Go-Givers is about developing caring and concerned young citizens with the confidence and skills to make a difference to their communities, both local and global.
We are a national educational and child philanthropy programme for primary and middle schools. We are an initiative of the Citizenship Foundation, an independent education and participation charity encouraging and enabling people to engage in democratic society.
Discover our journey so far to see children in action as problem-solving ‘go-givers’:
‘We want our young children to grow up with an understanding of the very complicated issues that surround them. With Go-Givers this sort of understanding comes allied with a sense of strength and purpose and belonging. This is one part of the curriculum that, for the sake of all us in society, cannot be dumped for the pressures of time.’
Anne Fine OBE, author and Children’s Laureate 2001-3
We know some of our youngest citizens feel frustration at being overlooked and underestimated. Madlen Rafferty, aged 10, wrote in her entry to our Dear Prime Minister Competition: ‘There isn’t a way to get thoroughly involved! I feel at the moment children’s voices aren’t being heard, we seem to be drowned out by the monstrous bellows of adults.’
See more about why we do what we do in Aims and Objectives.
Who is Go-Givers for?
We are a three-part website for teachers, parents and children.
Our Teachers’ page is packed with free lesson plans, web tools and stories featuring the Go-Givers characters for children to understand and debate how society works and the complexity of social issues. We ask children to imagine and empathise with situations and attitudes outside of their own, and to flex their own social action muscles in a meaningful way.
Teachers, please see our Getting Started page for more information.
Our Parents’ page has lots of ideas for how families can help children become caring and concerned young citizens. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child – in other words, it takes all of us to develop socially and morally responsible children.
Our Kids’ Zone is for our young citizens with games to grapple with moral dilemmas, a toolkit for campaigning and opportunities to interact with the Go-Givers characters.
But we’re not just a website. We’re a lively team based all around the country, bringing Go-Givers into schools to offer training and planning sessions, our active citizenship opportunities, competitions and much, much more to help teachers provide children with opportunities to make a difference.
Our story is made up of contributions by children from around the country expressing their capabilities and desire to improve the world around them. A delightful sprinkling of these stories can be found in our Case Studies and Children’s Galleries sections.
It all began with the inspiration of Marguerite Heath to cultivate ‘go-givers’ and not just ‘go-getters’ in the primary school setting. Go-Givers was originally conceived by the Home Office as a pack for primary schools to encourage charitable giving. Marguerite saw that it could become much broader: a cross-curricular offer that would cultivate children’s insight into social problems and their causes. In the year of its conception, she created a varied menu of interactive and colourful resources and dreamed up the Go-Givers characters to help our children examine their beliefs, interpretations and horizons, and to review the ways in which they understand themselves, their place in the world and the impact they can have on it.
Marguerite believes that schools have a duty to prepare primary aged children for the challenges and opportunities of the modern world. Far from divesting them of their innocence, she reasons that by addressing the issues that beset our society we prevent children from feeling overwhelmed and helpless. Factual information and a sense of empowerment replace unfocussed fear and actually help preserve the joyfulness and spontaneity of childhood.
Marguerite considers empathy to be an important ability that needs developing in the young. She sees it as the cornerstone of human behaviour, the key to all human social interaction and morality. This philosophy pervades the Go-Givers programme which was launched in 2007.
Today the Go-Givers team is comprised of like-minded educationalists and third sector professionals who each bring their personal conviction, wisdom and experience to bear on the programme, and account for its increasing success.
On average, a teacher registers with Go-Givers every 20 minutes, taking the first step to educating caring and concerned citizens. See our Research & Evaluation for up to date stats and evidence on the difference we’re making to equip children to make a difference.
Go-Givers Celebrates Five Years
In July 2012, many of our supporters, and several young ‘go-givers’ came together to celebrate our fifth birthday at the House of Lords. Anne Fine OBE, Rekha Bhakoo CBE, Mick Waters and Nick Hurd MP made compelling cases for the crucial role that children can play in developing a caring and just society.
A delegation of children from some of our flagship schools followed the act by speaking on behalf of their generation of caring and concerned young citizens. Listen to some of their speeches and audience impressions here.
‘This is exactly what we should be encouraging at this time: a greater awareness in young people of what’s going on around the world, or on their doorstep, and, critically, connecting them with their chance to make a difference.’
Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society, speaking at Go-Givers Fifth Anniversary celebration.
The Next Five...
With the support of the Office for Civil Society, the Pears Foundation and the Social Action Fund, our take-up in primary schools across England is increasing exponentially. In partnership with local Community Foundations, we are rolling out the Make a Difference Challenge to more areas than ever before.
Our growing outreach team is shaping interventions to deepen schools’ engagement with Go-Givers so that social, moral, spiritual and social development is not only embedded at every level of learning, but within school ethos.
We’re currently developing ideas for an active citizenship scheme for KS1 based on a model in the USA, a campaign for spreading kindness in partnership with People United, a scheme to link speaking and listening with citizenship with friends at Speakers’ Bank and much, much more.
We’re looking to get bigger and better, with more offers, to ensure we are raising a whole generation of ‘go-givers’. Join us.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss ways to support our work.