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The charity making life better by water

Youth social action

Social action is the biggest area of our work with young people and we offer a variety of options for both individuals and groups.

A young volunteer operating a sea bin

Social action is one of the three pillars of our youth engagement programme, and the biggest.

We understand that helping facilitate services to others encourages environmental concern and creates connections to nature.

We want to engage young people early in their lives, so that they can realise and unleash their potential to drive positive social action, experience the wellbeing benefits of being by water and build meaningful connections to nature for years to come.

Young man helping install a bench as part of the Urban Wilderness project at Tinsley Marina, Sheffield

In recent years we have increased the number and range of opportunities for young people. We are committed to supporting young people from all walks of life, particularly those in the most deprived and disadvantaged communities.

Our current social action priorities include:

  • climate change
  • digital and remote volunteering
  • peer education

These come to life through a number of initiativies.

A group of Explorers on the towpath

Our Young Rangers help us fulfil a vital part of our work through taking responsibility for a small area of our waterway network. Here, they help drive positive social change by working with existing staff and volunteers to design, construct, and monitor conservation interventions.

We also signed up to #iwill's Youth Charter, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to engaging and empowering young people to get involved, have their say and help us promote the wellbeing benefits of the waterways to their peers and wider communities.

A partnership with Defra and the #IWill4nature campaign enabled us to support the 2019 Year of Green Action (YoGA), which focussed on connecting people of all ages and backgrounds with nature and showing how we can all take positive action to improve our environment.

In order to grow and develop our offering, we will continue to co-create and co-design our activities. By growing our volunteer-led and community ownership programmes, we will strive to ensure our offer meets the needs of different communities and encourage participation amongst previously underrepresented groups of young people.

Last Edited: 21 August 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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