UK charities team up with young people to tackle society's biggest issues

Some of the UK’s largest charities have teamed up with young people as part of a youth movement designed to tackle some of society’s biggest issues.

The movement, A Million Hands, is a social impact project launched by the Scouts, designed to allow more young people to make decisions affecting society and to take part in community activities.

It follows research from YouGov – commissioned by the Scouts – which asked 14-18 year olds to talk about the things they hoped for the world in 50 years’ time.

A large proportion of respondents said they wanted a ‘fairer, more sustainable future’ with nearly two thirds (64%) noting they hope people will have stopped the effects of climate change. Nearly half (49%) said they wanted people to have stopped using single use plastics.

A survey from Ipsos Mori further revealed the majority of the 2,000 young people surveyed said they care about making the world a better place, while 74% said they believed they could make a difference in doing so.

“Young people are fired-up for change. They want to see a brighter future for our society and they’re not prepared to wait for it. You only need to look at what Greta Thunberg is doing to see that,” Scouts chief executive, Matt Hyde said.

“To build towards these goals, Scouts are launching the next phase of our social action campaign, A Million Hands. So far it’s helped over a quarter of a million young people improve the lives of those around them, while developing skills for life.”

The movement's previous themes were clean water and sanitation with WaterAid, dementia with Alzheimer’s Society, emotional wellbeing with Mind, disability with Leonard Cheshire and Guide Dogs, and assisting with all of these themes was the Canal & River Trust.

The group of young people have now chosen the following six new themes to work on:

- Protecting the environment (with WWF),
- Fostering kindness in every community (with the British Red Cross),
- Ending homelessness (with Crisis and the Simon Community),
- Supporting refugees and displaced children (with Save the Children),
- Understanding disability (with the National Autistic Society), and
- Achieving better mental health for all (with Mind, SAMH and Inspire).

“Over the last one hundred years Scouting has taken on some of the big issues around the world, the issues have evolved and changed, but young people’s drive to make a positive impact has remained constant,” Hyde said.

“By supporting young people and helping them to develop the skills they need to succeed in life like empathy, listening and resilience we can help build a whole new generation of change makers.

“The benefits to society are obvious. Young people are building a future that does not look to others to solve problems that affect us all. There’s a realisation that we can only solve problems together. This means working in partnership with experts and young people filled with determination.”

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