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#iwill and the POWER of Youth Charter

In 2020, we pledged our commitment to the #iwill Youth Charter as a promise to continue to engage and empower young people through our opportunities. Find out what we've achieved through our Year of Youth campaign one year on.

Young people planting greenery by the canal

Over the years we've celebrated #iwill week by championing youth social action through our practical projects and activities for young individuals and groups.

With the campaign coming to an end in 2020, we pledged to continue to encourage young people to drive positive social change by committing to #iwill's POWER of Youth Charter and launching our Year of Youth Campaign.

One year on, here's what we've achieved so far through our POWER pledge:

P - Prioritising supporting young people to take social action

We've run our Year of Youth campaign to raise the profile of our youth engagement work, both internally and externally.

There have been new modules developed for co-creation with communities and partners, and we have produced guidance, training and resources to our colleagues.

Our digital and virtual offers have expanded, and we've been busy exploring a range of remote, micro and self-directed opportunities so that we can extend our reach and utilise all available touchpoints.

Together with our network of young people, we've developed a suite of six free resource packs that cover key topics highlighted in our 2019/20 youth survey: Arts, Plastic Pollution, Climate Change, Water Safety, Nature on Your Doorstep and Water & Wellbeing.

O - Open up our decision-making structures

We've successfully implemented our brand new Youth Fellowship scheme, which is being piloted on the Youth Engagement Advisory Group and the London & South East Regional Advisory Board. We are thrilled to have recently welcomed our first cohort of Fellows who will be instrumental in shaping the future of our work.

On Tuesday 23 November, Osaru Mcken from our Fellowship scheme took part in the #iwill roundtable discussion 'Living the Power of Youth', alongside Louis Howell, chair of our Youth Engagement Advisory Group.

W – Work collaboratively with other organisations

As a non-youth charity, partnership working is at the heart of our youth engagement work operationally and strategically, and the majority of our activities are delivered with schools, uniformed groups, youth organisations and charity partners.

As well as acting as a traditional delivery partner, in the last year we've taken on different partnership roles including Facilitator/Enabler, Consortium Partner and Research Partner. This has helped us make the best use of resources and maximise our impact.

We've expanded the membership of our Youth Engagement Advisory Group to ensure that there's good representation across the youth sector. Our focus has been on representation, inclusion and equity, striving to reach young people facing multiple barriers to participation.

During #iwill week 2021, we worked in partnership with Volunteering Matters to engage a number of local schools and youth groups in actioning towpath improvements along their adopted stretch of the Grand Union Canal.

E – Evidence the benefits of youth social action

We've developed a robust evaluation framework for all of our children & young people programmes. This has enabled us to capture qualitative and quantitative data and really understand the difference our work makes to young people and their wider communities.

This framework has been successfully piloted on our Water Safety, Kickstart, Youth Fellowship and Explorers Education Programmes.

What's next?

We are proud of the impact we have made in 2021, and strive to extend it further into more communities across England and Wales.

Key plans for 2022 include:

  • P: Co-creating digital sessions with young people based on the youth resources we've developed, and recruit and train young volunteers to deliver peer-to-peer sessions.
  • O: Roll out our Youth Fellowship scheme to all regions and national advisory groups, and explore partnerships with other organisations interested in our model.
  • W: Continue to develop opportunities for co-creation by exploring joint funding bids with other organisations.
  • E: Roll out our Children & Young Peoples' programmes evaluation framework to all of our youth projects.
  • R: Explore how we can develop additional rewards and awards, firstly by consulting with young people to understand what is most valuable to them.
Youth Charter

Last Edited: 26 November 2021

photo of a location on the canals
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