Statement on the future of #iwill

28 January 2021

As the nation faces an unprecedented set of challenges, 2021 is a pivotal moment for the #iwill campaign. We are building on the achievements over the past seven years and growing the #iwill movement, because our shared values of collaboration, challenge, empowerment, independence and inclusion have never been more important.

Right now, children and young people are helping build a better future for us all. It’s time for them to be recognised as part of the solution. They have the energy, talent and ideas to make positive change and to lead.

The organisation leaders and young people who make up the #iwill movement will be continuing to grow their collective work into the new decade, with an even greater focus on reaching out and supporting young people from low-income and black and minority ethnic backgrounds to shape decisions and take positive social action.

Guided by the #iwill Partnership – a cross-sector, UK-wide collaboration with funders, young people and the co-chairs of nation and sector groups – they will work together in pursuit of their shared vision that ‘all children and young people should be supported and empowered to make a positive difference on the issues that affect their lives, their communities, and broader society’. Over 100 organisations have already signed the Power of Youth Charter, committing to specific actions to make this vision a reality.

As a result of a 3-month competitive process, guided by young #iwill Ambassadors, funders involved in the #iwill campaign and Step Up To Serve trustees and staff, we are delighted to announce that the #iwill Partnership and movement will be supported by UK charities Volunteering Matters and UK Youth going forward. They have formed a consortium to deliver key support functions, which will include hosting an independent #iwill coordination hub as well as growing and engaging the #iwill Ambassador & Champion network. A delivery partner leading on evidence and insights to support the movement’s collective action will also be selected in due course.

This cross-sector consortium will aim to broaden the goals of #iwill with a greater focus on reaching and supporting young people from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds to take part in social action activities, as well as increasing the leadership of young people across all levels of #iwill. Together we will aim to support young people using social action in their communities to inform decision-making across the UK.

The consortium will work towards collective goals with a commitment to share resources across the organisations for the good of the #iwill impact goals. Volunteering Matters and UK Youth will host an independent team across the partnership that will draw on our collective support, infrastructure, expertise and reach into the wider UK Volunteering/Civil Society Sector, the Youth/Children Sector and the formal education sector.

A small team of Step Up To Serve staff is supporting Volunteering Matters and UK Youth during January and February as they develop their new support functions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Over 2019 and 2020, #iwill Ambassadors and #iwill partners working in different sectors and across the country came together to explore how they can build on the legacy of #iwill over the previous seven years.

The overwhelming feedback was that organisations and young people want to continue to work together under the #iwill banner with renewed focus and drive, sharing the seats of power equally with young people and making sure that children & young people are an essential part of helping solve the challenges we all face in the future.

The organisation leaders and young people who make up the #iwill movement will be continuing to grow their collective work into the new decade, with an even greater focus on reaching out and supporting young people from low-income and black and minority ethnic backgrounds to shape decisions and take positive social action.

Since #iwill’s inception in 2013 the movement has been guided by groups of committed young people and organisational leaders from different sectors and nations. When Step Up To Serve was coming to a close as planned in 2020, each of these groups decided to renew their purpose and become self-organising. They are now each coordinated by one or more organisations from their own sector or nation, and have all made a commitment to sharing the seats of power equally with young people demonstrated by their change in membership – now with 50% young people, with a co-chair under 25.

The co-chairs of each of these groups also hold a seat on the #iwill Partnership – a new cross-sector, UK-wide collaborative group made up of funders, young people and organisation representatives that meets quarterly. The Partnership is now the highest governing body for the #iwill movement and exists independently to any one organisation or body.

Progress is driven by the Power of Youth Charter – this is a set of specific commitments that an organisation can make towards making the #iwill vision – all children and young people should be supported and empowered to make a positive difference on the issues that affect their lives, their communities, and broader society – a reality. Evidence and insights are collected in relation to the Power of Youth Charter commitments to help signatories develop their practice, bring their commitments into reality, and to encourage more organisations to sign.  Over 100 organisations have already signed the Power of Youth Charter, committing to specific actions to make the #iwill vision reality. The Power of Youth Charter replaced the more light-touch #iwill pledge system in 2020.

The key support functions for #iwill, such as the communications and the running of the #iwill Ambassador and Champion network are delivered by a consortium made up of two UK charities: Volunteering Matters and UK Youth. The consortium is supported by the Centre for Youth Impact who will deliver the collation of key evidence and insights to support the wider #iwill movement.

These charities were chosen following a 3-month competitive process in 2020, after Step Up To Serve – the charity that originally coordinated the #iwill campaign – closed down as planned at the end of 2020.

From an external perspective, you will notice little difference in the way #iwill operates. It will still champion young people as leaders of change, celebrate progress and inspire others to join the movement.

Power of Youth Day and #iwillWeek will still be held annually to celebrate young people making a difference to others and the environment.

The #iwill Ambassador and Champion programmes will continue to run, with Champion sign-ups reopening in March 2021, and Ambassador recruitment starting again – after a hiatus year in 2020 – in the summer of 2021.

The #iwill communications channels will continue to operate under the same handles, and the newsletter will continue to be sent (albeit from a different email address).

The main difference is the culture of #iwill – it’s moved from a campaign being coordinated by one charity, to a movement owned by thousands of organisations and young people driving their own and society’s progress towards their shared goals. And if you’re reading this, you’re most likely a part of it.

Get in touch via the #iwill social media channels: @iwill_campaign or by emailing iwill@volunteeringmatters.org.uk

If you are an #iwill Ambassador or Champion you can speak directly to the team supporting you at iwill@ukyouth.org.

Step Up To Serve was the charity that coordinated the #iwill campaign between 2013 and 2020. It did so by convening and connecting campaign partners and young people, communicating data and evidence about the benefits of youth social action and challenging organisations to grow the power of young people.

As planned since the launch in 2013, the charity Step Up To Serve closed at the end of December 2020. Being a time limited organisation was integral to its work, to stimulate action and broaden leadership across organisations – to ensure activity is co-led by young people and organisations from all sectors and embedded into their future plans.