Youth Futures Fund

Young people under the age of 25 represent almost a third of London’s population, but they experience our city very differently. Our ambition this year, with your support, is to find innovative and effective community projects working with young people to promote healthy relationships and educate them on the impact of sexism, misogyny, and violence.

The experiences of young people in London

London is one of the greatest cities in the world, but it is also a polarised city, of extreme inequality, of haves and have nots. London is a city where many young people struggle to get by, bearing the brunt of the challenges that poverty and inequality bring to their community such as unequal access to services and opportunities and a greater risk of abuse and violence.

This year we are deeply concerned about the impact of unhealthy relationships, misogyny, and violence on the lives of young people in London and how it affects mental health and wellbeing.

The context

Insights from our Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Grassroots Fund, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), show growing concerns around sexual harassment, consent and misogynistic attitudes for both girls and boys. This is further impacted by the rise of social media influencers that have propelled sexism, misogyny, and violence against women and girls, which is particularly having a detrimental impact on the attitude of boys aged 10-17 and young men under 25. Research shows this is an urgent issue we collectively need to address:

  • 50% of men aged between 16-24 believed feminism had gone ‘too far’, making it more difficult for men to succeed. (Hope Charitable Trust, 2020)
  • 59% of girls aged 13-21 have reported experiencing some type of sexual harassment while in school or college. Meanwhile, one in two young women have undergone controlling behaviour in an intimate relationship. (Refuge and Avon, 2017)
  • In 2021, a City Hall analysis revealed the pandemic had exacerbated the factors that put young people at risk of becoming involved in, or a victim of, violence.

Prevention is key. We need to educate children and young people, both boys and girls, on healthy and unhealthy relationships, and how to seek assistance. We know that teachers have expressed concerns about healthy relationships as well as boys being radicalised online, and that schools are trying to tackle this issue with limited resources. By addressing potentially harmful attitudes, behaviour, language, and beliefs, we can contribute to putting an end to the culture of violence against women and girls.

I like that the boys are learning how to be kind to girls and to see us as equals. I feel excited that they will start treating us better.
Year 5 girl's feedback on an Action Breaks Silence session

Our ambition with your support

Our goal in 2023 is to raise £200,000 for our Youth Futures Fund to support innovative and effective community-led projects working with young people after school and at weekends, engaging those at risk of violence, to empower them to have healthy peer relationships and educate them on the impact of sexism, misogyny, and violence.

Research shows that high quality violence in relationships sessions delivered by youth workers from the community can reduce violence against women and girls for those taking part by 17%.

An example of a community project we have supported recently doing this work:

The London Community Foundation is committed to tackling violence against women and girls and, through our partnership with the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), we have awarded grants totalling £3 million to organisations such as Action Breaks Silence and BelEve. BelEve have found that, often, boys do not realise that they can also be sexually harassed. There is the added dynamic and impact of culture, especially where it has been the norm to objectify women and girls. The positive impact of their work with young people and boys demonstrates the need to adopt a community-led approach to support trusted organisations like these to do the work in the community - where it matters most.

Having worked frontline with young people with complex needs, I’ve seen how their vulnerabilities are often masked with harmful behaviours. Creating a safe space for young people to discuss their opinions, experiences and ask questions with those who can educate them can be life changing.
Nimat Jaffer – Violence Against Women and Girls Programme Manager at The London Community Foundation

Benefits of supporting the Youth Futures Fund

  • Your donation will make a difference to young people in your local community, right here in London.
  • Your donation will go a long way, small, local community projects provide excellent value for money in what they achieve with the resources they have.
  • You will have the chance to hear stories, updates and receive impact reports about the projects and what your donation has achieved.
  • You will have the chance to visit and connect with local projects helping young people in London.
  • You will have the chance to attend events and meet other supporters of the fund and the community leaders who support young people across London.

We launched our Youth Futures Fund in 2021 to support London’s young people. Since then, we have raised over £600,000 and supported 15 organisations across London. Each awarded an average grant size of £30,000 over two years.

Show your support

We can’t do it alone. It is going to take a powerful, collective effort from all of us to give young people the support they need. You too, can make a difference by donating to our Youth Futures Fund to build a brighter future for the young people of London.