Our youth work

This year, we are focusing some areas of our work on young people. We will be bringing together selected donors to target their giving at this single issue. Why are we doing this?


Youth services funding has been cut across the country by £387 million in six years. By youth services, we mean everything from ‘open access’ services, like youth and sports clubs, to more targeted intervention programmes like drug and alcohol awareness programmes and helping young people find employment.

Councillors at West Sussex County Council say that £160 million cuts already made across council services have meant the ‘abolition of meaningful youth services’. SPARK (the East Sussex Council for Voluntary Youth Services) closed at the end of March when their funding ended. In Brighton & Hove, there has been a £400,000 cut (around 2/5ths) in the city’s youth services budget.

Our Sussex Uncovered 2 report showed that youth unemployment in Sussex is slightly higher than the South East average. Within Sussex, Hastings has the highest rate, followed by Eastbourne and Rother.


We have two funds targeted at young people that are open for applications now (deadline for applications: Friday 15 September). They are:

The Young People’s Fund supports charities and not-for-profit groups improving the life chances of young people in Sussex and made its first grants last November. The fund was set up by an anonymous donor but is open to donations from others. For more information on making an application, click here











Fresh Start Portslade was funded by the Young People’s Fund earlier this year. The group renovated an old public loo in Easthill Park, Portslade that had remained unused since the 1980s and it is now a busy café where apprentices like Crystal (pictured here) can gain work experience and fulfil an accredited training course. Our grant paid for a training mentor, exam fees for City & Guilds, materials, ingredients for cooking training, broadband and other overheads.

The second fund is the Government’s Youth Social Action Fund which supports youth social action across England and is supported by the Big Lottery Fund, boosted by Comic ReliefPears Foundation and UK Community Foundations, and forms part of the #iwill Fund. More details on how to apply are here.

Youth Summit

In order to better understand the current operating environment for youth work and what is happening on the ground across Sussex, we organised a mini youth summit at Clair Hall in Haywards Heath in mid-May. We were keen to gather input from those working with young people to decide how best we can support them and what role our brand of community philanthropy can play. The summit was facilitated by IVAR (the Institute for Voluntary Action Research) and attended by over 50 representatives from voluntary groups, local authorities, Sussex police, churches and infrastructure organisations.

This is a picture of delegates at Sussex Community Foundation's Youth Summit - May 2017

Delegates at Sussex Community Foundation’s Youth Summit – May 2017

We will report back on the results of the summit – and our other youth campaign work – at our annual meeting which will be at the Attenborough Centre in Falmer, Brighton on Friday 1st December.

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