The Foyer Federation this week has launched a new project – the Youth Power Fund – aimed at sparking creative approaches to embedding long-term change around youth leadership and sharing power with young people in youth supported housing.
The Blagrave Trust has partnered with the Foyer Federation to offer local Foyers the opportunity to access pots of funding to support innovation around youth leadership and empowerment. We want to champion new thinking, sustainable change and youth-led approaches that challenge existing power structures and provide a catalyst for young people to lead in their local community and beyond.
Foyers will be able to apply for up for £15,000 per year over three years. Each Foyer that is awarded funding will be part of a learning cohort which will create space for them to reflect on their work, benefit from each others’ learning and experience, and get inspired by new ideas, young people and peers from the youth sector.
A youth-led approach is central to the project – both in the projects Foyers apply for and in the way the Foyer Federation works. The application guidance (including the funding criteria), which can be downloaded from the project page, was co-created with young people who have experience of living in member Foyers.
Young people also worked with us to co-create the questions in the application form. When services apply to the Youth Power Fund, they will be responding to those queries that young people felt most important to ask.
The definition of ‘power’ on page nine of the guidance is drawn from those young people’s experiences of both real power and ‘tokenistic’ power. This provides a tangible way for services to assess how meaningful the power they are sharing is and to understand how this is viewed and experienced by young people.
These co-created guidelines will form the basis of the panel’s discussion of which projects to fund. The panel itself will be made up of approximately 60% young people – some with Foyer experience and others with valuable lived experience outside of our network – as well as Foyer Federation staff and Trustees.
Young people will be involved in co-designing and co-running the learning cohort, visiting Foyers and making recommendations, and making decisions about which Spark service(s) to award follow-on funding to. We are open to other ways for young people to take the lead as the Youth Power Fund progresses.
In designing this fund, we wanted to create the conditions for creativity and innovation to thrive. We are approaching this in two ways:
A. Accelerator. We will award funding up to £15,000 per year for three years to four Foyers. This is based on learning from the Listening Fund that stable investment over a longer period gives projects the space, time and resources to take risks, try things they might not otherwise be able to, and build on what they learn.
B. Spark. In year one, we will award funding of £5,000 for one year to three Foyers. This is to enable us to invest in ideas from services with a creative ‘spark’ that needs a bit more experimentation or trialling. In year two, we will select one or two of these projects for funding for two further years at either £15,000 or £7,500.
The closing date for applications is 9am 31 January. You can check whether your service is eligible by downloading the application guidance on the Youth Power Fund page, then download the application form to apply.
Contact [email protected] if you have any questions.