Helping young people understand that they have the ability to influence the world around them is incredibly empowering. Being involved in 'social action' has rewards for the individual as well as society.

What is social action?

Social action involves individuals coming together to address a societal problem or issue important to their local, national or global community.

It involves people giving their time and other resources for the common good, as they hope to help improve lives and tackle inequality or injustice. Activities vary based on the social issue, but can range from volunteering, raising awareness, community-organising, social enterprise or simple neighbourly acts.

Young Citizens is an authoritative voice on youth social action and we've been exemplar programmes for more than a decade. We were recently awarded the Impact Accelerator award by Generation Change for our outstanding education interventions. Take a look at our offers below to help develop young people’s agency.

‘Having the chance to respond to an issue that is affecting lives in the community they live in, has been very empowering for the children. It goes to show that just because you are young, it does not mean you can’t take action!’
Teacher, Durham

Ways to get involved:

Make a Difference Challenge (Key Stage 2)


The Make a Difference Challenge is an active citizenship project that supports SMSC, community cohesion and Pupil Voice in primary and middle schools. The pupils select a cause democratically. This may be related to their local community, a global issue or anything in between. They then plan a campaign, which may involve fundraising or taking direct action.

The children get a real understanding of the issues. They learn to empathise with those who are disadvantaged. The Challenge culminates in a celebration day that brings schools together to share their stories.

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The Big Vote (Key Stage 1 & 2)

After 10 years of running the Go-Givers Make a Difference Challenge, we looked at the top 10 causes that children had addressedWe then invited primary-school children from across the country to take part in ‘The Big Vote’. The aim? To discover the issue of greatest concern to our nation’s children.

Cancer proved to be the issue with the most votes. We are now working with focus groups of children and prominent cancer charities to bring the youth voice to the attention of our political representatives and the public. Activities will culminate in an event during National Democracy Week 2nd – 6th July 2018.

Register your school's interest

Circle of Life Award (Key Stage 2, 3 & 4)

The ‘Circle of Life’ Award has been set up by Disney Theatrical Productions in partnership with Young Citizens to run through the 2017/18 academic year.

This project aims to capture the values of The Lion King the Musical and to inspire our youngest citizens to become the next generation of community leaders.

Discover more

Giving Nation (Key Stage 3 & 4)

Giving Nation helps young people learn about charities, social enterprise and individual giving as part of the school curriculum. It can be used in a number of national curriculum subjects, including citizenship, PSHE, English and maths.

Since then, more than 300,000 students in 1,000 secondary schools have run projects in support of others. You can access all the teaching and learning resources for free as well as get inspiration from other projects.

Explore Giving Nation

Social Action Training (Primary to Post-16)

For the past fifteen years, we have supported schools and teachers with the delivery of active citizenship resources and training. We've trained and resourced more than 15,000 teachers for youth social action delivery.

We've also worked with the National Citizens Service (NCS) delivery partners by providing specialist training on the social action element of the programme. So whether you are a school, or regional/local NCS delivery partner we can provide direct delivery to young people or a train-the-trainers model to your staff. 

Get in touch