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Birmingham Character and Youth Social Action Group




The Birmingham Character and Youth Social Action Group formed in late 2018 intent to shine a spotlight on the good practice and research taking place in Birmingham and the West Midlands with regards character development and youth social action. The group has a shared vision of harnessing the good that engaging young people in social action can bring, both in terms of individual character development and wider societal flourishing. The Group is non-exclusive and encourages all schools, providers, researchers and others with a wider interest in the benefits of character and social action to engage with it, locally and nationally. The Group seeks to create an established network of both providers and opportunities across the Birmingham area that young people can engage with as part of their individual and collective youth social action and character development journeys.

The members of the Group will make resources, case studies, and other materials available via this webpage for others to access and use. The below brochure aims to champion the good practice taking place across the City.

For more details, please contact Aidan Thompson.






Wider Learning
Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP) is commited to enabling schools to become emotionally supportive and resiliant communities for all of their pupils and is working with the NHS, Public Health, Local Authority, Forward Thinking Birmingham, the Volunteer Sector, and other strategic partners to shape the future mental health provision in schools in Birmingham. The NewStart programme, funded by the NHS, is BEP's pilot programme to influence mainstream secondary school systems in the city. 


Statement on Youth Social Action
The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues Statement on Youth Social Action and Character Development was developed in consultation with #iwill campaign partners and young ambassadors of youth social action. The Statement sets out the ways in which youth social action is an effective and meaningful way to develop character.  The research on youth social action and character that the Jubilee Centre has undertaken to date is summarised here


Reflective Journal
NHS resources are scarce and all of us need to do our best to choose the right service for us. In partnership with the STP, Birmingham Education Partnership, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Birmingham community Healthcare Trust, over 100 young people, aged 10-16, chosen for their interest in sharing health messages, have engaged in a Junior Volunteering project.  Visiting the Emergency Room near them, they will learn about the pressures on NHS Services  and how they can support alleviating some pressure by helping their friends and family ‘choose wisely’ when they visit their pharmacies, GPs, NHS 111, or walk-in clinics effectively. A reflective journal has been produced by the Trust, intended to help volunteers reflect on and learn from their experiences volunteering with the Trust.  


WE Schools CPD
WE Schools CPD is a new and exclusive, interactive e-learning course created by teachers for teachers, giving you the skills and knowledge you need to create meaningful social action in your school.

Based on the six quality principles of youth social action outlined by the #iwill campaign, WE Schools CPD will help you understand how to curate a culture of active citizenship in your school and gain the subject confidence needed to transform learning in your classroom.

WE Schools CPD is available for all teachers and explores links to social action for each of the UK’s four curricular.

Enhancing Social Action Across the Midlands is a flipbook that introduces the WE Schools offer in the Midlands area.

Group Members



BEATFREEKS is a movement of people and companies using creativity to empower people to challenge themselves and the world they find themselves in. Predominantly working with young people aged 16-30, it is passionate about supporting young people to have their voices heard and influence change. Beatfreek’s Brum Youth Trends annual report explores young people’s experience of Birmingham to try and understand how best their voices can best be amplified; through its work over the last 6 years, Beatfreeks has supported over 20,000 young people in the city.  

BIRMINGHAM EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP is a charity whose mission is to secure a deeply good academic, social and civic education for every child and young person living in Birmingham. BEP was established in 2013 to unite the whole family of Birmingham schools, to harness their collective strengths and to support partnership working. Recognising that it takes a whole city to raise a child and that schools need to be rooted in locality, BEP champions working with all those who support and develop Birmingham’s young people. All primary and secondary schools in Birmingham are part of the BEP network.
BIRMINGHAM WOMEN’S AND CHILDREN’S NHS FOUNDATION TRUST formed in 2017 as part of a commitment to provide world class, high quality health care to women, children and families in the Birmingham and West Midlands region, and beyond. The hospitals receive more than 641,000 visits per year and are staffed by a 6,000 strong team. The Trust received #iwill funding in 2018 to expand its volunteer programme and engage young people in social action projects in the hospitals and help young people’s voices be heard in hospital decision making processes.  

DOIT.LIFE is the UK’s national digital volunteer matching service. In 2012, the charity Do It Trust was funded by DCMS in response to the need for a national volunteer matching platform and created Now used regularly by more than 40,000 charities and VCO’s across the country to connect with people that want to volunteer, Do-it has enabled more than 30 million hours of volunteering to date. The platform, which has been successfully piloted with cities, large employers and a variety of national umbrella groups, features a national database of things to do - including volunteering, social action, cultural events, sports/leisure and learning based experiences - and aims to enable people to realise their full potential and purpose.



ENVISION brings together local businesses, schools, charities and volunteers to provide a practical learning experience which enables young people to develop the skills they need to succeed in work and life. In return, young people invest their time in developing projects which give back to the community.


THE JUBILEE CENTRE FOR CHARACTER AND VIRTUES is a unique and leading centre for the examination of how character and virtues impact on individuals and society. The Centre was founded in 2012 by Professor James Arthur and is based at the University of Birmingham.  It offers world-class research on the importance of developing good character and virtues and the benefits they bring to individuals and society. In undertaking its own innovative research, the Centre also seeks to partner with leading academics from other universities around the world and to develop strong strategic partnerships.

PEACE FIRST is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping young people around the world to become powerful peacemakers by:

  • Investing in their ideas
  • Providing them with tools and skills
  • Connecting them with other awesome young people around the world
  • Sharing their stories and impact with the world



NATIONAL LITERACY TRUST is an independent charity dedicated to giving disadvantaged children the literacy skills they need to succeed.

The trust works to improve the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in the UK's poorest communities, where one in three people have literacy problems.Because low literacy is intergenerational, the trust focuses their work on families, young people and children.



UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM SCHOOL is a pioneering school that prioritises character education. Students across the school get the chance to be part of inspiring social action programmes that further enhance their character development, such as WE Schools, the Prince William Award and Duke of Edinburgh Award.  Through its whole school approach to developing rounded, engaged and responsible citizens, the University of Birmingham School is cultivating in its students the character virtues, attitudes, and sense of responsibility needed for them to lead flourishing lives and contribute positively to society.



WE SCHOOLS is a unique, four step programme that challenges young people to identify the local and global issues that spark their passion, then empowers them with the tools to take action. Through the WE Schools programme, resources and social action campaigns, students can further their curricular learning and develop the life skills for success. With funding received from the #iwill Fund, WE Schools now has the support to work in-depth with 200 schools in Birmingham and across the Midlands to create a whole school approach to the WE Schools programme and social action.