The results of the 2017 National Youth Social Action Survey undertaken by #iwill have been released and give a snapshot of youth social action across the UK.

The survey showed that 58% of young people took part in some form of social action in 2017 which is a figure that we at Dame Kelly Holmes Trust find really encouraging. We have been working hard over the last couple of years to incorporate meaningful social action in all the projects we run at the Trust and through the work of our athlete mentors and partner delivery organisations, we will continue to work with the young people on our programmes to positively impact on key social issues both locally and nationally.

One great example of our social action activity is our Community Champions programme which is funded by Sport England. Over the last seven months our athlete mentors have been training and developing fifty young people who graduated from our Get on Track programme where they showed leadership potential, to become leaders within their our communities. The projects the young people have developed have  been varied and diverse but all have important themes in common, the projects are youth led, socially impactful and are embedded within their local community.

Take Xander’s project. Xander is a circus skills practitioner and as part of his social action project, he wanted to help tackle the social isolation felt by refugees and asylum seekers in his local community. He delivered  a series of circus skills workshops with refugees and asylum seekers from the Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum. For all these young refugees, English is not their first language so a practical workshop is a common starting point and really useful for helping to engage a community that may otherwise feel isolated or lonely, a huge issue for refugees into the UK. Xander has also gained confidence by delivering the programme – a great example of the double benefit achieved by meaningful social action. The programme has been such a success so far that Xander has been asked to continue the workshops following the end of the Community Champions programme, a great example of social action becoming embedded in the local community. You can see more of Xander’s story here.

According to the National Youth Social Action survey results, young people from less affluent backgrounds have the appetite to make a difference, with over 58% saying they would like to take part in the future, but results show that they are currently missing out on the benefits of getting involved. 51% of young people from most affluent backgrounds are participating in meaningful social action, with only 32% from less affluent backgrounds. This means that there is a need to reach young people from less-affluent communities with quality social action opportunities.  The Trust targets those who need our help most, not those who are easiest to reach and by embedding social action projects within our programmes, we are introducing the concept of social action to groups of people who may not previously have been aware of it.

As well as Community Champions, all participants on our Get on Track, On Track to Achieve and AQA Unlocking Potential programmes deliver social action projects as an integral part of the course.

Dame Kelly Holmes Trust continue to support the #iwill campaign and look forward to delivering many more great social action projects on all of their transformational programmes over the years ahead.