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Clarion Futures teams up with the #iwill Fund to expand youth social action programme

Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, and the #iwill Fund, a joint fund from Department from Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and The National Lottery Community Fund, have announced they will invest a combined total of more than £580,000 into two major new projects to support young people across the country and embed youth social action in our communities.

The first project will explore how Clarion Futures can work with community groups, social enterprises and charities to embed youth social action in the work they deliver in communities nationwide. The programme will also develop new strategic partnerships with organisations including InCommon, Backyard Nature and National Parks UK who will provide young people with resources and encourage social action around the themes of intergenerational connections, mental health and the environment. Activities will include bike-building workshops to develop skills, tackle loneliness and improve mental health, bringing generations together to share stories and generate ideas, visits to National Parks and campaigning on environmental issues to conserve the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of some of our most breath-taking and treasured landscapes in the country.

The second project is centred around an international exchange between young people in the UK and Cyprus. Working with The Royal Commonwealth Society, Clarion Futures will organise for ten young social housing residents, many of whom are likely to have never been abroad before, to travel to Cyprus to meet peers and share their experiences of how young people can make a difference in their communities through social action. They will then return home to share what they have learned with peers and youth organisations, enabling the project to inspire hundreds of young people. The exchange is due to take place in April 2021 but will be rescheduled should there still be restrictions in place due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Since the Housing Association Youth Network (HAYN), Clarion Futures and the #iwill Fund started working together in 2018, 49 Community Ambassador Programmes have been funded in some of the most deprived neighbourhoods across England, reaching more than 700 young people aged 11-19. In addition, more than 400 young people have been engaged through Peabody’s Young Leaders Programme and 25 Social Action Youth Connectors have been recruited by grassroots organisations across the country to connect young people with services and social action opportunities.

The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department of Culture, Media & Sport are each investing £25 million seed funding to create the #iwill Fund. Clarion Futures is acting as a match funder and awarding grants on behalf of the #iwill Fund. The #iwill Fund supports young people to access high quality social action opportunities.

Matt Parsonage, Head of Communities at Clarion Futures, said:

“We’re delighted to be building on our partnership with the #iwill Fund and expanding our hugely successful programme. We’re committed to working with our local partners to embed youth social action in Clarion communities and continue to give young people a voice on issues affecting them. This new funding gives us the opportunity to share learnings internationally, and we’re excited to see what new ideas come out of the exchange programme and can be implemented in communities closer to home.”

Helen Whyman, Head of the #iwill Fund at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“We’re proud to be further supporting Clarion Futures with their two new projects, ensuring more young people in our communities have their voices heard and are given the opportunity to design and lead on the issues that matter to them.

“Embedding youth social action into communities across the country is at the heart of the #iwill Fund, and we look forward to seeing the difference young people make when given the opportunity to do so.”

There will be a mixture of direct commissioning opportunities and grants available through the programme, enabling organisations to embed youth social action in their projects.

To find out more about the opportunities that are available, please email us