Youth charities receive social impact bond investment

By Joe Lepper

| 20 March 2015

A charity that aims to improve the lives of teenagers by recruiting them as mentors for vulnerable toddlers is among four programmes to win social impact bond (SIB) funding through the Youth Engagement Fund.

Teens and Toddlers sees young people working with vulnerable children to gain life skills

The SIB for Teens and Toddlers is worth £3m and will support their work in Greater Manchester to run an 18-week programme that targets young people at risk of becoming Neet (not in education, employment or training). The dual aim is to raise their aspirations as well as help vulnerable two- to five-year-olds in early years settings who need extra support.

Diana Whitmore, founder of Teens and Toddlers, said: “All of the communities we work in are socially deprived and have a high proportion of teenagers who are not in education, employment or training.

“Our goal is to use transpersonal education, which focuses on developing disengaged and disadvantaged young people, to transform young lives. The Youth Engagement Fund will play a vital role in helping us to reach more young people struggling with their attainment and emotional wellbeing.”

Impetus - The Private Equity Foundation, Bridges Ventures and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation are investing in the Teens and Toddlers bond, which will be managed by Social Finance.

SIBs improve the social outcomes of publicly funded services by making funding conditional on achieving results. Investors pay for the project at the start, and then receive payments based on the results achieved by the project.

Amelia Sussman, investment director at Impetus-PEF, said: “Social investment is an important platform for their longer term sustainability and growth and we view the Youth Engagement Fund opportunity as a critical next step.

“With two million young people in the UK facing the day to day reality of economic disadvantage, it is crucial that charities like Teens and Toddlers get the support that a social impact bond can offer to help them to deliver effective and lasting change.”

Also receiving SIB funding is Unlocking Potential, a mentoring programme that works with young people in Merseyside with behavioural and mental health issues; London-based Prevista, which works with teenagers involved in gang crime, truancy and offending; and Futureshapers Sheffield, which works with vulnerable teenagers, including those in care or with disabilities.

Through all four social impact bonds, around 8,000 young people are expected to be supported.

The Youth Engagement Fund aims to improve the skills, education and training of disadvantaged teenagers and is backed by £10 million from the Cabinet Office, £5 million from the Department of Work and Pensions and £1 million from the Ministry of Justice.

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