The community ambassador programmeCommunity Cohesion | Employment/Training | Young People
What is the project?
The Community Ambassadors programme was an initiative launched by Clarion Futures in 2013 to find young people that live in our homes who wanted to be a part of positive social action locally. It aims to improve perceptions of young people, maximise opportunities through volunteering and enable young people to have a genuine voice in their communities.
Who is the project targeted at?
The programme is a 12 month programme for teams of up to 10-12 young people aged 11-19 who are passionate about making a positive difference in their community.
The programme offers young people opportunities through accredited training and volunteering opportunities, while providing them with a ‘voice’ in our organisation. The social action is actually led by young people themselves. Groups of young people from all across the country have carried out consultation with their local communities to identify the main issues and then come up with solutions to resolve them.
Why did the project come about?
Our strategic priority is that our youth offer is inclusive and engages those who experience high levels of poverty, loneliness, and isolation and may not have the opportunity to access social action opportunities. The Community Ambassadors represent every region and nation of the UK and the ambassadors are fundamental to everything we do at Clarion Housing.
We are committed to ensuring that the voice of young people is at the heart of our organisation, their opinions are reflected in our strategy and drive the direction of our services in order to ensure we are providing the best level of support to our young residents.
How was this project implemented?
The range of projects the young people have created include a drama show to educate on loan sharks; a film on how to be a good neighbour, community events and clean ups and campaigns on knife crime and the environment amongst many others.
How was this project funded?
The Community Ambassadors programme is funded by Clarion Futures, which also became an ambassador and match funder of the #iWill Fund in 2018. The #iwill Fund is a £40 million joint investment from the National Lottery Community Fund, using National Lottery funding, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.
Outcomes so far
Over the last two years we have empowered other housing associations and youth organisations to embed our Community Ambassadors Programme, engaging over 700 young ambassadors in meaningful long-term social action and supporting 48 grass roots youth organisations with grants of up to £10,000 (many of whom have been struggling with the loss of significant funding cuts to local youth opportunities) to create the conditions to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people and their local residents.
The programme has provided accredited training to over 500 young people and delivered over 174 Youth-Lead social action projects that have reached over 8,400 members of different communities across the UK. Over 6000 volunteering hours recorded in total (20h on average per young person).
The programme has produced a number of invaluable outcomes for the young people, communities and the local community-based organisation who help deliver the programme.