By  Jackie Belcher, Mission Manager – Access to Education & Employment for Young People

Our Community plan was created with one aim in mind – to create fairer, stronger, more resilient communities. One particular area of focus is to provide opportunities for young people.

As the mission manager leading this piece of work, I’m so excited to announce our partnership with the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF),which sees us alongside the #iwill Fund invest £5.1 million into giving young people the chance to make their communities safer, fairer places to live. 

All too often, young people aren’t heard. But, change won’t happen if these same young people aren’t at the heart of their community and have a say in what goes on around them.

From experience, we know the positive impact young people can have when they’re given opportunities to take action on the issues they care about. This joint investment will build a ground-breaking network of peer researchers (aged 16 – 25), who’ll find out about young people’s experiences. Those young people will then be supported to take what they learn and turn it into real action.  

From campaigning to improve local mental health services, setting up a youth centre or supporting young people into employment – the partnership will create more opportunities to make a change. And, to make sure young people from all over England and Wales get the chance to take part, the partners will work with local organisations to recruit and support them.* 

Jon Yates, Executive Director of the Youth Endowment Fund, said:

This partnership is an incredible opportunity for us to achieve our mission to keep young people safe from violence.  

At the Youth Endowment Fund, a lot of our work involves finding out which programmes and practices work to support those young people at risk. We also know that – if we really want to understand how to make a difference – we need to listen to the young people affected by violence and put their voices at the heart of our decision-making.  

Together with our partners at the #iwill Fund and the Co-op, we’ll help to build a network of peer researchers and support them to turn the knowledge they build into change. We’re looking to work with local youth organisations to help us deliver it. If that sounds like you, read our invitation to tender to find out how you can help us to put young people at the heart of ending violence. 

Get involved

At Co-op, we have ambitious plans to create greater social mobility, we know we can’t do that alone, that’s why we’re calling on your help. 

If you know a youth organisation and want to find out how they can get involved, visit the Youth Endowment Fund’s website today.  

*We’re actively looking at what programs we can do with the governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland so that there’s full coverage across the UK.