The Government is being urged to act to drive greater social action among young people, building on strong take-up of social action over the last Parliament.
A new report from think tank Demos warns that the ambition of the #iwill campaign – founded in 2013 with cross-party backing and coordinated the charity Step Up To Serve – to involve over 60 per cent of young people in high quality social action by 2020 is at risk of not being realised.
The report, supported by Generation Change, calls for development of a comprehensive, cross-departmental five-year national strategy for youth social action, through the Office of Civil Society.
It also recommends the establishment of full-time social action ‘service year’ placements, as an alternative pathway for school leavers. These could replace traditional gap years with a more productive, non-formal type of education and voluntary work, building important new skills while addressing social challenges.
Service Nation 2020 urges the Government to launch an accredited social action ‘GiveBacc’ programme, to run alongside the English Baccalaureate, signalling to universities and employers that young people had contributed 50 hours of high quality community service.
The report supports the creation of a quality mark for social action provision, which would formally recognise organisations focused on the important task of measuring impact.
Demos head of citizenship Jonathan Birdwell said the appetite of young people to engage in social action is “incredibly encouraging”, but the 60 per cent target for participation will not be reached without Government support.
“In particular, it is essential that we see the development of a cross-departmental national strategy and an independent coordination body to implement it, if we want to bring long-term sustainability to a sector that offers such extensive benefits to individuals and society as a whole.”
Access the report here.