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16th Apr, 2017

Deaf Awareness Programme - What, Why and How to get involved
by Naily Makangu on April 16, 2017 22:29


As an organisation, JCI Cambridge prides itself on providing opportunities for growth to its members, whilst at the same time, making a positive impact within the community.

Last year, Naily Makangu, JCI President 2017, watched the "Beauty and the Beast" play at the Junction. It was a small production, a bit cheesy at times, but thoroughly enjoyable and cleverly put together. In fact, Naily and her friend, now co-producer of the JCI Cambridge Sherlock Holmes Pantomime, Helen Williams, were possibly the only unaccompanied adults. As they put it in their own words "We looked at the flyer and thought, that should be fun, let's give it a go". For Naily, this was the first time that she witnessed a British Sign Language Interpreted play. In fact, it was the first time that she encountered a Sign Language Interpreter at an event at all.

Back to the drawing board, JCI Cambridge reflected on what we could do to make a difference:

1. Make our seminars and workshops more accessible

In a town like Cambridge, which is rich with talks and seminars in a variety of subjects, offering young adults the opportunity to network or further their knowledge in various areas, how many of those events are accessible to non-hearing people?

JCI Cambridge would like to take on this challenge. Every month, we host seminars on a wide range of soft and technical skills such as understanding investment, speaking with confidence, emotional intelligence, building confidence, social media and marketing, becoming a better leader and many more workshops aimed at giving listeners the ability to take control of their career and personal development. What would be required to make some seminars accessible to those who are deaf? This year, JCI Cambridge is working with local charity organisations to be able to become more accessible. We are investigating various options such as having a British Sign Language Interpreter at our seminars, recording talks to be signed and/or subtitled later, live speech to text technology to provide subtitles during the session and more. 


2. Deaf Awareness Week

There are about 9 million of people in the UK who are deaf. This can vary from a partial to a full loss of hearing. Some people can lip read, others rely on subtitles. Most Deaf people who use sign language use British Sign Language, or BSL. It’s a rich combination of hand gestures, facial expressions and body language. In fact, BSL isn’t simply English with hand signs, it is a different language with its own grammar and sentence construction. 

This year, JCI Cambridge is hosting a few events to join the Deaf Council UK during the national Deaf Awareness Week, running from the 15 May 2017 to the 21 May 2017:

  • Social media campaigns throughout the week
  • Interactive Awareness Quiz on Thursday the 18 May 2017 - This is more than your typical Pub Quiz. Expect a few twists and turns throughout the evening.
  • Sign Language/Awareness Course on Saturday the 20 May 2017 - Learn the basics of BSL in a relaxed atmosphere. 


3. Sherlock Holmes Pantomime

JCI Cambridge is putting together a pantomime, based on Sherlock Holmes, in October 2017. Some of those shows will be BSL Interpreted. 


4. Sponsored hike

Helen Williams and Naily Makangu will take on Scafell Pike on the 27 May 2017 to raise money for local charities such as Cambridgeshire Deaf Association. 


What we would like to achieve through our Deaf Awareness Programme? 


  • Provide more opportunities for personal development and networking to those who are hearing impaired.
  • Raise awareness within the community during our Deaf Awareness Week.
  • Raise funds to be able to support our ambitious project of becoming more accessible.
  • Raise money for local charities such as Cambridgeshire Deaf Association.
  • Empower and challenge our members through exciting and ambitious projects. It is only through experience and getting out of your comfort zone that true growth and progress can be achieved. 


How can you get involved? 


For a small non-profit organisation, many of the goals we set ourselves this year are challenging. However, we are committed to our programme and strongly believe in making a difference. Here are a few ways you could get involved:

  • Would your company or organisation be willing to sponsor us? This could be part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). There are many benefits from being our sponsor which include free advertising and promotion throughout the year, a space in the programme for the pantomime or other printed materials and more. Please email for more information. 
  • Tune in during the awareness week and interact with us on social media. 
  • Make a donation to our sponsored hike. 
  • Join us at the Awareness Quiz, Sherlock Holmes Pantomime and other networking events. 
  • Do you know any British Sign Language Interpreter who would like to work with us, then please let us know. 


Join us and be part of the solution

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11th Apr, 2014

April Awareness Month - Case Study 2
by James Mitchell on April 11, 2014 11:18


Sean was just 19 when he hit his lowest point. He’d left school with no qualifications, going straight into a job, but got heavily into drugs and became homeless. He spent the next five years moving between friends’ floors, squats and the streets, his life made more difficult by bouts of depression. He didn’t want support from Wintercomfort or other organisations. “I was living in a dream world with no idea and no interest in where my life was heading.”

Finally Sean woke up and decided that he needed to turn his life around. His younger brother was heading down the same path and Sean needed to be a better role model. “I overcame my addiction and found somewhere stable to live, somewhere I could feel part of the real world. Then I remembered how Wintercomfort had tried to help before, so I came back.”

Many hot breakfasts and warm showers later, Sean decided the time had come to battle his dyslexia. At Wintercomfort he was able to take English lessons and try some sessions with a volunteer Life Coach. The result: increased confidence and a sense of purpose.

Now 27, things are looking up for Sean:  he’s free from drugs and is back in employment. He’s three months into his apprenticeship as a Project Worker with Wintercomfort, continuing his English lessons and even thinking about dating again. “I never thought education was important, but now I want to learn. I’m learning every day.” Sean feels a career with homelessness and mental health charities beckons. “It’s all I want to do. I’m confident that I’m learning the right skills to help people.”

“Wintercomfort picks you up from the bottom and treats you like a real person. People guide you rather than just tell you what to do. I’ve taken control of my life. I no longer live in a dream world but one where the dreams are real and achievable.”

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1st Apr, 2014

April Awareness Month - Case Study 1
by James Mitchell on April 1, 2014 11:27


Our Aim in our April Awareness Month will be to share a Case Study of the work Wintercomfort does for the Cambridge community. More to follow!


Imagine living a full life, rich in different experiences. You left school at 15 to work as a Silver Service waiter before serving for 12 years in the British Army – in places such as Germany and Northern Ireland. Where would you see yourself at 60? Celebrating your birthday surrounded by family and friends? Looking forward to your retirement? Sleeping in a wartime ‘pillbox’ along the River Cam with no-where else to go for food or shelter?

In 2012 Adie fell behind with his rent and was thrown out of his home. He camped out for a cold eight months between September and April. “When you’re homeless you are at the bottom of the pile and the only way is up. If you can’t change things, at least you can try to improve the things you can. But you can’t do everything on your own.” And that’s where Wintercomfort comes in.

People say that Wintercomfort acts as a signpost to the many other homeless services in the city. Adie started coming to Wintercomfort for breakfast and after meeting an old friend who works for the Street Outreach Team, he was interviewed for Cyrenians’ accommodation: a perfect example of joined up services working together to help someone.

“Wintercomfort is a godsend, if it’s used as it should be. It points people in the right direction but you have to be prepared to ask for help.” For many people it can be hard to know where to turn when they become homeless. Practical and approachable, Adie has found that people talk to him when they arrive at Wintercomfort and that he is able to suggest which person to approach for advice and support.

Imagine being faced with the terrifying prospect of being homeless. What would you do? Give up? Close yourself off from the rest of the world? Find yourself being awarded a certificate for being the most positive person at Wintercomfort?

“I like doing, being busy, helping out wherever I can”. At Wintercomfort Adie has volunteered in the food4food café; he’s involved in Friday cookery classes and the City Rangers gardening project; and he makes a point of attending every service user forum. “I’ve been at the bottom, and I’m going up.”

Notes: Adie’s rent is currently £125 pw. If he were to work he could lose his housing benefit, end up with less money and be unable to pay his rent.

When on JCA Adie was applying for up to 30 jobs a week. He volunteered for 25-30 hours at a charity shop with the prospect of a job at the end of his time there. The Jobcentre felt that he was not doing enough to look for work.

Adie’s landlady lost her husband and in order to keep her business would have had to have work done around the building totalling approximately £7,000. Her tenants got together, estimated the materials needed would cost £500 and provided the labour for free. 

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6th Feb, 2014

Charity of the year for 2014, WinterComfort
by James Mitchell on February 6, 2014 11:04


Dear JCI Cambridge Members!

I would like to take a moment to introduce to you our charity of the year for 2014, WinterComfort.

WinterComfort are a local charity working to help those that are homeless or at risk of losing their home in Cambridge. The whole JCI Cambridge council felt that homelessness was something we all should know more about, and that it was a issue prominent in Cambridge that we would like to support.

I am pleased to say that we have had our first initial meeting with WinterComfort and the scope for getting involved and making a difference is massive! I am so excited to get as many of you as possible on board this year, and there is a wide range of ways in which you could do this.

Of course, I intend to organise a good range of fund-raising and awareness building activities for you to get involved with throughout the year, with April being our 'Charity Awareness Month'. But on top of our own events, WinterComfort are really keen to get members on board that would like to spend time helping their clients through things like mentoring, CV writing and English speaking. We also are looking to organise a year long clothing and sundries collection to help WinterComfort continue to offer their daily welfare services.

Whilst our charity events will be listed on the main JCI Cambridge events schedule, I will also be looking throughout the year for members that may want to give some time to help support the services offered at WinterComfort.

Whether you can only give a few hours support, are really keen to get on board or simply want to find out a bit more, I would love you to come along to our charity introduction, to be held before the main speaker at our business event on Thursday 20th March, at Eversheds.

Please feel free to email me at at any time, I would love to chat all things WinterComfort with you.

I very much look forward to sharing our in depth plans with you in a few weeks time and hope that lots of you will be enthusiastic about getting involved in 2014!

Kelly Tennick

Community Director, JCI Cambridge



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6th Aug, 2013

Relax in the name of charity
by Laura Wing on August 6, 2013 09:45


Local networking group JCI Cambridge is teaming up with SMART Massage to hold a massage-athon to raise money for its charity of the year, Mind in Cambridgeshire.

The event will be held at health food shop Revital, Bridge Street, Cambridge on Saturday 10 August at 10.00am and will see sports massage therapist Kelly Tennick, owner of SMART MASSAGE, complete 262 minutes of massage in one day. Kelly will be offering members of the public ten minute back and shoulder massages in return for a donation to Mind in Cambridgeshire.

Kelly, who also specialises in equine massage and is community director at JCI Cambridge, said: “I’m really excited to be taking on this challenge. When I was thinking of ways to raise money for JCI Cambridge’s charity of the year, I knew I wanted to use my professional skills to help. I need 27 willing people to achieve my target of 262 minutes of massage in one day and hope the Revital’s customers are in the giving spirit on 10 August!”

At the start of 2013, JCI Cambridge pledged its support to Mind in Cambridgeshire through volunteer time and raising vital funds for the charity. It also aimed to send eight of its members on the accredited Mental Health First Aid Course to help them recognise the early signs of mental health problems in young people. It is hoped the massage-athon will help fund two members to take part in this course.

James Mitchell, president of JCI Cambridge, said: “Mental health is something that JCI Cambridge is really passionate about. We are pleased to be working with Mind in Cambridgeshire to increase awareness of mental health issues in the local community and hope to raise enough money from the massage-athon to send some of our members on this course.”

To find out more about the massage-athon visit 

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15th Jul, 2012

Blog written by JCI Member Kelly Tennick

Another successful day for team JCI All Stars at the Cambridge Race For Life on the 1st July. A team of 5 JCI Cambridge ladies, including myself, Harriet Bastiani, Diana Waterer, Lisa Bredahl Thomsen, Sarah Butler Ford completed the Race For Life in a respectable 36m45s and raised a fantastic £214 for Cancer Research.

Starting at Parker's Piece we followed a 5km route through the town and King's College before finishing at Jesus Green. Although the weather at times looked threatening, the rain held off and all of us were running sporting a celebrity look with our sunglasses on! The overall turnout for the event was amazing and the atmosphere had an encouraging buzz. With ladies everywhere dressed in pink the JCI All Stars team stood out in our fantastic blue JCI Cambridge t-shirts, although we have decided to 'pink it Race For Life Teamup' a bit for next year.

The support from spectators all along the route was amazing and so encouraging, especially when I decided to get a stitch half way round! It was the best feeling to reach the finish line on Jesus Green, all of us crossing it together before collecting our goodie bag and medal. Big thanks goes to James Mitchell, Vice President of JCI Cambridge who supported us on the day and took pictures and film of our effort...and even wore a bright pink curly wig ;)

Overall, we managed to raise a fantastic £214, majorly exceeding our £100 target! A big well done, and thank you to all the ladies that took part: Harriet Bastiani, Diana Waterer, Lisa Bredahl Thomsen, Sarah Butler Ford and myself, Kelly Tennick.

Another perk of completing this challenge is that we can now add another 25km to our '2012 km in 2012' challenge which is great news!

If you would like to be involved with any of our charity or sporting events, we are always looking for new faces and would love to have you join us. Please email or speak to Patrick or James at our next event.


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3rd Jun, 2012

Employer Mentoring Scheme Awards
by James Mitchell on June 3, 2012 16:59


Blog written by Anglia Ruskin student and JCI Member Marcel Goerlich

Business mentors from JCI Cambridge attend awards ceremony in recognition of their contribution to Anglia Ruskin University's Employer Mentoring Scheme.

For the last year a number of members from JCI Cambridge have been guiding, advising and imparting their business, experience and skills to second year students of Anglia University to help them understand and make the transition to employment and the business environment.

The JCI Cambridge mentors that volunteered to take part in the scheme were matched to the university students according to their career aspirations and the mentors skills. The mentors' role was to act as a 'business mentor' on a one-to-one basis providing a voice of experience for students. The JCI mentors helped to develop the students' their workplace skills, business awareness and gain an understanding of the workplace environment, its expectations and demands. The long-term purpose of mentoring is not only helping students to develop their professional skills, that one day the mentees would also be able to be involved at a later stage and pass on my knowledge and experience to a mentee.

Mentoring Awards 2012Marcel Goerlich who was mentored by JCI Cambridge's Vice President James Mitchell explains "The mentoring scheme has been a very useful and enriching experience for me. This is due to th good mix of one-to-one sessions with my mentor James and the business networking/training events provided by JCI Cambridge.

My initial introductory session with James took place in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere where we discussed what we wanted to gain or offer to the scheme including what my main aims of being involved in the scheme were. For me, it was primarily to improve my professional skills such as giving presentations, networking and interview skills. For James it was that he wanted to help young people like me kick-start their careers by coaching them and giving honest, constructive feedback.

Based on this discussion we started talking about how James could help me during the following weeks and months. He suggested that I come along to JCI Cambridge events where I could practice my networking skills and take part in a variety of training events. In addition to this, James offered an opportunity to talk to his contact who worked in a recruitment agency and arranged a mock interview to practise my interviewing skills. After this meeting, I realised that it had been a really good idea to enrol on the scheme and that it would be really helpful, not just because of the opportunity to be mentored by James, but also to benefit from the opportunities provided by JCI Cambridge.

Now, several months after that initial meeting, I can confirm that the scheme has met all my expectations. At the JCI Cambridge meetings I had the chance to meet many interesting and like-minded people and I have definitely become more confident in group situations and networking. I received helpful hints to improve my interview skills and James successfully coached me to speak freely in front of people.Mentoring Awards 2012

I was amazed by the commitment I encountered when working with my mentor. James took the time to prepare me for actual job interviews and always had creative ideas to improve my skills. The feedback I received was always fair and helped me to understand how other people perceive me and what areas I can improve upon.

I can really recommend the mentoring scheme to anybody who is open-minded, ready to get feedback and willing to develop themselves. I gained invaluable skills that I am sure will help me personally and in my future career."

If you help an Anglia Ruskin students learn about the realities of the workplace, the opportunities available as well as the obstacles they are may be likely to face? If so, please get in touch by emailing us at To find out more about the Employer Mentoring Scheme visit Anglia Ruskin website.

Remember - all volunteer hours can be logged as part of JCI ACE, where the efforts of JCI members will be recognised through an awards scheme - please check out our blog post for more information. 


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1st Jun, 2012

Blog written by JCI Member Kelly Tennick

Wow! What another fantastic evening courtesy of JCI Cambridge. This time, the event was volunteering to help raise much needed funds for Wallace Cancer Care at the Cambridge Beer Festival.

The evening started pretty sombre, sociable and relaxed. It was nice to have a good catch up with other JCI members and to meet the other, non-JCI volunteers that were there. Time was spent behind the book stall encouraging passers-by to browse and hopefully purchase as many books as possible (at only 50p each a bargain) and with Adam not failing to point out the ‘saucy’ books on the end table we were definitely on to a winner! The free drink vouchers also started making the rounds and we were soon all enjoying a nice pint of beer or cider, or in my case - apple juice. Well somebody had to be designated driver!

We were then briefed on the basic info of Wallace Cancer Care to arm us with valuable knowledge for the evening before being let loose on the public with our buckets! We had a great time winding our way through the ever increasing crowds, having a chat with some great people and collecting a good amount of cash for the start of the evening.

As people (us included) became slightly more inebriated, things seemed to go from good fun to hilarious! All sorts of tactics and conversation starters were used to get the good people of Cambridge to drop their pennies in our buckets. My favourite was definitely Harriet’s story of being a weight lifter in the Olympics that needed a heavier bucket to do her training! Her arm curls were in my opinion impressive, to the men more comical but it was a fantastic way to get people engaged with what we were doing and raised a fantastic amount of money.

I had an absolutely fantastic evening and would not hesitate to volunteer with JCI Cambridge again! It’s the perfect evening in one...there is a great social aspect, personal development opportunities for approaching and engaging with strangers and getting results, It’s confidence boosting, great for team morale and not forgetting that it was all for an amazing cause, Wallace Cancer Care.

Figures tell me that on the Friday evening we raised £1323.05, a brilliant amount! Overall a staggering £8928.70 was raised which is truly fantastic, and will hopefully be a great help in enabling Wallace Cancer Care to continue with their inspiring, dedicated work.

Thanks JCI Cambridge, another top notch evening!

Remember - all volunteer hours can be logged as part of JCI ACE, where the efforts of JCI members will be recognised through an awards scheme - please check out our blog post for more information.

Adam Choosing a book at Cambridge Beer Festival JCI Cambridge Volunteering at Cambridge Beer Festival 2012

Harriet and Kelly at the Cambridge Beer Festival

JCI Cambridge volunteers for Wallace Cancer Care at Cambridge Beer Festival 2012
Cambridge Beer Festival
Adam Choosing a book at Cambridge Beer Festival

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31st May, 2012

JCI Cambridge’s charity of the year for 2012 is the Arthur Rank Hospice.  So in early May some of the committee went to visit the main centre.  Lucy Day, one of the Arthur Rank spokespeople talked about how they work, their excellent care both in the centre and through the ‘Hospice At Home’ initiative which helps them reach and help so many local Cambridge residents who are suffering with terminal illnesses.

JCI Cambridge visiting Arthur Rank Hospice

Arthur Rank excel not only in providing care for their patients, but to their families too.  In fact, they have been known to train the Marie Curie nurses as well!  What was clear from our tour was that they have so much more they want to give.  This depends on two strands: voluntary help and raising money.

This year JCI Cambridge, in associate with the Gold Challenge 2012, will raise £2012 in sponsorship by travelling (by all means) a distance of 2012km for Arthur Rank Hospice.  We are also dedicating our charity time to put in hours to help at the hospice. 

If you are interested in volunteering, helping with the fund raising, getting involved in the 2012 challenge, or just want to hear more about the great work Arthur Rank do, just contact

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28th Apr, 2012

Big River Clean Up Update
by James Mitchell on April 28, 2012 20:38


River Projects 2012 Update

As part of the World Clean Up 2012, JCI Cambridge members took part in the "Cambridge Spring Clean" organised by the Cleaner Cambridge Campaign on Saturday April 14th 2012.

The JCI Cambridge Committee would like to say well done and thank you to all JCI members who attended this event - there were more than 100 volunteers in total on the day and it has been confirmed that more than 80 full sacks of litter were collected, ensuring a clean and beautiful River Cam in readiness for the Summer!!

As the second part of our "River Projects 2012" we will be organising a team to clean up a river near Sturmer on Saturday 21st July 2012.  If you would like to get involved in this rewarding and very social event, please get in touch via!

Remember - all volunteer hours can be logged as part of JCI ACE, where the efforts of JCI members will be recognised through an awards scheme - please check out our blog post for more information.


You can find out what you missed by watching our JCI Cambridge River Cam Cleanup 2012 video on our new Youtube video.


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