Friends of the British Overseas Territories

Published on June 24, 2014 um 11:12

Summary of your idea

Britain's links with the Overseas Territories are long-standing and important. The relationship is rooted in a shared history: but it moves forward, too, in partnership. Friends of the British Overseas Territories is a brand new education and community focused charity which aims to promote, support and increase awareness of the 260,000 British Citizens that live in the sixteen territories, as well as to advance education and relieve financial hardship of the 2,000 students from the British Overseas Territories who are studying in the UK. We have just gained English charitable status, but we are not yet established, and therefore consider ourselves to be in the start-up phase. Our ideas - including a funded intern programme, helpline and workshops are under development, although we have held pilot networking events. We want to celebrate the culture, bio-diversity and history of our territories as well as supporting local community projects and political matters in the UK. What are your objectives? (1) To advance education and relieve financial hardship of students from the British Overseas Territories who are studying in the UK. (2) To advance the education of the public in the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment of the British Overseas Territories and the history and geography of the British Overseas Territories. (3) To advance the education of young people aged between 18 and 25 by providing educational visits to the British Overseas Territories (4) To further such other purposes as are exclusively charitable in accordance with the law of England and Wales as the trustees may from time to time decide. There is no other organisation like ours, which not only brings together young people from across the British Overseas Territories and provides support, but also looks to raise awareness and understanding in the UK about the activities of the BOTs.

Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development

We believe that strong social cohesion is a vital driver towards international sustainable development. We further believe that creating a unified understanding between young people from the British Overseas Territories - which fosters greater understanding of each other's unique backgrounds, values and cultures whilst recognising the overarching principles and ethos of the Britain - could form a bedrock for young and future generations. We seek to expand upon this by providing those BOT students studying in the UK with access to training in employability skills and financial literacy, two elements of learning which we feel are key to providing young people with a strong start to life after education. We aim to increase public understanding in the UK about the activities of residents of the British Overseas Territories and to raise awareness of their existence, and support activities which could enhance sustainable trade links between the UK and BOTs. We also are keen to provide public education (both through schooling but also to the wider public informally) on the natural environment and conservation programmes within the Territories, and are keen to promote new advances in sustainable infrastructure in the BOTs such as geothermal energy in Monserrat, or conservation of species. We achieve this both through events open to the public and members where they can hear about the work being undertaken in these territories, and also through a planned programme of public engagement.

Plans for implementation and sustainability

FOTBOT has put in a place a strong team structure which includes three Trustees, including the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the British Overseas Territories. All team members are committed volunteers, the core of which have been involved in the planning and start-up phase for over a year. We have recently succeeded in becoming a registered charity in England and Wales with the Charity Commission. We have strong relationships and contacts within the Representative Offices in the UK who are working with us on new schemes including a scheme currently under discussion to provide two paid summer internships to BOT students in London, and have also had the opportunity to meet with leaders of some of the Territories. Our membership programme allows both individuals and organisational members to join us, thereby providing one income stream, and we are looking to generate further revenue through opening an online shop. We have secured a range of funding in the last year including from UnLtd, Don Hanson Trust and O2. We hope to grow our ability to raise funds through trusts and foundations, whilst also looking at other means of generating a sustainable income.

Your profile

Philip is a twenty five year old adult and was brought up in a working class estate in Leeds, West Yorkshire where he faced difficulties in my childhood. These included incidents of anti social behaviour threatening his personal safety from an early age. In January 2006 his family had to leave their home due to threats made to his parents after reporting drug trafficking taking place in the area. These experiences have motivated him to get on in life and follow a can do attitude. In March 2010 he was diagnosed with the learning disability Dyspraxia which impacted upon his academic performance from an early age. He also struggles in some aspects of his work but has employed successful coping strategies to manage his learning disability effectively. He has been involved in several community activities and is passionate about volunteering where he can give something back. He founded FOTBOT in January 2013 to develop relationships with British Overseas Territory (BOT) Citizens, especially students studying in the UK with the primary objective of relieving financial hardship of students and establishing a sustainable project supporting young people. He is passionate about developing skills for younger people in particular providing coaching and mentoring to those without the necessary tools to help themselves. The core team of volunteers, including myself, who assist him are aged between 18-29, and come from a mixed range of backgrounds and hold a variety of different experiences of home life, education and work.

Stage of Idea

start-up stage

Your idea has a positive impact on

environment, education, cultural diversity , youth

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