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Meet fairandfunky friends! (blog #15)

‘Meet fairandfunky and friends’ is our series of guest blogs in which we get to know a little bit more about the people we work with; and how together, we take little steps to change the world. Today we welcome Keela Walsh from The Co-op to answer our questions…..

Who are you, where are you from and what do you do? My name is Keela Walsh and I am an Academies Adviser at the Co-op.  I am a Rochdale lass born and bred and Rochdale is recognised as the birthplace of Co-operation so I am very passionate about my home town.  I have worked at the Co-op for 19 years and held several positions during this time from Democratic Services Administration to Co-op Engagement Advisor.  I have been in my current role for 5 years and I act as a conduit between our 33 academies and the Co-op and it’s varying business sectors.  One of my key responsibilities is to enhance student awareness of the world of work through providing careers support from both Co-op colleagues and it’s suppliers.  We have a Core Careers offer which means that each every year group in our academies, from Early Years to Post 16 will receive some form of careers support from Insight Days to Mock Interviews.  As an ethical business we are also passionate about sustainability and I host annual Eco Conferences for our academies where fairandfunky play an integral part in teaching students how to recycle waste through fun workshops.

What makes you a fairandfunky friend? On both a business and personal level, we share the same values and ethics.  We are passionate about supporting young people to make the world a better place and to educate them about how they are key to make the planet a greener place to live. 

What little steps do you take to change the world? I always, where possible, recycle my home waste (my 8 year old daughter always reminds me to do so!).  I am also a big advocate of Fairtrade and buy Fairtrade products when shopping in my local stores.  I also like to support local businesses and co-operatives, keeping my car emissions low! 

Who influences or inspires you? And why? Young people and students at our Co-op academies inspire me!  Young people are sometimes stereotyped as troublesome or lazy but they are the key to creating a better future.  We have seen a lot of ‘green projects’ evolve within our academies and the size of their Eco Clubs has grown immensely.  Young people are passionate and concerned about the current crisis facing our planet and they want to improve not only their future, but future generations to come.  Hearing the activities and initiatives our academies are delivering in terms of Green projects is incredibly positive and also encouraging.

How do YOU inspire others to take little steps to change the world? I love to promote Fairtrade and how it benefits Fairtrade producers to anyone who will listen, particularly young people!  I am always looking at ways we can actively promote sustainability projects within our academies which have a reach of over 18,000 young people.  It’s key that we encourage not just young people but everyone to make changes to some of their current habits such as using refillable bottles instead of buying bottled water, a small change really can make a big difference!

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