News story

Applications open for Youth Social Action Fund

Organisations working with young people can apply for funding through the Youth Social Action Fund.


Organisations working with young people in lower socioeconomic areas in England can apply for funding through the new Youth Social Action Fund.

The Fund received £1 million from the Cabinet Office, as part of the government’s pledge to support Step Up To Serve’s #iwill campaign. The #iwill campaign aims to increase participation in youth social action (volunteering, fundraising and campaigning) by 50% by 2020.

The government is encouraging charities, community interest companies and social enterprises to apply.

Update: applications for the fund have now closed. Find out more on the National Youth Social Action Fund specification page.

The additional £1 million will support youth social action opportunities based on results from the Cabinet Office and Ipsos Mori Youth Social Action Survey. Find out more about the survey and the funding.

Pears Foundation and UK Community Foundations (UKCF) will match the investment. It will be split into 2 separate funds:

  • a national level, £1.26 million fund, jointly run with Pears Foundation to work with young people in more deprived or rural areas
  • a local level £510,000 fund run and matched by UKCF, to work with young people in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire through these counties’ community foundations

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:

As part of the government’s commitment to building a truly compassionate society, this additional £1 million will tackle the challenges facing disadvantaged young people and help embed social action in young people’s lives.

Trevor Pears CMG, Executive Chair of Pears Foundation, said:

Pears Foundation is delighted to match fund the government’s commitment to growing sustainable and scalable youth social action across England. Together, we will be able to offer much-needed support to enable the many excellent organisations working in this field to provide more opportunities for young people. We look forward to working in partnership with the Cabinet Office, and with the successful funding applicants.

Charlotte Hill, Chief Executive Officer of Step up to Serve, said:

Participation in social action offers young people a wide range of tangible benefits and should be accessible to all. We are really pleased that this fund is responding directly to findings from our 2014 national survey by targeting those not currently taking part. It is also great to see funders joining forces to invest in embedding social action in the lives of young people across the UK.

Fabian French, Chief Executive Officer of UK Community Foundations, said:

UKCF is extremely excited to be supporting the Cabinet Office and Step Up To Serve in increasing youth participation and volunteering in the East of England.

Strengthening communities and increasing community engagement is the very reason community foundations exist, and the involvement of young people is crucial to the future of our communities. We believe it is vital young people are encouraged to engage in their local community, and we are thrilled to be working with our foundations in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk to make it happen.

Apply for funding

View the National Youth Social Action Fund specification and application form and submit your completed form to: Applications will close at 5pm on Friday 28 August 2015.

Local level funding in the East of England will be available from 3 August. To apply for a grant, see the relevant local community foundation’s website:

Published 28 July 2015
Last updated 16 September 2015 + show all updates
  1. Updated as the fund has now closed.
  2. Added information on local funding in the East of England.
  3. First published.