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Partnering with the Astra Foundation to combat youth loneliness and boost mental wellbeing 

Young people in discussion

By Nick Crofts, Co-op Foundation CEO 

I’m delighted to formally announce today, during Loneliness Awareness Week, that Co-op Foundation has partnered with the Astra Foundation to increase our reach and impact tackling youth loneliness. 

Through our new partnership, we have contributed half of almost £750k of grants to support youth organisations UK Youth, Youth Focus: North East and Depaul UK for the next three years.  

Not only does this partnership mean more funding to tackle youth loneliness and boost mental wellbeing directly, it also supports the sharing of learning and information through youth worker networks and resources. Through co-operation, we’ve been able to empower our partners to do what matters most and make a difference long term. 

Subscribe to our blog to keep up to date with the work of our new partners.  

A bigger impact 

The Astra Foundation is a UK-based foundation that aims to combat loneliness in young adults and empower them to reach their potential. When we first met them last year, we knew we could increase our impact through partnership working, helping the organisations we fund to do even more.  

The three groups we are funding are all youth-led.  

  • UK Youth and Youth Focus: North East are using a combined investment of almost £450k to upskill youth workers to better identify and tackle loneliness. By 2024, they expect 1,500 youth workers to engage in the work they are developing. Read about their early work, which we funded through the Building Connections Fund. 
  • DePaul will use the remaining £300k to tackle homelessness and social isolation in young people across the UK. This is the first time we’ve partnered with DePaul and we’re excited about what we’ll learn together. 

Their work will build strong communities of young people who will collaborate to make things better for themselves and their peers, delivering on Co-op’s vision of ‘Co-operating for a Fairer World’. 

Tackling youth loneliness 

Our One Small Step research shows chronic youth loneliness is on the rise, and this is linked to poor mental wellbeing for young people. With the projects we’ve chosen to fund, we’re supporting young people to improve their mental wellbeing in a way that puts them in control. 

Our new funding also increases our overall £7m investment into tackling youth loneliness and builds on our Lonely Not Alone campaign, co-designed with young people to tackle stigma. 

Leveraging match funding 

We’re proud to match fund with others. It ensures donations from Co-op Members go even further and it builds co-operative values into the way we all work. 

 Our new support also complements Co-op’s partnership with Mind, SAMH and Inspire and increases on our overall £7m investment into tackling youth loneliness.

Sarah Hale, Foundation Manager at the Astra Foundation, adds: 

 “We’re delighted to partner with the Co-op Foundation to double our impact and support fantastic groups tackling youth loneliness. With shared values and approaches to partnership, working with the Co-op Foundation also benefits our partners by streamlining procedures. We mutually benefit from actively listening and learning from partners to ensure our combined efforts are making a difference.” 

Match funding also aligns to our new strategy where we’ll be working in partnership and collaborating with others to create future communities that are fair and build on co-operative values.  

Keep up to date with our future funds and impact by subscribing to our blog. Funders who want to discuss potential future partnerships can email me directly

Good luck to UK Youth, Youth Focus: North East and Depaul UK in all your future work! 


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