Supporting youth social action during #iwill week and beyond

Posted on: 23 November 2015

Student Hubs is currently celebrating #iwill week, marking the 2nd anniversary of the #iwill campaign for youth social action, coordinated by Step Up To Serve. Working with business, education and voluntary sector partners, the campaign aims to ensure that all young people can access social action opportunities, whatever their background. The #iwill goal is to raise the number of 10-20 year-olds taking part in social action by 2020 by 50%, which will mean an additional 1.5 million young people will be active in their communities.

Two years ago, we made the following pledge to support this growing movement (read our related blog posts from 2013 and 2014):

– We pledge to triple the number of students volunteering in our high-impact, year-long social action programmes from 1,200 to 3,600 by 2020.
– As a founding member of Generation Change we will continue to work with other frontline delivery organisations to embed social action in young people’s lives: ensuring that high-quality voluntary action taken by children and teenagers continues while they are at university and into adulthood.
– We will build capacity in higher education institutions to value, support and sustain thriving communities of students engaged in social action. By 2020, we will be engaging with 100,000 students across 20 university Hubs.
– Using our on-the-ground delivery model we will work to add to our existing research into the student social action landscape; and advocate for student-led, impact-driven social action at a national level. The aim of this will be to increase the proportion of student social action from 30%, where it has plateaued for many years.
– We will leverage our corporate partnerships to increase the number of ‘unusual suspects’ participating in social action as students. While employability is often an incentive for these students to volunteer, we will use our critical engagement model to position a desire to make a difference at the centre of all of our volunteers’ social action.

In the past two years, we have made significant progress towards our goals:

– Last year, we supported 2500 students to volunteer through a diverse range of projects and programmes in ten UK Universities.
– We are now reaching over 30,000 students across 10 UK Universities.
– We are working with partners at UUK, NUS, SUTS, CAF and others through the Step up to Serve Higher Education Working Group to increase the proportion of students involved in social action.
– We are working with new corporate partners to increase the number of ‘unusual suspects’ participating in social action. In 2014-15, 1 in every 5 students who got involved in our programmes were participating in social action for the first time.

You can find out more about our Impact over the last year here.

Sara Fernandez, our Executive Director, says:

‘We’re delighted with the progress we’ve made towards our 2020 goals. We want social action to be an integral part of students’ experience of higher education, and we’re working with more Universities, more corporates, and more students to achieve our long term vision. Institutions are increasingly recognising the value of supporting high quality social action, as the need to prepare students for the graduate workplace becomes ever clearer. High quality social action develops students confidence and skills, giving them frontline experience of tackling community need and preparing them for their future careers.

We’re preparing for the 15th anniversary of Student Volunteering Week (SVW) in February 2016, and we’re delighted that it has become a fixture in many college and university calendars, with over 100 different institutions expected to take part in 2016. SVW is a unique opportunity for student volunteers, colleges and unis, charities, social enterprises, businesses and government to collaborate, discuss challenges and opportunities in student volunteering, and showcase innovative individuals and projects.

We are a proud partner of Step up to Serve, and will continue to work with NUS, UUK and others to achieve our 2020 goals and the goals of the campaign.’

Find out more about #iwill week at www.iwill.org.uk and @iwill_campaign.

Francis Wight

Francis is Student Hubs' Network Development Manager, leading on policy, growth and partnerships across the network.

Tags: Impact, Social Action, Third Sector


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