The #iwill programme was delivered by the Plunkett Foundation from 2022 to 2023, to help community businesses engage, involve and employ young people. It was funded by the Dulverton Trust, in partnership with the #iwill Fund (a joint investment between The National Lottery Community Fund and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport).

The mission of the #iwill programme was to create opportunities for young people within community businesses, providing valuable life skills and work experience to help rural young people flourish. Plunkett supported rural community businesses (aged between 16-20 years) across rural England by developing resources, training events and webinars as well as one to one business support and peer networking, to help the businesses navigate the necessary legislation and embed best practice.

With kind support from the Dulverton Trust, we were able to target support in rural areas where it was needed most. Community-owned businesses provide local opportunities for jobs, training and volunteering. Often the last remaining service in a rural village such as a shop or a pub, they provide a place to meet, a focus for social activities and help people feel less isolated, lonely and enjoy improved wellbeing.

As a direct result of the programme, 23 social action opportunities were created with more to follow. Part of the programme was also about facilitating people who had no prior experience of working with young people to learn the necessary skills and knowledge. Two thirds of community businesses who attended our safeguarding training said that they now feel more confident working with young people.

We have published our learning from the programme in a report, which is the legacy of the #iwill programme. It features the voices of young people in community businesses, as funded by the Dulverton Trust and delivered by the Plunkett Foundation from 2022 to 2023 – to help community businesses engage, involve and employ young people.

Download the #iwill Legacy Report here

The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £40 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.

The #iwill Fund brings together a group of organisations who all contribute funding to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people. Social action involves activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, all of which enable young people to make a positive difference in their communities as well as develop their own skills and knowledge.

The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill campaign – to make involvement in social action a part of life for young people, by recognising the benefit for both young people and their communities.

By bringing together funders from across different sectors and by making sure that young people have a say in where the funding goes – the #iwill Fund is taking a collaborative approach. More information is available on the #iwill website

During 2021 and 2022, the Dulverton Trust partnered with the #iwill Fund to award £610,000 to grants for youth social action in rural communities and in the heritage sector through the Dulverton #iwill Fund.

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