Growing youth social action in health and social care

When young people get involved in health and social care, it benefits patients, employers, communities – and young people themselves.

It means they can take on the small yet vital tasks that salaried staff struggle to prioritise. It introduces a new generation, including under-represented groups, to a career they might not have considered. And it ensures their voices can influence the design and delivery of services.

It also helps young people understand key issues and the system itself. This increase in health literacy can create a positive knock-on effect – for peers, families and wider communities.

There are three main strands of activity that support youth social action in health and social care:

Make an #iwill pledge

Support these aims? Make your own #iwill pledge to support more young people to get involved in health and social care related social action. You can see the list of organisations that have already done so within health and social care:


Growing young volunteers in hospitals: Pears #iwill Hospitals 

Pears Foundation, in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Big Lottery Fund, are managing a dedicated strand of the #iwill Fund to support the growth of inclusive, high-quality, youth social action opportunities in the Health and Social Care sector.
The programme of funding builds on previous reports from Nesta, Livity and Volunteering Matters and will primarily provide seed-funding for volunteer manager posts within NHS Charities. Volunteer managers will target 16-18 years olds and prioritise recruiting young people from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds in order to tackle participation gaps. You can find out more about the NHS Charities involved in this here:

Beacon Areas

In addition to working with the Pears #iwill hospitals, Step Up To Serve, NHS England, NHS Improvement and the Pears Foundation are working with seven areas across England that are prepared to take the lead on showcasing and promoting the impact young people can have on health and social care: Birmingham, Bristol, South East London, Newcastle, Sheffield, Dorset and Suffolk.

As a Beacon Area, each area is committing to do the following:

Capturing and showcasing existing activity that highlights the impact of young people in health and social care
Developing new, sustainable activity that supports each of the three themes of the campaign’s health and social strategy
Hold a celebration event during #iwill week in November
Take part in the Public Conversation campaign
Hold a Big Lunch – resources available here: