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OnSide Youth Zones secure £6m Government funding boost for young people

26th September 2020 by OnSide


Youth Zones across the OnSide Network have received a much-needed funding boost today, as part of the Government’s £750m support package for charities providing vital support to communities affected by the Covid-19 crisis. 


OnSide Youth Zones has been announced as one of 19 recipients of the Community Match Challenge a scheme designed to inspire philanthropic giving to communities hard-hit by the pandemic, with all funds raised matched by Government. 


After successfully raising £6m in new investment from large and small private sector philanthropists, corporate funders and charitable supporters across the country, OnSide Youth Zones will now receive a matched Government grant of £6m. Government funding will be spent on Covid-19 related activities by the end of March, with philanthropic support offering investment over the next eighteen months as we help communities overcome the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. 


Young people and particularly those that are vulnerable or disadvantaged, have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 and will bear the brunt of the long-term impact on jobs and the economy.  Months of school closure has increased the attainment gap, while social isolation has taken its toll on young people’s physical and mental wellbeing. It is clear that this is a challenging time to be young in the UK. 


Youth Zones provide a vital lifeline at the heart of their community, supporting thousands of young people with safe, inspiring spaces, trusted youth workers and a breadth of opportunities and activities that enable them to thrive. 


This funding will allow our Youth Zone Network to help young people overcome the impact of Covid-19 in a number of ways, including: 


  • Giving tens of thousands of young people nationwide the chance to benefit from their local Youth Zone’s universal offer of year-round opportunities and activities that boost skills, confidence and aspirations. 
  • Increasing mental health support for vulnerable young people through targeted group and 1:1 sessions. 
  • Tailored support to help transition young people back to school with a focus on engaging those 16+ struggling to re-engage in mainstream schooling. 
  • Enabling Youth Zones to deepen their support of BAME young people. 


Commenting on the investment, our Chief Executive Kathryn Morley said: “This funding is a vital boost for young people at a time when they desperately need to be supported and prioritised. It is no exaggeration to say we are at a critical time and this money will enable tens of thousands of young people in challenging circumstances to benefit from life-changing support from their local Youth Zone.  


“We believed that the best way to leverage investment for young people is through collaboration. That’s why bringing together the third sector, private sector and public sector in partnership with local communities, for the benefit for young people, is part of the DNA of our growing network of Youth Zones. Today’s funding shows that there is willingness and appetite from the private sector to support young people in partnership with Government. We are hugely grateful to Government and our supporters for this incredible boost to support young people’s future.” 


OnSide Youth Zone’s £6m Community Match Challenge grant, together with the £6m raised from donors nationwide, will be distributed by The OnSide Foundation who receive and distribute funds to the OnSide Network 

Find out more here.