Comment by Jonathan Christie, Deputy UK Director at The Wood Foundation – manager and principal funder of YPI in Scotland.

The beginning of a new calendar year is a time for reflection, a time to revitalise and a time to recharge efforts and ambition.

2018 was an incredible year for the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) here in Scotland. We celebrated our 10th anniversary and, for the first time, empowered young people in each and every one of the country’s 32 local authority regions. While every year for us is focussed on young people, 2018 saw a national strategy and effort focussed on youth with the Year of Young People (YoYP).

This campaign was embraced by various stakeholder groups and facilitated a host of positive and impactful intergenerational collaborations. Listening to our young people and giving them a seat at the table must be more than a tokenistic gesture. It must be a sustained effort which allows for true representation. That is why 2019 matters so much.

Was 2018 a launchpad for meaningful change? Before the fanfare of the campaign fades, there are a number of questions we as a society must address to make that so.

How do we build upon the ideals that underpinned YoYP? How do we use the lessons learned to better engage? How do we move forward in a bold and progressive manner? How do we extend the reach of such activity so it permeates an entire generation?

We believe that this is #GenerationChange and that YPI, alongside our sister programmes at The Wood Foundation, has an important role to play.

This year, we will engage more than 250 schools the length and breadth of Scotland empowering 34,000 young people. By the end of this academic year, a total of £4m will have been contributed to the Scottish third sector thanks to the participants of YPI since 2008.

In 2019, we will focus on:

  • Programme improvement and embedding
  • Sustained programme growth
  • Shared learning between schools
  • Working closely with likeminded partners

We will work tirelessly with our partners to ensure YPI, in every school, is the best it can possibly be.

YPI provides a meaningful and impactful experience for tens of thousands of young people, engaging them in youth social action and developing an array of vital skills in the process. YPI facilitates invaluable partnerships between young people, schools and Scotland’s vibrant third sector. YPI supports thoughtful, targeted grant making focussed on social service issues. YPI provides a gateway to sustained youth volunteering. YPI amplifies youth voice.

Young people must be at the centre of any efforts to embed the successes to date and ensure any impact is systemic. We are committed to ensuring that youth voice, youth action and youth philanthropy has the highest possible standing within Scotland. We will do this alongside our schools, funding partners and an array of stakeholders. We will champion #GenerationChange.