On behalf of the Cabinet Office, Ipsos MORI surveyed 2,038 10-20 year olds in September 2014 to determine the proportion of young people involved in social action in the UK. The term ‘youth social action’, in this context, is defined as ‘practical action in the service of others to create positive change’ and covers a range of activities such as fundraising, supporting charities, tutoring and mentoring, supporting other people, and campaigning for causes. This survey provides a baseline measure of participation in youth social action in the UK, which will be tracked over the next six years. The surveys will inform, and help to measure the progress of, the #iwill campaign run by Step Up To Serve, which aims to raise the number of 10-20 year olds in the UK involved in meaningful social action by 50% by 2020.
Some 40% of young people had participated in the headline measure of social action in the past year. Another 17% had participated in social action infrequently over the past year. Young people were more likely to have taken part in fundraising activities than any other type of social action. The research highlighted that almost all young participants in social action feel a ‘double benefit’ (93%), in that they say they benefitted personally and considered that other people benefitted from their activities. The most commonly cited personal benefit of taking part in youth social action is that young people enjoy helping others (mentioned by 71% of those who felt a personal benefit).
The main survey fieldwork was conducted from 11-22 September 2014, following a pilot in early September and questionnaire testing in July/August. Interviews were conducted face to face in respondents’ homes. Trained interviewers introduced the survey, gained parental consent for under-16s to participate, and administered the survey. A random location quota design was used in order to achieve a nationally representative sample. Data are weighted by age within gender, region, and the family socio-economic status.