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HRH The Prince of Wales convenes Britain’s leaders to galvanise youth social action across the country

Published on 27th June 2013

HRH The Prince of Wales is today convening a meeting of leaders across the youth, voluntary, business, education and faith sectors to secure their support for a new Campaign for Youth Social Action. He will host a roundtable discussion calling on Britain’s leaders to pledge their long-term commitment to the campaign. Leaders from the main political parties will also be present.

Only 29%* of young people in the UK currently engage in youth social action compared to over 58% in Canada**. Youth social action is practical action in the service of others, such as restoring a community property or organising a charity event. While there are plenty of exceptional examples of Youth Social Action in Britain they do not reach across the social spectrum, or work effectively enough across the business, education and voluntary sectors. Despite the goodwill generated during the Olympics, social action is still not a prominent part of youth culture in the UK. The problem is intensified because opportunities are limited - particularly at the younger age range and where there is a lack of support from adults. There are, for example, currently 30,000 young people on the Scouts waiting list because of a lack of adult volunteers.***

*Cabinet Office, Community Life Survey

**Statistics Canada, 2010


Background to establishing the campaign

A cross sector review set up by the Prime Minister and led by Dame Julia Cleverdon and Amanda Jordan OBE has concluded that an independent campaign with a long term vision which partners with business, education and the voluntary sectors, will provide the necessary stimulus. Today’s meeting marks the start of this campaign - a strategic initiative that aims to transform our society by encouraging, recognising and valuing the contribution young people make, and supporting those who can galvanise a new culture of participation. The independent campaign sets out the long-term vision and formally engages with the principal institutions of the state and civic society, with the leadership of HRH The Prince of Wales. The campaign goal is to double the number of young people engaged in social action to over 50% by 2020 an additional 1.7 million young people*.

HRH The Prince of Wales said: “It is nearly 40 years since I first spoke about the importance of young people taking on challenging opportunities to serve others in their community. I have always been convinced that practical action in the service of others is of benefit both to the individual and the community. So much incredible work has already been done in the UK. This campaign is a concerted and long term effort across all sectors to join together with young people to create more opportunities for their social action.”

Dame Julia Cleverdon, Chair of Teach First and Vice President of Business in the Community said: “Our Review proposed an independent campaign for Youth Social Action and the announcement that The Prince of Wales will lead the initiative, which is supported by all three main political parties, as well as the youth, education, faith, voluntary and business sectors, gives real optimism that we can build a national culture of youth action over time in the UK.”

*Office of National Statistics, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, Scotland Census.

New funding for Youth Social Action to be announced

In parallel to the campaign being established, the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd MP, will announce new funding for youth organisations running programmes engaging young people in social action. This separate Government initiative will complement the wider campaign by supporting quality youth social action activity, testing new ways to encourage participation and by evaluating this work. The knowledge resulting from the evaluation will be given to the campaign and made publicly available. The funding will be given to programmes that support the 6 principles of quality youth social action agreed by the cross-sector group and that contribute to the aims of the campaign. Charities, social enterprises and schools across England are eligible to apply.

Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd MP said: “We want to support the aspiration that every young person between the ages of 10 and 20 should have to get involved in social action programmes that benefit both their development and the communities in which they live. The benefits to society and young people would be enormous. That’s why today I am announcing new funding for youth organisations running programmes that engage young people in social action. We want to find out which existing programmes are of good quality but also to test new ways to encourage participation.”

More information on the Campaign can be found at:

More information on how to apply for the Cabinet Office funding can be found at:

More information on The Prince of Wales’s charitable activities can be found at:

Notes to editors

  1.  The Prince of Wales has been a long-term supporter of youth social action, having made his first speech on the subject in 1975.
  2.  See here for an interview The Prince of Wales gave early this year on This Morning.
  3. The Campaign will be based within The Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation, one of the largest independent foundations in the UK.
  4. For more than 35 years The Prince of Wales has been a leader in identifying charitable need and setting up and driving forward charities to meet it.
  5. This initiative began in early 2012 when the Prince convened a private meeting to discuss how we might develop Youth Social Action in the UK. Following that meeting the Prime Minister appointed Dame Julia Cleverdon and Amanda Jordan OBE to drive forward the initiative. They brought together a truly cross sector consortium of youth, voluntary, business and education organisations to carry out the review which recommended establishing an independent campaign.
  6. Particular support has been given by Business in the Community, Teach First and the Prince’s Trust, as well as Generation Change (an alliance of youth social action organisations). Business in the Community will announce the winners of their Big Tick Awards at their National Gala Dinner on the 2nd of July, which recognise leading businesses already working with young people.
  7. The Campaign recognises the evidence confirming the critical role of schools in delivering quality youth social action, and the need to engage the education sector across the UK to achieve the target increase in youth participation.
  8. Evidence on the extent of youth social action in the UK and internationally has been provided by research carried out by Demos. The State of Service Nation: Youth Social Action in the UK can be found at
  9. Background thinking on youth social action in the UK can also be found in the Demos publication Service Nation, authored by Sonia Sodha and Dan Leighton, 2009.
  10. Leaders of organisations that have been particularly involved in establishing the requirement for the campaign will also meet at Clarence House this morning to mark their involvement in the campaign.
  11. Members of the Framework Advisory Group were Aldridge Foundation, ARK, City Year, Envision, National Grid, NCVYS, O2 Telefonica, Ofsted, The Challenge, Scouts, Student Hubs and UK Youth.
  12. Others consulted included the Prince’s Trust, Citizenship Foundation, British Youth Council, V Inspired, London Youth, De Montfort University, VSO, Richmond American University in London, National Youth Agency, the Girl Guides, Generation Change and UnLtd.