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COVID-19 Inspiring Futures Programme

Last Updated: 10/07/20

BBC Children in Need and Youth Futures Foundation have partnered to launch the new Inspiring Futures programme. This new partnership will see each funder commit £3m to the programme which will support organisations working to improve employment prospects for disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

Evidence suggests that the economic impact of COVID-19 will affect children and young people who face disadvantage and discrimination the most, diminishing opportunities to develop skills, access  training or work in the short term and blighting their long-term career progression. Inspiring Futures will award funding to organisations which support children and young people facing the greatest challenges, to support them as they move through adolescence to adulthood with the aim of guiding them towards successful employment.

Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need said: “We want to ensure that all children and young people are able to thrive at every stage of their lives and have the chance to achieve their full potential. This includes addressing the additional impact COVID-19 will have on their future prospects and employability. We are proud to partner with the Youth Futures Foundation on this programme which will help to transform young lives, unlock their potential and address the root causes of youth unemployment.”

Anna Smee, Chief Executive of Youth Futures Foundation added: “This joint fund will provide £6 million to support children and young people across the UK who face disadvantage or discrimination, helping them to develop skills, enhance their networks, gain experience and transition into employment. With nearly one million young people facing unemployment, this is a crucial time to provide additional support to organisations delivering activities that enable young people to achieve their goals and overcome the barriers they face. We are proud to partner with BBC Children in Need to deliver this rapid response to COVID19.”

The programme is open to all charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations across the UK that are working with disadvantaged children and young people. We want to be assured that the needs of Black, Asian and minority ethnic children and young people are specifically addressed as we recognise racial injustice and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on these  communities. We encourage applications from organisations working within these communities.

The programme will fund a variety of projects that help children and young people to build the confidence and skills they need as they develop, supporting them to secure employment and fulfil their career aspirations. Organisations could deliver activities such as: youth support work and music, arts and sports activities that enables development of work readiness skills such as teamwork, communication and problem-solving; support for further education, training or employment that they may not normally have accessed; support through the provisions of volunteering and work experience; support from a trusted, consistent adviser to help young people achieve goals and overcome barriers; and support with mental and physical health problems and housing issues, that may be barriers to employment.

The Inspiring Futures programme will support children and young people between the ages 10 – 24* and the grants will run for a duration of up to 18 months, with awards being made up to £80,000. For further information on the programme and how to apply, please visit the BBC Children in Need or Youth Futures Foundation website. The programme is open for applications from Friday 10th July until 11:30am on Friday 31st July 2020.

Applying for a grant

How you help improve children’s lives

Understanding how BBC Children in Need helps improve children’s lives will help you talk to us about your project. By talking clearly about your activities and how they make differences that improve children’s lives, you help us better understand your intentions when we make a decision about your application. More importantly, once you have a grant, it will help us talk to you about the ongoing development of your project and its continued positive impact on children’s lives.

When telling us how your project will make children’s lives better, we ask you to talk about:

  • The disadvantages faced by the children and young people you support, and what effects these have on their lives.
  • What your project will do and how its activities will help make a difference to children’s lives.
  • The three most important differences your project will make that will improve children’s lives. This is the aspect of your application that interests us most. If you are awarded a grant you will be asked to report back on these in detail.
  • For each of your differences, be succinct and talk about a single, significant change only. Do not provide a list of differences or changes.
  • The difference will occur in the time you are in contact with the children you support. It can be a small change or a lasting change.
  • Use the language of change in your descriptions, e.g., improving life skills, increasing self-esteem, reducing distress.
  • You only need to talk about the specific difference you will make, for example, ‘improving family relationships’, and not the building block(s) they strengthen, in this case, ‘positive relationships’.

What do the building blocks look like? Expand to read more.

Step 1

Being physically safe

…is when children have better access to safe spaces away from direct threat or harm, such as abuse (including online), neglect or violence. In other instances it can mean children being able to identify personal risk and take action to remove themselves from those situations, or to minimise the risk, and tell a trusted adult.

Step 2

Being physically well

…is when children are able to be active and socially or physically mobile – even when they may be limited due to illness or disability. It also involves having a healthy diet, good awareness of nutrition, and of having support and information to make mature choices regarding behaviours that can endanger a person’s health, such as engaging in unsafe sex or substance misuse.

Step 3

Being emotionally well

…is when children can manage their feelings and make sense of traumatic or emotional setbacks. For some, it is essential that they are able to manage mental ill health that can manifest itself in such things as self-harming, depression or suicidal thoughts. For many, emotional well-being is built on having fun, getting a break and experiencing freedom from day-to-day challenges.

Step 4

Having strong self-belief

…is when children have a positive sense of who they are and what they can achieve. Self-belief can be a combination of factors including self-esteem, confidence, pride in accomplishments, a sense of identity and having positive expectations for your future life.

Step 5

Having positive relationships

…is when children have strong, positive and affirming relationships – starting with their family, carers and friends. Having trusted peers and adults in their lives also helps overcome loneliness and provide alternatives to disruptive and harmful pathways or activities. Children also benefit from having positive relationships with social and community groups relevant to them.

Step 6

Having essential skills

…is when children have a wide range of personal and practical skills. Alongside various social, life, communication and creative skills, such as imagination and personal expression, we include children’s willingness and ability to engage with and achieve in education, training and employment.

Step 7

Being positively empowered

…is when children and young people can direct or manage their lives, or aspects of them. They make independent decisions, display appropriate behaviour, are motivated, express themselves and engage with activities and matters that affect them.

A child sat amongst colourful toys on the floor

Emergency Essentials

Our Emergency Essentials programme supports individual children and young people living with severe poverty, a lack of basic facilities and additional pressures such as domestic violence, disability or poor health in the family.

The programme provides items that meet children’s most basic needs such as a bed, a cooker, clothing (in a crisis) and other items and services that are critical to wellbeing.

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