31st October 2016
Tens of thousands of young people living in disadvantaged areas and from hard-to-reach communities became involved in social action by joining uniformed youth organisations through the Uniformed Youth Social Action Fund (UYSAF). UYSAF, which has formed the core of Youth United Foundation’s work for the last two years, was a £10 million fund awarded by the Government to the Foundation. Youth United worked in partnership with uniformed youth organisations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to use the funds to create new opportunities for young people.
On 19 October - nicknamed ‘UYSAF day’ - Rob Wilson MP, Minister for Civil Society and Jennie Price, Chair of Youth United, hosted a reception at Department of Culture, Media and Sport to recognise the achievements made under UYSAF and mark the publication of our 2016 Impact Report and two Ipsos MORI independent evaluations of UYSAF, commissioned by the Office for Civil Society. We were delighted to be able to bring so many of our friends and supporters together to help us celebrate our UYSAF results and look forward to future uniformed youth group growth.
Projects under UYSAF, itself funded from LIBOR fine revenues, gave young people life-changing opportunities to both develop themselves and enrich their communities through social action. Over the course of the fund, young people led some 3,000 social action activities. According to Ipsos Mori, 80% of social action beneficiaries said they felt prouder of their local area as a result of these activities. Moreover, 63% of community members surveyed claimed they were more likely to take part in social action themselves. This research, a high volume quantitative survey, highlights that youth social action can produce a clear and measurable impression in the communities in which it is delivered.
UYSAF created 27,132 new places for young people living in disadvantaged communities, facilitated by over 4,000 newly recruited adult volunteers. This means that, since 2012, Youth United Foundation has supported the creation of nearly 42,000 new places in uniformed youth groups, exceeding our #iwill pledge of 40,000 six years ahead of schedule.
On the night, the attendees were also joined by guest speaker and Volunteer Police Cadet, Tarik Hardadou, who became a Cadet at the age of 12. Tarik talked about his experience of being part of a uniformed group and how this has helped him reach his potential and dreams. Now 18, he is Head Cadet for Kensington and Chelsea and leads the Kensington and Chelsea Junior Cadet Unit (which was funded through UYSAF 2). He recently won a Lord Ferrers Best VPC Individual Award in recognition of giving 1,000 hours of social action to the Moroccan community in London, supporting Stop & Search workshops in the community and volunteering at Junior Cadets Programmes.
To coincide with the launch of Ipsos MORI’s evaluations of UYSAF, Youth United published its annual Impact Report, which shows how we have capitalised on the success of previous years to continue to deliver sustainable results and growth. In fact, 87% of the units that received funding from Youth United three years ago or more are still open and thriving today. For example, many Sea Cadets units are now working closely with schools in areas of high levels of deprivation to get students from economically challenging backgrounds involved in uniformed youth organisations.
Minister Rob Wilson MP said “Participation in a uniformed group can help give young people the start in life they deserve and that’s why I am proud to have played my part in creating Youth United’s Uniformed Youth Social Action Fund. I congratulate Youth United on what it has achieved so far. I am a committed supporter of its mission to make it possible for every young person in the UK to have the chance to join a uniformed group” (as quoted in Youth United’s 2015-6 Impact Report).