We Are What We Do
The Aldridge Foundation has been delighted to support We Are What We Do’s Young Speakers Programme since its inception in 2008 through to the completion of the pilot in 2010. Providing match-funding alongside v, the national youth volunteering service, the Foundation took an active interest in promoting the activities of the programme and providing strategic advice and direction.
The Aldridge Foundation encourages young people to make their own social change through an entrepreneurial mindset. Most activities are delivered through the Foundation’s Academies across England.
However, WAWWD’s ethos of “Small Action x Lots of People = Big Change” was a great match for our work, and the Programme saw young people across the country trained in communications, presentation delivery and campaigning to ensure that they could take out messages of social change to their communities, through primary schools, secondary schools and local groups. Many of these messages were taken from the highly successful WAWWD book – “Teach Your Granny To Text”.
Year One: 2008-09
| Year One Highlights
Working mainly in East London and the North West, 200 young people aged 16-19 were recruited and trained as volunteers in 2008.
That year they gave nearly 400 presentations.
Young Speakers from Darwen Aldridge Community Academy took part in Radio 4’s Go4It programme – reaching around 448,000 listeners.
DACA Young Speakers addressed media and VIP guests at Walker Books launch of Teach Your Granny To Text.
Students took part in residential training courses, where they were training in public-speaking, presentation skills, team-working, event organisation, design and campaigning. They then set about arranging their presentations and going out to deliver these.
Messages were based on the actions from the book “Teach Your Granny To Text”, published by WAWWD in autumn 2008. This book was sent free of charge to every school in the country through funding provided by the Department for Children Schools and Families, and provided a great basis for presentations, as well as generating interest from schools around the country.
In February 2009, all Young Speakers who had taken part in the first year of the programme came together in London for a celebration event. Each of the two hundred young people received a certificate signed by WAWWD and Rod Aldridge, thanking them for their work over the past year.
Year Two: 2009-10
Following the success of year one, The Foundation decided to carry on supporting the pilot in the second year. A stipulation of this support was an evaluation report.
| Year Two Highlights
The programme extended into the South West of England.
By the end of the programme, 450 young speakers had been trained.
Over the course of the two years, 71,000 children had taken part in presentations by Young Speakers.
The IPSE/LMU evaluation was completed and published.
This was in due course commissioned from IPSE at the London Metropolitan University, and published in 2010.
A key part of Year Two was the addition of the Ambassadors programme. This allowed students who had taken part in the first year to become further engaged by providing insight and support to the We Are What We Do team, and more importantly, to mentor the newer young speakers and work with them in developing their campaigns. Two students from DACA were delighted to maintain involvement this way.
Another exciting innovation in Year Two was a tailor made social networking website which provided a means for Young Speakers to showcase their activities (recordable for coursework and portfolios). Groups by school and area were established, enabling Young Speakers to connect with others to share ideas, pictures and videos.
- The evaluation report showed that a number of entrepreneurial skills had been developed by the programme, such as team-building, public-speaking and communication skills.
- It was showed that teachers had observed growing confidence in the young people taking part in the programme, especially amongst those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- These skills were crucial to employability, and would stand students in good stead in the employment market.
- Students talked of the benefits of learning from someone of their own age. This form of peer-to-peer education was hugely valuable in spreading messages of social action and change, and inspiring others to become entrepreneurial and devise positive solutions for local communities.
Materials and campaigning tools are now available on the WAWWD Young Speakers Website, which enables any young person across the country to run their own campaigns in their own local area.
WAWWD now offer training within any school in the country to enable as many young people as possible to take part in projects and become part of their global movement. The programme is now open to secondary school students of any age, meaning that more young speakers will be spreading the word.The aim of both the Foundation and WAWWD going forward is to secure a sustainable method of ensuring that this can be rolled out to schools nationwide.
To download the evaluation report, click here.
To find out more visit here