Initiative to help youth services raise commercial income launches

By Neil Puffett

| 05 September 2018

An initiative to support youth services to raise commercial income through activities such as trading with businesses, renting out space, or selling retail goods is to launch.

UK Youth will work with youth services organisations to help them generate income through business activities. Picture: UK Youth

As part of the five-year Enterprise Development Programme, run by Access - The Foundation for Social Investment, a fund worth £1.85m will help charities and social enterprises operating in youth services or tackling homelessness to "develop or grow their enterprise activity and income".

From 24 September, charities will be able to apply for feasibility grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 so they can investigate and develop an "enterprise proposition".

More substantial grants of around £50,000 will be available for organisations that already have an enterprise proposition which requires further development or help to grow.

Application guidance states that the ultimate aim is for organisations to take on social investment in the future.

UK Youth and The Centre for Youth Impact have been appointed as "sector partners" to support youth service organisations with their applications and provide training.

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Kayleigh Wainwright, head of membership and policy at UK Youth said a lack of sustainable funding is one of the biggest challenges facing youth organisations across the UK.

"This new programme will truly help our network of youth organisations, and the wider youth sector, to become more financially resilient," she said.

"Within our network we have seen great examples of social entrepreneurship and innovative funding streams, and we're proud to work with our partners on this programme to unlock up to £1.85m of new funding and an in-depth training scheme to better support charities to think creatively and transition into new enterprise models."

Since 2010, spending by councils on services for young people has reduced by 40 per cent, cutting £260m from youth work budgets and resulting in the closure of 600 youth centres across England.

Last month the Local Government Association called for a proportion of the National Citizen Service budget to be handed to councils to offset funding cuts to youth services.

Seb Elsworth, chief executive of Access, said: "Access was set up with funds from government to help social investment be a more useful tool for charities and social enterprises.

"Key to this happening is the development of enterprise models within the sector. This is what this new programme is all about.

"We have chosen to start this work in the homelessness and youth sectors because we have seen that they have significant untapped potential for enterprise development and therefore a latent requirement for social investment."

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