Our Work Connected Communities Commonwealth Youth Exchange Programme The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), in partnership with Clarion Futures, is excited to launch an exciting youth exchange programme, which is designed to foster connections between young people in the UK and Cyprus. About the programme In the wake of COVID-19, community cohesion and social action seems more important than ever as young people from across the world play an increasingly important role in tackling the challenges our global society faces. Therefore, this year, we are engaging young people from communities in the UK and Cyprus to develop and carry out quality youth-led social action projects that will benefit our communities and deepen Commonwealth connections across borders. The main aim is to promote positive values, share learning on the global issue of COVID-19 on young people, and lead on social action projects that can change the world. The exchange programme will enable a wide variety of young people to come together in the UK and in Cyprus (NB: this has been delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions and a greater emphasis has been placed on online exchange and learning) with a common purpose: building and maintaining connected communities during and post the COVID-19 crisis. What will the programme involve? Activity 1 – Virtual Residential – Participatory training workshops (online – 2 days (early February)) The Royal Commonwealth Society will deliver a programme of training, inspiring young people from the UK and Cyprus to develop and undertake high quality youth-led social action activities in their communities centred on Commonwealth values. Workshops will include training on: The Commonwealth, its values and its principles Active Citizenship – Rights and Responsibilities in our Communities and the Commonwealth Social media for social change Social action Public speaking Putting tools into practice – Model Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting During this virtual residential participants will discuss key concerns and priorities that they would like to address and start to develop their social action plans. Activity 2 - Social Action Projects (mid-February – April) Following initial training, participants will work with the Royal Commonwealth Society, its mentors and their own local networks to design and deliver a community-based campaign and social action project which will benefit their community and transform people's lives. The Society will hold monthly check-in/ group training sessions to support participants to develop / roll-out their social action projects. Activity 3 - International Exchange (in the UK and Cyprus –TBC) Following the roll-out of these social action projects, participants in the programme will convene for a knowledge sharing exchange, to consolidate learnings and create a clear advocacy action plan for the legacy programme supported by the Royal Commonwealth Society. Please note due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic it is unclear if and when this physical convening will occur in 2021. Partners are monitoring the situation closely and will keep participants updated. Activity 4 - Celebration and Legacy work The programme will conclude with a celebration event. Participants will additionally be allocated a mentor from the RCS Associate Fellows Network and will become Associate Fellows themselves to encourage more young people to become involved in social action and inspire change. About Clarion Futures Clarion Futures is the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group. Our mission is to provide support, skills and opportunities to Clarion residents nationwide, transforming lives and communities.We exist to maximise the opportunities available to our residents, providing people with the tools and support they need to overcome their challenges, from employment and financial support, through to youth and community programmes.For more information, visit www.clarionhg.com/charitable-foundation About the #iwill Fund The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £50 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities. The #iwill Fund brings together a group of organisations who all contribute funding to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people. The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill campaign – to make involvement in social action a part of life for young people, by recognising the benefit for both young people and their communities. By bringing together funders from across different sectors and by making sure that young people have a say in where the funding goes, the #iwill Fund is taking a collaborative approach.