Today (21st July), Youth Futures Foundation announces the places that will benefit from its ‘Connected Futures’ grants programme, following its increase in funding through the Dormant Assets Scheme. Launched to join up support for young people across different agencies and services, the now £16m fund, will be targeted at seven localities in England with some of the highest NEET rates and deprivation indicators.

The flagship programme will see local partnerships from Burnley to Brent receive funding to establish new systems that provide young people who face more barriers to employment, with the connected and consistent support they need to get good jobs.

Areas and lead organisations set to benefit from the cash boost include CXK for work in Hastings, Hull-based Humber Learning Consortium, Right to Succeed in Blackpool, Burnley-based The Calico Group, East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership D2N2 and London-based Young Brent Foundation and Lewisham Council.

The series of local group partnerships will explore a range of options, including early intervention, post-school support for young people who are already NEET, and “end-to-end” assistance for young people from 14 up to 25.

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Currently, one in 10 young people in the UK are not in employment, education or training (NEET). In places like Blackpool and Burnley, rates of youth unemployment are twice as high as neighbouring areas. According to research by PwC and Youth Futures, UK GDP could benefit by £38billion by lowering levels of young workers classed as NEETs to German levels.

Through Connected Futures, and dormant assets funding, Youth Futures aims to develop, test and evidence the best approaches to breaking down barriers and improving access to employment for young people from marginalised backgrounds.

A 12-week consultation on the future use of dormant assets in England, the source of Youth Futures’ funding, was launched this month. The expanded scheme could release more than £880m of additional funds. Youth Futures hopes to secure further funding to support more marginalised young people into good jobs through place-based initiatives, by working with employers, focusing on prevention and continuing to scale up effective practice by building its evidence base of what works.

Matthew Poole, Director of Grants and Investment at Youth Futures Foundation, said:

“Thanks to the additional dormant assets funding we have scaled up our flagship place-based programme by an extra £10m. This means more underserved areas will now benefit from the indispensable support and funding that our Connected Futures programme can offer. By providing flexible funding, Youth Futures encourages grantees to foster collaboration, innovation and risk-taking whilst acting as a catalyst for wider change – we cannot wait to see what these local group partnerships have in store for young people within their community.”

Rosanna Campbell, Young Mayor of Lewisham, said:

“I am so excited to see a youth led project for young people in Downham to support them to help them reach their future goals. I’ve been in Downham for my whole secondary school and have just left to take my next steps, it’s not always easy to know which path to take. For some young people it can be difficult and they have many hurdles to face but all young people however they got on at school want to be able to progress and make the most of their life, everyone has dreams and things they want to do. I’ve found from being Young Mayor how important it is to go to where young people are and really listen to their experiences, what they need and what the problems are. Young people have many skills and talents and are definitely part of the solution! I look forward to hearing how the project goes and how we can be more involved in the future.”

Maxine Willets, COO at Young Brent Foundation, said:

“We believe collaboration is key to tackling social inequalities. With the support of Youth Futures Foundation and this investment for Phase 1 of the Connected Futures Programme, our partnership will conduct and facilitate change by listening to the voice of young people across the three neighbourhoods. Working with a broad range of partners who are motivated to work together towards a common goal, young people will be able to use a collective voice to address structural change needed to tackle the employment blockages and barriers too often experienced by young people who face disadvantage and low opportunities.”

Paul Rands, Deputy Chief Executive at Humber Learning Consortium, said:

“Humber Learning Consortium are very excited about being involved in this new Youth Futures Partnership project. As the lead for four key youth employment projects in Hull, it is crucial we understand what the issues are and what support young people need to help them progress into work and Apprenticeships.”

Danni, a young person at The Warren, said:

“It’s great news. When we – as a group of young people – sat down with Youth Futures and told them how it was, it felt like it really hit home, it felt real – that we were heard and that we were trusted to know best about the reality of how it is for us.”

Will Morlidge. CEO at D2N2LEP, said:

“The Connected Futures project is critical to enabling young people with SEND and autistic spectrum disorders to add value to workplaces across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.  It is an ambitious and wide-ranging piece of work which has youth voice at its core.”

Pauline Smith, CEO at CXK, said:

“CXK are absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with East Sussex County Council, and Hastings Borough Council to deliver our Connected Futures project. Young people in Hastings have been very clear on the challenges and frustrations they face in understanding or fulfilling opportunities that should be made available to them after leaving school. Our project will empower young people to articulate their needs, review the challenges and provide positive and constructive ideas and solutions to improve their education, and employment pathways moving forward and to inform system change. Young people will drive this exciting period of change and development and we are thrilled for the exciting outcomes that will enhance opportunities across Hastings.”

Sam Howarth, Head of Skills & Enterprise at The Calico Group, said:

“We are excited about the opportunity to learn more from our young people and develop a deeper understanding of the challenges that they face. Our partnership has a shared determination to make improvements and commit to making the future brighter for our young people.”

Will Hamilton, Youth Advisor at Right to Succeed, said:

“Being a part of the Connected Futures programme is extremely refreshing as it gives us the opportunity to work with YFF, who I would describe as a funder which is unique in the most efficacious of ways. Their ethos around empowering youth voice is indisputable and, as a result, I have faith that our synergy can bring down some of the many hurdles which face young people accessing employment in Blackpool.”

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