Youth-led social action programmes are receiving a £9 million cash boost from the #iwill Fund, a joint fund supporting youth social action programmes made possible through the investment of The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
The #iwill Fund currently works in partnership with 25 funders, who match the investment. Thanks to this cash boost, the #iwill Fund is expanding its ambition to work with further funders who are interested in joining this large partnership to further embed youth social action opportunities across England by developing their own youth social action programmes.
The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill campaign, which is coordinated by Step Up to Serve, with a vision to make involvement in social action the norm for ten to 20-year-olds across the UK. Since its launch in 2016, it is estimated that over 500,000 young people have undertaken social action opportunities thanks to the funding.
One existing match funder, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) has recently used #iwill funding to launch a learning hub at Ormiston Herman Academy in Gorleston. Since then, pupils have been taking part in #iwill’s national campaign and working to improve their own wellbeing, as well as their peers and their local communities. Eight volunteers were selected to become Herman’s #iwill steering group, made up of pupils from Years 3-6.
Year 4 pupil, Finley, commented, “I am incredibly proud of the work I have completed here with the help of my friends,” whilst Year 9 pupil, Morgan, added, “I can’t wait to get started on our next project so we can help more of the local community.”
Secretary of State, Baroness Morgan said: “I am delighted this funding will allow even more young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to get involved in their local communities. Since its launch in 2016 the Government and the National Lottery Community Fund has invested £50 million in the #iwill Fund, creating opportunities for young people to volunteer and take part in social action.”
Rania Marandos, CEO of Step Up To Serve, the charity co-ordinating the #iwill campaign, said: “Young people aren’t just the leaders of tomorrow. They have the energy, skills and ideas to improve our society for the better today. Through the #iwill Fund I’ve seen first-hand the creative and powerful ways that funders are working together with young people and organisations from across sectors to solve some of society’s toughest challenges. I’m excited by the opportunity this new funding brings to build more partnerships like this.”
Helen Whyman, Head of #iwill at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “At The National Lottery Community Fund, we are delighted to continue investing in the #iwill Fund, enabling them to increase the partnerships that we have built to embed youth social action across England. Through the partnerships within the #iwill Fund, we see young people taking the lead in their communities, helping them to thrive.”