New £6m fund will help the young to volunteer

Scheme aims to get half the nation's teenagers lending society a hand

Millions of children and young people will be encouraged to take part in volunteering in their community under a new fund launched by the Government tomorrow.

The £6m Youth Social Action Journey Fund will pay for extra places for 10- to 20-year-olds in existing youth groups, and will encourage businesses and charities to set up new ways youngsters can take part in activities for the good of their communities. Young people will also be encouraged to join national organisations such as the Scouts, Brownies, Guides and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme.

Only 29 per cent of young people are engaged in volunteering in the UK, compared with more than 50 per cent in Canada. But the lower figure does not represent unwillingness to take part, because there are long waiting lists at some of the leading voluntary groups.

Nick Hurd, the minister for Civil Society, said the money, spread over two years, would help young people improve their own lives as well as those of others. The Government is inviting bids from charities, social enterprises and businesses that already run high-quality programmes for young people, before the closing date of 17 November.

Mr Hurd said: "We want to create a social action journey that every young person can easily get involved with and feel valued, hone their skills, make new friends and ultimately benefit their community.

"I've created this £6m fund to support organisations that offer more young people places on their fantastic programmes, benefiting the community as well as the young person themselves and make it easier for young people to progress onto the next challenging experience."

Next month, Mr Hurd, Prince Charles and David Cameron will attend the official launch of the Campaign for Youth Social Action. First unveiled by the prince in June, it is designed to double the number of young people volunteering to more than 50 per cent – or about 4.2 million. Dame Julia Cleverdon, whose review into the issue led to the setting up of the campaign, and who chairs the young teachers' scheme Teach First, said the UK had a lot to learn from Canada, where 58 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds volunteer. This was, she said, in part due to the efforts of Craig Kielburger, who at the age of 12, in 1995, set up Free the Children, with some of his fellow pupils, to fight child labour worldwide.

The charity is now a major international force. Dame Julia said she hoped the Campaign for Youth Social Action would encourage another school pupil to create a similar global movement.

Dame Julia, who was speaking at an awards ceremony for Giving Nation, which runs a competition for schoolchildren who fund-raise and volunteer in their local communities, said she had encountered a "wall of apathy and nightmare" from some quarters in her efforts to get the new campaign up and running, but had nevertheless pulled together a "great campaign".

She said: "Young people who have themselves faced tough things are more resilient, more likely to succeed. It is not about saying that matters, failing is actually rather good. It is failing to pick yourself up and having another shot that is the problem.

"Great social action is practical action in the service of others, for a team benefit. It is for individuals, of course, you feel good … it warms the cockles of your heart. But it isn't just for us – it is about that community, that hospice, those people.

"I believe that by 2020 we are going to get 50 per cent of young people engaged in doing something for the benefit of others."

Dame Julia added: "The world is changed in two different ways, just as there are two different ways of making coffee. You can make coffee in a cafetière, plunging the message down and crushing the grounds below. Imposing from the top a vision that everybody has got to volunteer – that is not the way to do it. Or you can make coffee with a percolator, allowing the coffee to rise up from the bottom. The world is changed not by plunging but by percolating."

The Scout Association said it had 38,000 girls and boys waiting to join the scouts, and that the extra money would help create new places. Matt Hyde, chief executive of the Scout Association, said: "Scouting knows the importance of young people undertaking social action. We have over 100 years' experience of service of others. We know this activity equips young people with important skills and makes a positive difference to communities.

"We want to increase the quantity and quality of these opportunities to all parts of society as we know non-formal learning improves life chances. To do this we need more volunteers to eliminate the 38,000 people on our waiting lists and to extend Scouting into new areas."

Young people can also take part in the National Citizen Service (NCS), which runs three-week summer programmes for 16- to 17-year-olds to learn about enterprise, team-building and volunteering.

Since 2011 more than 65,000 young people have taken part in the programme, which also includes 30 hours of community work. In a recent evaluation, 71 per cent of participants said that they were more likely to help out in the future after having taken part in the NCS.

Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
stoptober... when the patch, gum and cold turkey had all failed
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

LSA Level 3 required in Caerphilly

£50 - £60 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: O...

Welsh Year 6 Teacher required in Barry

£100 - £110 per day + Plus travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Welsh Teacher Year 2 required in Caerphilly

£100 - £105 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?