Youth Genesis

Youth Social Action Fund

The Youth Social Action Fund is open for grant applications between £1,000 and £5,000 to promote volunteering, fundraising and campaigning amongst young people aged between 10 and 25.

What is it?

The aim of this fund is to raise the level and quality of youth social action, of young people aged between 10 and 20, and up to 25 for disabled young people. This can involve activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, all of which enable participants to make a positive difference to their communities and develop the skills and knowledge that employers look for.

The Youth Social Action Fund is a national grants programme being delivered locally by Devon Community Foundation. Big Lottery Fund and the Office for Civil Society have invested £2 million this year to fund groups delivering youth social action opportunities through the #iwill fund. The #iwill campaign aims to increase participation in youth social action, with 6 out of 10 young people getting involved by 2020.

Local fundraising is also a key part of the Youth Social Action programme, and Devon Community Foundation will work with local philanthropists to raise match funding going forward.

Who can apply? 

The Youth Social Action Fund will provide funding of between £1,000 and £5,000 for each project that meets the following criteria:

  • The funding is for community groups working in England.
  • This fund is open to registered charities, constituted community groups and other charitable organisations including Social Enterprises and CICs.
  • National organisations with local branches (with their own management committee and bank account) can apply.
  • New groups that fulfil all the other criteria are welcome to apply.
  • The fund is to deliver social action opportunities amongst young people. Definition of young person: any person age 10 to 20 years old when the programme begins, or 25 for disabled people.
  • Applications should be for a project that lasts up to a year. However repeat funding is a possibility.
  • Community groups that can draw in match-funding are encouraged to apply. The presence of match funding will not affect our assessment of your application.
  • Projects can deliver opportunities in a range of contexts and settings:  for example online, extracurricular, in clubs and groups, informally, or as part of structured programmes.
  • Groups should engage young people in ongoing regular volunteering OR demonstrate how another youth-led method will be as effective at engaging young people in social action. (For example regular ongoing volunteering may not be achievable for the young people you engage).
  • Projects do not have to be led by a youth group.
  • Projects can be one off events

Groups must demonstrate that their programme can meet the following quality principles of great youth social action:

  • Reflective
  • Challenging
  • Youth-led
  • Socially Impactful
  • Progressive
  • Embedded

More details about the principles can be found on the #iwill website. It is important to read these before applying.

We will prioritise projects that:

  • Seek to increase participation from young people from lower social economic groups and people who might not usually take part in social action.
  • Engage new volunteers.
  • Embed skills in young people / the wider community while delivering. For example, listening skills, maths and English, cooking, media and communications, evaluation and capturing success.
  • Clearly demonstrate principles of great youth social action. For example:  an enjoyable project that enhances young people’s social lives, provides the opportunity to meet new people, positively impacts the wider community and develops longer term connections between volunteers and the wider community.
  • Have a plan to measure and report positive changes made
  • Demonstrate sustainability beyond the life of this grant

How to apply?

The fund is now open for applications, to submit your application please use the Youth Social Action Application form. Please also download and read the Fund Criteria and Guidance for Applicants.

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Thursday 28th September.

If you are unsure about any of the above criteria or have any other queries, please contact our Grants Team on 01884 235887 or email