7th June 2017 – Young people across the UK as young as 10 are doing inspirational things in their communities every day to help others, through social action activities such as campaigning, fundraising, or volunteering their time. This National Volunteer’s Week, we want to celebrate the role that young people can play and the difference that taking part in social action makes to themselves and others.
However, not every young person gets the opportunity to be involved and feel the benefits of taking part. That’s why over 700 organisations, including City Year UK have pledged #iwill, to show what they will do to encourage and enable more young people across the UK to take part in social action.
As part of National Volunteer’s Week, today City Year UK is celebrating its #iwillpledge to increase opportunities for young people to make a difference. Youth social action is defined as ‘young people taking practical action in the service of others to create positive change’.
City Year UK’s #iwill pledge is:
We will expand to serve five cities by 2020, with 1,000 full time, year long volunteer mentors (aged 18 – 25) serving 70,000 children across 100 schools. Our volunteer mentors will in turn engage the children they serve in social action across their local communities.
Since pledging to the #iwill campaign, City Year UK is on track to meet its pledge of operating in five cities by 2020. In September 2016 we passed a significant milestone, launching in our fourth city. City Year Salford has joined City Year Greater Manchester, City Year London and City Year Birmingham. This year we aim to have 200 young people taking part in social action through a full-time, voluntary year of service in schools, tackling social and educational inequality.
Sophie Livingstone, Chief Executive of City Year UK, says: “Embedding social action into young people’s experience of growing up in Britain gives us an incredible opportunity to unlock the compassion and talent of a whole generation. The #iwill campaign demonstrates that this country is beginning to take young people seriously as agents of social change; starting in school and through extra-curricular clubs, moving onto NCS and culminating in a full-time year of service, bridging the gap between education and employment”
Working with business, education and voluntary sector partners, the #iwill campaign aims to ensure that all young people can access social action opportunities, whatever their background. The recent Youth Social Action survey found current levels of participation by 10-20 year-olds stand at 42%. The #iwill goal is to raise this to 60% by 2020, which will mean an additional 1.5 million young people are active in their communities. However, as involvement in social action creates a double-benefit, strengthening communities and enhancing the skills of young participants, a further goal of the campaign is to ensure that all young people across the UK have access to opportunities.
Charlotte Hill, CEO of Step Up To Serve, the charity which coordinates the #iwill campaign says: “We are delighted that City Year UK has pledged to support our work, and today is sharing their progress to inspire others to take part also. If we are to make involvement in social action the norm for 10-20 year-olds we need partners to commit to tangible actions just as they are doing. The involvement of City Year UK will undoubtedly help us progress towards our challenging goal.”