The headline findings from the 2016 National Youth Social Action Survey have today been announced by Step Up to Serve, coordinators of the #iwill campaign. The survey has established that youth social action impacts positively on young people’s lives. Participation leads young people to have stronger personal networks and higher life satisfaction, also supporting research that recently found participation in the Scouts and Guides in childhood can boost mental health for the future.
However, there is still work to be done in making social action a part of 10-20 years-olds lives, as young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are continuing to miss out. The survey has uncovered that these young people are not only participating less but are specifically missing out on opportunities to join social action programmes.
At Pears Foundation, we are focusing on increasing opportunities across the sector and working to narrow this gap in participation. Ongoing partnerships, such as our work with the Scouts Association and Girlguiding to improve recruitment and retention of adult volunteers, help us understand how accessibility can be embedded in programmes that have proven, sustainable models, while our nine National Youth Social Action Fund projects, co-funded with Government, are aimed specifically at testing approaches to reduce the participation gap across both deprived and rural areas.
Although the headline findings show us that there is still some way to go in achieving the #iwill campaign aim of making social action a part of life for as many 10 to 20 year-olds as possible by 2020, progress is still evident. Young people are increasingly taking part in youth social action and we are continually learning and understanding what ‘good’ youth social action looks like, enabling us to create more opportunities for all young people across the sector.
The full findings and insights from the survey can be viewed here.