Meeting the Hackney Pirates

“Welcome to our beach shack” is not what you normally hear when you visit a charity’s head offices, but this is exactly the welcome you get when you visit the Hackney Pirates. Having worked with the charity over the past year, and with them attending the last two LSE volunteering fairs, I was lucky enough to be invited to visit their offices to find out more about the inspiring work they do and see how we could help them recruit more LSE students as volunteers.

First of all a bit of background on the Hackney Pirates. They are a charity that aims to develop the literacy, creativity and real-world skills of young people in Hackney, so that they can achieve both in school and in the world beyond. Olly, their Volunteer Manager, told me that they engage with their beneficiaries in three ways:

  • 1-1 attention from dedicated volunteers
  • Spending time in an unconventional learning environment (see photos below)
  • Unleashing their creativity by producing professional products that the charity can sell, such as books and CDs.

At the moment they can fit ten young people into ‘The Beach Shack’ at any one time but are currently in the process of acquiring a new area, the ‘Ship of Adventures’ and hope to move in over the winter. This new space will mean that their capacity will be expanded to 25 young people.

They are currently on a recruitment drive and are looking for passionate students to volunteer with them. The minimum commitment is relatively small with each volunteer expected to come along at least once a month for a minimum of five sessions. There is also a three hour training session. Those that are particularly involved can look to take on further responsibility in leadership roles. The Hackney Pirates also have a really good understanding of their volunteers’ motivations and will help articulate volunteering experiences on CVs if required.

If you’re passionate about helping young people achieve their potential and you’re looking to work in a fun environment then I would certainly check out the Hackney Pirates as a really interesting volunteering opportunity.

Some of the products that their young people have created.

This post was originally written by me for the London School of Economics, who have full copyright. See the original post.

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