Social Action

 Social Action

 Social Action

The importance of mentoring

The National Lottery and the Department of Culture, Media & Sport are each investing £20 million seed funding over four years to create the #iwill fund. #iwill is a UK-wide campaign aiming to make social action (practical action in service of others such as volunteering, campaigning and fundraising) part of life for all young people in UK by 2020, no matter their background. Thanks to the National Lottery and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the #iwill Fund are funding One Million Mentors to run a pilot in Birmingham that seeks to develop the role that business professionals, via mentoring, can play in increasing high quality youth social action. With the support of the #iwill Fund, we are recruiting and training 200 mentors to deploy into schools and colleges (with high free school meal ratio) in Birmingham.

Parts of our training and the resources below specifically look at how mentors can best promote and support mentees to engage in social action, and explore the mutual benefits for young people and business. Birmingham is a business hub in the UK with a high proportion of young people. It also has the largest grouping of schools with the least affluent students attending, in the entire country. We want to ensure that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get a chance to participate in activities, increase their employability skills and make a positive change to their lives and that of the diverse communities in the city.

The importance of Social Action

‘Practical action in the service of others to create positive change’

Research shows that social action benefits both young people and business.

67% of employers reported that entry-level candidates who have voluntary experience demonstrate more employability skills including teamwork, communication & community understanding (CIPD, 2015)

There is a persistent socio economic divide, 46% of young people from the most affluent backgrounds participate versus 38% from  the least affluent (National Youth Social Action survey, 2016)

Mentors are important enablers of social action for adults and young people. Mentors are important ambassadors who will go back into their businesses and promote the importance and understanding of why social action needs to be valued and supported within the business community and by employers.

Early evidence from our own pilot has shown that our mentees are significantly more likely to take part in social action activities. Of our mentees who have begun social action activities  since starting mentoring, 66% have said that they strongly agree or agree that they are more prepared to gain employment. Of our mentees who have not yet been involved in social action, nearly all of them said that receiving information on opportunities would encourage them to get involved.

“The Mayor’s Mentor Scheme provides a great opportunity for young people in Birmingham. We hope that together with One Million Mentors, a partner organisation in the #iwill campaign, this will strengthen the role that business can play in promoting social action amongst young people.  We hope that as a result of receiving the benefits of mentoring themselves, many young people will go on to mentor other younger people as form of youth social action i.e. practical action in service of others to create positive change.”  – Gillian Smith, Deputy CEO, Step Up to Serve

The role of business, via mentoring, in promoting social action

At 1MM we want to facilitate the benefits of engaging in social action by signposting mentors to local social action opportunities and information to share with their mentees. Our mentors will be social action role models for our mentees, who will be building their life and employability skills through positive activities outside of school.

We want social action to surpass the CSR recommendations for business and become an integral part of the culture of a business. Mentoring is a great staff development opportunity for businesses. Mentoring also enables organisations to gain access to young local talent and increase their connections with their local communities.

Resources on social action

This page will be regularly updated with the latest information on social action opportunities in the West Midlands, as well as research and information on why it is so important.

Notes to editors

#iwill fund

The Government (DCMS) and Big Lottery Fund have each invested £20 million in to the #iwill Fund which will help to transform the culture of community engagement by getting young people involved in greater social action opportunities.
Over four years the fund will be developed through investment and match funding from Trusts and Foundations, businesses and philanthropists
This innovative fund, bringing together a coalition of investors, aims to create the conditions to embed meaningful social action into the lives of every young person.

#iwill campaign

The #iwill campaign is being coordinated by the charity Step Up To Serve (Charity No.1154588). It was launched in 2013 after Government research into how the business, education, public and voluntary sectors could support young people to engage in social action (campaigning, fundraising and volunteering) between the ages of 10 and 20.
HRH The Prince of Wales is Patron of Step Up To Serve and the #iwill campaign. To date more than 600 organisations from across UK society have pledged to support the campaign goal of enabling more than 60% of 10-20 year-olds to participate in social action.
More information can be found at and @iwill_campaign

Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. We put people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.
We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. In 2016/17 we awarded £712.7 million and supported more than 13,814 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
Since June 2004 we have awarded £8.5 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.

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