This summer over 1,500 young people aged 11 to 15 from 100 schools across the UK committed to an online course which resulted in taking real life action in their communities. The programme, called Global Social Leaders Catalyst was organised by Future Foundations and the Wellington Leadership and Coaching Institute.
Future Foundations is an independent award-winning organisation which believes in the power of young people to create a more sustainable and brighter future.
The programme was commissioned by Innovate UK, in response to Covid-19 challenges faced by young people. The funding enabled the programme to be free-of-charge and offer developmental activities to young people attending state-funded schools across the United Kingdom, during the summer holidays.
Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £20 million in innovation projects. The aim is to support UK businesses to focus on emerging or increasing needs of society and industries during and following the Covid-19 pandemic, click here to find out more. A WHO-UNICEF-Lancet commission makes it clear that all stakeholders, from governments to parents, must:
Ensure the physical and mental impacts of the Covid-19 epidemic on adolescents are kept minimal. Immediate actions are warranted.
The young social leaders took part in three different phases over four weeks. Phase one consisted of a 5-day morning course, delivered live by Future Foundations expert facilitators and guest speakers including Vicky Carter, a BBC Reporter who taught the young participants how to create their own podcasts.
Following the course, in phase two, the participants took part in independent challenges from home and in their local community such as:
- Ellen MacArthur Foundation – Challenged participants to learn about the circular economy and apply learning to rethink how chocolate bars are packaged and delivered to help reduce ocean plastics
- Small Robot Company – Challenged participants to design a farm machine of the future
- The Eden Project – Challenged participants to say #iwill4nature
This phase identified that in order to support impactful organisations moving forward, the participants were to volunteer their time to pledge (fundraise), publish (raise awareness) or power (create a campaign). Once they had completed a challenge, they were invited to record a podcast about an issue they are passionate about utilising all their skills they picked up on during phase one of the programme.
Phase three is all about reflection and graduating from the GSL Summer Programme, which saw young people support 187 different organisations and raise over £16,000 for local charities.
Jonathan Harper FRSA, CEO, Future Foundations commented:
“This innovative programme was designed to respond to Covid-19 challenges faced by young people and communities across the UK. We are delighted and inspired by the amount of money and awareness raised by the participants for causes they care following taking part in our GSL Summer Programme, and we can’t wait to celebrate with them during their virtual graduation. They are the future, and that’s why investing in the young people of today is so essential for tomorrow”.
Testimonials from the participants:
- “The three most important things that I have learned is to be myself, be confident, and to always value others opinions”
- “I loved meeting new people, hearing their voices and interacting with people from across the country and world. It helped me gain even more confidence as I have never met so many people at once”
- “We are all leaders and no matter what path you choose, you will always become a leader in it if you want”
- “I enjoyed it because I got to increase my confidence and I got to talk to new people”
- “I learnt I should always be open minded to new opportunities and experiences otherwise I won’t be able to properly succeed”
- “I enjoyed talking to people and building my confidence on how to be a leader. GSL has helped me understand myself A LOT more”
The graduation will take place online via Zoom on Tuesday 15 September between 6-7pm. This day will also be the opening of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 75). The participants will receive their named e-certificates for completion of the 5-day GSL Catalyst Course (phase one) and for the challenges completed in phase two. The graduation will focus on youth voice, with four participants taking center stage, to share their experience of the programme, and its impact on their lives.
Following graduation, the young people will be invited to continue to take action, by setting up a team within their school, to enter a global project competition, aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development goals.
We invite students, parents and schools to visit the global social leaders website to find out more about supporting your students to be leaders in their lives and in society.
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For further information or press enquiries please contact:
Daisy Craydon PR E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 07539494720
Case studies on participants experience and projects are available on request. Please email Daisy for details.