Young people to get rewards for social action in £1m initiative

By Joe Lepper

| 11 May 2018

A £1m rewards scheme is to launch in a bid to encourage young people to take part in social action projects, a decade after plans for a similar initiative were shelved by the former Labour government.

Young people will be offered rewards in return for volunteering. Picture: Vinspired

Youth volunteering charity Vinspired will run the UK-wide reward card scheme - which will be called the Inspired card - offering a range of discounts for shops, events and attractions, to young people aged between 14 and 30.

The scheme is similar to an initiative the former Labour government unsuccessfully tried to launch in 2007. The Youth Opportunity Card, which was backed with £28m of central government cash, was shelved before pilots in 10 council areas were due to take place because of technological difficulties.

Vinspired's card is part of a newly created Inspired progamme that digitally matches young people to volunteering opportunities that best suit their interests, location and skills they are looking to develop.

Other rewards offered through the programme will include work experience and skill-building classes.

The programme and card have been funded by a £500,000 investment by Vinspired, which has been match funded by the Big Lottery and government-backed #iwill Fund, which promotes social action.

"Our first of its kind scheme will give more volunteers from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to help the causes they're passionate about, whilst also growing their own skills and experience, said Vinspired chief executive Jessica Taplin.

"Taking note of how young people live their everyday lives, we're embracing technology to create a brand new service that they are genuinely enthused by. It fits into their lifestyle, and allows our charity partners to access a new pool of volunteers who will make a real difference to society."

The progamme is also being backed by Team London, London mayor Sadiq Khan's volunteering programme, civil society minister Tracey Crouch, Big Lottery Fund chair Peter Ainsworth and Matthew Ryder, London's deputy mayor for social integration, social mobility and community engagement.

"This is one of the most exciting programmes we have launched so far," said Ryder.

"It has the capacity to completely revolutionise volunteering across London. Using a sophisticated rewards scheme and a data-driven approach, the partnership with Vinspired will help even more young Londoners to take part in volunteering and social action projects that will support their local communities.

"By utilising new innovations, we will be able to tailor opportunities to young people's interests, and offer rewards that support their personal development."

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