Youth Futures Foundation publishes its current grants portfolio representing an investment of over £5million to improve job outcomes for young people who face disadvantage or discrimination. This comes on top of a £7million joint investment with BBC Children in Need at the end of 2020 through the Inspiring Futures Fund.
Established with an endowment from the Dormant Assets Scheme, Youth Futures’ ambition is to find, fund, support and evaluate promising practice to tackle youth unemployment. The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen the unemployment rate for 16–24–year-olds escalate to over 14%, compared to 5% across all age ranges, with those from ethic minority communities and the most disadvantaged backgrounds being hardest hit.
The portfolio of 24 grants reflects the need to focus support on those young people who are often marginalised – ethnic minority communities, those with physical disabilities, young people with experience of care or the criminal justice systems, those with learning difficulties or mental health issues, or young people from low-income families.
Youth Futures’ Chief Executive, Anna Smee, commented:
‘Our approach is to fund programmes most likely to deliver the best outcomes and work with our grant holders to find out ‘what works’. By sharing the evidence and best practice we aim to bring about systemic change to ensure all young people can secure good quality jobs.
‘When we began this process early last year, we couldn’t have anticipated the pandemic and how it would impact hardest on young people and amplify the need for support. In response we have awarded funding to organisations actively responding to rising unemployment and supporting young people from the hardest hit communities.’
Youth Futures will invest £3.7million in programme delivery and bespoke realist evaluation into 14 frontline charities and social enterprises as part of their ‘what works’ programme. A significant proportion of these organisations have ethnic-minority leadership. Three of the 14 organisations have received Impact Grants, which will enable robust comparative evaluations of their projects. The other 11 are in receipt of Development Grants that will support process evaluations and capacity building.
The programme has extended a further £1.5million to support key infrastructure organisations to spread evidence and best practice through their networks, with the aim of tackling the root causes of youth unemployment. These Infrastructure Grants will support 10 organisations half of which have a CEO or MD from an ethnic minority background.
Director of Grants & Investment, Matthew Poole, commented:
‘I am delighted that our portfolio of grant holders reflects the diverse range of young people who are most in need of support. We are fortunate to have a terrific team at Youth Futures who have worked tirelessly to process an overwhelming number of applications, the invaluable work of our evaluation team, a grants panel that brings a range of direct experience and expertise to ensure the process has been rigorous and fair, and the support of our partners Rocket Science.