24th November 2014
This is an exciting week for everyone involved in youth organisations. It's the first birthday of the #iwill campaign which works to increase young people's involvement in social action and led to the government funding of the Youth United £10 million UYSAF programme.
#iwill was launched in November 2013 by HRH The Prince of Wales and the UK's three main political parties, with the aim making involvement in fundraising, volunteering and campaigning a normal part of life for 10-20 year olds by 2020.
Youth social action creates a double-benefit, strengthening communities and developing the character and skills of young participants. The #iwill call to action is for more organisations to promote youth social action and create fresh opportunities, particularly by breaking down barriers to engagement such as a lack of adult volunteers or opportunities.
In support of the campaign, the government announced a £10 million fund earlier this year to be made available for uniformed groups to support new opportunities for youth social action. Led by Youth United Foundation, the Uniformed Youth Social Action Fund is already up and running, and has enabled 14 organisations to encourage young people living in disadvantaged areas or hard to reach communities to get involved in social action by joining uniformed youth organisations.
The 14 organisations are: The Scout Association, Girlguiding, The Boys’ Brigade, Marine Society and Sea Cadets, St John Ambulance, Volunteer Police Cadets, Church Lads’ and Church Girls’ Brigade, The Girls’ Brigade, Fire Cadets, Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade, Combined Cadet Force Association, Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, Woodcraft Folk and the Catholic Guides of Ireland Northern Region.
An announcement of a second round of grant funding focused on innovation will be made later this year.
Lindsay Levkoff Lynn, Chief Executive of Youth United Foundation, said:
"Youth United wholeheartedly supports the #iwill campaign because youth social action is at the heart of what our member organisations do. Youth social action helps build character and citizenship. It also improves employability and enhances well-being. It is fantastic to see so many young people wanting to take part and so much support from all levels of society.
"But getting started is sometimes the hardest part. Barriers can include lack of opportunity or adult volunteers. In partnership with the Cabinet Office, we will shortly be announcing the recipients of a new round of funding for innovative pilot programmes to engage young people who may otherwise face barriers to participation in social action. We are very pleased to see the organisations who made successful bids for UYSAF funding earlier this year now starting to make progress, and we are very excited by the calibre of innovations and new ideas coming to the fore in round two."