The new Government must embrace the power of youth

The #iwill campaign was launched with cross-party support in 2013 under the Patronage of HRH Prince of Wales, to make youth social action the norm for all young people aged 10-20. 

The #iwill Fund is one of the stand-out successes of the campaign. Launched in 2016 with £20 million seed investment from DCMS, the Fund has leveraged a further £60 million through the National Lottery Community Fund and partnerships with independent funders. Through working with delivery organisations, the #iwill Fund has created opportunities for more than half a million young people, almost half of whom are from more deprived backgrounds, to make a difference in their communities.

Previous Conservative governments have played an important role supporting the work of the campaign, including through establishing the first ever Youth Steering Group, and more recently the £500 million commitment to a Youth Investment Fund.

Following the Queen’s Speech and formation of a new cabinet, we will be writing to Ministers to encourage them to:

  • Prioritise long-term investment in youth social action – ensuring that recent youth funding commitments fully embed the principles of youth social action and that there is a long-term plan for supporting the wider youth sector
  • Promote collaboration to advance youth social action across government departments and across sectors, promoting partnerships with young people
  • Listen to young people and provide as many opportunities as possible for them to engage with decision-making 

Building on our work with the Back Youth Alliance – a coalition of influential and impactful youth organisations catalysed by Step up to Serve – we will also be proposing a number of initiatives for prompt, long term commitments to youth engagement.

As we know that the best people to testify to the power of youth social action are young people themselves, we will also be inviting ministers to meet  our #iwill Ambassadors and hear from them about the impact they’re making in communities across the UK.

We look forward to continuing our existing work with DCMS, DfE, Defra and DHSC, and driving forward their commitments to supporting and empowering the young people of our country to be active citizens, both today and in the future. In 2020, our team at Step Up To Serve is joined by civil servants on secondment from DfE, PHE and Defra.

Lord Gardiner, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Defra, attends our #iwill Ambassador welcome event at Kew Gardens, November 2018; #iwill Ambassador Ella attends a Character Education Roundtable at the DfE, November 2018; Michael Gove as Secretary of State for the Environment attends our #iwill4nature launch in January 2019; Civil Society Minister Mims Davies addresses our Advisory Council at St James’s Palace, May 2019; The Back Youth Group meet at Downing Street to put forward a Youth Charter, May 2019; the Back Youth Group and young people meet in June 2019; #iwill Ambassador Lamide shares the stage with Civil Society Minister Baroness Barran, October 2019.