Big changes start locally


Pennywell Youth Project

When I was 13 I wrote to my MP for the first time in my life. I was concerned by the news regarding deforestation and climate change. It struck me that, for all of humanity, this should be a shared concern.

I waited a few weeks with no response and then woke for breakfast one Saturday to a letter. On House of Commons headed paper Simon Hughes MP had written back to me, with a newspaper clip showing him lying in the road protesting about the very issue I had written to him about.

It was the first time I had ever campaigned about something; it was the beginnings of my engagement in social action.

Young people have a distinct role to play in our communities. As a funder I am often approached with applications from fantastic organisations who are working to re-engage disenfranchised young people in positive activities. Their work is hard. By the time they start their work, the individual they are supporting has often concluded that their community has little to offer them and that their future lacks options.

Young people have views, talents, time and tenacity. Youth social action taps into this. It makes their voices heard and ensures their concerns matter. It enables young people to participate in shaping their community, their society and their world. #iwill is a campaign set up to promote, celebrate and extend the reach of youth social action. By 2020 they intend that their focus on this will achieve lasting change - a generation of people growing to adulthood with social action as a lifelong habit. For this to happen, the activity cannot be tokenistic. As my local MP did for me aged 13, we must all listen carefully to the concerns of young people and give them visibility.

Both Virgin Money and Virgin Money Foundation have pledged to support the #iwill campaign empowering young people across the country to take social action.

Nancy Doyle-Hall, Executive Director, Virgin Money Foundation

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