Benenden challenge pupils with Project Dare

Throughout November employee-volunteers from Benenden worked with 22 Year 10 pupils from two local secondary schools on Project Dare. The activity aimed to empower young people to succeed through personal encounters with people both in the world of work and at University, thereby motivating them to aim higher and work harder at school. The activity was funded by the National Collaborative Outreach Programme.

Pupils took part in three half-day sessions delivered by employee-volunteers from Benenden and supported by University of York student volunteers. The first two sessions were held at the University of York. Pupils were first given an overview of mental health and were inspired to talk more openly about the topic. They were then given an insight into marketing and the importance of this across all sectors before being introduced to the concept of a marketing campaign.

In teams, pupils were then given a brief, this challenged them to create a marketing campaign with the aim of raising awareness of mental health in school. Pupils worked together on their briefs before presenting their ideas back to a panel. The presentations were fantastic and really showcased the work the pupils had put in during the sessions. There were lots of great ideas for how awareness of mental health could be raised in schools – including discussing the topic in assemblies, enlisting mental health champions, and initiating ‘tea and talk’ drop –in sessions.

The third session was held in Benenden’s boardroom, where pupils learnt all about the organisation before having the opportunity to go behind the scenes. Pupils also took part in a careers speed dating activity where employee-volunteers from across the organisation discussed their career journeys with pupils.

Emmie Wise, CSR and Community Engagement Officer at Benenden, said:

“We were really pleased with how the sessions went, and glad to be able to give something back to the community in the form of Project Dare. We felt the pupils really engaged with the work we gave them and came away with a sense of the variety of jobs available within just one business. What we personally took away from the sessions was how much we enjoyed meeting and getting to know the students! We were really impressed with the adult way in which they approached the topic of mental health, and how much effort they put in to planning their marketing campaigns.”

Thank you to everyone who was involved in the activity and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

The Aspirations Programme seeks to bring the world of work to life by challenging young people with real-world problem-solving and empowering them to succeed. Volunteering as part of this programme is a great way to share your skills and sector with a group of young people inspiring them to aim higher and work harder. If you are interested in finding out more about our Aspirations Programme, please get in touch with us.