The Truth about Youth

The Co-operative Foundation


Back in 2008, when ‘hoodie’ was a pejorative term banded daily in the press, The Co-operative Foundation challenged us to develop a campaign to promote a positive view of young people.


We worked with The Co-operative Foundation to co-design the Truth about Youth Campaign to enable young people to positively challenge negative perceptions of youth.

With The Co-operative Foundation’s support we significantly increased our work in Birmingham, engaging more schools across the city and enabling a larger number of young people to set up their own projects to tackle social and environmental problems across the city.

The Birmingham Post came on board as media partner for the campaign and, over the past three years, they have consistently supported us to promote the positive results of these projects under headlines such as ‘the good behind the hood’.

We have used a wide range of different communication channels to enable young people’s voices to be heard.  For example, we have organised an annual debate attended by leading opinion formers in the city, launched a Truth about Youth app and organised street marketing stunts where young people have engaged the public in perception challenges and even performed in shop windows!  With our support young people have also led their own projects, for example designing a billboard advert, producing a podcast and organising a successful photography exhibition in the city.


With The Co-operative’s support 1541 young people have been directly and actively involved in the Truth about Youth Campaign and in doing so they’ve worked alongside over 1,200 adults fostering positive intergenerational relationships.

These young people have designed, developed and delivered over 200 social action projects in their community and have directly communicated with over 21,700 people in the Birmingham area on negative youth stereotypes.

As well as coverage from our media partner, The Birmingham Post, the campaign activities have attracted the attention of a host of other media agencies including, BBC West Midlands, Sky News, Heart FM, BBC Midlands Today and Kerrang. Through our media coverage alone the Truth about Youth campaign had a reach of 5,260,000.

As well as traditional media we made use of social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter and our Truth about Youth app surveyed over 4000 people across the UK challenging and changing negative stereotypes of young people.

The campaign has positively impacted on hundreds of thousands of people with 71% of adults questioned feeling more positive about young people as a result of their interaction with the campaign.

Following the success of our pilot, an Envision staff member is seconded to The Co-operative to co-ordinate what has grown into a national campaign now involving seven charities, such as the Prince’s Trust. The programme is widely upheld as an example of good practice in government reports and has won awards.  The Co-operative Foundation has recently renewed its support for a fourth and fifth year and we look forward to building on our success.

“We picked Envision to pilot our campaign because their infectious passion was matched by a practical can-do, attitude. Four years on and we are definitely convinced we made the right choice.”

Michael Fairclough, Head of Community and Campaigns, The Co-operative

In Numbers:

71% of adults questioned felt more positive about young people as a result of interacting with the Truth about Youth campaign.

Client Benefit:

Positive profile in the community.