The Blagrave Trust has partnered with the Foyer Federation to offer local Foyers the opportunity to access pots of funding to support innovation and creativity around youth leadership and empowerment. We wanted to champion new thinking, long-term 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.
We worked with young people with experience of living in a Foyer to create the funding criteria, as well as creating a definition of meaningful power.
We aim to fund:
- Projects that challenge the status quo and embrace innovation
- Projects that meaningfully share power with young people
- Projects that grow young people’s power and leadership both within and beyond the Foyer
- Projects that are founded on the principles of diversity and inclusion
- Projects that are courageously ambitious, while being mindfully realistic
Using this criteria, in our first year of funding we worked with young people to assess project applications from Foyers across our network. The youth decision making panel awarded Accelerator funding (up to £15,000 per year for three years) to four projects and Spark funding (up to £5,000 for one year) to three projects.
The inspiration behind the fund
Youth-led movements have a unique energy and power that can create lasting positive change. But young people living in supported accommodation face a number of additional, unique barriers that can hinder their involvement in leading change and being heard, including:
- The transitory nature of young people's lives during their time in the Foyer
- The hierarchies and power frameworks that exist in supported housing, which are often not conducive to youth leadership and sharing power with young people
- A lack of confidence and self belief that can come from having experienced disempowerment through statutory provision, deficit-based systems and traumatic home lives.
As a result of these barriers, and despite best intentions, youth leadership and involvement in supported housing projects can often fall into becoming tokenistic, inconsistent and short term.
By providing this funding, we aim to create space and time for services to innovate, try new approaches, and implement sustainable youth leadership systems.
What projects got funding?
In our first year, the youth decision making panel awarded funding to seven Foyer's. Each project is working to meet the aspirations of their residents, within their own differing contexts. They are all following the structure of the fund; focusing first on supporting young people's individual experience of power, then to have power within their Foyer before extending their youth leadership journey to the wider community.
Some are working to establishing youth voice groups or resident ambassadors, others looking at how these roles can sit strategically as young trustees or advisory boards. Many of the projects are exploring how to meaningfully 'pay' young leaders for their contributions and work. The Youth Power Fund gives the resources for projects to explore, innovate and learn to create meaningful experiences of power sharing which will develop across the funded period.
You can read more about the Youth Power Fund projects in our guest blog series:
The funded Foyer's come together as a learning cohort across the duration of the funded period (until March 2025). We curate opportunities for the Foyers to connect, share learning, hear about one another's projects, as well as gaining inspiration from guest speakers. Within this space, The Foyer Federation act as a critical friend to positively challenge and support the ambitions of the Foyer's youth leadership journey.
The learning from the Youth Power Fund has been huge, for both the funded Foyer's but also us at The Foyer Federation. Young people have been integral to the co-design and co-delivery of the learning cohort for funded services, and will partner with us in capturing the ongoing impact of the fund, creating dynamic resources to share with our Network and beyond.
Read more about the learning from the first year in our Top Tips for developing youth leadership blog