 flyers would be more than enough.
    What money have you already committed or spent? none
    What do you need before you start? A venue, preferably a charity shop. As it is in their interest, there shouldn’t be a charge for it.
    What are your ongoing running costs? £0 as it would be a one off event.
    What will you need to buy or improve to keep operating? Nothing will need to be bought. Facebook posts and emails will keep the venture going after the initial event.

    How will this venture be financially sustainable? A one off cost of £5 for printing.
    Are you going to sell products, charge for services or seek grants and charitable giving? When selling donated belongings, it will be up to the participating charity shop to decide how much they sell for. Any money made will go directly to the shop.
    What are your start-up requirements, investment cash, grants etc? n/a
    How much surplus do you expect to make for reinvestment and expansion? n/a
    Will you need to create a return on investment for financial supporters? n/a

    What change in the world would you like to achieve from your social venture? Students forming a better relationship with charity shops; knowing that charity shops can be beneficial to them and they can be helpful to charity shops at the same time. A win-win relationship.
    How will you know that you are successful? Seeing more students in charity shops and more positive comments when I ask them about the shops.
    When you have delivered your venture, how will the world be different? The charity shop stigma won’t be present in the University of Northampton.
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