Tuesday, 17 May 2022
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Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Young people at Ormiston are leading the way as community champions

YOUNG people supported by the Ormiston Trust and four key delivery partners are gearing up to take part in a transformative youth social action campaign that will have a lasting impact on young people, schools and their communities.

Titled #WeWill, the campaign is being powered by £2 million combined funding from Ormiston Trust and the #iwill Fund. The #iwill Fund is a £54 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high-quality social action. Social action involves activities such as campaigning, fundraising, and volunteering, all of which enable young people to make a positive difference in their communities as well as develop their own personal skills and knowledge.

A national charity that works across the UK, Ormiston Trust had already delivered pioneering social action campaigns through Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), thanks to a previous match-funded collaboration with the #iwill Fund. This involved staff in the OAT network of schools engaging over 10,000 young people in meaningful social action. The Ormiston Trust is now on a mission to make an even larger impact on young people and communities across the UK. To do this, the charity is working with four core partners: OAT, Ormiston Birmingham Academy (BOA), Gateway Learning Community (GLC), and the East Region charity, Ormiston Families (OF). It now seeks to reach over 180 schools and engage young people in over 150,000 combined hours of high-quality youth social action.

BOA, a specialist digital, creative and performing arts academy located in the centre of Birmingham, will be using their passion for the arts to engage with up to 15 primary schools about local issues. They will also choreograph enrichment performances and train young people to become mentors and leaders in outreach projects, such as Turtle Opera, a drama and music project for teenagers on the autistic spectrum.

Ormiston Families will be working with young people, across the entire Great Yarmouth community in East Anglia, to empower and support the wellbeing of their peers and the community. 150 young people will be trained as ‘wellbeing ambassadors’ and lead on peer support and social action projects driven across 15 schools, primaries, secondaries, colleges and specialised educational outlets.

The Gateway Learning Community in Essex will be supporting young people who want to address the issues of inclusion and diversity, as well as food poverty. Their young people will work closely with local food banks to understand the need for their services, research-related topics at the same time as learning core subjects in the curriculum and then potentially create community cookbooks, fundraise and run events on sustainable and seasonal produce.

OAT is building on its existing practice to deliver social action projects in and around its 45 academies in partnership with 90 primary schools located in the same areas. The projects they are starting up, range from eco-awareness, caring for the elderly, fundraising, local litter picks, sustainable fashion shows, internet safety and much more. These initial ideas are now being developed further by pupil run steering groups.

All the partners will be focused on sustainable, impactful social action at real scale. Critically social action will be integrated into the core curriculum, and to enable young people to truly excel, an extensive ‘skill building’ programme will be in place. This ‘on the job’ and discrete training will focus on enhancing students social, emotional and employability skills, including effective teamwork, communication, problem-solving and meta-cognition.

Finally, the Ormiston Trust and core partners, supported by the expert youth and school evaluators ImpactEd, will create a vital educational resource in the form of a Youth Social Action Toolkit. The ‘Kit’ will contain an extensive set of evaluated school resources to make it as easy as possible for any school in the country to implement sustainable social action at scale. Watch this space!

From studies and evidence, the #iwill campaign said:

“Taking part in youth social action supports young people to develop their character and confidence. They experience higher levels of wellbeing that can help improve their mental resilience.”

James Murray, Chief Executive Officer at Ormiston Trust said:

“Social action is at the heart of everything we do as a Trust, and we are thrilled to see this enter an ambitious new phase with the launch of #WeWill. From the incredible day-to-day community work which OAT thrives on, through to the community arts brilliance of the student teams at BOA and the inspiring community action programmes being started up by both OF and GLC, I am confident they will all have a positive impact on many regions across the country. In addition, young people will gain that extra vital experience of the world around them and new key skills to use throughout their lives.

“We would like to thank The National Lottery Community Fund and DCMS for their continued support through the #iwill Fund, and for partnering with us to bring #WeWill to life. Finally, we would also like to thank the dedicated staff within our partner organisations who go above and beyond in support of the young people we serve. Thank You.”

Helen Whyman, Head of the #iwill Fund said:

“The work of the #iwill Fund has had an incredible impact on young people across England, supporting them and their communities to prosper and thrive.

“We’re pleased to be able to further support Ormiston Trust in their vital work, which places young people at the centre of everything they do and empowers them to deliver meaningful social action across their networks and within their communities. Across the globe young people are coming forward more and more, to use their voices when addressing current important issues. This campaign will further enable young people across the Ormiston family and UK, in making sustainable positive changes, while witnessing first-hand the valuable benefits their actions will make across all their communities.”

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