Youth services in the country’s most underserved areas are being encouraged to apply for a slice of a fund worth over £300m to improve the health, wellbeing, skills and opportunities for young people.
03 April 2023
Youth Investment Fund of over £300 million allocated to first major beneficiaries to level up opportunities for young people
Over £95 million of new funding has been announced to 46 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.
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.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:
“Every young person should be given the best possible start in life and we are investing more than £500 million to transform youth services across the country.
Today we are announcing the first major beneficiaries of a £300 million pot to give thousands more youngsters access to vital services and new opportunities to support and boost their mental and physical wellbeing.”
The Youth Investment Fund is being delivered by Social Investment Business in partnership with Key Fund, National Youth Agency and Resonance.
Youth voice, quality, sustainability, accessibility, and value for money are at the heart of the Youth Investment Fund projects. The initial 46 projects awarded funding will reach an additional 17,000 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.
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 forty-six youth services awarded a Youth Investment Fund grant today. Ruby shares her experience is co-designing the funded project.
Ruby, Young person supported by YMCA Stoke on Trent said:
“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.
Further grants from The Youth Investment Fund are open to eligible applicants, find out more here.