Young people 'must volunteer on their own terms'

Francois Le Goff

Efforts to get young people into volunteering will fail unless they are allowed to do it on their own terms, a report by think tank Demos has said.

The report, Start with People, argues that young people do want to change their communities, but in ways different from traditional forms of volunteering, such as coffee mornings and committee meetings.

It has identified a new group of volunteers that it calls 'Hoodie Two Shoes' - highly motivated young people who are committed to improving their communities in a way that is rooted in their own experience. It looked at the work of several charities, including London-based Envision, which helped former gang members run martial arts training and DJ skills workshops to keep young people off the street.

"The best community organisations realise that volunteering shouldn't be about giving up time to so something unrelated to the rest of your life," said the report's authors, Paul Skidmore and John Craig. "Civic participation only really works when it is 'real'."

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