Co-op Group and its charity sign pledge to act on youth empowerment

The #iwill Power of Youth Charter is aimed at giving young people ‘real opportunities to shape future, fairer communities’

The Co-op Group and its charity the Co-op Foundation have signed the #iwill Movement’s Power of Youth Charter, which makes a pledge to give young people “real opportunities to shape future, fairer communities”.

The retailer says it is working with young people to make a difference on the issues impacting the safety and fairness of communities and create fairer access to opportunities.

Meanwhile, its charity, the Co-op Foundation, has made a commitment to giving diverse young people a voice in future funding decisions and driving positive change through campaigns informed by young people.

Both organisations are now calling on other businesses, funders and charities to also sign the charter – a UK-wide campaign to recognise young people for their efforts, empower more young people to make a difference, and give young people opportunities to shape their future. It is co-ordinated by the #iwill Movement.

Co-op Group Shirine Khoury-Haq CEO said: “The future is uncertain. The voices and actions of young people are essential to building better communities for the future.

“Our research shows that as many as one third of young people feel the odds are now stacked against them for their future. This is why Co-op has signed the #PowerofYouth Charter. We are fully committed to working with young people to make a difference on the issues that matter most to them, whilst co-operating to create fairer communities and fairer access to opportunities.

“We encourage other businesses to join us in signing this charter empowering young people to make a positive difference.”

Related: Co-op Foundation’s new strategy puts young people at the centre

Nick Crofts, CEO of the Co-op Foundation, said: “We believe all young people should be empowered to make a positive difference to the issues that affect their lives, their communities and broader society. This is how we’ll build communities of the future together that are fairer and more co-operative.

“Signing the Power of Youth Charter alongside Co-op is an important alignment for us. It shows how businesses, funders and charities can work together to give young people real voice and real power. We encourage other organisations also passionate about future generations to come forward on #iwill Week to make your commitments, too.”

The Group says its efforts include a partnership with UK Youth, which has been growing the #iwill movement in Scotland and Northern Ireland, reaching more than 2,200 young people through social action.

In England and Wales, the retailer is proud to be part of the Peer Action Collective – a £5.2m programme that aims to give young people the chance to make their communities safer, fairer places to live. It is funded by Co-op in partnership with the Youth Endowment Fund and the #iwill Fund – a joint investment between the National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The Co-op Foundation’s commitments come one month after the launch of its Building Communities of the Future Together, strategy, which was itself developed with young people. It is also delivering a £5m #iwill Fund aimed at empowering young people to use their lived experience of school transition, community spaces and bereavement to help their peers.