One of the privileges of our work is to be regularly inspired by the dedication and passion of others, who truly believe in what they do.

One such experience was at our #iwill Gloucestershire conversation earlier this month. Forty participants including 29 young people engaged in some form of social action and shared with others what this meant to them and how the quality of their experience can be enhanced. From a playground and community centre in a Gloucester neighbourhood, through to a young team supporting others with relatives who are terminally ill, young carers, young people doing their bit for the environment in Stroud and a local youth council, all were dynamic and took a fresh approach to solving some of society’s complex issues.

So where is the conversation going?

Most attendees had not heard of the national campaign called #iwill. Its aim is to encourage more young people to volunteer, campaign or fundraise in their local community, or to improve the quality of the experience.

Lots of social action is already taking place and one of the challenges is with connecting the clusters of young people who are active with others so as to celebrate their achievements. In time, this would encourage others to join the movement.

Most felt that there was little opportunity to network, locally and county-wide, citing the poor transport links and costs in some parts of the county. Training in the areas of marketing and promotion was also an issue and how to get your message across (although the quality of the presentations on the night were quite astonishing!). Motivation is a big factor and some ideas were put forward to motivate others to join in: seeing the outcomes of others’ work and projects, recognition and praise and emotional support for example.

The conversation has just begun and the next stage is to prioritise which of the many ideas could be taken up so that young people in Gloucestershire are celebrated and able to pave the way for generations to come.

With many thanks to Matt and Susan at GVCSA, Tracy at Young Gloucestershire and Simon at YCS who made the event possible. Thanks also to the wonderful participants from Young Gloucestershire, Hope Support Services, Gloucestershire Young Carers, Our World, Venture: White City, Stroud Youth Council, NCS and others! 

find out more about #iwill

photo by Nathan Anderson