Hundreds of young people from across the Fylde will be taking part in a week of action in March to support the vital work of three local charities and a leading international one, as part of the #iwill campaign.

The driving force behind the week of action is the Students’ Union at Blackpool and The Fylde College, which recently signed-up to the campaign. It began by asking the 18,000 students who study at the college’s seven campuses to choose which charities they would like to support and three Blackpool based charities came out on top.

Streetlife assists vulnerable young people in the town by providing a range of support services. Free holidays for children and teenagers with life-threatening illnesses are provided by Donna’s Dream House. And Trinity Hospice cares for people with serious conditions, including children coping with life-limiting illnesses.

The students also chose a fourth charity outside of the area. This is African Vision Malawi, which since 2005 has been helping people in one of the world’s poorest countries to improve their lives, particularly through education.

“Our Change a Life week aims to promote the crucial work these chosen charities do,” says Callum Morley, who runs the B&FC Student Union. “And it allows our student members to give something back to these organisations for the support that they give in their communities.

“To ask students to donate money would be asking a lot, so we wanted to make it affordable and asked the charities what can be donated that would help their cause.

The result was a surprising selection of items that both students and staff can donate at any of our reception areas and which will help the charities to raise funds or lower their running costs.”

Shampoo and conditioner for toiletry packs was the choice of Streetlife and Donna’s Dream House asked for tins of beans for the free breakfasts they provide to families. Old DVDs to sell in their charity shops are what Trinity Hospice are looking for to help fund their amazing work.

For African Vision Malawi it’s cash donations that are needed. Their ‘Pants for a £1’ project, which proved to be highly successful last year in helping girls to stay in education, is a novel way to help this charity fund the vital work they do in this impoverished country.

“The Change a Life week is a big launch event for the work we want to do to support these charities,” says Callum. “Following this event we will be holding individual days for each charity to further support them in everything they do.

“I am proud of all the hard work that has gone into this and the students who have led the project have taken an idea and made it into so much more. The support from all our students and staff will definitely make a difference to these charities, supporting the amazing work they do for their communities.

“I think it’s important that we support our own local communities whilst also educating our students about the wider world around them. Students have been eager to learn more about what these local charities do, but also what other people are facing outside of the UK.

“The Students’ Union at B&FC works hard to enhance the College experience and give students a voice. So it’s great to see that students are not only using their voice within college, but also to improve their own communities and others in the wider world, which we will continue to promote through our #iwill pledge in every event we do.”

“This year I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with the Students’ Union on the #iwill campaign, a campaign that not only supports our local community but also communities across the globe.

Nadine Ellis, a student the college said:

“This campaign is a way for us as students to support others in ways that alone we could not do, I bet I’m not the only one who wishes I could support charities with funding on a monthly basis, but struggle to financially. Before getting involved with the #iwill campaign, I used to feel like I couldn’t make much a difference, but I’ve come to realise that no matter how small an act is, it will help someone and together we can make a huge positive impact for these amazing charities.
Whilst supporting the charities so far I’ve had some fantastic experiences, from meeting local celebrities, the Mayor and Mayoress and those inspirational people who access and run these charities. I even attended an event and witnessed a giant stick of rock being the centre of a bidding war and still went on to sign up to get splashed with colour and covered in bubbles for another.
Volunteer what you can, you don’t have to dedicate every spare moment, just a little or what you can afford to give, I promise you the rewarding feeling you get becomes quite intoxicating.”