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Back Youth Alliance calls for investment in young people’s mental health and wellbeing

22nd August 2022 by OnSide

The Back Youth Alliance is calling for a once-in-a-generation investment in young people, a £300m Youth Potential Fund that will transform young people’s mental health and wellbeing through innovative, life-changing opportunities and access to a vital eco-system of support.

What is the Youth Potential Fund?

The Youth Potential Fund would use new Dormant Assets Funding to invest in organisations that provide life-changing opportunities for young people that will improve physical and mental health and well-being through:

  • Improving access to local clubs and activities that improve young people’s confidence, self esteem, and skills and enable them to make friends.
  • Increasing access to the outdoors by investing in high quality outdoor learning experiences and spaces that take young people out of their comfort zone, build leadership skills and resilience. 
  • Increasing access to trained and supported trusted adults (including volunteers) to give young people someone to talk to.

This will be supported by providing a once in a lifetime investment into a major recruitment programme with ambitious targets to build the workforce required to meet the level of need and provide an eco-system of support for young people in their local communities. 

An investment of £300m over five years would unlock match funding, increasing the reach and accelerating the impact for young people. This plan uses existing systems to allow new Dormant Assets Funding to begin flowing quickly into local communities and transforming the lives of young people. To ensure the Fund is focused on these areas in a way that will have the most impact, young people themselves will play an important role in shaping its processes and direction.

How would it work?

The Youth Potential Fund would use new Dormant Assets Funding to deliver the following interventions:

  1. Access to multi-year revenue grants to expand the provision of local clubs and activities, particularly securing additional reach into under-served communities. The focus would be on funding provision that is already proven as impactful and focused on physical and mental wellbeing.
  2. Providing investment in outdoor learning opportunities and adventures away from home along with a programme of training and development to ensure instructors are equipped to support young people’s mental health and well being. 
  3. A programme of capacity building at a local level will be developed to build better local partnerships and integration between sectors supporting young people), while nationally looking to understand how different partnership models achieve impact. This will ensure young people, particularly those most in need, are aware of and able to access the services and opportunities needed through better joining up of provision and investment.
  4. Investment to unlock 10,000 more qualified youth workers and 30,000 more volunteers, providing skills and training development for the workforce. This will ensure they can deliver the new clubs activities and outdoor opportunities we need, and a focus on recruitment, training and continuous professional development.

This investment and support would be targeted in underserved areas, and those affected by long term economic decline in order to transform young people’s long term mental health and well being. It will have an intentional emphasis on data, evidence, and ‘what works’ that will enable sustained, high-impact, and meaningful change for young people. This approach will ‘power up’ partnerships and provision for young people to enable a long term and sustainable solution.

Who would deliver the Youth Potential Fund?

  • The Youth Potential Fund would be delivered by a coalition of leading youth organisations, who collectively have reach in every area of the UK. 
  • As there are established routes to local, grass roots organisations, funding can begin flowing quickly, delivering life-changing impact and change where it’s needed most. 

Why is the Youth Potential Fund essential?

  1. The Youth Potential Fund will deliver transformational impact to young people and local communities, improving their physical and mental well-being by creating access to life-changing opportunities and support. Post-pandemic, young people are facing greater challenges than ever to their mental and physical health, resilience and skills for life, and employment prospects. One in six children aged 6-16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2021 – a huge increase from the already troubling one in nine in 2017. There are also specific concerns relating to specific groups of young people and the fund would seek to ensure these were reached. One such group would be young women and girls as we know 67% of girls and young women aged 7-21 feel more sad, anxious or worried as a result of the pandemic, and that 72% of girls aged 11-21 know of girls and young women their own age who experience anxiety disorders.
  2. It is complementary to existing Government spending on young people. It would enable a collaborative and co-ordinated transformation for young people, with a specific focus on improving young people’s mental health and wellbeing by focussing on scale and reach. Upfront investment from Dormant Assets would provide a unique opportunity to power up sustainable provision for young people, creating a lasting legacy. 
  3. It would deliver change through a collaborative approach between the sector and government, led by those who are sufficiently embedded to understand the current challenges, are able to leverage in match funding to maximise amplification, and have the ambition to transform the sector for future success and sustainability. It would use existing networks and infrastructures to expand and accelerate life changing opportunities in the places that need them most.
  4. The fund would focus on scaling provision by implementing and embedding improved evaluation practices, complementing existing impact and evidence and work. This will include building in a common data set, using the data to develop new approaches to understanding attribution and longitudinal outcomes, building consistent models and practise.
  5. This plan represents one use of new Dormant Assets funding, created in partnership with young people and the thousands of youth organisations that the Back Youth Alliance represents. It is different, but complementary to other uses of this funding, such as a Community Wealth Fund. 

What is the Dormant Assets scheme?

The scheme was launched in 2008 to redirect cash from long-forgotten bank accounts to good causes. This has since been expanded to include other dormant financial assets including pensions, insurance plans and investments. The dormant assets scheme has distributed just under £900m to charities and social enterprises so far.

The government is now consulting on plans to distribute more than £700m to charities and social enterprises in England from the dormant assets programme and our proposal is part of that consultation. 

How you can engage in the consultation

There are three ‘good causes’ currently; 1) Youth 2) financial Inclusion, 3) Social Investment.   So far, all of the Dormant Assets money for the ‘youth’ good cause has gone to the Youth Futures Foundation

You can find the Youth Chapter of the consultation from this link. 

We’re encouraging everyone to respond directly to the consultation by completing this short survey here. The deadline for responses is 9th October 2022.

We’re also hosting online engagement events on the 5th and 8th September where you can find out more about the consultation and the Back Youth Alliance Youth Potential Fund. To register please click here.

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