Last month, our talent bond panel met and awarded a whopping 35 young people up to £300 to pursue a talent, grow a skill or develop one of their strengths. The panel, made up of three young people who live in Foyers, received 49 applications in total for the £8,000 pot of funding and had some really difficult decisions to make. 

We were blown away by the creativity and drive that shone through in each and every application we received. Here are just some of the fantastic proposals we were able to fund:

1. Purchasing new equipment to enable a trained barber to begin working in their chosen field again.

"I had to sell all my barbering equipment when I was homeless as I had no money. The talent bond would give me the chance to get my own home and independence back. My plan for the future is to get back into barbering either as mobile barber or renting a chair in a salon to start me off, with the sight on my own salon. I am a very driven person and was very frustrated when I arrived at the Foyer as I wasn’t in charge of my future anymore, now I have a plan and this will help me to fulfil it."

2. Paying for an SIA licence to enable a young person to reach their goal of becoming a door supervisor.

"I have been budgeting hard and saving money whilst working in food service, which I do not enjoy. I managed to save enough to do my training course and first aid, which I successfully passed. My last step is to purchase my licence which I currently cannot afford, it costs £190. If I was successful in obtaining this bond, it means I would be able to gain my licence and start applying for the security work I want to do. This would greatly help my mental health and allow me to start developing my skill set including working with the general public and dealing with difficult situations."

3. Hiring a studio for a singer to record a video singing reel to help them showcase their talent and access opportunities. 

4. Buying equipment so that a student of art can participate in their college classes, process their emotions through creativity and create a showcase piece to display in head office. 

"This money will allow me to put my foot in the door in the art world. Heck put most of someone’s body in the door. This will allow me to get my view of the world and all its pros and cons in my own language – art."

5. Setting up a photography group at the Foyer with a new digital camera. 

6. Purchasing camera equipment to enable a young photographer to turn their hobby into a career.

"I have picked up a hobby I used to do before I was homeless. I take photographs of animals – mostly my dog. I have set up a media page and have been complimented on my ability and creativity. I feel making my hobby into a business will give me a purpose and enable me to get out and meet new people."

7. Buying new materials for an existing Dungeons & Dragons group in the Foyer to maintain a sense of community and support the dungeon master in developing their writing, creativity and storytelling skills. 

8. Gaining new tools to develop woodworking and furniture restoration skills. 

"This fund would help me to purchase tools to develop skills with woodwork and furniture restoration. I’ve done bits and bobs with my friends dad including building skateboard ramps, a container for recycling bags, roofing, maintenance around the house (doors, cupboards and draws). This is something I’ve been interested in for about a year but never had spare money to invest due to mental health issues and homelessness which has led to me losing my jobs. I am now starting to get back on my feet. 

"The best thing about this type of work is that I thoroughly enjoy it to the point where I’ve found myself fixing things around the house at ungodly hours! The fund would help me buy the starter tools I need to restore my wooden furniture that I have been gifted and to build more storage solutions around the house."

9. Accessing dance classes for a young mum keen to return to her passion and turn it into a career in children's entertainment.

10. Purchasing equipment to record a podcast focused on current affairs affecting young people.

"I think starting this podcast will not only open my mind and help me to be more aware of how I spend my time online, but it can also have the same effect on those living at the Foyer. I aim to promote the podcast with local young people, residents and beyond, so they listen to it and even come on the podcast as guests."

Our three panellists had a very challenging role to play in assessing each proposal and deciding which to award funding to. Two of the young people had previously been awarded talent bonds themselves and found it interesting to be part of the decision making process. 

One panellist said, "I really enjoyed doing it and making the decisions. Obviously you can't put your own feelings into it. There were things that were really interesting, but is it something that can be ongoing? I've applied for a talent bond before and it was good to be on the other side of it and see how I was picked."

Another reflected on the challenges of being on the panel: "It was easy to apply for a talent bond but harder to make the decisions and say yes or no to people."

The third panellist, a prominent member of her Foyer's leadership group, said, "It was nice to be so involved and make those kind of decisions. It was nice to give the funding to people and make them feel good. It was really empowering."

We depend on small grants and corporate partnerships to enable us to invest directly in young people's skills through our talent bond programme. If you'd like to find out more about how your organisation could support the programme, contact [email protected].

The Foyer Federation is registered in England and Wales under company number 2699839 at Work.Life, Core Building, 30 Brown Street, Manchester, M2 1DH. The charity is registered under charity number 1040482.
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