News story

Step Up To Serve: making it easier for young people to help others

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new campaign launches today to encourage more young people to get involved with helping others.

Step Up To Serve calls for adults across the UK to sign up and volunteer to help double the level of participation of young people in helping others. You can also pledge a personal #iwill commitment and share it on Twitter.

HRH The Prince of Wales is the Royal Patron of Step Up To Serve, and the campaign is being supported by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, all of whom will be pledging personal #iwill commitments today.

Doubling the level of participation

Step Up To Serve will expand existing opportunities for young people, encourage new ones and help overcome the barriers that stop young people getting involved. It will encourage 1.7 million more young people aged 10 to 20 to make helping others a habit for life.

Increasing the proportion of young people involved from 29% to 50% would add almost 90 million hours of voluntary work per year, worth almost £700 million to the UK economy.

With a fifth of young people aged 16 to 24 currently unemployed in the UK, increasing involvement in helping others can help tackle this growing concern. Evidence from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) shows that helping others can develop optimism, determination and emotional intelligence - skills which are key to employability.

Support from all political parties

The Prime Minister David Cameron pledges his commitment today saying:

I want to see more volunteering, more philanthropy and more of the Big Society - people stepping up and taking part.

National Citizen Service is a vital part of the campaign the Prince of Wales is launching today. It has been a massive success, with more than 40,000 young people getting involved, making a difference and giving something back to their community.

This kind of service is above party politics. I want to make sure that this government and every future government is encouraging volunteering and service amongst young people. That’s what National Citizen Service achieves.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says:

One of my biggest priorities has been to help Britain’s young people achieve their full potential, regardless of where they were born or went to school.

The skills young people learn outside the classroom are equally as important to help them build lasting careers. Through social action young people can see for themselves the powerful difference they can make to their own lives, and the people around them in their wider community. And it’s not only individuals who are doing this – 150 companies have signed up to my Business Compact to volunteer in schools, providing inspiration and career opportunities to young people from all walks of life.

I’m proud to support the Step Up To Serve campaign which I see as an essential piece of the jigsaw to harness young people’s energy, enthusiasm and ambitions to build a better future for themselves and Britain.

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Opposition said:

I want to see volunteering in the service of others become an accepted and central part of the experience of growing up in Britain. It helps young people build new skills and it’s a great way for them to meet new people and help others in their community.

We have the chance to unlock so much potential in this country, and that is why Step Up To Serve is a brilliant campaign. Something as important as this deserves to be above party politics, so I’m delighted to join with other party leaders in pledging my support today.

Prince Charles with David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and young people at the launch of Step Up to Serve

Find out more about Step Up To Serve and how you can get involved.