The Apprentice tasks are well known for bringing out the competitiveness from contestants of the popular show, and they often end in arguments. When a group of young volunteers in Manchester took part in a challenge similar to the TV show they had a different goal to the TV contestants, and instead of trying to outdo one another they displayed team spirit and kindness.

The young volunteers from City Year Greater Manchester started with just £40, given to them by the charity’s staff from their Christmas activity fund. In an Apprentice-style challenge, they were given two hours to negotiate as many essentials as they could for people living on the streets, in hostels or temporary accommodation.

Stall holders in the Northern Quarter, Market Street and Oldham Street got behind the initiative, contributing everything from blankets, scarves and socks to camping mats.

Grace Fajebe, 20, said: “I encouraged one of my team-mates to talk to a market owner and he gave us a beautiful coat. When we asked him for his name for recognition he said it was fine.”

Young Volunteers Use Entrepreneurial Skills to Turn Christmas Funds into Support for Local People

Another volunteer, Shannon Danino, 19, exclaimed of another generous trader: “He literally just kept piling the clothes on!”

All of the items, along with £20 that the volunteers did not spend, has been donated to Mustard Tree, a charity creating opportunities for people who are homeless and marginalised.

Young Volunteers Use Entrepreneurial Skills to Turn Christmas Funds into Support for Local People

Fellow volunteer Jacob Mahoney, 22, said, “It was a fun challenge.  Mustard Tree is an excellent cause and we were warmed by the generosity of the retailers we received donated items from. By working together, we hope we can make a difference and change lives.”

Easily recognisable in their eye-catching red jackets, City Year Greater Manchester’s volunteers are a new fixture in the Greater Manchester area following the programme’s launch in the autumn.  Aged 18-25, they have all signed up to tackle educational inequality on their doorstep through a year of full-time voluntary service. As mentors, tutors and role models in schools, they’re supporting pupils growing up in some of the most deprived parts of Manchester and Salford.  At the same time, the City Year experience will help them realise their own aspirations and grow as leaders, both through their impact on children’s lives and training, coaching and career development opportunities.

Applications are now open for 50 year-long youth volunteering opportunities with City Year Greater Manchester, starting in August 2016.  For further information please visit the City Year website and email the City Year Greater Manchester recruitment team:

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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