“Giving people voice is not enough.
It’s listening to them that counts”
At the Blagrave Trust, we believe passionately in the importance of giving equal voice to young people, as well as listening to the organisations we fund to form productive partnerships and ensure we are enabling them to be as impactful as possible. See our commitments to the organisations that we fund.
The Listening Fund is a £900,000 pooled fund to invest in learning and scaling practice at an organisational level that enables young people to be agents of change, listens to and responds to their needs, and analyzes the difference this makes.
We will be developing a website specifically for the fund soon. In the meantime if you would like more information on the fund and its other funders, please contact Edd.Fry@blagravetrust.org
Listening for Change
In late 2016, we collaborated with the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to produce a report ‘Listening for Change – Two Sides of the Same Coin’ about the relationships between funders and social purpose organisations. This asks fundamental questions about how funders and the voluntary sector needs to build relationships of trust and evolve the funding system for the benefit of all. To read the main body of the report please click here Listening for Change. To read the report as well as the many insightful responses of the survey respondents please click here Listening for Change – Full Report and annexes.
- We ask organisations interested in partnering with us to explain specifically what they have learned about the way young people experience their work.
- We gather regular and systematic feedback from our funding partners at key points in their 3 year funding with us, to inform our own work. Read some of our feedback , and below, from outline proposal, monitoring report and end of grant stages. This feedback helps us evaluate whether we live up to our commitments to standards in funding practice:
“We have loved the proactive approach and interest in what we are doing by Blagrave – and really appreciate the fact that we don’t feel we are bidding or pitching against other sector colleagues to complete for funds. Whatever the outcome of Trustee decisions on our case, we really appreciate this process as very different and inclusive compared with many other funders.”
“The fact that the Blagrave Trust .. are so thoughtful and positive in responding to applicants, and care about how their decisions are made and received is an enormous credit to the organisation. It feels as if conversations/interactions are constructive and helpful, which is exceptionally rare when dealing with any Trust and can only lead to better, wiser and more effective outcomes. .. In relation to our specific approach, I would just like to encourage further interrogation … The reason given for our approach not being accepted for further scrutiny was that “We offer core funding to youth organisations whose entire mission closely matches our own – to ensure young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are able to develop the skills they need to make a positive transition to adult life. I appreciate this is a part of what xx does but obviously it’s not your main goal.” .. ..true…However, we would dispute the specific reasoning in our case. Whilst supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in this way is indeed PART of what we do, it also fundamental to what we do. It is not a bolt-on activity, or in any way inferior to our other work. Our youth programmes are overseen by a core team of specialist, permanent staff and a wide network of freelancers whose sole purpose is to deliver this work. They are experts in what they do. The fact that we, as an organisation, also do other things doesn’t seem relevant. Our youth work is still as well resourced, still as purposeful and still as rooted in expertise (naturally, we would argue more so) than an organisation who would consider youth work their ‘main’ purpose. Finally, I think we might also suggest that having a diverse purpose has also supported our youth work, given young people access to extraordinary experiences, facilities and employment, all whilst supplementing their professional and personal journeys into adulthood. …Overall, we welcome and salute constructive conversations with potential funders and our lasting impression of the Blagrave Trust is a resoundingly positive one – I think we would just challenge your thinking, or welcome further conversation, on this particular point.”
“The flexibility and understanding of the Trust in terms of how we support young people has been crucial, particularly in relation to wanting to do the work in another geographical area. Knowing that we are supported without unnecessary restrictions is vital to enable us to provide the kind of personalised service that our young people so desperately need.”
Read more about our approach in this 2016 article for Trust and Foundation News.