Empowering Youth: Young Gamechangers Fund Drives Sustainable Change

The Young Gamechangers Fund is a new fund that shifts power to young people. It provides grants of up to £20k a year to transform communities into safer, more sustainable and more inclusive places to live.

In this article, young Steering Group member Mariama shares her experiences of being a part of the youth-led process from the design of the fund to the application process and grant decisions.

(Featured Image: Members of the Steering Group reviewing applications for the Young Gamechangers Fund)

The coolest ideas come from young people with boundless curiosities. The Young Gamechangers Fund celebrates this spark of curiosity and innovation and is designed to ignite the potential of young activists aged 10-25 and youth-led organisations across the UK. The fund offers up to £20k to fuel creative ideas, empowering young people to drive tangible, sustainable change within their communities. 

Youth-led, Youth-powered

The fund is groundbreaking because young people from the Steering Group, like me, are in charge. We’re a group of young activists (aged 18-25) from across the UK who came together to build this from the ground up. We met weekly – we brainstormed, built the framework, and made sure every decision came straight from young minds with a passion for change.

Funding the Future: Selecting Projects with Lasting Impact

The selection process for grantees was led by our Steering Group and was built upon the core criteria to drive lasting change. We delved into what projects aligned with our vision and values, making sure every penny went to projects with real impact. 

Central to this process was establishing a precise definition of “youth-led,” to ensure clarity and accountability for the steering group and applicants. This was imperative as the term has been misused, watering down its significance and overshadowing genuine efforts by young changemakers. By defining it clearly, we aimed to empower young changemakers in a landscape where their voices often struggle to be heard amid systemic barriers. 

Furthermore, we compiled a list of individuals who would benefit most from this funding, prioritising projects often overlooked by traditional channels or originating from marginalised communities. We aimed to provide a platform for initiatives that typically lack access to funding, amplifying voices that are too frequently silenced in society.

Championing Diverse Causes

I resonated with several applications and one initiative that caught my attention was Muslim Northern Women. They’re tackling Islamophobia head-on in England, a problem fueled by global conflicts and a lack of action. Muslim women, especially those in headscarves, face constant discrimination. This initiative offers a vital support network and a chance to inspire young Muslim women to stand up against discrimination. Upon learning about their efforts, I felt optimistic about the support network this initiative could provide for the Muslim community in Northern England. This also solidified my role as a member of the steering group as I was able to shed light on the issue that disproportionately impacts Muslim women and provide insights to fellow members.

Another initiative I was excited to support was Bridging Barriers. This organisation is dedicated to providing opportunities to marginalised communities and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. They offer tailored mentorship programs aimed at nurturing the career aspirations of young people who are unable to access such support. By encouraging young individuals to pursue their dreams despite the systemic barriers, such as institutional racism, prevalent in society, Bridging Barriers aims to level the playing field. The project’s plan displays the significant impact it could have on the community, emphasising that the skills acquired by young people will not only benefit them in the short term but will also be invaluable assets throughout their lives.

Leading the way

By the end of this process, we successfully selected a host of inspiring youth-led projects and organisations spanning the UK. From tackling healthcare inequality for young people to fighting climate change, these initiatives covered a huge range. They provided safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ youth, empowered marginalised communities through creativity, and much more. Despite the diverse issues each project addressed, they shared a common thread: a fierce dedication to building a better future. Each application showed the passion and determination of young people fighting for safer environments and a chance to be heard. Reviewing these projects left me feeling confident – the future is bright with these young changemakers leading the way!

For further insights into the amazing Young Gamechangers Fund, click here.

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Empowering Youth: Young Gamechangers Fund Drives Sustainable Change

by Mariama Adan Reading time: 3 min