Youth Social Action Fund

The Youth Social Action Fund is open for grants between £1,000 and £5,000 that will promote volunteering, fundraising and campaigning amongst young people aged between 10 and 25. This fund is part of a wider multi-agency #iwill campaign.

Youth social action has huge potential to create enjoyable opportunities and skills development for young people, benefitting local people and places. The aim of this fund is to raise the level and quality of youth social action by 50% by 2020, taking the percentage of young people that volunteer from 40% to 60%.

Social action involves activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, all of which enable participants to make a positive difference to their communities. These activities develop the skills and knowledge of young people that employers look for.

For the purposes of this funding, the definition of young people is between 10 and 20, and up to 25 for disabled young people.

Big Lottery Fund and the Office for Civil Society have invested £2 million this year to fund groups delivering local youth social action opportunities. Local fundraising is also a key part of the Youth Social Action programme.

Closing date

Grant applications for this fund will close on Monday 13th March 2017.

Who can apply?
  • The Youth Social Action Fund will provide funding of between £1,000 and £5,000 for each project.
  • 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.
  • Projects do not have to be led by a youth group.
  • The fund is to deliver social action opportunities amongst young people 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.
  • Projects do not have to last a year, eg they can be one-off events.
  • 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.
  • Core costs are eligible if the other criteria are met, including how the project meets the principles of great youth social action (see below).

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.


Youth Social Action funding cannot be used for:

  • Statutory services – statutory organisations cannot bid for the fund
  • Activities promoting party-political activity
  • Capital costs/equipment (purchase of refreshments for volunteers is okay)
  • Individual sponsorship
  • Activities generating private profit
  • Faith groups are welcome to apply, but activities that evangelise or proselytise religious beliefs will not be eligible. Projects that only work with one faith are also not eligible.

Before applying to the Youth Social Action Fund, we strongly recommend that you download and read the full Youth Social Action Fund criteria, which includes tips and hints about the types of project that will be prioritised, and about how to complete a successful application.

Grant applications for this fund will close on Monday 13th March 2017.

If your project is of a different type, another grant option may be more suitable. Please have a look at our grants overview page to help you decide.

Download criteriaApply to Youth Social ActionOCF general applicationStep Change FundContact Us

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