Connected Futures

Connected Futures Fund is our flagship £16 million fund to support young people to get good jobs through pioneering local partnerships.


When young people facing disadvantage told us what they want from employment support, they talked about changes to the whole system. It is clear that these young people need:

  • support that puts them at the centre, taking all their different needs into account, and their strengths and ambitions as well
  • aligned services that work together to help them achieve their goals, rather than pulling them in different directions
  • connected services with effective communication and coordination across organisations and sectors so that they don’t have to navigate everything for themselves
  • consistent support over time

Simply put, young people want the right support, from the right place, at the right time.

Through Connected Futures, and dormant assets funding, Youth Futures aims to develop and test new approaches to breaking down barriers and improving access to employment for young people from marginalised backgrounds.


Areas set to benefit from the cash boost include:

  1. Hastings
  2. Hull
  3. Blackpool
  4. Burnley
  5. Derby and Nottingham
  6. Brent
  7. Lewisham

During Connected Futures Phase 1, each local partnership will explore with young people the challenges they face, and where support is missing or lets them down, from schools and employers to housing, care or criminal justice. Each partnership will co-design with young people options to create meaningful change, potentially including early intervention, post-school support for young people who are already NEET, and “end-to-end” assistance for young people from 14 up to 25. Partners and young people will mobilise local stakeholders around their shared ambition for change. Phase 2 of the scheme will then fund collective efforts to deliver on these ambitions.

Currently, one in 10 young people in the UK are not in employment, education or training (NEET). In places like Blackpool and Burnley, rates of youth unemployment are twice as high as neighbouring areas. According to research by PwC and Youth Futures, UK GDP could benefit by £38billion by lowering levels of young workers classed as NEETs to German levels.

Meet our partners:


CXK, a youth employment charity, lead this Connected Futures partnership with Hastings Borough Council and East Sussex County Council. 

The partnership is focused on understanding the experience of young people aged 14+ who are already NEET or at risk of becoming NEET, especially in wards with higher rates of youth unemployment.  A Young Person Research Group is central to the research as agents of change.



This partnership is led by Humber Learning Consortium, working with The Warren, a youth-led charity, and Hull City Council.

The partnership is focused on understanding the mismatch between the high level of vacancies in the city and the high number of young people who are NEET.  The Thing, The Warren’s Youth Parliament has oversight of the project and young people from the Warren have formed a team of peer researchers to lead the work.


The Blackpool Connected Futures Partnership is led by Right to Succeed, a charity seeking to promote collective solutions for young people, and includes Blackpool Football Club Community Trust, Blackpool Council, Blackpool and the Fylde College and Business in the Community. 

The partnership is undertaking research to understand local community experience of the education and employment support system in Blackpool, and to inform the transformation of services for NEET and at risk of NEET young people in Blackpool.


Led by Calico Enterprise, part of The Calico Group, and including Participation Works and the University of Central Lancashire. There are links to the Burnley Bondholder group of local employers.

The partnership is exploring why young people in Burnley, especially those with Bangladeshi or Pakistani heritage, long term unemployed or with experience of the care system are not getting jobs in the town’s growing tech sector and other growth / vacancy sectors.  

East Midlands

This Connected Futures partnership is led by D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, which supports economic growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, with Direct Education Business Partnership (DEBP), a specialist education and employability provider, and Nottinghamshire County Council.

The partnership is investigating employment pathways available to young people across the region with learning disabilities and/or Autism. They will identify recommendations to develop consistent and effective Preparing for Adulthood processes, and testing activity solutions for work-readiness with young people and employers. They will establish a Development Board to represent the views of young people with learning disabilities and Autism and to co-design and shape solutions.


The Flourishing Futures partnership is led by Young Brent Foundation, which supports black and community-led organisations working with young people in Brent, and includes Spark!, a youth employment charity, Brent Council and three housing associations (MTVH, Hyde and Catalyst Housing). 

Flourishing Futures is focused on three estates in Brent which have a majority Black population and high levels of youth unemployment despite strong academic attainment.

The partnership is working with a team of young researchers to understand systemic failures in connection and access to services, and unequal distribution of services across the three estates. Their ambition is to galvanise local networks to change the employment journey for young people, with young people’s voice championed to challenge ‘the way things have always been done’.


Led by Lewisham Council, with Circle Collective, a social enterprise supporting young people into work through a skate shop, music and similar activities, and Phoenix Community Housing.

The partnership’s Young Ambassadors’ research is focused on Downham, a neighbourhood which is particularly isolated and has very high levels of youth unemployment. This work will provide a blueprint for how youth and community voice can take the lead in a whole-neighbourhood approach to youth employment and regeneration.



Youth Futures has announced its intention to release  £5million  to develop innovative partnerships in up to four places with high levels of unemployed young people with Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage, through its flagship Connected Futures programme. This builds on the £8.4million the foundation has already committed to 58 organisations that support Black, Asian and minority ethnic young people.


Case Study

Learn more about what young people told us when asked about their experiences of youth employment support and how it can be improved.

Case Study

Interested in projects that successfully changed the system and improved services delivered at a local level? Find out more by reading these case studies from across the country.

Meet the Grantees

Read about the work our grant holders are doing to help young people facing discrimination and disadvantage to access and keep good quality jobs.

How to Apply

Applications are now closed.




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Grants Team

If you have any questions about our grants programme, please contact the grants team

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