Our Power of Youth Charter pledges
At Volunteering Matters, we believe that empowering young people to make a difference through youth social action is the key to a better future for everyone. We are committed to ensuring that young people’s voices are heard in decision-making processes that affect them.
That’s why we have signed the Power of Youth Charter. This is our commitment to supporting and empowering young people.
Here we set out what we have done so far, and what we will continue to do, to fuel youth social action and better involve young people in our work.
Why don’t you join us in signing the Power of Youth charter.
Prioritise supporting young people to take social action
We will create opportunities that empower more young people, particularly from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds, to be positive changemakers.
- We enable youth social action programmes to run as a core part of our work in communities- and aim to grow the locations for delivery (currently concentrated in Ipswich and London)
- We are committed to being custodians of the #iwill Brand and Trademark on behalf of young people across the UK
- We have incorporated youth social action into our organisational strategy in order to prioritise it within our organisational planning.
- Embed youth social action across all our practice, delivery and programming (e.g. enable Grandmentors, Family Supporters, Equip Mentoring), creating a workforce that prioritises social action as core to their work
- Develop learning and development across the organisation, through upskilling in community development approaches to enable social action
- Ensure teams have the time and space to build and reflect on the learning and development, and ultimately ensure young people are included, equipped and enabled to shape and lead change in their communities and in our organisational delivery.
Open up our decision making structures
We will offer opportunities for young people, particularly from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds, to participate in decision-making, leading and shaping both the activities they are involved in and wider organisational decisions.
- There are currently two young people, both, #iwill Ambassadors, on our board of Trustees.
- Develop our culture to ensure young people feel that they belong in our decision-making spaces, right from recruitment process – e.g. inclusive/straightforward terminology, removing a sense of hierarchy. When recruiting young people for leadership roles in our organisation, we aim to broaden and simplify the ways they can apply, or be nominated- including audio or video application options, in addition to the standard written formats
- Enable mentoring by our #iwill Trustees to other young people in the organisation to enhance the pathway to them becoming Trustees
- Grow the number of young people involved in our organisational governance, on the board and on board subgroups by 25%
- Increase the involvement of young people in our recruitment panels and processes, so that it becomes routine rather than occasional
- Develop an advisory group of young people, opening up our structures to improve the flow of communication to the board, creating a youth focussed space to enable growth in leadership.
Work collaboratively with other organisations
We will collaborate with other organisations to create more high-quality opportunities, reach young people from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds to take part, share learning and achieve collective goals.
- We work with schools, colleges and youth organisations in the localities we deliver in across the UK.
- We are committed to the Ipswich Social Mobility Alliance, driving collaborative and experimental partnership activity across the statutory, voluntary, arts and culture and private sectors to enable youth social action to drive local change.
- Continue commitment to work with nation partners and UK Youth across the UK to deliver the #iwill Movement.
- Commit to ensuring that young people are a driving force for the Vision for Volunteering in England – ensuring they are recognised for the vital infrastructure role they play and create the Power they deserve.
- Share our learning and resources to enable more organisations to support youth social action by creating a repository of toolkits, guides, case studies, and learning on our website.
- Develop an internal staff Youth Social Action collaborative network, sharing experiences and learning from across the organisation.
- Grow our work with cultural organisations, introducing/embedding youth social action into driving change in this sector, and creating enabling environments for young people’s voice and expression through arts and cultural avenues.
Evidence the benefits of youth social action
We will capture and share insights, stories and data on how we are working with young people, and the positive impact this has on them, their communities and our organisation.
- We generate and share evidence and insights from social action activity we enable, featuring them in our annual impact reports.
- Create the space to explore our own understanding of the skills, evidence and profile we need to deliver incredible youth social action.
- Normalise readily sharing the evidence, insights and impact of youth social action across the organisation more frequently, rather than in concentrated teams.
- Grow our evidence and insights work on the emergent impact of youth social action in place contexts, and its contribution to creating stronger communities and shaping local systems.
Recognise and celebrate young people’s impact
We will use our communication channels to advocate for and celebrate young people as positive and powerful changemakers.
- We actively seek out and include young people’s stories and insights in our organisational social media channels, and the sub channels managed by locality teams.
- Support more young people in our local communities to interact with local press and media, getting their voices and stories shared first hand in local communities.
- Commit to nominating young people as #iwill ambassadors annually.
- Regularly open our channels for youth takeovers, particularly to mark key dates such as Power of Youth Day.
- Proactively work with funders, press and other outlets to share young people’s stories and learning about youth social action.
- Ensure young people are central to events we deliver as an organisation and commit to learning from previous practice to ensure they are meaningfully involved in shaping and delivering our events.