The Listening Fund’s partners – part two of three: the advisers focus on youth leadership

Young multiracial friends having fun celebrating outdoor - Focus on center man face

Author: Edd Fry, The Listening Fund

In phase two of The Listening Fund we are contiuning to work with some of our phase one partners. You can read about them here. However, we also wanted young people to make decisions about what other listening work and initiatives we should fund.  

This was because we wanted to live our values and ensure our work was centring young people’s expertise and experience. We also wanted to explore whether there were approaches to accountability which we – embedded in professional-led systems – had been unable or unwilling to see.

The advisers come on board

We recruited 10 young people from across England to lead this work for us. You can read their profiles here. With support from Hudl, the advisers took time to get to know each other and to consider their priorities. They then decided to launch two funding opportunities: one for larger organisations and another for grassroots work.

Both callouts focused on youth leadership. The advisers decided that without young people in positions of power, listening work was at risk of being tokenistic. They wanted young people to be able to hold organisations and systems to account for acting on what they heard.

In September 2022, the advisers chose their first eight partners:

The ADHD Foundation works at a national level from their offices in Liverpool. They promote a strength-based paradigm for those with ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and Autism which frequently co-occur. The Foundation is using support from The Listening Fund to work with Young Ambassadors and establish a National Neurodiversity Youth Council to advocate for neurodiverse young people.

The Big Leaf Foundation works with displaced young people living in Surrey. They provide educational, therapeutic and community-focused activities to help those aged 16-25 to build fulfilling lives in the UK. Big Leaf are using their Listening Fund grant to develop their Young Leaders programme, supporting young people to take an active role in the organisation’s development and leadership.

Boundless Theatre is based in South-East London. They support 15-25 year olds nationwide to lead creative lives and to engage with one another around high-quality artistic events. The grant from the Listening Fund will enable Boundless to create new co-leadership opportunities for young people: as Artistic Director & CEO, and Executive Director.

Life Chance Trust works with young people in Devon who have endured adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and childhood trauma. The Trust is using the support of The Listening Fund to establish a youth panel which will help shape the organisation as well as advocate externally.

Peer Power Youth works nationally from its London base. The organisation has two goals: to support young people to overcome adversity and trauma, and to change systems to improve outcomes for young people. Their Listening Fund work is focused on increasing internal youth leadership, ensuring young people are involved in every part of the charity.

Prime Theatre works with young people in Swindon, using creative activities to centre young people’s voices and talents. They are using their grant from The Listening Fund to train young people as Civic Arts Consultants. The eight Consultants will learn how to design, deliver and evaluate community consultation processes with other young people, and communicate creative challenge to organisations and systems whose duty it is to reflect and react to youth voice.

Sister System works across London from its offices in N17. They support girls affected by the care system and will use The Listening Fund grant to develop and deliver ‘Honor Thyself’. This programme helps girls to build pride in their identity and lifts them into leadership positions within their communities.

The Proud Trust supports LGBT+ young people in Manchester to be proud in their identity and to be integrated in the communities where they live, work and play. They are using support from The Listening Fund to employ a Trans Youth Voice Coordinator, ensuring young trans people are involved in all aspects of the Trust’s trans work, including developing strategy and planning programmes of work.

We’ll be hearing more from these organisations in future blogs, reports, and podcasts. Our next blog will introduce The Listening Fund’s final phase two cohort, brought on board in March 2023.

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