A worldwide network of young active people
Junior Chamber International (JCI) is a worldwide federation of young leaders and entrepreneurs with over 250,000 active members in over 100 countries. JCI provides young people with the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, social responsibility, entrepreneurship and fellowship necessary to create positive change. Past members of JCI include Kofi Annan, Bill Clinton and Bill Gates.
JCI Sheffield was founded in 1927 and was the 3rd chamber established outside of the USA.
A few of our history highlights are given below:-
The first general meeting of Sheffield Junior Chamber of Commerce (SJCC) was held on 24 October 1927 in Firth Hall. 700 attended with 100 completing membership applications forms at the end of it but the president and more active members spared no effort in recruiting new members. By the end of March 1928 there were 235 members.
To begin with membership was open to young men between the ages of 17 and 30 with a retiring age of 35, who were members or employees of any local firm or company provided they were not proprietors, senior partners or directors. These rules were revised after two years to permit membership up to 38 with retirement at 40. The membership subscription was 10s 6d.
The main purpose of SJCC was to form deliberate and administrative committees which put forward ideas and proposals to be considered by the senior chamber and city authorities. The first major task in 1927 was a survey of Sheffield trade with the object of framing a report and recommendations for the rebuilding of the prosperity of the city.
Early recommendations that achieved results relatively quickly were those of an inner circle bus route, multi storey parking and improving the litter problem. The suggestion of converting Tyzack’s Abbeydale works into a working museum took a bit longer over 40 years – whilst the suggestion of Sheffield having its own airport took even longer!
Another early success was the siting of city maps for visitors at the two main railway stations. The map committee was formed in September 1934 and the maintenance and financing to the maps continued until 1990.
SJCC members founded the Yorkshire Regional Group in 1955 with Graham Bruce as Yorkshire Chairman.
In 1955 SJCC sponsored the refurbishment of the Chamber of Commerce Council room and raised funds to purchase the President’s chair.
In December 1956 a new project was carried out very successfully, the photographing of children in hospitals. The idea was to present the photos ion Christmas greetings folders to the parents of children. 300 photographs were presented in the first year. The project continued annually until the early 1990s.
In September 1957, SJCC won the national debating title for the first time.
Sheffield Junior Chamber gave their first JCI Senatorship award to Michael A Goode in November 1960. At the time he was immediate past president and had enjoyed a long and distinguished career in British Junior Chamber of Commerce (BJCC) giving his ardent support to every aspect of activities in Sheffield. Since then a further 52 Sheffield members have been given this accolade.
In June 1966, following a successful Festival Parade the year before, SJCC organized the first ever Lords Mayor Parade in Sheffield. Ten bands and fifty two floats took part and in his speech the Lord Mayor, Alderman L S E Farris paid tribute to SJCC for organizing the event and said he felt confident that this would become an annual event. And so it was for over thirty years.
During the 1970s SJCC reached a peak of membership at over 300 members. Chamber members were also responsible for starting a number of off-shoot chambers including Buxton, Chesterfield, Dronfield, Matlock, Sheffield University, Penistone, Castleford and Pontefract, Bakewell and even Northallerton.
The 1977 National Conference was hosted by SJCC and attracted just short of 850 delegates up to that point the largest gathering of Junior Chamber members in the history of British Junior Chamber. The secret of the success was with no doubt the remarkable level of funds with £23,000 raised from sponsors.
In December 1975 at a special general meeting the membership present voted to accept lady Junior Chamber members in Sheffield. Our first lady member was Pat Midson, a computer programmer in the city.
In 1985, after four years in the planning, Sheffield Junior Chamber hosted the European Conference. The whole chamber was involved with this project and welcomed over 1500 delegates to the city. Venues used included various hotels, the Cutlers’ Hall and the City Hall. The conference proved so successful that it has provided additional funding for the benefit of all members since.
The 1980s saw less report writing and more action. Project work was key with the continuation of annual projects such as Super Secretary, Sales Assistant of the Year and child photography. New projects were also introduced including pantomimes, one day conferences and Young Citizen of the Year.
In 1985 SJCC had their first lady President, Frances Soar.
A major environmental initiative that has left a permanent legacy for the city was the River Don action Committee which led to the development of the Five Weirs Walk.
British Junior Chamber went through a major restructuring and modernisation programme during this decade. Five areas of opportunity consisting of Business, International, Personal Development, Community and Social where highlighted.
Within SJCC, major changes took place with the constitution being rewritten and the number of members on the council greatly reduced. In 1997, we moved from the home of the chamber of Commerce, Commerce House and took up residence at the Royal Victoria Hotel.
A great emphasis was placed on community style projects with the Christmas Tree appeal for underprivileged children being held every December in the City Centre. Pantomimes were staged at the Library Theatre every couple of years and Fun Days to raise funds for the Five Weirs Walk was a regular feature of the summer.
The Business programme also saw the introduction of the Annual Business Lecture and attracted such high profile speakers as Sir Nicholas Goodison, Dominic Cadbury and Tom Farmer of Kwik-Fit. Other successful projects were the Sheffield Management Competition and Commercial Public Speaking Course.
As we moved into a new millennium, the organisation embraced the need for change at all levels. One fundamental change was the altering of the name from Sheffield Junior Chamber of Commerce to JCI Sheffield.
The average age of membership was reduced by nearly ten years, giving the organisation a vibrant, young and dynamic profile.
In October 2007 we celebrated our 80th Anniversary with a dinner at the City Hall with 22 past presidents attending. It was an opportunity to look back and celebrate what has made JCI Sheffield great.
The Easter Egg appeal was also launched to collect eggs to donate to The Children’s Hospital and other children’s charities across the city.
Over the last two years, JCI Sheffield has gone from strength to strength. JCI Sheffield is now the second biggest chamber in the UK after London and in 2011 won the award for the Most Outstanding Chamber in the UK. JCI Sheffield also received 19 other awards throughout the year for their oustanding contributions and dedicated team.