O2 “Think Big” Youth Partner work

After working closely with a number of young people over the last year with regards to funding applications to O2 ‘ThinkBig’ for a variety of community-based projects, VANEL are delighted to announce that we have been invited to become and accepted the role of Youth Partner.

As Youth Partner of O2 ‘ThinkBig’, our role is to promote funding opportunities from O2 for projects designed and run by young people, for the benefit of their community. If you are aged between 13 and 25-years-old and need money, training or support for a project that could help improve your community and are interested in applying for funding from O2 ‘ThinkBig’, talk to VANEL. We can offer you the support and advice you need to ensure that your funding application is successful. We can help you articulate your idea, guide you through the application process, and support you as you develop and implement your project.  You have nothing to lose by enquiring and you could receive up to £300 to turn your big idea into a reality.

On Thursday 8th September 2016, three of the “IGNITE” team, Jenny, Victoria and Helen, headed down to London to attend their first ‘ThinkBig’ ‘Ultimate Networker’ event at the O2 Arena. Young people from across the UK were in attendance at the event which included a talk from Bella Rareworld, also known as ‘Bella the Networking Guru’. Bella delivered a talk about the importance of networking and how it creates opportunities for young people to achieve their goals and ambitions. The event also documented the inspiring work being carried out by some of the amazing young people who are involved in the O2 ‘ThinkBig’ programme.

The story of 17-year-old Chloe Hine was particularly poignant. Three years ago and at the age of just 14-years-old, Chloe attempted to take her own life after suffering from the relentless taunts of school bullies, who she said, made her life “miserable”. The bullying Chloe experienced took place online as well as inside the school gates leaving her feeling isolated and “terrified” to go to school. Thankfully, Chloe’s attempt to end her life was unsuccessful, and it was here, when she was at her lowest ebb, that she discovered her passion and talent for writing music. Realising how much music helped her cope with her feelings of sadness, Chloe set out to help other young people who were going through something similar. From this she went on to apply for and win a £300 grant from O2 ‘ThinkBig’ to launch her own campaign called ‘Beat The Bullies’. She said: “I found that songwriting is so therapeutic because music is so powerful. ‘When I found out that it works as well as it did to get to the stage I am at now, I couldn’t keep it to myself.”

Today, ‘Beat The Bullies‘ is a national charity that works with children and young people to help them turn their worries into something positive and allows them to express their feelings through the theraputic power of music. Over the course of her venture, Chloe was able to work with the Music Fusion recording studio in Havant to produce her own rap music under her alter ego Karrera, who has since performed at the Royal Albert Hall and the O2’s Indigo venue. As a result of her courage and determination, Chloe has, with the support of her family, come out the other side and created a lifeline for young children and young people who are suffering emotionally. She is now an Alumni for O2 ‘ThinkBig’.

On the day the VANEL team, Jenny, Victoria and Helen took on the exciting challenge of climbing across the roof of the O2 Arena, 52 metres above the ground. The climb provided the team with a beautiful and alternative perspective of the city below and proved to be an excellent way of celebrating VANEL’s new status of Youth Partner with O2 ThinkBig.


L-R Victoria Russell, Jenny Hodson and Helen Pickett, Up at The O2.

If you are aged between 13 and 25 and would like more information about how to get involved and apply for funding from O2 ‘ThinkBig’ contact Jenny Hodson.


Call  (01472) 315 437.