The Third Benefit

Can participation in social action by our young people yield benefits beyond those of the individual and their community? How might the motivations and experiences of teachers involved in high-quality youth social action represent an as yet unexplored societal benefit?

Third Benefit project

Over the last three years in partnership with the Pears #iwill Fund, the RSA has explored how to best support primary schools to engage in high-quality youth social action.

We designed, delivered, and evaluated RSA4, a youth social action project for Year 4 pupils. Our Citizens of now report shares practical learnings from this project to enable more primary school teachers to engage in high-quality youth social action with their pupils.

Through this work, we found there are clear benefits to pupils and communities when young people are given the opportunity to make a difference to the issues they care about.

A third benefit?

Conversations around youth social action have largely focused on this 'double benefit' to communities and young people.

Where young people gain confidence and increase their sense of community agency by participating in youth social action, and communities benefit from the positive actions of compassionate and socially responsible young citizens, teachers may also benefit in similar ways.

Our project made me feel kind. Even if we are children we can still make a difference in the world.

St Oswald's CE Primary School Pupil

We want everyone to have the chance to make a difference to our environment and give something back to our community.

Oldbury Park RSA Academy Pupil

We believe teachers’ motivations and experiences of high-quality youth social action represent an underexplored ‘third benefit’.

About the project

This project, The Third Benefit, builds on our existing work to help develop the sector’s understanding of high-quality youth social action at the primary phase.

Through our research, we aim to better understand how involving primary school teachers in high-quality youth social action opportunities can inform and shape what meaningful benefits for teachers, alongside pupils and communities, might involve.

To achieve this we will undertake in-depth research through interviews, surveys, workshops, and case studies with primary school teachers and delivery organisations involved in primary youth social action. We will collate the findings from across the project into a toolkit for how to support youth social action in a way that promotes the third benefit.

The toolkit publication and complimentary interactive launch events for teachers, delivery organisations, funders and policymakers will take place in April 2023.

Our project aim

We believe building a better understanding of this third benefit will create a compelling case for more primary schools and teachers to get involved in youth social action in the first place and enable teachers to provide high-quality youth social action opportunities which have mutual benefits for teachers, pupils and communities.

To find out more about how you can share insights and contribute to this work please email [email protected]

Get involved

Share your insights and contribute to The Third Benefit project by emailing our education team.


This work is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Pears #iwill Fund.

  • The Pears #iwill Fund is created by Pears Foundation, and match funded by the #iwill Fund, a £54 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.
  • Social action involves activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, all of which enable young people to make a positive difference in their communities as well as develop their own skills and knowledge.
  • The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill movement - 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.

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