Funding boost for youth social action programme led by housing associations

A UK-wide youth programme delivered by the Housing Association Youth Network (HAYN) and led by Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, and Peabody has received a further £290,550 to increase its reach.

This brings the total programme funding to £2.26 million which is being invested in youth social action.

Provided by the #iwill Fund, the additional investment will contribute to the creation of the HAYN Volunteering Academy Futures, offering opportunities for those aged 5-11 to get an introduction to social action.

The funding will also provide opportunities for older groups to develop their skills and take on new roles within their communities, including Social Action Youth Connectors who will signpost young people to social action opportunities, trained, supported and evaluated by UK Youth.

Since HAYN partnered with the #iwill Fund in 2018, 49 Community Ambassador Programmes have been funded in some of the most deprived neighbourhoods across England, reaching more than 700 young people. Through Peabody’s Young Leaders Programme, another 400 young people have been supported to become leaders within their communities.

Community Ambassador Programmes see teams of young people aged 11-19 work together for 12 months on social action projects which make a positive difference in their communities. Previous projects have included activities to promote gender equality, develop community spaces and prevent youth crime.

During the coronavirus pandemic, projects have been created to tackle isolation amongst older generations, with many groups creating postcards and ‘happy packs’ to send to residents of local care homes and sheltered housing schemes.

Lily-Rose, 15, is part of a Community Ambassador Programme delivered by 20Twenty Productions in March, Cambridgeshire. Since joining, her confidence has improved and she has discovered a talent for film-making.

Lily-Rose said: “Before joining, I really wanted to make a difference in my community but I didn’t know where to look. When 20Twenty came to my school I knew that it would be a great opportunity and I had to be involved. Since then I’ve taken part in all sorts of activities, from litter picks to visiting local care homes and organising events. Through the project, I’ve also found a real passion for film-making and now I know that’s what I want to do in my future, so 20Twenty has changed my life.”

Matt Parsonage, Head of Communities at Clarion Futures, said: “Supporting your community has never been more important, with people across the country reaching out and helping their neighbours through these difficult times. That’s what social action is all about, so we’re delighted to be working with the #iwill Fund and HAYN to increase the reach of our youth programmes and get more young people involved, supporting their communities and following their dreams.”

Organisations can apply for grants of up to £10,000 to set up youth social action programmes in their local area, giving young people the opportunity to make a difference in their communities through the design and delivery of projects, events, workshops and activities.

To find out more and apply for a grant, visit www.myclarionhousing.com/ambassadors