12 March 2023
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Inspirational doesn’t even come close to describing Milan Kumar. He devotes hour after hour, day after day, to tackling youth homelessness in his hometown of Bolton, Greater Manchester.
What makes Milan truly remarkable is that he is 10 years old.
Milan is on a mission to help homeless young people, which is a burgeoning crisis across the United Kingdom, and says:
“One-fifth of young people are homeless. This is wrong. We need to care. We need to act. We need to make a difference in our hometowns.”
The shocking statistic is backed up by a recent research survey of 2,000 UK youth, between the ages of 16 to 25 years, and carried out on behalf of a housing charity. The survey highlights the scale of hidden homelessness due to the lack of data on informal homelessness that include ‘sofa surfing’ and rough sleeping, a loophole created by statistics relying on partial information from street counts.
Milan’s crusade for social justice is just beginning, and his amazing efforts have already been recognized by the highest office in the land. In December, he was invited by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to attend the Christmas tree lights switching on ceremony in Downing Street.
The young crusader’s family values were shaped from a very early age. He is an ambassador for the #iwill movement, which allows young people to champion, shape, create and lead the local change needed for communities to thrive. The #iwill movement is coordinated by Volunteering Matters in partnership with UK Youth.
Volunteering Matters believe that all children and young people should be involved in the decisions that are being made in their communities and across society. The charity received £ 4.3 million awarded by the Postcode Support Trust, thanks to funds raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. These funds help to bring people together through the power of volunteering to overcome some of society’s most complex issues.
At the core of the #iwill movement are #iwill Young Ambassadors, more than 300 young people from diverse communities across the UK. Despite coming from different backgrounds, they all have one thing in common – a passion for helping others and creating change.
Most are in their late teens or early twenties, and then there is Milan. He became an #iwill ambassador in 2022, driven by the hope that every young person should have a safe place to call home. A belief in fairness for all is rooted in his upbringing.
He has already raised funds for charity by sleeping outside, braving cold and wet conditions to help people understand how much homeless people suffer.
Milan says he feels content knowing that he is making a difference in the lives of others through volunteering and wants to encourage everyone to get involved. He says:
“Young people can help other young people. We can all make a difference in our neighbourhoods, hometowns, schools, and many other places.”
Stephen Skeet, Director of Business Development & Impact at Volunteering Matters, says:
“All over the UK, the #iwill movement’s Power Of Youth Charter is leading change in local communities through youth social action.
“Young people volunteering, making their voices heard through activism, creating projects that solve local issues and changing the way decisions are made drive change.
“At Volunteering Matters, we are grateful for the support received from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, which is enabling us to inspire young people through the #iwillmovement.”
Volunteering Matters work closely with young people and organizations across the UK. They aim to empower and enable young people to shape and lead change in their lives and communities through activities that make a positive difference to other people, communities, and the environment.
This can be anything from litter picking in the local park or walking a neighbour’s dog to leading national activism on climate change or campaigning for better mental health support in parliament.
Player support is helping Volunteering Matters work in turning local knowledge and energy into action and progress, building stronger communities and a better future for all.