Co-op Foundation partnership with #iwill campaign creates £2m fund to help young people take action to tackle loneliness
18 May 2017
Co-op Foundation has been awarded a £1million grant from the #iwill fund, to create more opportunities for young people to make a difference in their communities.
A charity set up by the Co-op, the Foundation supports disadvantaged communities across the UK, and will contribute an additional £1million to match the #iwill grant. The £2million combined pot will fund a network of projects that inspire young people to take practical action to tackle loneliness.
The #iwill fund, launched in November 2016, supports the aims of the UK-wide #iwill campaign to increase the number of young people taking part in social action – activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, which make a positive difference to communities while developing young people’s skills.
The Co-op Foundation has supported youth social action since 2009, through programmes like ‘Community Apprentice’. Run by the charity Envision, this works with school and college students to address social issues they care about. The young people design a project, pitch for funds to set it up, then reflect on what they've learned and the difference they've made.
Working with Envision and other youth partners, the Foundation is now focusing on how young people’s passions and skills can be harnessed to tackle loneliness – an issue the Co-op has been campaigning on for the last two years.
In Bristol, 'Community Apprentice' participant Giordana wanted to reduce loneliness faced by refugees, inspired by her own experience of moving to the UK. With classmates, she researched free activities that refugees could join and produced a leaflet, persuading a local business to fund it. Links were formed with charities, who shared the leaflet with refugees in the city, along with food donations the young people had collected.
Jim Cooke, Co-op Foundation Manager said:
“Young people are incredibly community-minded, and the majority want to get more involved in local life. But particularly in less affluent parts of the country, there aren’t enough high-quality youth social action opportunities available.
“This funding will build a new generation of involved and active citizens. It will also tackle loneliness, by helping young people form stronger connections and develop valuable life skills.”
More information about the Co-op Foundation’s work with young people can be found on coop.co.uk/foundation. The new #iwill fund opens to applications from 12 June 2017, when further details will be published on the Foundation’s website.
Notes to editor
About Co-op Foundation
The Co-op Foundation (registered charity number 1093028) helps disadvantaged communities to overcome their challenges by putting co-operative values into practice. It aims to connect and empower people so they can work together to make things better. More information can be found at www.coop.co.uk/foundation and on Twitter @Coop_Foundation
About the #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 700 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 www.iwill.org.uk and @iwill_campaign
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