Youth Social Action Fund all funders logo montageThe I WILL Fund is open for grants of up to £5,000 that will promote volunteering, fundraising and campaigning amongst young people aged between 10 and 25. This fund is part of a wider multi-agency #iwill campaign.

Youth social action has huge potential to create enjoyable opportunities and skills development for young people, benefitting local people and places. The aim of this fund is to raise the level and quality of 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. These activities develop the skills and knowledge of young people that employers look for.

For the purposes of this funding, 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.

Before applying please note this fund has strict acknowledgement requirements and will require the successful applicant to evidence the following on an ongoing basis:
  • The use of all of the funders logos across multiple media platforms.
  • Public acknowledgement of the funding and the funders, all press releases must use the template available here and must be sent to before they are released.
  • The successful applicants will also be required to use the hashtag #iwill and evidence engagement with the campaign across multiple media platforms.
  • Successful applicants will be required to identify and promote appropriate inspiring case studies of young beneficiaries and organisations that support the creation of social action opportunities. These case studies will also be shared with the Big Lottery Fund (via CFFC) who will circulate amongst the partners. These case studies could be used for media, social media channels, blog posts and website.
Please familiarise  yourself with the following documents to satisfy yourself that your organisation can meet these requirements.
Grant applications for this fund will close on March 28th 2018 5pm

What we are looking for
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 a positive impact on the wider community.

We anticipate that projects will:
Increase empathy and understanding of the positive impact young people make.
Bring benefits to older people, children, local business, schools and those that supported/tutored the young people.

And those positive elements for young people will include:
Having fun
Making friends
Trying new things
Taking about things in new ways with new people
New skills & Improving CV’s
Being invited to help with more activities

Some ideas to show the range of possible activities
A drop in 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 organisation’s 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 on a farm and then selling them (which builds more skills and relationships than painting the farm’s 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 are key to maximum engagement.
Email, text and social media mean convenient sessions can be planned and publicised quickly.
Bite-size events are a good option and help overcome bookings and timings challenges.
Consider prioritising warm weather but not exam time. Many people don’t like to go out in the rain, especially in winter.

  • The Youth Social Action Fund will provide funding of up to £5,000 for each project.
  • 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, eg 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 (see below).
Groups must demonstrate that their programme can meet the following quality principles of great youth social action:
  • 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.

Youth Social Action funding cannot be used for:
  • Statutory services – statutory organisations cannot bid for the fund
  • Activities promoting party-political activity
  • Capital costs/equipment (purchase of refreshments for volunteers is okay)
  • Individual sponsorship
  • Activities generating private profit
  • Faith groups are welcome to apply, but activities that evangelise or proselytise religious beliefs will not be eligible. Projects that only work with one faith are also not eligible.

Before applying to the Youth Social Action Fund, we strongly recommend that you download and read the full #IWill Fund formly the  Youth-Social-Action-Fund-criteria which includes tips and hints about the types of project that will be prioritised, and about how to complete a successful application.