What is #iwillweek?
The #iwill national campaign was started to encourage wider participation in social action for people under the age of 20. #iwill's vision is that social action will become a normal part of young people's lives, so that they become active citizens able to influence and change the world for the better.
'The #iwill campaign communicates with, connects and challenges organisations across the UK so that they embed support for youth social action into their culture and practice.'
#iwillweek2019 took place 18th-24th November. This year's theme was #ThePowerOfYouth, which was an encouragement to 'champion the role young people can play in bringing communities together to solve common challenges.'
Last week, we ran a variety of different events and a social media campaign to get Winchester's students involved and thinking about volunteering whilst at university. We also encouraged students to make a pledge for #iwillweek2019, such as: donating £5 to charity, signing a petition about a cause they're interested in, attending our Autism Awareness Talk, registering to vote in the general election or simply signing up to one of our volunteering projects.
What's been happening?
Each day of our #iwillweek2019 campaign had a different focus - each day we shared some of our values, updates from our events or simply some the committee's favourite things about volunteering with us.
Our first priority as a local branch of Student Hubs is student-led social action. We believe that young people have the power to make a difference in our world, and all our projects operate on a double-benefit model, where what we do benefits both students and their local community.
We also encourage and empower young people to lead: our student committee shared stories about what they got from their leadership roles with us.
The third focus of #iwillweek2019 was 'work together,' and we put this into practice at the Dynamo Challenge, an inter-university social enterprise competition where students are presented with different briefs to advise an organisation problem-solve. Read our blog post about it here.
The competition brought together five universities from across the south coast and put them into mixed teams to find innovative solutions for modern business problems.
Beth's Autism Awareness talk also happened on Wednesday, as part of our committee-led training series. Beth from our Fundraising and Events team gave short talk about what it's like to be autistic and how we can all be more supportive of those living with autism.
Last week, we held a Woolly Matters session at Brendoncare nursing home. Our knitting and crocheting group really enjoyed knitting and chatting with the residents!
In the evening, we held a volunteering social so our student volunteers and student committee members could become better acquainted. Our volunteers spent the evening getting to know each other over some light snacks and board games!
Our focus for Friday was recognising our impact. Often, the temptation can be to only see how far we have left to go, but it's equally important to see the value of everything we'd done so far. For instance, it's worth celebrating that 100% of our Youth Theatre volunteers felt they had observed a positive improvement in the children's self confidence! Check out some of our other achievements:
Friday was also the launch of our Volunteer of the Month scheme! We wanted to recognise our student volunteers who have been doing a great job, so each each project coordinator nominated one of their volunteers to give them a personal thank-you for their hard work.
Volunteer of the Month will be running every month from now on, and next month, we're opening up nominations so our student volunteers are able to nominate each other too!
The last day of #iwillweek2019 was all about celebration. We looked back on old volunteering highlights, as our student committee members shared their favourite moments about working with us:
Of course, none of what we've achieved would be possible without our volunteers, so we'd love to say a big thank-you to each one of our volunteers who made a difference last week! Together, we were able to spread a little kindness in our community, and hopefully made others feel that little bit special by showing that they are worth our time.
Missed out on #iwillweek but still want to get involved? Check out our website to find out about our upcoming projects and events!