Youth projects across the country will receive a share of a £7 million investment as part of the Government’s commitment to level up opportunities for young people.

The Youth Accelerator Fund has been set up to address urgent needs in the youth sector and expand existing successful projects run by Sport England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and British Film Institute.

Youth clubs and organisations in sport, arts, film and heritage will receive a share of the fund, to deliver a range of positive activities for young people to develop skills and contribute to their local communities.

The announcement comes ahead of the Culture Secretary visiting ‘SoapBox’, a youth centre based in Islington later today, where she will underline the Government’s commitment to supporting young people across the nation.

Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said:

I’m thrilled this funding will allow even more young people across the country to participate in fantastic activities, whether at their local youth centre or through sport, arts, film and heritage organisations.

If we wish to get the best out of all the great talent in our country it is vital that we offer the next generation opportunities to build character and resilience, not just in school but outside the school day.

This investment will pave the way for our ambitious, long-term plans to support young people that we will deliver over the next five years.

UK Youth, the membership organisation for youth clubs in the UK, will distribute £1.15 million to run a small grants programme to deliver extra sessions in youth clubs and youth groups across England.

Read Baroness Morgan’s speech: how we can be the greatest place in the world to grow up

The following organisations will also receive funding:

Sport England: £1.32 million to expand grassroots programmes and offer extra-curricular sport to young people in deprived areas.

National Lottery Heritage Fund: £1.27 million to invest additional funding into ‘Kick the Dust’, a project for young people to enjoy, learn and lead heritage based activities in their communities.

Arts Council England: £500,000 to expand their Youth Music programme, supporting music making for young people in challenging circumstances.

British Film Institute: £155,000 to expand the weekly BFI Saturday Clubs to more areas of the country.

Additionally, over £2 million of the funding will go towards setting up new Local Partnerships across the country, designed to effectively coordinate and sustain local youth activities. Areas will be encouraged to bid for a Local Partnership, that will bring together existing providers, statutory partners and the private sector to deliver programmes for young people.

The investment follows the Chancellor’s announcement last year of a £500 million Youth Investment Fund for the five years from April 2020, to give young people somewhere to go, something positive to do and someone to speak to.

Maddie Dinwoodie, Deputy CEO of UK Youth said:

We are delighted to be awarded £1.15 million of funding to distribute through grants to the UK Youth Movement in order to ensure youth services can reach more young people and provide additional activities.

Youth services are vital as they have transformational and lasting effects on young people’s wellbeing, social and employability skills. At UK Youth we are dedicated to ensuring that every young person can reach an accessible safe space in their community, where they can experience positive activities, develop skills and build relationships with trusted adults.

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of Sport England, said:

We’re delighted to be able to give additional funding to three amazing organisations who work hard to bring opportunities to young people. At Sport England, we know that regular physical activity can bring massive benefits to people in terms of their physical health – but it can also do wonders for mental health and help to reduce social isolation too.

With the programmes that UK Youth, London Youth, and the National Association of Boys and Girls Clubs will be able to run with the additional funding, we hope to inspire more young people and their communities.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England said:

Helping every young person to live their most creative life opens up a world of possibilities to them. Every child should be able to achieve their creative potential, no matter how tough their start in life.

Eilish McGuinness, Executive Director, Business Delivery at the The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:

This fantastic additional investment will build on the already strong partnerships that are flourishing through our Kick The Dust programme. The collaboration we’re seeing through the Youth Accelerator Fund shows a really joined up approach across all the activities that, together, we know young people can benefit from.

The extra funding will mean more things happening in more places with more young people, showing how Government investment alongside National Lottery funding can really deliver positive outcomes for young people. We’ve seen through our Kick The Dust projects how young people who might not feel heritage is for them can develop their skills, build their confidence whilst making a difference in their communities.

Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI said:

Our big focus at the BFI is reaching younger people from a diverse range of backgrounds. Both nurturing and supporting the next generation of filmmakers and talent and building audiences and broadening people’s minds and understanding of the world through a wider choice of film. This additional funding creates another important opportunity for us to reach young people, expanding across the UK for the first time with a new network of BFI Saturday Clubs.


Notes to editors

  • SoapBox are a member of the UK Youth Movement, a network of more than 5,500 partner youth organisations.

  • The Youth Investment Fund will cost £500 million over five years. It consists equally of £250 million capital and £250 million resource spending.

  • This investment will deliver a huge range of universal, open access activities and youth services including in digital skills, arts and culture, sports, and social action.

  • The Youth Investment Fund is expected to attract match funding from private, local authority and civil society sources. The location of the youth centres will be determined through a process run by DCMS.

  • The Government is supporting young people through the following:.

  • Since its launch in 2016 the Government and the National Lottery Community Fund have invested £50 million in the #Iwill fund, creating opportunities for young people to volunteer and take part in social action.

  • We continue to deliver the National Citizen Service, with more than 100,000 young people in the past year alone benefiting.

  • We have invested £5 million to create over 10,000 new places in uniformed youth groups such as Fire Cadets and Scouts, for young people in disadvantaged areas.

  • We have completed a consultation as part of a review on the statutory guidance placed on local authorities to provide appropriate local services to improve young people’s wellbeing. The consultation has now closed and a response will be published in due course.

Published 30 January 2020