Whether it’s local surfers helping young people to improve their emotional health or a youth club acting as a springboard for social mobility – our latest funding awards are aimed at getting young people involved in social action.
As part of #iwillWeek, we're splitting more than £400,000 between two projects through our Potentials Fund.
The fund was set up in December 2016, along with our Opportunities Fund, as part of our new volunteering strategy.
With a total of £3 million to be allocated to help 10-20-year-olds get involved in volunteering, the first recipients of awards were announced a year ago.
To mark #iwillWeek, the remainder of the fund – made up of match-funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the Big Lottery Fund – is being awarded to The Wave Project and UK Youth.
In total, 18 projects have been given awards from our Potentials Fund
The Wave Project began as a pilot in Cornwall, using local surfers to work with young people, teach them how to surf and, in the process, reduce anxiety and improve their emotional health.
While UK Youth is a network of more than 5,000 youth clubs across the country which engages young people in physical activity and uses social action to improve their lives.
A concept that our executive director of sport, Phil Smith, is a great admirer of.
“Through social action young people can help others get active and benefit themselves in lots of ways; social action can do wonders for job and career prospects, mental health and making friends,” he said.
“That’s why we pledged to support the #iwill campaign and made volunteering and social action a key part of our strategy.
“We’re delighted to be helping these two projects enable more young people to be the catalysts for change in their neighbourhood.”
The Wave Project
Location: South West
The Wave Project is a registered charity that has developed an award-winning intervention that uses the local surfers to help young people reduce anxiety and improve their emotional health.
Projects have now been set up all over the UK using the same methods employed on the original pilot scheme in Cornwall – getting local surfers to work with young people and teach them to surf.
The sessions are delivered by a mix of paid staff and volunteer surf-mentors who work in partnership with established surf schools.
The ‘Wave Rangers’ project will combine the attraction for young people of engaging in youth social action projects benefiting their local natural environment with the opportunity to learn to surf and become a surf volunteer.
It will create exciting new opportunities for young people (aged 10-20) from isolated and deprived coastal communities, many of whom have limited opportunities to access outdoor activity or volunteering opportunities.
Surfing presents opportunities for young people to step into volunteering, to help their peers facing mental health and similar challenges access surfing and reap the proven benefits of being active.
By linking this with key local natural environment partners, this project will create new opportunities for young people to drive a wide range of possible youth social action projects aimed at benefiting their local natural environment and communities, which will also increase their own and their community’s connection to nature and create further volunteering opportunities.
Location: Midlands, North East and Buckinghamshire
UK Youth is a national membership organisation dedicated to improving social mobility delivered through its network of locally accessible youth organisations across the UK.
More than 5,000 youth clubs are part of its network and in 2016/17 it engaged more than 840,000 young people.
In this programme, UK Youth will lead a group of three youth organisations, covering four areas, to engage 12-20-year-olds who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET), at risk of becoming NEET or underemployed, are vulnerable to mental health issues and are facing barriers of deprivation and disadvantage.
Over three years, 720 young people from local communities in Newcastle upon Tyne, Coventry, Northumberland and Buckinghamshire, who have not yet been given the chance to volunteer on a programme like this, will lead quality social action projects that benefit the community and develop their life skills through physical activity and a link to the natural environment.
The model will be part supported and part peer-led – the youth workers and identified and trained volunteer Young Leaders will engage further young people from the target audience to form small groups (two Young Leaders and 10 peers).
Under the guidance of the youth workers, each group will develop a social action project that relates to physical activity and the environment.
The #iwill Fund and our Potentials Fund have now provided support to 18 projects across the country and Charlotte Hill, chief executive of the Step Up To Serve charity – who coordinate the #iwill campaign – is already seeing its benefit.
"Young people across the country often start their social action journey through community sport,” she said.
“Sport has the potential to enable even more young people to contribute to their communities whilst developing their own skills and wellbeing.
“As we look ahead to 2019, the #iwill campaign will be focusing on growing environmental youth social action and we will talk more and more about the benefits of doing so has on both those taking part and on communities.
“It's fantastic to see the focus on the outdoors and the environment in these new projects receiving funding through the #iwill Fund's partnership with Sport England."