If, like me, you work in Shoreditch and your hours are flexible, then there is something that you need to know. You can be a pirate.

In fact, you should be.

Hidden away off Kingsland Road is the Hackney Pirates, an exciting literacy initiative for young people who need one-on-one attention from forward-thinking and creative adults in our (admittedly very Hipster) community. Like you. And me. Although, let the record show that I’ve never sported a handle-bar moustache.

Can you see where I’m going with this? Don’t avoid eye-contact with me when I’m talking to you. You should come and volunteer.

Urgh, I know. Work for free. But I would not lie to you, Shoreditch. The Pirates kick some serious ass, and the three-hour session I volunteer at once every few weeks is one of the absolute highlights of my month.

I laugh. I learn. I get to step outside the universe of which I am the centre. IT’S JUST A NICE THING TO DO.

(And an excellent networking opportunity: every single volunteer there has an amazing story to share. And we’re hot.)

Inspired by the San Francisco-based 826 Valencia project (have you seen this TED talk?!), the Hackney Pirates exists to get young people excited about engaging with their own personal development simply by way of making them know they are being heard.

It’s not “working with kids”. It’s not singing, and dancing, and face-painting. Fellas, make note of the fact that it most certainly is not “girly”, either.

The Hackney Pirates is about being partnered up with a young person and listening to them read. Asking questions about their homework. Hanging out. Paying attention.

Yeah. That’s what is it- volunteering to give a kid who needs it your attention. For an afternoon. As little as once a month. As often as you like.

Catriona, The Captain, says, ‘Our amazing local community is the best place to start to find those extra shipmates to enrich young people’s learning experiences.’

‘Young people in Hackney are able to succeed in school, and in the real world beyond, because they’ve got the extra attention and inspiration they need.’

Between us we have a pretty incredible opportunity to make a teeny-tiny difference to our community- but the biggest difference possible to the individuals in it.

Doesn’t that sound like it might just make your heart sing? What about making your CV stand out? GUYS. IT WILL IMPRESS THE CHICK YOU ARE DATING, K?

I recommend that you get involved. I bloody love it.


If you are interested in knowing more about the Hackney Pirates visit their website at www.hackneypirates.org or email Olly, the Volunteer Coordinator, on olly@hackneypirates.org