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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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12th Mar, 2017

Spring Promotion - Get More For Less
by Naily Makangu on March 12, 2017 11:47


Want to find out more about JCI Cambridge? Here is your opportunity to sample what we have to offer over the next couple of months - for FREE

Use Promo Code JCI_Spring_2017 to unlock the following: 


Join JCI CambridgeNote that for £10 a month, in addition to opportunities to get hands on experience in various fields, our members get all of this for free and more. Don't take my words for it! Here is an example: 


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5th Feb, 2017

Alternative Sherlock Holmes Pantomime Launch
by Naily Makangu on February 5, 2017 12:20


We are excited to announce that, as part of our program to raise awareness for those suffering with hearing impairment, JCI Cambridge is putting together a pantomime in October 2017. This is an ambitious and exciting challenge for us. We are hoping to bring opportunities for personal growth to members and others within the community.

We had our first official launch meeting on the 21st of January 2017 at CB2. The atmosphere was vibrant. Please read on to find out more about the latest updates.

If you ever wanted to be involved in a putting together a pantomime from scratch and want to be involved, please email Note that in addition to the production team (producer, director, actors, script writers, music, lighting, set manager...), we are also on the look out for people to support the project in different ways: managing, fundraising, designing marketing materials, marketing, sponsorship and more.

Our next meeting will be on Monday 13th of Februray 2017 at 19:00 at Alison Richard Building, 7 West Rd, Cambridge CB3 9DT.

So what have we been up to so far?

  • We settled for an alternative pantomime based on Sherlock Holmes in October 2017, ideally the week before half term. There will be 4 to 5 shows. All or most of them will be signed in order to be inclusive to those with hearing impairment. We also discussed the potential for the cast to learn basic sign language that can be integrated in the performance.
  • There are no pressure or commitment to run this project again in 2018. We do it now, we do it well, we do it big, we go out with a bang!
  • In terms of casting and roles for the pantomime, we will be recruiting within the community, in addition to JCI Cambridge members. However, certain roles will be restricted to JCI Cambridge members, e.g. project ownership, leadership and more. Priority will also be given to members. You can become a member for as little as £10 per month.
  • We have a potential Director and Producer for the pantomime.
  • The script will be written from scrach to gives us more freedom and makes the project more interesting for our talented script writers.
  • The music will be pre-recorded, mostly based on a contemporary style, to fit our Sherlock theme. Live music will give a better feel to the event, however, it requires more equipment, room and volunteer. This is an avenue worth exploring as we're going ahead. For now, the focus is on understanding what can be done for pre-recorded music.

There are a lot more going on in the background. We'd love to hear from you. Any thoughts or advice will be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to drop us a note of encouragement whilst passing by.

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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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11th Mar, 2014

A new member's experience of the JCI UK Marketing Academy 2014
by Jenny Willatt on March 11, 2014 17:24


Hello JCI Cambridge members!

My name is Izzy Maxwell Watts and I recently became a JCI Cambridge member. When I told my colleagues at work that I was choosing to spend my weekend at a conference they thought I was crazy. But I did. Along with another 17 young enthusiastic members of JCI who travelled to Birmingham to take part in the JCI UK Marketing Academy 2014. This Academy was also my first ever JCI UK national event, and I was excited to see what JCI had to offer outside of Cambridge! 

The JCI team brought us a weekend of high quality, engaging and valuable training in marketing. The weekend started with warm welcomes, lots of networking and weird tea.

Speakers on day one included our very own Kate Senter, the JCI National President, who talked about PR and gave us tips on how to create the best content. She was followed by Dave Reed from marketing agency, Planet 9, who got us all clued up on Social Media. JCI Senator Amanda Fitzsimmons kindly joined us for the day. Her presentation made us aware of the balance between stakeholder engagement and the marketing mix. The day ended with pizza and a few drinks around the city centre!

Day two began with a few blurry eyes but lots of enthusiasm. We were given more fantastic presentations by Kirstie Draper, the JCI National Marketing Director, who showed us the importance of consistency in branding. National Web Director Paul Thwaite also gave us a tour around the JCI website and gave inspiring ideas for showcasing content on our chamber pages. Sofie Sandell, who has been a member of JCI for 10 years, ended the weekend. Sofie used her expertise in digital marketing to give us an inspired talk on how to provide information that reaches your audience in a world where we get “too much information (TMI)”. 

The JCI team created a really informative and fun program and they made sure that we were all getting the most out of the weekend. I learned so much and laughed all weekend! If you are a JCI member and you haven’t yet been to the Marketing Academy, then I highly recommend it. If you are not a JCI member, I recommend becoming one, just so you can go to the Academy…you’ll be hooked!

Izzy Maxwell Watts

New JCI Cambridge Member

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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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24th Dec, 2013

Merry Christmas from JCI Cambridge
by Jenny Willatt on December 24, 2013 14:40



Hold your horses (or reindeers) – it’s Christmas! I thought I would come to you with this great news in case you had missed it in all the social media and television channels, newspapers, calendars and so on. Basically, if you have been living under a rock or suffer from memory loss I would like you to know that the holidays are finally here. You can come out and celebrate now!

JCI Cambridge held a Christmas dinner a few weeks ago at Côte Brasserie. Social Director Howard Felstead asked us not to dilly dally and to hold on to our woolly hats and also to wear a Santa hat and also to wear a Christmas jumper and also to… Well, there were so many things to think about that I just lost track. Unfortunately for him, I am slightly rebellious so I did not wear a hat or Christmas jumper. I did, however, show up to spread Christmas joy and so on. Twas a lovely dinner, which also happened to be the last JCI event of the year for James Mitchell as President of JCI Cambridge. Mr. Felstead held a speech and thanked him ever so much for his work this past year and we all clapped our hands off, obviously. Thank you James. I think I speak for everyone when I say that you are an inspiration with your enthusiasm and big heart. Thank you for being President of JCI Cambridge 2013.

Now it’s time for Jenny Willatt to take over the role as President of JCI Cambridge and I am convinced that she will do an amazing job. Just like James Mitchell, she has the ability to inspire others just by being herself.

Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year! 


Anna Söderbom is your average JCI Cambridge member. She moved from Stockholm to Cambridge in 2012 and after a few months she joined JCI when she heard the news about there being a gala dinner. She has not regretted it.

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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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14th Jun, 2013

June's Engage is here!
by Laura Wing on June 14, 2013 14:20


The June edition of Engage has landed!

Click on the magazine below to find about our July business speaker James Boon, our mental health first aid course and all our usual member of the month, newest member and JCI be better highlights!

Blog » Engage Images » Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 15.07.15.png

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