Cash up for grabs to fund young people’s campaigns in Somerset

Charities and community groups in Somerset are being invited to bid for a share of £50,000 for projects that inspire young people into social action.

Somerset County Council is investing £25,000 from its new Prevention Fund into projects chosen by the Somerset Youth Parliament.

Somerset Community Foundation will be working with the Youth Parliament to allocate grants and it has tapped into a further £25,000 of match-funding from the #iwill Fund – a combination of Government and Lottery funding.

They are now looking to groups across the county to apply for funding for projects, campaigns and initiatives that support young people taking action on the issues that matter to them.

Applications from groups that engage 10 to 20-year-olds in campaigning, fundraising or volunteering are particularly encouraged.

Councillor Frances Nicholson, the County Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “Somerset’s Youth Parliament clearly demonstrates how passionate young people are in our County about issues that affect them and the wider community.

“It’s fantastic that children and young people will have the chance to take part in campaigns and projects or volunteer to help improve the lives of others, thanks to this initiative.”

Oban Mackie, Deputy Member of the Somerset Youth Parliament, said: “We are proud to announce the launch of the new Somerset Young People’s Fund. The grants will support youth groups across the county to run social action projects, designed to make a difference to young people’s lives, especially those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged.”

Grant funding ranging between £1,000 and £5,000 is available to groups including registered charities, community groups, social enterprises and CICs. The Fund is open to applications on Monday 16 September and the closing date is Friday 25 October and successful applicants should expect their grants to be awarded by the end of the year.

Andy Ridgewell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation said: “Young people have enormous potential make a positive change and we’re proud to support local groups working with the next generation of volunteers, campaigners and activists.”

Langport and Huish Episcopi Youth Group were awarded an #iwill grant in 2018. Their project delivered cooking and baking sessions for young people, many of whom were from lower income households and unable to cook.

A local baker taught them how to bake bread, and they also learnt how to make simple soups. The group then cooked and shared their food with a group of younger children and also the local lunch club for older people in the village. Seven of our young people have since taken their Basic Food Hygiene Certificate and are progressing to Level 2.

Senior Youth Worker, Annie Shillabeer, explained:“Not only did the young people learn valuable new cookery skills, the project also broke down barriers between generations. The project really was a great success and I’m absolutely delighted with the outcome.

“We have been able to make plans for the future and are now running regular cookery lessons.  It’s a real pleasure to see our young people learning and using new skills.”

The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport are each investing £20 million seed funding over four years to create the #iwill Fund.

If you would like to find out more about grant funding for projects that encourage young people to take social action in their communities, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk