Youth Social Action

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Youth Social Action has huge potential to create opportunities and skills development for young people, benefitting local people and places.

The aim of this grant is to raise the level and quality of youth social action. The programme aim is to increase youth social action by 50% by 2020 taking the percentage of young people that volunteer from 40% to 60%.

Social action involves activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, all of which enable participants to make a positive difference to their communities.

Social action develops the skills and knowledge of young people that employers look for.

The definition of young people is between 10 and 20, and up to 25 for disabled young people.

Big Lottery Fund and the Office for Civil Society have invested £2 million this year to fund groups delivering local youth social action opportunities. Local fundraising is also a key part of the Youth Social Action programme.


  • Reflective
  • Challenging
  • Youth-led
  • Socially Impactful
  • Progressive
  • Embedded

More details about the principles can be found on the #iwill website. It is important to read these before applying.

Status:   Closed
Opening Date:   2 Jan 2018
Closing Date:   2 Feb 2018
Minimum Grant:   £ 1000
Maximum Grant:   £ 5000

Location: Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton
Causes: Community Development & Support – Youth, Social Inclusion, Volunteering


General Eligibility

The funding is for community groups working in England.

  • This fund is open to registered charities, constituted community groups and other charitable organisations including Social Enterprises and CICs.
    National organisations with local branches (with their own management committee and bank account) can apply.
  • New groups that fulfil all the other criteria are welcome to apply.
  • Projects do not have to be led by a youth group.
  • The fund is to deliver social action opportunities amongst young people age 10 to 20 years old when the programme begins, or 25 for disabled people.
  • Applications should be for a project that lasts up to a year.
  • Projects do not have to last a year, e.g. they can be one-off events.
  • Repeat funding is a possibility.
  • Community groups that can draw in match-funding are encouraged to apply. The presence of match funding will not affect our assessment of your application.
  • Projects can deliver opportunities in a range of contexts and settings: for example, online, extracurricular, in clubs and groups, informally, or as part of structured programmes.
  • Groups should engage young people in ongoing regular volunteering OR demonstrate how another youth-led method will be as effective at engaging young people in social action. (For example, regular ongoing volunteering may not be achievable for the young people you engage).
  • Core costs are eligible if the other criteria are met, including how the project meets the principles of great youth social action.


Appropriate incentives for young people can be used if they will genuinely engage people who might not otherwise be engaged. Cash incentives cannot be used (although expenses incurred while volunteering can be paid in cash). Incentives should emphasise social activities when possible. For example, those that take part in youth social action would be in with a chance to win vouchers, time credits, tickets to a show, or a social dinner in a restaurant together.

Target Beneficiaries

We are looking to fund projects ranging:

  • From traditional social action such as regular youth volunteering at a care home.
  • To newer ways to create positive social impact such as micro-volunteering activities where individual young people decide what they want to do. For example, a group of friends might create a social media campaign promoting positive body image.
  • We want to fund enjoyable projects that build and share skills and demonstrate positive impact on the wider community.

We anticipate that projects will:

  • Increase empathy and understanding of the positive impact young people can make.
  • Bring benefits to older people, children, local business, schools and those that supported/tutored the young people.

And that positive elements for young people will include:

  • Having fun
  • Making friends
  • Trying new things
  • Talking about things in new ways with new people
  • New skills & Improving CVs
  • Being invited to help with more activities

We will prioritise projects that:

  • Seek to increase participation from young people from lower social economic groups and people who might not usually take part in social action, e.g. engage new volunteers.
  • Embed skills in young people/the wider community while delivering. For example, listening skills, Maths and English, cooking, media and communications, evaluation and capturing success.
  • Clearly demonstrate principles of great youth social action. For example, an enjoyable project that enhances young peoples social lives, provides the opportunity to meet new people, positively impacts the wider community and develops longer term connections between volunteers and the wider community.
  • Have a plan to measure and report positive changes made.
  • Demonstrate sustainability beyond the life of this grant.
Acceptable Project Examples

Some ideas to show the range of possible activities:

  • A drop in centre where young people teach others new skills such as coding/bike maintenance/nail art (or all three).
  • Bite-size events for young people to train an organisations staff on the latest social media.
  • Teaching young people interview and video editing skills and then supporting the young people to interview stakeholders and create a set of voxpop videos for the website of a local organisation.
  • Growing vegetables at a city farm and then selling them (which builds more skills and relationships than painting the farms shed).


  • Involve young people in planning, delivery and evaluation, ask young people for advice.
  • Sociable enjoyable activities where young people can be with their friends or make new friends are likely to work well.
  • Opportunities to learn useful skills and demonstrate reliability are valued.
  • Regular activities held at the same time every week may work well, but may not always be the right formula.
  • Flexibility and responsiveness is key to maximum engagement.
  • Email, text and social media mean convenient sessions can be planned and publicised quickly.
  • Bitesize events are a good option and help overcome bookings and timings challenges.
  • Consider prioritising warm weather but not exam time. Many people do not like to go out in the rain, especially in winter.
  • Groups not based and active in Hampshire including Southampton, Portsmouth and Isle of Wight.
  • Statutory services/organisations cannot bid for the fund.
  • Activities promoting party political activity.
  • Capital costs/equipment. (Purchase of refreshments for volunteers is acceptable).
  • Individual sponsorship.
  • Activities generating private profit.
  • Faith groups are welcome to apply but activities which evangelise or proselytise religious beliefs will not be eligible. Projects that only work with one faith are also not eligible.
  • Organisations that are for the sole benefit or relief of animals or plants.
  • National Charities.
  • To fund trips abroad.
  • To fund building costs, including access adaptations to buildings.
Other Notes

Funds supporting this programme include:

Doris Campbell Memorial Fund; Blagrave Charitable Trust.