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New #iwill funding to help young people advocate to improve community spaces

Monday 5 August 2019

Please note, this fund closed to applications on 20 September 2019.

Community organisations across England are being encouraged to apply for grants of up to £35,000 to help young people have a say in how community spaces are managed.

Funding has been made available through our #iwill Fund. The #iwill Fund supports the work of the #iwill campaign that aims to make social action a part of life for as many 10 to 20-year-olds as possible.

The #iwill Fund is a £40 million joint investment from the National Lottery Community Fund, using National Lottery funding, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities. Co-op Foundation is acting as a match funder.

Funding launched today forms the first round of support available from a new £3m extension to our #iwill Fund, which will now run until 2022. 

A total of eight grants are expected to be made from this round, and organisations have until noon on Friday 20 September to apply.

Further rounds of funding will be launched later this year that will focus on peer support for young people going through bereavement and for those moving from primary to secondary school. More details about these grants will be announced first on our blog.

We’ve already awarded almost £2m in grants since we first partnered with the #iwill Fund in 2017.

Jim Cooke, Head of the Co-op Foundation, said:

“Our partnership with the #iwill Fund over the past two years has shown the positive impact young people can have when they are given opportunities to take action on the issues they care about. We’re delighted to be extending this fund so that more young people can be empowered to make a difference. 

“From supporting their peers to campaigning for change in their communities, young people’s own experiences and connections to the causes they are addressing will help them to take the lead in improving local spaces, promoting wellbeing and developing their own skills.”

Funding announced today continues our ongoing support for youth social action and community spaces. It is launched as part of the Co-op’s Endangered Spaces campaign.

We previously secured £1 million of government funding through the Building Connections Fund Youth strand to help more than 7,500 young people co-design improvements to over 100 spaces. Learning from this fund was published on Monday 5 August by the Building Connections Fund evaluation partner, New Philanthropy Capital.

Children’s disability charity, KIDS, is already funded through our #iwill Fund. KIDS empowers young people to advocate for improvements to community spaces through its Secret Shopper programme.

Yunus Bham, KIDS Corporate Partnerships Manager, said: “By getting involved in advocacy to improve local spaces, disabled young people from KIDS are more active in their communities, and local venues, businesses and spaces are built and maintained with them mind. We’re proud that our programme is being led by young people themselves.” 

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