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#iwill Fund

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Area: England-wide
Funding size: No specific limit, but organisations must be able to bring match funding on at least a 1:1 ratio
Total available: £40 million
Application deadline: Ongoing

About the #iwill Fund

The #iwill Fund is an England wide joint investment that brings together £40 million in funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Big Lottery Fund to create a central investment pot. It was launched in November 2016, to support the #iwill campaign’s goals in England, aiming to make social action part of life for as many 10 to 20 year-olds as possible by the year 2020.

The #iwill Fund distributes its investment through working with other funders. A collaborative group of funders are joining the #iwill Fund by match funding the investment on at least a £1:£1 ratio and developing funding programmes that will enable more young people, particularly from less affluent communities, to take part in high quality social action that builds a habit for life.

If you’re a funder and interested in knowing more about how you could collaborate with the #iwill Fund please get in touch with Fiona Ellison, #iwill Fund Development Manager, on fiona.ellison@biglotteryfund.org.uk

If you are looking for funding for direct delivery, rather than investing as a match funder, you will need to apply directly to one of the #iwill Fund match funders. Each match funder will have different approaches to fund funding. Current funding that is open for applications:

  • UK Community Foundations are using £9 million to give small grants for local social action opportunities through their network of 43 Community Foundations across England. By September they had made more than 700 grants across the country.
  • Virgin Money Foundation are taking a place based approach to enabling young people across the North East to get involved in social action through their “#iwill take action” fund. They have awarded five strategic grants totalling £743,000, to organisations including Middleborough FC Foundation, The Key, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Youth Focus North East and Groundwork North East and Cumbria.

Other match funders, where funding applications have now closed:

  • Pears Foundation have used £8 million to support activity within education, health and social care as well as scaling and supporting successful models to grow or sustain youth social action. They have identified a number of NHS Trusts, which will receive initial grants to develop youth volunteering programmes, as part of NHS70. They are also soliciting grants from Colleges through a partnership with the Association of Colleges, which has identified 8 colleges to start the partnership. In addition they have supported Scouts & Guides who will join forces to open units in new and existing areas to tackle waiting lists and extend reach to deprived communities.
  • Comic Relief have committed their £2 million grants programme. Working in co-production with young people to develop opportunities for young people from areas and backgrounds currently least likely to participate. They have awarded 13 grants to organisations across England, as well as committing additional investment to support youth social action across the UK. Activity started delivery in January 2018.
  • Sport England closed their grants £3 million Potentials Fund round in April 2017. They are targeting young people through the power of sport to engage young people who have expressed an interest in social action but are yet to make it a habit. They have awarded grants to 16 successful organisations
  • Spirit of 2012 closed their £2 million grants round in October 2017. They are working to enable girls and young women to change their communities through social action for the benefit of other girls and the wider community. EmpowHER will be delivered by UK Youth, in partnership with the British Red Cross and Young Women’s Trust. It will help young women and girls lead change in their communities, increase their self-esteem and build wellbeing by providing inclusive and meaningful social action opportunities.
  • Coop Foundation launched their partnership of £2.2 million in May 2017 and are working across the country to address isolation in young people through social action. They have awarded nine grants for year one, and have a further grant round under consideration at the moment. They released their report into youth loneliness in the spring of 2018. They will announce recipients of their 2nd round in the Autumn.
  • Duke of Edinburgh’s Award announced their £3m partnership, using their investment from their Diamond Jubilee fundraising, to reach an extra 20,000 young people by 2021. The DofE will work with established DofE centres in schools, clubs and other organisations across the UK to ensure the funding supports more disadvantaged young people in their DofE journey. Beneficiaries include Paignton Community & Sport Academy.
  • Young Manchester, with £4 million, are leading a place based approach in Manchester, with the aim of the programme to make youth social action business-as-usual for organisations across Manchester, by 2020. Young Manchester will use strengths and place-based approaches to create a network of VCS organisations, businesses, schools, universities, health bodies, housing providers etc., which are committed to embedding social action into the lives of young people. The programme was launched on the 30th November 2017.
  • Team London, the volunteering part of the Greater London Authority, have created a £1.7 million ‘Young London Inspired’ programme. They are delivering much of their programme through both primary and secondary schools, reaching young people who aren’t currently participating in social action. As well as mainstream education, they will also be testing approaches into PRU & SEND schools.
  • Paul Hamlyn Foundation & Esmée Fairbairn Foundation’s £3.6 million partnership will see PHF & EFF work in partnership to create a programme ‘Act for Change’ The fund will provide resources for young people to challenge social injustice, find ways of overcoming inequality and give voice to issues they are experiencing. An initial scoping phase will map where existing funding is for youth social action, looking at the gaps that exist currently. This will inform a grants programme which is driven by need and has a distinct remit to explore new models of sustainability and how to better support the sector. Grants would build on existing work, with the aim to support organisations to build on what they do, develop quality and sustainability and embed practise.

In addition the #iwill Fund has also made four direct grants:

  • Mumsnet received a £66,000 investment to support research into the attitudes of parents to youth social action, with initial findings published during #iwill week. This found that 9 in 10 believe it’s important for their child to get involved in activities that help others or the environment, while more than 8 out of 10 agree that voluntary activities should be part of their child’s education. Ongoing activity and sponsored discussions are happening as part of this grant to understand more about parent’s motivations and how to encourage more parental support.
  • One Million Mentors have received investment of £30,000 to support a pilot to test the potential of the business community in the West Midlands to promote and support young people to take part in youth social action via mentoring. Investment will be used to recruit and train mentors, update an online platform to include and track youth social action, create training and communications materials for mentors to showcase the value of youth social action, and how to signpost young people to opportunities. Materials will be available online, with case studies and content widely available to support others who engage young people.
  • WE, with support from Rumi Foundation, are expanding their WE programme with £3 million to scale across England, trying out new technology to reach more primary & secondary schools. This programme will create open access provision for the WE programme in schools across the country and would give us considerable opportunity to influence their programme to really embed the journey of youth social action into their programme. The programme launched at WE day with a 4min slot on stage, led by young Leadership Board member Dunola Oldapo.
  • V Inspired will use an investment of £460,000 to support the strategic development of the V Inspired offering, to launch the Inspired Card, stimulated by the success of the Young Scot Card and linked to the European Youth Card, and underpinned by enhancements to the V Inspired platform. This will ensure the site is fit for purpose to move forward to the next stage of development, to ensure young people who aren’t currently engaged, are able to find meaningful youth social action opportunities.