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The City of Social Action seeks to make Manchester the place for youth voice, youth leadership and real change led by children and young people themselves.

From big issues like climate change, to deciding what happens to their local park; too often, young people are excluded from decisions that affect their lives, and their voices aren’t heard on the issues that matter to them.

Particularly in Manchester, where 41% of our population is aged 25 or under, and nearly half of all children are living in poverty, we have challenges across the city that can’t be solved by one solution alone

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Through the City of Social Action, we are:

1. Funding

We believe social action has the power to be a core driver of children and young people's progression and development. To date well over 10,000 children and young people have engaged in social action through our funded activity.

The City of Social Action Grants for Young People are focused on increasing quality opportunities for young people to take part in and lead their own social action projects.

2. Championing and celebrating

We are committed to recognising and celebrating the great work of children and young people across the city, through our partner network and beyond.

Our City of Social Action Events Sponsorship has funded young people to lead on their own events, and create additional opportunities for celebration and fun!

Join the #cityofsocialaction campaign

3. Growing Youth voice & leadership

We’re committed to youth led grantmaking, meaning young people are involved in designing funds, supporting applications and sharing decision making. We believe this is vital to ensure grants meet the needs and strengths of young people in mind, are accessible, practically useful and provide routes to progression for children and young people.

Over the last year we have strengthened our own youth voice mechanisms, growing our Young Ambassadors programme, appointing 3 young Trustees to our board and recruiting young staff to key roles within the organisation.

4. Influencing

As place-based funders and influencers, we're committed to shaping local agendas to ensures that young people’s social action is central to the agendas of local funders and that children and young people are exercising their right to a say in decision that affects them.

In addition to the universal funds we have acted strategically to shape specialist funds around youth social action, including Keeping Children and Young People Safe: Embedding Youth Social Action in Community Safety (funded by BBC Children in Need, the Community Safety Partnership), and the Mental Health and Wellbeing fund (funded by Manchester Health and Care Commissioning).

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What does good Youth Social Action look like?

We define youth social action as ‘action taken to create a positive change’, underpinned by six core principles.

  • Reflective: Recognising contributions as well as valuing critical reflection and learning
  • Youth led: Led, owned and shaped by young people’s needs, ideas and decision making.
  • Challenging: Stretching and ambitious as well as enjoyable and enabling.
  • Progressive: Sustained and providing links to other activities and opportunities.
  • Embedded: Accessible to all and well integrated to existing pathways to become a habit for life.
  • Socially Impactful: Have a clear intended benefit to a community, cause or social problem.

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