Introducing our Young Gamechangers!

Young people in front of shop

We’re proud to be announcing our new young gamechangers.

Our £4.5m Young Gamechangers Fund is bold. It’s built by young people. And it’s changing the way youth-led funding is delivered forever.

Our 35 new young gamechangers range from Tess Howard, a Commonwealth gold medallist and her social enterprise, Inclusive Sportswear CIC, to Ali Ghaderi, a young actor and activist, originally from Iran, who is now supporting young refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants through The Young Babylon Project.  

They, and our other young gamechangers are working to transform communities into safer, more sustainable and more inclusive places to live. 

We wanted to open this fund out to as many young people as possible, not just young adults. This is why we have a number of young gamechangers under 16 – the youngest is only 10 and is already making a difference to other young people. We can’t wait to see what they, and all of our other young gamechangers achieve.  

A different kind of fund 

We developed this fund with young people, alongside Co-op and the #iwill Fund, to make sure youth voices are heard.  We know that it’s important to fund flexibly and to let young people take the lead on the issues closest to them, and so we’re eager to work with them to develop their projects in a way that keeps them in the driving seat. This is why we’ve partnered with Global Fund for Children and Restless Development, who have strong expertise in empowering young people to deliver this fund. 

This is something that is important to Co-op Live too. Their ‘Gigs that Give Back’ perfectly captures both the venue and Co-op’s commitment to making a positive impact in the community, especially for young people. That’s why they’ll be helping to drive youth social action through programmes like the Young Gamechangers Fund by donating at least £1m a year to us – their official charity partner – when it opens this year.

Rebecca Birkbeck, Director Community & Membership Participation at Co-op, said:  

“A huge thank you to all of our Co-op member-owners whose contribution to the Young Gamechangers Fund is now enabling young people across the UK to act on the issues they care about and make a real impact in their local communities, showing true social value in action.” 

Our youth steering group  have been an integral part of the process, building this fund from the ground up. They’ve led on funding decisions, co-designed branding and even developed the application process. Not only could we not have done this without them, but they are also changing how we work, think and develop funds here at the Foundation. 

Emily McChrystal, a member of the youth steering group said: 

“The Young Gamechangers Fund has been an incredible experience. From the structured sessions of support, free form brainstorming spaces and residential meetings to building on the bolstering of ambitious ideas – it has been an amazing chance to change the lives of other young activists, as well as our own! 

I have learned so much about funding, budgeting, project management, team working, decision-making, and many more things throughout the course of the funding programme. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” 

Our young gamechangers 

We’ve awarded grants up to £20k a year directly to young people transforming their communities.  

We’re funding young people and youth-led organisations across the length and breadth of the country. These include Tempo Maguires in Northern Ireland and Diversified in Scotland. Where they have identified a need, we’re helping them to develop a solution.  

We’re supporting young people working with minoritized groups, young people with lived experience of the subjects they want to tackle and young people who have seen what needs to change in their local communities and want to drive that change.  

It’s truly inspiring to see the amazing work these young people are doing at an incredibly early point in their lives.  

Next steps 

As you can see, our partners might all be youth-led, but they are all very different. This is why we put together the Young Gamechangers Fund – to empower a range of young people from across the UK to make their communities better. The fund will harness their expertise and their knowledge to make the changes they know are needed. 

The opportunities are endless, so let’s do things differently. Let’s build communities of the future together. 

Co-op, #iwill, DCMS and Co-op Foundation logo lock up

If you want to stay up to date with how we’re funding young people, sign up to our blog below.

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