17th December 2015
Last month saw the 2nd anniversary of the #iwill campaign, run by close partners of Youth United, Step Up To Serve. On the 24th November, a series of events took place across the UK to celebrate another fantastic year of Youth Social Action. At the London event, it was great to see our shared patron, HRH The Prince of Wales supporting calls to create more opportunities for young people to lead social change through activities like campaigning, fundraising and volunteering.
These celebration events really highlighted what a leading role Youth United members are taking in this field. A massive fourteen out of the fifty young people announced as #iwill Ambassadors this year have been a member of a Youth United organisation. That’s nearly 30% of the whole group! In the words of Step Up To Serve, “[these young people] were selected because they demonstrate a strong commitment to social action, and have inspirational stories to tell – stories which bring alive the double benefit of youth social action. Not only are these young people giving a great deal, but they are also building their character and skills in the process.” To see a full list of this year’s ambassadors go to http://www.iwill.org.uk/iwill-ambassadors/ where you can read their inspirational stories.
At the event in London, it was also great to see the results of new research from Ipsos MORI, which shows that 70% of 10-20 year olds are interested in taking part in social action in the future, but that just half this number is currently engaged. The research also showed that rates of participation are higher amongst young people from more affluent families, which reflects wider volunteering trends in adults. This probably won’t come as a surprise to most of us, but it does reinforce the need for our continued focus on expanding uniformed youth provision to the most deprived areas of the UK. This has been a clear priority of our work under successive grants and has developed even further through the Uniformed Youth Social Action Fund 2 (UYSAF2). This fund is supporting five uniformed youth organisations to engage with particularly hard-to-reach groups, including young people with physical disabilities and young offenders. For a good summary of the findings from Ipsos MORI report, go to: http://www.iwill.org.uk/who-are-the-teen-engagers.
Step Up To Serve still wants to see at least 60% of young people participating in social action by 2020. If this ambitious goal is to be reached – and we hope it will be – we know that Youth United members will have a big part to play.
Written by Patrick Taylor, Director of Programmes and Impact, Youth United