UK Youth are very excited to announce the launch of our new programme Outdoor Activators. This programme has been funded through Sport England’s Potentials Fund – Outdoors Project. The funding has been provided in partnership between Sport England and #iwill; a UK-wide campaign funded jointly by the Big Lottery Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The programme will engage 720 young people from communities in Newcastle, Coventry, Northumberland and Leicestershire over three years. Through the programme participants will engage in meaningful social action and physical activity in the outdoors allowing them to develop crucial skills to build bright futures.
The programme will target young people traditionally underrepresented in volunteering predominantly those; from low-socio-economic groups, who are NEET or at risk of becoming NEET, and who may have vulnerable wellbeing. This group are often enthusiastic about taking part in volunteering but may have been held back through a lack of access, opportunity, knowledge, and/or personal circumstances. Outdoor Activators will provide the structure, support and seed funding of £250 for young people to lead quality social action programmes that develop their life skills and increase their local communities access to physical activity in the outdoors.
We know when young people take part in social action, everyone benefits. This double benefit is precisely why we are so excited about the launch of this programme. The youth organisations involved; NE Youth, Positive Youth Foundation and Young Leicestershire, will work with 12-20 year olds over the next 3 years. They will identify and engage young leaders or ‘Activators’ who are really passionate about an issue in their community, who will then lead a group of their peers to develop a social action project that relates to physical activity and the environment. Through this process, the young people will gain invaluable life skills that they need to build a bright future, and feel the benefits of physical activity. Through the programme we hope that local communities will directly benefit from the projects through increased access to physical activity, improved attitudes towards local outdoor spaces as well as benefiting from improved social cohesion.
Through Outdoor Activators we are looking to continue learning how to encourage the habit of volunteering through social action programmes and how that benefits young people and local communities. We are committed to sharing these learnings and the stories we hear across our membership network and beyond, to enable transformational change in engaging groups of young people in volunteering.