Co-op invests £250k in youth social action across Scotland and Northern Ireland

The Co-op has partnered with UK Youth, the UK’s number one youth charity, to help young people make a difference through social action across Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The partnership aims to grow the ‘#iwill movement’, a collaboration of over 1,000 organisations and 700 young ambassadors across the UK.

To aid this growth in Northern Ireland and Scotland, Co-op has invested £250,000 through the Co-op Community Partnerships Fund which will go towards training and supporting new ambassadors, benefitting over 2,000 young people.

The role of ambassadors, ages 10-25, is to work together to make a difference in their communities through social action, at a local, national or UK-wide level.

The initiative will also help ambassadors to develop personal and social skills including self-confidence, resilience, leadership and motivation.

According to the symbol group retailer, research shows that 84% of young people agree volunteering has increased their confidence, with 77% seeing an improvement on their mental health.

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“We are delighted to be partnering with UK Youth to grow the #iwill movement so that even more young people can access support and make positive change, whether that’s supporting fairer access to food, improving mental wellbeing services, or creating even more opportunities for young people to get involved in their communities,” Co-op director of community and membership, Rebecca Birkbeck said.

Charity, YouthLink Scotland and Northern Ireland based organisation, Volunteer Now will also be working with those involved in the movement as an additional 150 #iwill champions will be recruited to develop their own social action initiatives and spread the word.

“Our present ambassadors are a diverse range of amazing young people and we look forward to supporting more ambassadors and champions within Northern Ireland and witnessing the positive change that they will make through the Co-op’s support,” Volunteer Now CEO, Denise Hayward said.

YouthLink Scotland CEO, Tim Frew added: “It’s vital we do all we can to channel the talent and energy of our young people, and encouraging them to volunteer is a great way to do this.

“Not only does it benefit their local communities, it empowers young people to make lasting change in their lives and the lives of others and develop skills for life.”

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