Over £90 million of new funding has been announced to 43 youth services to enable thousands of young people in England to access high-quality out of school activities to support their well-being, health, and develop the skills they need for life and work.
These are the first grants from the 2nd Phase of the Government’s Youth Investment Fund of over £300 million to renew the country’s youth sector.
To mark the occasion Ruth Hannant, Permanent Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, will meet young people at Brighton Youth Centre today, one of the first 43 youth services in England to be awarded a Young Investment Fund grant. The grant, along with local authority funding, will help Brighton Youth Service transform its space into a fully accessible, environmentally sustainable, and state-of-the-art facility, open seven days a week. It will give young people more opportunities to improve wellbeing, develop interpersonal skills, grow in confidence, explore their identity, and find a voice. Once work is complete, Brighton Youth Centre will be able to double the number of young people they support, boosting their reach to 3000 young people per week.
Launched in August 2022, the Youth Investment Fund aims to level up some of the most deprived areas in England where youth need is high and provision is low. This will create a level playing field for young people to have equal access to youth services, youth workers and volunteers, and dedicated youth facilities that deliver positive outcomes.
45 local authorities and around 600 district wards in the most deprived areas of England are eligible to apply for the Youth Investment Fund, paving the way for up to 300 youth facilities to be built or renovated over the next three years. This will increase the number of regular positive activities undertaken by young people in the targeted areas by 45,000 per year, by 2026/27.
The Youth Investment Fund is being delivered by Social Investment Business in partnership with Key Fund, National Youth Agency and Resonance. Fusion21 is the Youth Investment Fund procurement partner.
Youth voice, quality, sustainability, accessibility, and value for money are at the heart of the Youth Investment Fund projects. The initial 43 projects awarded funding will reach an additional 16,500 young people aged 11 to 18 (up to 25 for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities).
It means more young people will be supported, empowered, and have new opportunities to have fun, make new friends and enjoy activities like dance, sport, music, art, IT, sailing, catering, theatre, and craft. It’s a unique opportunity to prioritise the needs of young people and for youth services to deliver life-changing services to create a more equal society for future generations.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:
“I want every young person to have the opportunity to access the kinds of life-changing activities which expand their horizons and allow them to develop vital life skills.”
“The National Youth Guarantee will provide these opportunities and support young people with access to regular club activities, adventures away from home and volunteering opportunities.
“We are supporting this today with an investment to create or renovate spaces for youth clubs and activities to support opportunities for thousands of young people across the country who would otherwise miss out.”
Nick Temple, CEO for Social Investment Business, said:
“Every young person deserves access to high quality activities and facilities, providing the opportunities to help them thrive. The Youth Investment Fund is helping make that vision a reality, supporting organisations and projects in the areas of England that need it most.”
“It’s been amazing to see the wide range of projects applying to the Fund, and especially how young people have played a meaningful role in shaping those plans. There is a real appetite to develop inclusive, accessible and sustainable facilities that will be there for future generations – and that is reflected in the first set of grants announced today.”
“We are hugely excited as work gets underway in places across the country – work that will help transform opportunities for thousands of young people.”
Young people are at the heart of the Youth Investment Fund projects, using their ideas, expertise, and experiences to shape the best opportunities for young people. Every Youth Investment Fund project has been assessed by a rigorous and data-driven grant panel as well as being evaluated by a team of trained Young Assessors recruited and supported by the National Youth Agency. Each Youth Investment Fund project must demonstrate the important role young people have played in developing their funding bids.
Leigh Middleton, Chief Executive, National Youth Agency, said:
“We are delighted to see these initial projects get off the ground and excited about the many and varied projects we are now supporting through the application process.
“The involvement of our Young Assessors in this process is vital to ensure that bids have young people at their core and that the places and activities which will be delivered are inclusive to all.”
“Over the next three years the Youth Investment Fund will support our ambitions to enable more young people to benefit from the life changing impact of youth work, including gaining essential life skills, preparing for employment and being empowered to have a voice in their communities and society.”
Ruby is one of the young people that shaped the YMCA’s Stoke on Trent youth service project, one of the 43 youth services awarded a Youth Investment Fund grant today. Ruby shares her experience is co-designing the funded project:
“A new space with more equipment and better facilities that has young people more involved in the design will increase confidence and help with mental health. It’s creating a positive space where children and young people can make friends and learn new skills. It’s also good that we are being listened to and rather than someone saying this is what’s happening, we are involved and shows young people in a positive focus.”
Today’s announcements form the latest part of the Government’s ‘National Youth Guarantee’, that will ensure every young person aged 11-18 in England has access to regular clubs and activities, adventures away from home, and volunteering opportunities by 2025, backed by an investment of over £500 million investment.
Further grants from The Youth Investment Fund are open to eligible applicants, find out more here.
The role of Young Assessors in the Youth Investment Fund
Good youth work embraces the value that young people bring to society and puts young people at its heart, so it’s essential that young people are involved in assessing applications to the Youth Investment Fund (YIF).
The National Youth Agency has recruited 17 young assessors, aged between 16 and 24 years who meet weekly to review the part of the application which is from young people who have been involved in shaping the planned new spaces and activities requiring funding.
The Young Assessors come from a range of backgrounds, but all share a passion for youth work and want to be involved in widening out opportunities for other young people across the country.
What makes a good application?
The Young Assessors want to see applications that show how young people have been engaged in the plans, as well as clearly describing their future role in the project.
They’re also looking to see how accessible projects are – not just for those with disabilities, but people of different faiths and genders.
Each Young Assessor has a personal development plan and as well as getting training in teamworking, communication, leadership skills, they also have the opportunity to gain CPD in areas such as safeguarding and detached youth work.
Georgia Graham, Youth Participation Manager at NYA said: “We also involve the Young Assessors in any meetings about the application process, so there are lots of opportunities to build their skills and confidence which will help them as they move into the world of work.”
Harrison, 18, got involved as a Young Assessor after starting a degree in politics at Keele University after his youth worker flagged the opportunity to him.
Harrison said: “I wanted to give something back as youth work has impacted on my life and made me the person I am today and I love the idea of generating the spaces that will enable other young people to discover who they are.”
“Young assessors are valuable because it provides the youth voice,” he added “if it’s an organisation built for young people then young people should be involved in the creation of that. We have to speak to young people and ask what they want and value. It’s got to come from the young people because it’s for young people.”
To find out more about the Youth Investment Fund and make an application visit: https://youthinvestmentfund.org.uk