Investing in Children & Young People – report

Investing in Children & Young People report – read here

In November 2016, we published Sussex Uncovered 2: Bridging the Gap, to inform our donors, and the wider community, about the needs of Sussex and to guide our own grant-making strategy.

Sussex Uncovered 2 gives an overview of a broad range of issues. To complement this, we decided to take a deeper look into one specific theme each year. We wanted to gain a better understanding of that theme, and the needs of groups working in that area.

Some of the figures in Sussex Uncovered 2 relating to children and young people caused us serious concern.

  • In 37 lower layer super output areas of Sussex, child poverty rates are in the top 10% nationally.
  • Six districts within Sussex have levels of education deprivation above the national average (rising from four in our 2013 report).
  • Youth unemployment is slightly higher than the average across the rest of the south-east.

This suggests an all-too-familiar trajectory for some young people. Childhood poverty can lead to lack of educational attainment and less chance of finding meaningful long-term employment. Good quality youth work can help young people to deal with adversity and make positive choices in their lives, thus preventing problems and helping them to achieve their full potential. Such services have been badly hit by local authority cuts. In some areas of Sussex, there are now no local authority-funded youth services.

The Foundation has always been committed to supporting work with children and young people and indeed it is the largest single area we have funded. During 2017, we have launched three new funds to support children and young people:

  • Brighton & Hove Legacy Fund for children & young people is a £900,000 endowment fund formed by the transfer of eight under-utilised charitable trusts from Brighton & Hove City Council. The fund will promote the educational and personal development of children and young people in the city.
  • Children and Young People’s Fund was set up by a generous donation in 2016 and is open to contributions from anyone who wants to support children and young people in Sussex.
  • Youth Social Action Fund is a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund, Comic Relief, Pears Foundation and UK Community Foundations, it forms part of the #iwill Fund to help encourage youth social action.

Together, the lessons from Sussex Uncovered 2, the funding environment for youth services and the development of the funds for children and young people, led us to focus this year on children and youth services. We undertook a range of activities:

  1. reviewing our grant-making in relation to children and young people,
  2. holding a Youth Work Summit, bringing together those working with children and young people from across Sussex to consult them about their needs for the future, and
  3. evaluating the Blagrave Trust Fund, a programme targeting groups working with young people.

This short report summarises our findings. I hope it will demonstrate the importance of work with children and young people, give clear guidelines as to how we can make most difference as a grant-maker and inspire more people to donate to support this vital work.

Kevin Richmond, Chief Executive, Sussex Community Foundation

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