Celebrating the power of youth
Sarah Mitton, Age Friendly Communities Manager at Clarion Futures, talks about how Clarion Futures supports young people.
“The best thing for me is that our journey in supporting young residents to have a voice and take action is always evolving, collaborating with new partners and utilising new tools and techniques.”
By Sarah Mitton, Age Friendly Communities Manager at Clarion Futures
Through Clarion Futures, we award hundreds of thousands of pounds in grants to community groups and charities, supporting projects that benefit everyone from pre-school children to older people.
Our younger residents can access a wide range of opportunities including our ambassador programmes which provide the chance to gain valuable skills and qualifications and take part in social action projects.
We are committed to ensuring young people have a say in our neighbourhoods and that our projects and programmes are accessible to all as we strive to create connected communities where people can stay and grow.
It’s something I’m hugely passionate about as Age Friendly Communities Manager at Clarion Futures. Bringing people together and giving them a voice is why I get out of bed in the morning.
That’s why on 12 August we’ll be celebrating International Youth Day – a day designated by the United Nations to recognise the role of young people in driving forward change in our developing world.
We’re teaming up with the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) to celebrate the achievements of our community ambassadors – the children and young people living in our communities who spark change every day.
Working with the RCS, over the last five years we’ve been running an international youth exchange programme supported by the #iwill Fund – a joint fund from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and The National Lottery Community Fund that supports young people to access high quality social action opportunities.
This innovative project brings together young leaders aged 18-25 from different countries who develop and deliver action plans around the pressing issues faced by their communities, embedding meaningful social action on a global scale.
Since 2018 our international ambassadors, many of whom are social housing residents with some who had previously never left the country, have travelled to the Netherlands, Cyprus and Malta, meeting new people and sharing new experiences.
This year, ten young people from England and Malta put their heads together to explore how they could play a role in tackling the climate crisis, designing projects around sustainable travel, keeping the ocean clean and re-greening urban spaces.
They got to meet His Excellency Dr George Vella KOM KCMG, President of the Republic of Malta, to share their ideas, and built friendships based on a shared desire to give back to their communities and make a difference.
The programme really has transformed lives – from Ewan who went from feeling lost and unsure of his future to applying to university thanks to a new-found sense of confidence and direction, to Callum who became a youth worker due to his newly discovered passion for social action. It’s something I’m hugely proud of, and it’s so fantastic to see the positive impact of our work.
The best thing for me is that our journey in supporting young residents to have a voice and take action is always evolving, collaborating with new partners and utilising new tools and techniques.
Since 2017 we have engaged more than 7,000 young people, delivering social action projects on themes such as the environment, youth mental health, sustainable travel and intergenerational connections, and I’m excited to see what’s next.