Sussex Community Foundation has today (Friday 1st December 2017) launched a new report, Investing in Children and Young People, commissioned to give the charity clear guidance about the best way to support youth work and other services for children and young people in Sussex.
The report launch coincides with the charity making its first Youth Social Action Awards, at its public meeting on Friday evening in Brighton.
“As a key Sussex grant-maker, we undertook this work in order to gain a better understanding of the needs of groups that support children and young people, to inform our grant-making strategy and our advice to donors,” says the Foundation’s Chief Executive, Kevin Richmond.
The Foundation undertook a range of activities to inform the report, including:
- A review of its grant-making in relation to children and young people,
- A youth work summit, to consult those working with children and young people across Sussex about their needs for the future, and
- Evaluation of its Blagrave Trust Fund, a programme targeting groups working with young people.
“We have found that charities and community groups that support children and young people are facing great challenges. There is less funding available, funders are more demanding, experienced staff are leaving the profession because of the lack of opportunities, trustees are being asked to take greater responsibilities, and the values that underpin youth work appear to be under threat,” says Mr Richmond.
The groups consulted gave a very clear message that they need a mixed economy of funding sources, including large and small, longer term and unrestricted grants, as well as the usual project funding. Perhaps most of all, they are crying out for funders to understand the values and principles on which they work and to invest in good quality youth work and good quality organisations.
It is time for funders to take a more strategic approach and to invest in good quality organisations and allow them to make decisions about the best way to achieve change. Our job as funders and donors to the voluntary sector is to identify those organisations and invest in their ability to change people’s lives, the charity says.
During 2017, the Foundation also launched three new funds to support children and young people:
- Brighton & Hove Legacy Fund 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 & 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.
The consultation report, Sustaining Youth Work, from the youth work summit is available to download here.