The #iwill campaign has released research today which confirms that social action and volunteering is having a positive impact on the lives of young people across the UK.
The yearly survey found that 42% of young people reported taking part in meaningful social action in 2016 and those involved had higher levels of life satisfaction and stronger social networks.
The #iwill campaign aims to increase involvement in social action among 10-20 year olds and to ensure that these experiences are available to all young people, regardless of their social background. Currently young people from affluent families are more likely to have been involved in social action than those who are less well off. White young people are more likely to have been involved than young people from ethnic minority groups and girls are more likely to take part than boys.
However, progress is being made and these valuable opportunities are becoming more accessible; young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are now more likely to take part in social action than ever before. But there is a need for more opportunities and more involvement from parents, carers and teachers to encourage young people to get involved.
Jon Yates, Director of The Challenge, said: "At The Challenge we are passionate advocates of social action. That's no surprise, we continuously see the powerful impact it has on young people and communities. So many of the young people who have been on NCS with The Challenge and HeadStart say how social action has helped their self-confidence and enabled them to have a far greater understanding of people from different backgrounds. Volunteering and social action are a great way to avoid segregation and isolation at any age."
We strongly believe in the power of social action and the positive impact it can have on individuals and their communities. Our NCS and HeadStart programmes give young people the opportunity get involved in social action campaigns and volunteering. Our graduates often tell us how these experiences have helped build their self-confidence and ability to connect with others. Lizzie, who took part in both our NCS and HeadStart programmes, said:
“Before my volunteering I felt quite apprehensive as I hadn’t spent time with people with learning disabilities before, and I wasn’t sure how I would be. I kept wondering ‘how should I act, how should I behave?’ But the experience broke down every stereotype of what a disability would be like. Once I got there it was really enjoyable, there were loads of activities and the atmosphere was really calm. The experience helped me to feel so much more comfortable meeting and talking to new people, and has shown me that we all have so many things in common.”
Take a look at the #iwill website to find out more about the campaign and social action opportunities in the UK. And make sure you visit our NCS and HeadStart websites if you’re interested in finding out how to get involved in our programmes.