New funding opportunity for youth social action projects launched

Wiltshire Community Foundation is proud to be distributing the latest round of #iwill funding in Wiltshire and Swindon made possible thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund and DCMS.

The foundation is using match funding to make almost £67,500 available in #iwill grants for local youth social action projects contributing to the £1.4m total for the programme nationally. Social action involves activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering and has huge potential to create enjoyable opportunities and skills development for young people, and in turn benefit the local people and places.

The #iwill movement brings together cross-sector organisations and young people who believe that all children and young people should have the chance to make a positive difference on the issues that affect their lives, their communities, and broader society. The #iwill Fund supports this movement and is made possible thanks to £66 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Grants of up to £10,00 are available for projects lasting up to a year for participants aged between 10 and 20 – or 25 for young people with a disability, focusing particularly on the 10-14 age range. The programme aims to fund both new and well-established groups, and to encourage young people who are new to social action.

Successful projects will be led, owned and shaped by young people’s needs, ideas and decision making, have a clear benefit to a community, cause or social problem and be accessible to all. 

Examples of projects funded in earlier funding rounds in Wiltshire and Swindon include the Platform Project in Swindon and 4Youth in Melksham. The former received a £5,000 grant to research, write and produce #iDare, a digital magazine aimed at young people. The magazine was full of opinion, useful information and advice on topics inspired by its editorial team. 

Platform Project director Sadie Sharp said: “The young people have an interest in so many areas of life and regularly consume content online, but often had no idea about how to use those online mediums to have a voice and influence the world, so this was a great opportunity for them.”

A £4,900 grant to 4Youth enabled them to expand their Peer Leadership Programme to a new cohort of young people across the various areas they support. This has resulted in one young person gaining the confidence to run as a Youth Parliament representative for Wiltshire. Chairman of trustees Cllr Jon Hubbard said: “Being seen as ‘good citizens’ helped the young people overcome negative perceptions.”

Wiltshire Community Foundation joint chief executive Fiona Oliver said. “Through the programme we want encourage more young people to take the lead in improving their communities, develop their skills and give them a voice. We want to fund projects that see young people really grasping the nettle and doing something that makes life better for them, their peers and the place where they live, study or relax.”

Rosemary Macdonald, CEO of UK Community Foundations commented, “Young people are the future of our communities. By encouraging 10–14-year-olds to get involved in social action and see the benefits for themselves and their communities, we are creating strong foundations for the future.”

More information on how to apply for a #iwill grant is available here

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