Evaluating Youth Social Action – Interim report

Behavioural Insights Team, in partnership with the Cabinet Office, 2015

Can you really measure the value of young people taking part in social action? This report provides compelling and robust evidence that young people who take part in social action initiatives develop some of the most critical skills for employment and adulthood in the process.

Young Citizens Make a Difference Challenge was chosen by the Cabinet Office to participate in this piece of research. It was found to be very effective in increasing empathy levels, problem-solving, grit and community skills. Children who took part shared, on average, a level of empathy 6% greater than those who didn’t. These children were also adept in problem-solving, and showed a level of grit significantly above that of the children who did not participate. Similarly the level of community investment was considerably higher. The trial also found that those who took part in the project have a more positive outlook; stating that things in life are worthwhile more often than their peers, and also reported lower levels of anxiety (a decrease of 22%).