We really do believe business should make the world a better place. A business should be an integral part of life and society. So we have made a pledge with the #iWill campaign.
What is #iwill?
The campaign aims to encourage organisations to offer opportunities for young people in the UK to help make their communities a better place to live. The campaign is coordinated by the charity Step Up To Serve. HRH The Prince of Wales is the Patron of the #iwill campaign.
Currently, only 4 in 10 young people aged 10-20 get involved in activities that make a positive difference. However, research indicates that almost double this number would take part in things like campaigning, fundraising and volunteering if they had the chance. So #iWill was set up to encourage businesses and organisations to support young people to help their communities. By being more aware of the huge potential these young people can offer these businesses really are doing good in their community.
In case you have not already figured it out, there are huge benefits for the organisations, the community, as well as the young people involved. The young people build their skills, employability, character and wellbeing. Communities are healthier, more integrated and socially mobile. Organisations are more a part of the community and ‘doing some good’. When young people take part in social action, everyone benefits. This is why we want more young people to take part in social action.
This is a sub-campaign supporting the Government’s 2019 Year of Green Action. Just like the #iwill campaign, the aim is to get young people involved in improving the environment. This social action – or green action – helps develop valuable skills, experience and increased wellbeing, as well as helping the planet.
Examples of green action include taking part in environmental volunteering. For example, litter picking or planting pollinator-friendly flowers, fundraising to maintain or enhance green spaces or campaigning for the zero plastic waste agenda. Even Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has pledged to the campaign!
Selkie Craft’s Pledge
It was particularly the #iWill4nature campaign that really caught my interest. As a trained Ecologist, I really understand how important the environment is. There are so many little things we can all do that would make such a big difference. I really want Selkie Crafts to be a business doing good, you can view my pledge here. It states that I will:
- Inspire and empower young people to get involved in social action.
- Communicate the benefits of youth social action to our employees and encourage them to volunteer in support of it.
- Develop new, youth-friendly social action opportunities.
- Promote and celebrate the positive role young people can play through social action.
So how am I going to do all that?
Well, as you already know I am trained as an ecologist, but I am also a Duke of Edinburgh Award supervisor. I support young people through their Award, which includes a volunteering section. This is a great way for young people to get out in their community and take social action (pledge parts 1 & 3- tick). As an ecologist, I can provide them with ideas, inspiration and resources for anything environmentally themed.
Currently, Selkie Crafts is really just me, so I don’t have any employees to encourage. Having said that, I can confidently say that the Selkie Crafts workforce is 100% involved in volunteering to support the environment and young people (pledge part 2 – tick). I am proud to shout about the great things that come from this too (pledge part 4 – tick), what do you think this whole post is doing?!
My volunteering story?
As you might expect, the focus on nature for the #1will4nature campaign appealed to my ecologist side. However, I also really believe young people gain so much from the opportunity to get involved. When I did my Duke of Edinburgh Award’s I needed to do 6 months volunteering for Silver, and 12 months for Gold. Eventually, I persuaded my parents to let me foster dogs for the local Dogs Trust rescue kennels for Silver. I learned a lot, we had several epileptic dogs, so I learned all about their medication and how to help them. I saw and helped behind the scenes of the kennels and created a good relationship with the local vets. All my foster dogs found wonderful forever homes. My confidence, skills, and employability got a great boost. I even continued to help dogs who struggled with the kennel environment long after the 6 months was up.
For Gold I volunteered for the local Biological Records Centre, digitising moth records and undertaking butterfly transects. Since I wanted to be an ecologist this was a great way to get experience for my CV. This helped me get into University. The Records Centre benefited with the help for Local Biodiversity Action planning, mapping, and even fed into national recording schemes.
I firmly believe that without these experience growing up, I wouldn’t be involved in volunteering as an adult. There are so many wonderful groups and organisations that exist purely out of the dedication of volunteers. For example, Scouts and Girl Guides, many sports clubs and societies/interest groups. Let’s teach young people how great volunteering is while they are young. Then they can keep our communities vibrant with groups and organisations when they are adults.
As Selkie Crafts grows I look forward to incorporating more youth and environmental social action into the business. I can only hope the time spent with Selkie Crafts will leave young people as enthused as I was with my volunteering experiences. Read more about our business values and morals here, to learn how this business is doing good.
How to get involved
If you want to make your pledge or get your organisation involved please do check out the #iWill campaign here. There are so many easy ways to make a difference. It really does help the young people you support and your community. Please also share this post on social media, you never know who might see it and start taking social action or get their organisation involved!