Being a young person in 2017 is not plain-sailing.
Many youngsters, particularly those from more disadvantaged backgrounds where there is long-term worklessness and other issues, need support to improve their life chances. Many young people can stumble at the first hurdle without the general – and more targeted - support of the community around them. And once you’ve suffered setbacks at an early age, it can be even more difficult to pull it together later on.
Our Sussex Uncovered 2 report (which you can read at www.sussexgiving.org.uk/sussexuncovered2) showed that six districts within Sussex have levels of ‘education deprivation’ (that is, lack of attainment and skills) above the national average. They are Rother, Hastings, Eastbourne, Crawley, Arun and Adur. It also showed that youth unemployment in Sussex is slightly higher than the South East average.
Youth services are not a statutory duty of local authorities so this means they have taken a big hit when it comes to the reductions in funding being made by councils. By youth services, we mean everything from ‘open access’ services, like youth and sports clubs, to more targeted intervention programmes like drug and alcohol awareness programmes and helping young people find employment.
This year, Sussex Community Foundation is focusing some areas of our work on young people. We will be bringing together selected donors to target their giving at this single issue. We have two funds targeted at young people that are open for applications now. They are the Young People’s Fund and the Youth Social Action Fund.
The Young People’s Fund which supports charities and not-for-profit groups improving the life chances of young people in Sussex. It made its first grants last November. The fund was set up by an anonymous donor but is open to donations from others. Fresh Start Portslade was funded by the Young People’s Fund earlier this year. The group renovated an old public loo in Easthill Park, Portslade that had remained unused since the 1980s and it is now a busy café where apprentices like Crystal can gain work experience and fulfil an accredited training course. Our grant paid for a training mentor, exam fees for City & Guilds, materials, ingredients for cooking training, broadband and other overheads.
The second fund is the Government’s Youth Social Action Fund which will support youth social action across England and is supported by the Big Lottery Fund, boosted by Comic Relief, Pears Foundation and UK Community Foundations, and forms part of the #iwill Fund. The deadline for applications for both funds – and for our general grants round - is Friday 15 September. Details are available here www.sussexgiving.org.uk/apply