Volunteering gives young people the opportunity to share their ideas, experiences, energy, and determination to overcome challenges, support others and make a positive contribution to society. It also provides young people with opportunities that can lead to education, employment, or training as well as personal development of soft skills, increased confidence, wellbeing, and opportunity to participate in experiences that may otherwise be closed to them.
Young people are already contributing to society through volunteering and social action. At the same time, many young people lack the support or infrastructure to inspire them due to their background, current social or economic circumstances, or a combination of factors. It is estimated that 30% of young people living in England are living in poverty. In addition, the impact of Covid-19 on young people (mental health, interruptions to education, impact on young carers, young people with disabilities and learning needs, and other young people who were already facing challenges and uncertainty) is yet to be fully understood.
Volunteering is a recognised vehicle for skills development and employability, providing a pathway into education, employment, or training. Volunteering also provides an opportunity for young people to both get respite from the challenges they may face while developing skills, confidence, and self-esteem. In addition, young people are passionate about the issues that affect them and society as a whole – from tackling climate change through to raising awareness of issues on trans-rights, racism, or other inequalities.
This is an important strand of the Vision for Volunteering with huge potential for intersectionality with other strands. The Younger People Leading Change workshops will explore and address a range of considerations including: