Promoting practical action in the service of others
#iwill is a UK-wide campaign that aims to make social action part of life for as many 10 to 20 year-olds as possible by the year 2020. Through collaboration and partnership it is spreading the word about the benefits of youth social action, working to embed it in the journey of young people and create fresh opportunities for participation. The campaign is being coordinated by the charity Step Up To Serve, governed by an independent board and has cross-party support.
Our work was referenced in the Conservative Party manifesto published ahead of the 2015 General Election: “We will support The Prince of Wales’ Step Up To Serve initiative, encouraging young people to serve in their community.” The Prime Minister, David Cameron MP, has also personally backed the campaign. “This campaign is above party politics – it’s about believing in our young people and backing them to do the right thing. We want more young people to have the opportunity to serve others and reap the benefits that this brings.’
The Labour Party also made specific reference to #iwill in its’ pre-election manifesto: “We will encourage young people’s volunteering and social action by supporting the #iwill campaign of ‘Step up to Serve’, and the National Citizens Service.” This follows on from public support given to the campaign by the out-going Labour Leader, Ed Miliband MP. “I was delighted to be involved in the launch of this campaign, that is mobilising the talents of young people right across the country. We know there is more to be done in our schools and colleges, our businesses and our public services. I wish the #iwill campaign all the best in the months and years to come.”
The Liberal Democrats also expressed their support for youth social action in a letter to our Chairman in April 2015. “We recognise that getting young people to take part in social action helps build important skills for adulthood and make the most of their energy and talents while also benefiting the wider community. So I’d like to take this opportunity to, once again, wish Step Up To Serve and the #iwill campaign all the best for the future.” Nick Clegg MP, former leader of the Liberal Democrat Party.
Patron of Step Up To Serve, HRH The Prince of Wales with the three main political party leaders and Step Up To Serve founders – Dame Julia Cleverdon (left) and Amanda Jordan OBE (right).
To us, social action means ‘practical action in the service of others that creates positive change‘. This benefit is to the young people themselves and the communities in which they live.
Our Vision is that every young person in the UK is taking part in this kind of ‘quality’ social action and we’ll achieve this by inspiring leaders from across society to create fresh opportunities for 10-20 year-olds to take part. If we are successful more than 1 million young people will get the chance to engage in social action for the first time.
The campaign is backed by leaders from across UK society, led by HRH The Prince of Wales with renewed support from all of the main political parties.
In 2012, the Prime Minister asked Dame Julia Cleverdon and Amanda Jordan OBE to review how to increase the quality and quantity of youth social action. After a wide-ranging consultation their report highlighted the barriers to youth social action and produced a set of recommendations.
Barriers included a shortage of activities in education from 10 upwards; confusion in the education and business sectors about the kind of initiatives they could support; failure to promote and inspire young people to take part; and an absence of a coherent vision to promote a culture of youth social action.
The recommendations were to create an easy to navigate “service journey” for young people; scale up programmes to fill gaps in provision; embed social action in young people’s educational experience (school, further and higher education); develop a culture of promoting and celebrating youth social action comparable to effective programmes run in other countries around the world.
The review, concluded that an initiative uniting organisations and the public should be set up to increase opportunities for young people. This initiative should be time limited, add to existing activity, and be a research and advocacy body, not one running programmes itself. This initiative is the #will campaign that is being coordinated by the charity Step Up To Serve.