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Social Action Fund-backed project helps raise profile of philanthropy among young people
Pupils at Lampton School in Hounslow yesterday celebrated the one millionth pound donated to charity through Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), which is supported by the Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund.
YPI sees teams of secondary school pupils research the needs of their community, select a charity to support and then deliver a presentation to a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style judging panel, with the best team winning a £3,000 donation from YPI for their charity.
A survey of last year’s participants revealed that young people say they are more likely to give their time and money to charity after taking part in YPI. Two thirds of those who responded said their community was more important to them after taking part in the scheme, while 74 per cent said they were more likely to give to charities and 80 per cent said they would like to volunteer in the future.
The results come as YPI celebrates the one millionth pound donated to local charities by more than 75,000 English, Scottish and Northern Irish secondary school students who have taken part in the scheme since its UK launch in 2006.
Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said:
Through the Social Action Fund we want to back successful projects that motivate people to come together to build a better society. The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative is clearly helping to nurture a new, socially-minded generation of volunteers who can go on to provide charities and voluntary groups with the skills, talent and support they will need in the future.
Julie Toskan Casale, the founder of MAC Cosmetics and YPI in 2002 in Canada, said:
By reaching this milestone, the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative has made a significant impact on the lives of so many people. It represents over 75,000 students across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland who have connected with the work of hundreds and hundreds of local charities and have learned first-hand how they can engage with the social issues and solutions that matter most to their communities.
Kudzai, a Year 10 student from Lampton School who is currently participating in YPI, said:
YPI helped me to understand that there are people right here in my local community working tirelessly to bring about change and do the right thing. Most people my age look at our community and struggle to find inspiration but I've learnt that there are people right here in Hounslow working hard to make a difference and that's inspired me to try and do what I can.
In addition to the philanthropic benefits, the survey also revealed the vocational benefits of YPI with secondary school teachers unanimously agreeing that YPI had improved their students’ skills in areas such as teamwork, research and communication.
Juliette Heppell, YPI lead teacher at Lampton School, said:
The YPI project is a fantastic way to help students understand their local communities. The school have made some fantastic links with local groups who come often come in and run workshops for the students.
"We’ve seen the students engage with an exciting project, from the time they are panicking about phoning someone they don’t know and asking if they can work with them, to their first visit out of school and worrying about their travel plans, to the ultimate goal – reaching the finals and presenting to a room of business and school representatives and charity officials with confidence. The moment when they win that £3000 for their charity is truly fantastic, and even better, many of them, winners or not, continue their links and working with their charity through 6th form and beyond.
"It’s an amazing project – how many 15 year olds can say they made a true difference to their local community? – but with this one, they are developing so many learning skills as well!"
The Social Action Fund has been created to support the Government’s vision for a Big Society by funding proposals that will embed long term increases in giving time, resources or skills. The funding is enabling established and proven models of social action to scale up and grow, creating new opportunities for people across the country to make a difference in their communities. Over £20 million has been awarded in total, delivered through two rounds. The fund is managed by The Social Investment Business on behalf of the Cabinet Office.