Celebrating #iwill week 2019: Putting young people in the driving seat

The #iwill Campaign is all about putting young people in the driving seat (metaphorically!) and giving them a real say on the issues that matter to them

The #iwill Campaign is all about putting young people in the driving seat (metaphorically!) and giving them a real say on the issues that matter to them. This #iwill week we’re looking at how community foundations #ShiftThePower back to young people.

Community foundations across the country have the privilege of working with some amazing grassroots groups. As funders we’re not the experts on what works for young people but we’re proud to help enable the fantastic work of the #iwill Campaign which is such a positive force for social change.

Many foundations wanted to benefit from the unique expertise and insights that young people bring to the table. What better way to do this than to give them a place on a grant panel? Grant panels look at applications from groups and decide where money will go to make the biggest difference.

“The existing panel was a strong one, consisting of members with a range of experience and knowledge but with one notable concern, no young people!”

Jo Hunt, Senior Philanthropy Advisor, Devon Community Foundation

It is considered best practice to have panel members that represent the cause that is going to be funded. In this instance young people are given a major say on where money from the #iwill Fund will be best spent on their peers.

“Involving young people in decision making helps to redress the power dynamic between funders, funded groups and beneficiaries as it gives the young people power over decisions that affect them and their peer group. Young people should be recognised and respected as experts by experience.”

Catherine Sorrell, Programme Manager, London Community Foundation

With great power, comes great responsibility. Whilst foundations benefit from young people’s input it also creates a valuable opportunity for the young people themselves to benefit from the responsibility of deciding where money will be spent.

As Daniel Smith, a young volunteer on Hertfordshire Community Foundation’s grants panel puts it:

‘It felt empowering knowing I was helping other local groups to provide more services for local youths that will benefit them moving forward.

The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £40 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.

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