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28 June, 2013

New campaign and new money for youth social action

Yesterday, HRH The Prince of Wales led a meeting of politicians and leaders across the youth, voluntary, business, education and faith sectors to secure their support for a new Campaign for Youth Social Action.

Social action is practical action in the service of others, and an important element of citizenship education

The Campaign for Youth Social Action (CYSA) aims to double the number of young people engaged in social action to over 50% by 2020: an additional 1.7 million young people.

According to the Cabinet Office, only 29% of young people in the UK currently engage in social action, compared to over 58% in Canada. More could be involved, but there is often a lack of support from adults. For example, there are currently 30,000 young people on the Scouts waiting list because of a lack of adult volunteers.

The campaign aims to 'transform our society by encouraging, recognising and valuing the contribution young people make, and by supporting those who can galvanise a new culture of participation'. It sets out the long‐term vision and formally engages with the principal institutions of the state and civic society, with the leadership of HRH The Prince of Wales. 

Citizenship Foundation CEO, Andy Thornton, was present. 'It's a great new opportunity for joined-up thinking across the education, business and voluntary sectors,' he says. 

HRH The Prince of Wales said:

'I have always been convinced that practical action in the service of others is of benefit both to the individual and the community. So much incredible work has already been done in the UK. This campaign is a concerted and long term effort across all sectors to join together with young people to create more opportunities for their social action.'

CYSA is the result of a cross sector review, set up by the Prime Minister and led by Dame Julia Cleverdon and Amanda Jordan OBE. The review concluded that an independent campaign with a long term vision which partners with business, education and the voluntary sectors, will provide the necessary stimulus.

New funding

The Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd MP, also announced new funding for youth organisations running programmes that engage young people in social action. This separate Government initiative will complement the wider campaign by supporting quality youth social action activity, testing new ways to encourage participation and by evaluating this work.

The knowledge resulting from the evaluation will be given to the CYSA and made available publicly.

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