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Gateshead leads the way with plan to give more young people the chance to make a difference

     
Posted on Wednesday 14 December 2016

Getting young people involved in making a positive difference in their communities is the theme of an event this Friday in Gateshead. 

Bringing together a number of organisations and young people, the event at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, on Friday 16 December, from 1pm, is all about social action and increasing volunteering opportunities in Gateshead for 10 to 20 year-olds. 

The aim is to develop a plan that will increase volunteering opportunities among young people across the borough. 

Organisations such as Gateshead Council, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, v.inspired and The Community Foundation are supporting the charity Step up to Serve and their national campaign #iwill

The #iwill campaign promotes social action among ten to 20 year-olds. This includes activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, all of which create a double benefit – to communities and young people themselves.  

Leader of Gateshead Council, Councillor Martin Gannon, who will open the event on Friday says: “Thousands of young people across the North East are already making a positive difference in their communities – but we want to help even more of them help themselves by helping others. 

We’re issuing a ‘get involved today’ challenge to organisations and individuals of all ages across the region. 

Four in 10 young people aged between 10 and 20 are currently involved in activities that make a positive difference to their neighbourhoods.

But research confirms that almost double this number would take part in things like campaigning, fundraising and volunteering if they were only given the chance.” 

Says Coun Gannon: “For many young people volunteering provides a route into employment; gives them the chance to influence; develop networks that could help their future careers and help raise their aspirations.” 

He added: “This is especially important for those young people who have challenging personal circumstances to contend with. It can make them feel more part of their community and if they volunteer in the areas of health or social care, they can gain a better understanding of the things that help them make better lifestyle and health choices.” 

There will be a range of presentations on the day including one from Charlotte Hill, Chief Executive Officer of Step up to Serve, the charity coordinating the #iwill campaign.  Gateshead event to Its goal is to enable six in 10, 10 to 20 year olds to take part in social action by 2020. This would mean, in the UK, an additional 1.5 million young people would be active in our communities.

Says Charlotte: “‘We know there is a real appetite among young people in the UK to make a positive difference in our communities. We also have evidence confirming that involvement in activities like campaigning, fundraising and volunteering develop key skills which enable young people progress in work and life. 

“We are so excited that influential organisations in the North-East are taking a lead and looking at ways of creating more opportunities for young people to participate in social action.’ 

Hannah Munslow, (17) from East Boldon will be attending the event on Friday from v.inspired. She says: “‘Social action means giving up my time to help a cause I’m passionate about and it makes me feel confident that I am making a small change which can make a big difference to others. So it’s great that organisations are coming together to look at how we can create more opportunities young people to make a difference locally.’

A key part of the campaign in Gateshead will be to interest young people from less affluent backgrounds, who often miss out on the benefits of taking part in social action and volunteering opportunities. 

Another aim is to generate interest and support from local providers and businesses to offer volunteering opportunities and to engage with more organisations across all sectors, including health and social care, to provide and extend their volunteering programmes to young people in Gateshead. 

More information can be found at www.iwill.org.uk and @iwill_campaign