Wednesday, 29 May 2024
Wednesday, 29 May 2024

‘Real life influencers’: young people to advise UK’s largest funder of community activity

An advisory panel of young people is just one of the ways in which The National Lottery Community Fund is building upon its commitment to further embed youth voice – both in its own work and across the wider sector – the organisation announced this week.

The Fund has been working with the Young People in the Lead (YPIL) panel for several months. The panel is made up of 12 young people, aged 16 to 25, with a diverse range of lived experience of social issues affecting young people across the country.

All panel members are involved in National Lottery-funded community projects and were picked from a high-calibre pool of applicants during two selection days held earlier this year (pre-COVID-19).

As the largest funder of youth activity in the UK, The National Lottery Community Fund is committed to embedding youth voice in its work – from grant-making through to being a catalyst for others in the sector to put more young people in the lead. But this is not just about ‘a seat at the table’; it is about being part of an organisation that funds communities across the UK.

The YPIL panel has been meeting – virtually – each week since lockdown began and are working on a number of projects including ‘What is a ‘quality’ youth project…?’ and ‘What are the priorities for young people during COVID-19?’.

The panel will also be looking at what opportunities will be like for young people, as we emerge from the current crisis, and sharing their thoughts on how organisations can ensure youth voice is part of recovery and rebuild activity. They plan to share some of their thoughts with a sector audience at an online event being planned for International Youth Day on 12th August. Further details will be available soon.

Ruhina Begum, 25, who sits on the YPIL panel, said:

“I am so grateful to The National Lottery Community Fund for providing a platform for us all to share our expertise with a variety of audiences, especially funders. We’ve already achieved so much, including two of us becoming England Committee representatives! We can’t wait to see what else happens this year and see how much we all achieve and grow.”

Another panel member, Rachael Olumuyiwa, 17, added:

“I’m excited to be a part of YPIL because of how well everyone works together and how productive we’ve been over the months. YPIL has developed me in terms of confidence and given me the opportunity to learn a lot of transferable skills. I’m excited to see what we are going to achieve in the future, and I hope to be an inspiration to other young people who are looking to make a positive impact.”

Alongside the advisory panel, the Fund has created a new Head of Youth Voice role to develop its YPIL strategy.

Joe Rich, Head of Youth Voice at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: 

“We’ve made a fantastic step forward in our commitment to giving young people more of a voice by recruiting our first panel of YPIL. This group will bring expertise and a fresh pair of eyes to help us reflect on some of our ways of working and how we can listen to young people more throughout our day-to-day business.

“This is particularly important as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, during which so many of the opportunities for young people will have been affected. They are all incredible young leaders in their own rights, and I feel privileged to be working with them.”

The new YPIL strategy will build on the Fund’s wealth of existing knowledge and insight from National Lottery-funded youth projects and strategic programmes like the #iwill Fund and Talent Match.

The #iwill Fund is an England-wide joint investment that brings together £50 million in funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and The National Lottery Community Fund, creating a central investment pot. The #iwill Fund launched in November 2016 to support the #iwill campaign’s goals in England, aiming to make social action part of life for as many ten to 20 year-olds as possible by 2020, by distributing investment through working with other funders.

Talent Match was a five-year, £108 million National Lottery funded programme which supported young people along the road to employment. It was initiated and co-designed by and delivered with young people and learning from the programme is being shared at national and international levels. The final reports from the evaluation, which set out to understand the impact and value of the programme, and inform future policy and practice on youth unemployment, have been published this week.

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