Spirit of 2012 has joined the likes of Fair Education Alliance, Virgin Money Foundation and the Scouts to become the latest organisation to sign up to #iwill’s Power of Youth Charter. The Power of Youth Charter is a framework for organisations based on insights from #iwill ambassadors and campaign partners to empower more young people to shape decisions, take social action and make a positive difference.

We at Spirit believe and will continue to believe in inclusion for young people – particularly those from traditionally excluded backgrounds. We strive to make youth voice a part of everything we do, from partnering with organisations who seek to improve opportunities for young people to having our own Youth Advisory Panel and including them on our board and steering groups.

In an increasingly complicated world, young people have consistently stepped up to the mark when it comes to the greatest issues facing humanity. Therefore, we commit to doing more to empower them. Ruth Hollis, Spirit of 2012’s Chief Executive, says:

“We are proud to sign this Power of Youth Charter from #iwill. Through our Youth Advisory Panel, we have seen the difference youth voice can make when they’re given a seat at the table to make funding decisions and influence our organisation’s vision, values and operations. We also work with partners across the UK to ensure that young people can participate in arts, sport and volunteering and that they’re involved in the design and leadership of programmes.”

“We are committed to continuing to work in partnership to promote and support youth voice and the right for all young people to have agency over their future. As we come out of COVID and young people risk being left behind, this is needed now more than ever.”

The P.O.W.E.R Charter challenges us to do the following:

    • Prioritise supporting young people to take social action
      We will create opportunities that empower more young people, particularly from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds, to be positive changemakers
    • Open up our decision-making structures
      We will offer opportunities for young people, particularly from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds, to participate in decision-making, leading and shaping both the activities they are involved in and wider organisational decisions
    • Work collaboratively with other organisations
      We will work with other organisations to create more high-quality opportunities, reach young people from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds to take part, share learning and achieve shared goals
    • Evidence the benefits of youth social action:
      We will capture and share insights, stories and data on how we are working with young people, and the positive impact this has on them, their communities and our organisation
    • Recognise and celebrate young people’s impact:
      We will use our communication channels to advocate for and celebrate young people as positive and powerful changemakers To see what specific actions Spirit has taken and has pledged to take to meet these challenges, click here, and check back here throughout the week as we release more content to celebrate our connection to youth.  

Evidence from the Centre points to a range of health and wellbeing benefits of structured music and singing interventions, in particular, reducing loneliness, anxiety and depression in older adults. For vulnerable groups, singing in a collective setting appears to facilitate relationship-building and increase engagement with the community. Among healthy adults, being a member of a music ensemble can also enhance subjective wellbeing and may provide a vehicle for identity construction.

The Carers’ Music Fund Learning Partnership is led by the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, working alongside programme evaluators, Apteligen, the Behavioural Insights Team, and national membership charity for carers, Carers UK, to ensure that the awarded projects ground their work in the latest research on wellbeing and loneliness. Margherita Musella, Evaluation Lead at the What Works Centre for Wellbeing said:

“This data shows that the Carers’ Music Fund is successfully reaching groups with low wellbeing. Learning from this wide range of projects will help us to improve our understanding of how music-making interventions can affect the wellbeing and loneliness of women and girls who are carers”.

Amy Finch, Head of Programmes and Learning at Spirit of 2012 said:

“Unpaid carers, and especially female unpaid carers are at high risk of loneliness and isolation. This fund and work – where we use existing mechanisms and test and learn our Theory of Change – is really important in understanding how carers experience loneliness and sheds light on how participatory music-making activities can benefit their wellbeing.”

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Carers’ Music Find projects has been twofold, often resulting in an increased burden of responsibility on carers themselves, and a fundamental change in the way that the projects – which are participatory ­­– are delivered. While digital alternatives have allowed projects to reach more people, there are negative consequences, notably the digital divide and the challenge in achieving genuine respite for carers whilst at home. For more insights into the impact of lockdown on music participation programmes, read the accompanying blog on the What Works Centre for Wellbeing website.

Download the report here.