The Youth Investment Fund awards £2.5 million to Bristol’s voluntary sector

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Photo by Talis Photography CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
13 September, 2017


On 5th September 2017, VCSE organisations in England were awarded £40 million to boost the life chances and skills of 300,000 disadvantaged young people.

The Youth Investment Fund (YIF) comprises money from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) matched by the Big Lottery Fund. Successful organisations will provide a range of open access youth services in the six most disadvantaged areas in England.

Fourteen VCSE organisations in the ‘Bristol and Somerset’ area were awarded funding, totalling over £5 million. In Bristol, seven organisations were successful (see list and details below), and will bring around £2.5 million into the city over the next three years. A key part of the YIF programme is that it will produce a programme-wide understanding of the impact of open access youth work – such a business case ought to help with making the case for future investment in such early intervention work.

The Big Lottery Fund worked with Voscur and Bristol City Council (BCC) to mitigate recent changes to the provision of open access youth work and, to attempt to make sure that BCC’s Targeted Youth Services (TYS) commissioning and the new YIF grants would be complementary. They aimed to strike a balance between investment in open access and targeted youth work and to take a whole-system view of services on offer to children and young people in the city.

Voscur’s involvement
Voscur worked to raise awareness of the YIF amongst Bristol’s VCSE organisations with a view to preparing them for the bidding process, if eligible. As the YIF was open as an opportunity for medium-sized organisations, Voscur also worked to encourage the inclusion of smaller, local community organisations through partnership working and promoting sub-contracts.

Mark Hubbard, Voscur’s Head of Collaboration and Commissioning says: “Bristol has many small and micro organisations that work with children and young people. Voscur identified organisations that met the YIF criteria. We encouraged them to include smaller organisations in their bids and worked with them to ensure that any subcontracting arrangements made would be fair, fit for purpose and provide the best possible outcomes for young people.

"We were delighted that seven organisations were awarded significant funding through the YIF and are pleased that there are some subcontracting arrangements in place with smaller organisations whose expertise will vastly enrich the work the YIF is supporting."

Developing a common impact measurement framework
Understanding that it can be difficult for youth organisations to prove their impact, one of the YIF’s aims is to develop a common impact measurement framework to use in future grant arrangements. If successful, after the three-year grant period is up, this will pave the way for future investment in open access youth services.

In recognition of its monitoring and evaluation and Theory of Change work, one of the successful organisations - Youth Moves - has been selected to join a national group of 86 organisations that are helping to develop this framework.

View an interactive map of all organisations funded in England

Grants awarded in Bristol
All grants are for three years

Acta Community Theatre Limited: £209,326
Acta has secured support for its youth theatre network, delivering weekly activities with young carers from across the City and beyond. Four new youth theatres start this week, in Lockleaze and Bedminster, for vulnerable children and young people aged between 10 – 18 years.
The grant also supports the development of a young carers youth theatre for people living in Central, South and East Bristol, and a series of “play in three days” challenge projects in school holidays, for young carers living in North Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. As well as developing skills and confidence through making theatre, older youth theatre members will also be encouraged to work towards a youth arts award.

Boomsatsuma Creative CIC: £239,460
Boomsatsuma has been awarded a YIF grant to deliver a three year youth work activities and volunteering project in Weston Super Mare starting 1st May 2017. The Boombox Youth Project will deliver detached youth work sessions working with young people aged 10-18 years. It has received capital to fund the purchase of a mobile resource unit which will support the delivery of a range of digital arts activities alongside the detached provision.

Creative Youth Network: £749,688
YIF will enable Creative Youth Network to widen and deepen its impact on young people’s lives. They will continue delivering youth services in Central Bristol and the Hillfields area, as well as expanding their services into four more of Bristol’s most deprived areas: Barton Hill, Lawrence Weston, Southmead and St Paul’s. They will work closely with smaller community based organisations, supporting them to build their capacity and sustainability, and enabling delivery of a joined up youth service that widens and increases access to youth provision across Bristol. The work will include open access youth work as well as an inspiring programme of creative arts and sports activities. The free creative courses will cover film making, music, fashion, print making and theatre in the first year.

Empire Fighting Chance (EFC): £325,027
Empire Fighting Chance is based in Easton. They have been funded to recruit a part-time teacher who will provide education support. The grant will enable them to extend their opening hours to include evenings and Saturdays – plus a family club on Saturday. Two new members of staff will provide mentoring and personal development support. They have also recruited a full time fundraiser.

Travelling Light Theatre Company (TLTC): £182,256
The YIF will enable TLTC to continue to provide youth participation services for 11 – 19 year olds in the Barton Hill and Lawrence Hill areas. It will fund a variety of projects, such as free monthly ‘Young Critics’ project (that gives young people access to theatre productions and the chance to hone their critical skills), and youth theatre groups for young people with additional needs. TLTC will also provide outreach sessions in community settings in the East Bristol area, developing working partnerships with a variety of small and micro organisations in the process.

Young Bristol: £456,477
With funding from the YIF, Young Bristol has created and recruited one Club Support Role, recruited one full time Youth Work Apprentice, allocated a Community Clubs programme budget, and allocated a young people, staff (paid and volunteers) training budget. The funding directly supports five existing Young Bristol Community Clubs and allows Young Bristol to set up a new “Outdoor Activity Youth Club” from its Pooles Wharf Centre in the Community of Hotwells.

Youth Moves: £285,000
Youth Moves operate out of the Park in Knowle West. The YIF funding has enabled them to set up a new evening activities group that caters for a third age range – ‘Juniors into Seniors’. The funding will support Youth Moves’ current projects, and enable them to provide afterschool activities at two additional schools in South Bristol. Youth Moves has allocated £10,000 to support development work at Street Space, an organisation that operates from Filwood Broadway.


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