Young people from across the city were among those celebrating the work of a unique Plymouth organisation that exists only to help individuals, communities and charities across the city. With more than a million good reasons to applaud the work of Plymouth Octopus Project – or POP+ as it is known – this year’s Annual General Meeting was something of a celebration with teenagers taking to the stage to inform, educate and entertain.
In the last two years POP+ has helped to land more than a million pounds of funding which has supported individuals; communities and families across the city through a wide-variety of projects. It has also seen the launch of a radical initiative designed to empower citizens to take social action for themselves and in January it enlisted a new CEO to navigate its course.
One of the things that POP+ is celebrating is the success of the innovative fund, Street-to-Scale that was launched earlier this year. Within just three weeks all the money for the fund had been committed to an incredible and diverse range of ideas. Individuals behind initiatives, such as, the Plymouth Zine Library, the North Star Study Group and the Infinity (youth) Festival in Ernesettle were at the party telling people about their projects and the impact they are having on others. Eighteen-year old Morgan Preston, runs a Street-to-Scale project with the youth group at the Central Methodist Church;
“It’s been an amazing experience although a bit daunting at first,” says Morgan. “I wasn’t expecting to be given responsibility for the whole project, especially being in charge of spending a thousand pounds, but it’s been really good experience. And it’s also been really good fun.”
Young singers, thirteen-year olds Kiera Chown from Whitleigh and fourteen-year old Gabi Lloyd from Ernesettle took to the stage and sang their hearts out as an example of how young people have benefitted in different communities from the Street-to-Scale fund. The girls helped to provide a party atmosphere at the AGM during which four new trustees were voted in and the annual report made public. Lesley Coulton from St Luke’s Hospice joins the board of trustees as does Martin Mills from Our Plymouth. Jabo Butera, from Diversity Business Incubator, who has also been elected says it is the radical approach of the organisation that appeals to him;
“POP+ is not stuck in the past: it doesn’t just work with traditional theories of change but works as a social disruptor, working creatively and with innovation.”
And the fourth new trustee, Karen Pilkington from the StokeTraders and Residents Association says she can’t wait to get started;
“It’s great to be part of a team that want to change how we think and do things. POP+ is not afraid of taking risks, of trusting, sharing openly and being genuinely collaborative which is really exciting at this time for our city.”
POP+ has been helping charities, community groups and social enterprises since it was set up in 2013. Free to join, it also provides training, networking opportunities and business advice free-of-charge to its members. If you would like more information about the work that POP+ does, or would like to join, please contact POP+ on Plymouth 365131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org