Challenge and Change

History illuminates the capacity and courage of young people to drive change, but for too long their ideas have been restricted or constrained.  Power is often held by adult-led initiatives that end up speaking on their behalf or controlling or leading their ideas. This fund exists to change that and move power and resources to young people.


We are looking to fund 30 young change makers who have direct lived experience of the issues they are aiming to address with up to £10,000. From individuals to collectives, tackling a wide range of social issues. We are committed to running and growing this fund for the next three years. This work aligns with the charitable purpose of ‘active citizenship’.

If you would prefer a word document of this page you can download this here.


This fund embraces and acknowledges that there are young people across England directly affected by injustices who are tirelessly working to speak out against those injustices. We also acknowledge that there are young change makers who are working to see change in their environments but are doing so with little or no resources. The aim of the fund is to support young people who want to challenge and change unlawful laws, policies, practices, and cultures that have directly affected their lives and the communities they share those experiences with.

In 2020 amazing young minds and hearts made the vision for this fund possible, and its future will be guided by their knowledge, wisdom, and insights. 

The original pilot fund was co-created by three Challenge and Change Advisers, Blagrave, and the Centre for Knowledge Equity. With funding from the Ellis Campbell Charitable Foundation and ZING.

In 2022, the fund has been designed by seven incredible advisers: two from the initial team and a further five who were partners in the first round of the Challenge and Change fund. Together with Blagrave staff, they have shared insights from their own experiences to further develop the design of the programme and will be making the final funding decisions.


Here is a flavour of some of the lived experience leaders we have previously funded…

Avocados Advocacy

Set up a Legal Advocacy Service for young people in the care system/care leavers in Devon, allowing for links to local authority care systems and online support groups. They now have their own hub in their city for people to come in and physically access their support.

Check them out

Black Trans Foundation

Young, Black trans-led nonprofit organisation offering free therapy to Black trans & Non-binary people aged 16+ in the UK, from therapists who have relevant lived experience. Our funding went towards paying for their time and capacity to raise awareness on issues Black trans and non-binary people face, as well as paying for staff time to fundraise, as all therapy is paid for by crowdfunding.

Check them out


Who this fund is for

We are looking to fund work that covers a diverse range of issues affecting young people over a twelve month period. We are here to serve communities of young people, who are both challenging and experiencing injustice in their individual lives and within society.

Are you….

  • Aged 18-25, based in England, and activating your lived experience to create social change?
  • An individual or part of a collective or movement of young people?
  • Already doing some social justice work?
  • Lacking the resources to take your vision and plan to the next level?
  • Hoping to achieve long term change on a specific issue affecting young people’s lives?


Breaking down the language…

Please find our language breakdown below that provides definitions to some of the terms mentioned above that might be new or unfamiliar.

  • Lived experience – Direct, first-hand experience, past or present, of a social issue(s) and/or injustice(s)
  • Lived Experience Leader – Changemakers, innovators and leaders who have activated their lived expertise to inform, shape and lead their social purpose work (often in combination with their learned and practiced experience) to directly benefit the communities they share those experiences with.
  • Collectives – A group of people who are working together to achieve a common objective. This is usually organised and can be 2+ people.
  • Movements – A social movement is a loosely organised effort by a larger group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically one fighting towards social justice.
  • Social Justice – Justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.


The Blagrave Trust and Advisers have decided to use the definitions for lived experience and Lived Experience Leaders as set out by the LEx Movement defined in the research Lived Experience Leadership: Rebooting the DNA of Leadership by Baljeet Sandhu.

Who this fund is NOT for
  • Adult led organisations who wants to launch work on behalf of a young person or group of young people.
  • Work that could be funded by others – for example Arts Council support more creative specific projects and Peace First offer mini grants.
  • One-off pieces of work (e.g. an art installation) that are unlikely to lead to longer term change or where there is no intention to continue the work further.
  • Young people who have never been involved or done any form of prior social justice work.
  • Young people that are established in their changemaking work, e.g. already have significant grant funding, and could access Blagrave’s wider funding.
  • Young people wanting to set up a business, which has a social purpose component alongside it but is not its core focus.
Q and A

Please note this page has been updated on 29th April following our online Q and A webinar that took place on the 20th of April. You can find the PowerPoint from the session here.



Questions from C&C Q&A


  1. Would you fund projects that have already started?

Yes. We define the young people that Challenge and Change is designed for as ‘in their social change journeys. This means we expect them to be already doing work to fight against social injustice, but still need some support to take their work to the next level.


  1. Are we eligible even though we’ve had small grants (a couple £100) before and have raised our own funds?

Yes. As long as you have not received significant previous funding (e.g. over £10,000) and still need support to take your vision and plan to the next level.


  1. Would you fund registered social enterprises?

We would consider funding registered social enterprises as long as;

  • The social purpose is core to your work (rather than being a profit-making business with a social purpose component alongside)
  • You are not in a position where you have access to significant funding from elsewhere and you are still in the early stages of developing your work.


  1. Could funding be used for DBS checks?

If you are working directly with other young people and know that you will need DBS checks for your team then please factor this into your budgets. Our grant funding can be used for this purpose but we would not fund DBS checks in addition to the main grants.

We will also be offering safeguarding training at the welcome day, as those who do not yet have a safeguarding policy will need to follow Blagrave’s safeguarding policies and procedures. You will have access to a safeguarding expert (whose time is paid for by us) who can help you with your own safeguarding policies and procedures if you need it.


  1. Do you need to include a budget breakdown when you apply?

No, we do not ask for a full budget breakdown, however we encourage those who are applying to consider creating a rough budget for yourselves so you know realistically how much funding you will need from us.


  1. Do you have to have your team already or can you apply individually then form a team?

No – you can apply as an individual and then later decide to form a collective. We would suggest being cautious about applying as a collective when the collective hasn’t formed yet though, as we would want to be confident from your application that you’ll be able to carry out the work and use the funding applied for in full.


  1. If a young activist/campaigner would like to fund their desired qualifications towards a Soliciting course + exams to become a solicitor? Would they be able to qualify for this?

No – We cannot fund individual qualifications. We need to follow charity law and charity law states that all funding must be used for public benefit (is for the benefit of a community as opposed to benefiting one individual). Funding an individual to complete a course would be classed as private benefit and is therefore not eligible.


  1. What if we want to provide training?

If the training you’re providing is to support work that benefits your community, then this is fine – for example, if you were re-training professionals so they carry out their work in a less discriminative way. As above, our funding couldn’t be used for individuals to complete a course for their own personal or professional development.


  1. Are we eligible if our work is events based?

Yes! We really recognise the value of gathering in person. As long as your events are aiming for social change rather than just for general awareness raising then you would be eligible.


  1. Are we allowed to reimburse young speakers for their travel to events/ their time?

Yes! We actively encourage all of our partners to pay for young people’s time (including their own), especially when asking young people to act as consultants and give their opinions.


  1. Is the funding UK wide?

This funding is only eligible for those living in England and all funding must be used to benefit communities in England too.


  1. Is it OK if our project goes outside England in the future?

We are not able to fund any work outside of England. However, if you find other funding to support expansion once your work is more established then as long as all of our funding is used within England, then your project could end up going worldwide!


  1. What support will be available, aside from funding, for successful applicants?

We are currently working with our advisers to design a support offer so we will keep successful applicants posted when we know more. Most of our advisers were themselves funded through Challenge and Change in the last round so have great insight into the support that might be needed.

So far we know we will be offering: a Welcome Day on the 2nd July; ongoing access to one of the youth led change programme leads at Blagrave, who you can contact with questions, to charity lawyers, safeguarding training and a safeguarding expert throughout the programme. We will also be creating a slack channel for all successful applicants to connect with one another (and with previous Challenge and Change partners).

We will always share any relevant opportunities that we come across too.


  1. Can we have a mix of ages? e.g. in our collective, One is 26 and the others are 25 and under.

As long as the majority of the collective fit within our age criteria, and the application comes from someone who fits within our age criteria then you would still be eligible.


15. Can we have a mix of lived experience leaders and those who do not have direct lived experience but are passionate about supporting the change we want to make in our collective?

We understand that collectives and movements will look different and you may have people who bring expertise to the work, without necessarily sharing your lived experiences. As this is a fund for young people with lived experience, the large majority of your collective/movement should share some common lived experience, if you have support from a small percentage of those who do not share your lived experiences, you are still eligible, but those with the direct lived experience must take the lead and have ownership over the funding.


16. Can refugees and asylum seekers apply?

We will have to review this on a case-by-case basis to remain compliant with charity law.  For example, we need to consider factors such as your legal ability to work in the UK; the likelihood of you being able to stay in England throughout the duration of funding.  If you are an asylum seeker or refugee looking to apply, then please do get in touch so we can discuss directly with you and see if we need further information.

How to apply


Applications for Challenge and Change closed on Monday 16th May at 5pm.

We are currently shortlisting applications with our team of advisers.

Please click here to be notified about potential funding opportunities in the future.


All applicants will have a response by the end of June.

For those who are successful in their application for funding we will be running a welcome day on Saturday 2nd July at a venue in London so please keep this date free. We will pay travel expenses and provide accommodation the night before and/or after for anyone that needs it.