The Listening Fund’s Advisers’ Fund: Grassroots Youth Leadership

The Listening Fund’s Advisers’ Fund is now welcoming applications! We want to fund grassroots organisations, groups and collectives who are either:

  • led by and can demonstrate how they are already accountable to young people who have experienced injustice(s), OR;
  • working to support young people who have experienced injustice(s) into leadership positions within their work.


This funding opportunity has been designed by 10 young people from across England. They want young people who have experienced injustice(s) to have the chance to influence the organisations, services and systems which affect their lives. The 10 advisers believe that having young people who have experienced injustice(s) in positions of leadership is essential for this influence to be meaningful.

Breaking down the language

What do we mean by ‘grassroots organisations, groups and collectives’?

To us, this means work which is:

  • deeply rooted in the lived experience of those it seeks to help
  • part of the community it supports
  • based on an intimate understanding of the issues facing its community
  • not necessarily organised in traditional structures (for example, as a registered charity)

What do we mean by injustice?

Young people who are or have been disadvantaged because of, for example, poverty, social exclusion, discrimination or any other contributing factors. We are particularly interested in work which supports young people who have been affected by a combination of different factors.

What do we mean by youth leadership?

We want young people to be able to hold organisations to account for what they do and how they do it. As the power and resources needed for this accountability are often only accessible to those in leadership positions, our advisers want to:

  • Support young people who have experienced injustice(s) and who are already leading grassroots work to either:
    • continue delivering their work, OR;
    • grow their work and deliver something for which they haven’t previously had the resources
  • Support those who are doing grassroots work to bring young people into positions of leadership and influence
  • Support those who are doing grassroots work to explore different leadership models and structures which aim to give more power and influence to young people
Who we want to fund

This funding is for:

  • Grassroots organisations, groups and collectives in England that are supporting young people (aged 10-30)
  • New work which will create leadership opportunities for young people, or ongoing work where funding is needed to either sustain or accelerate its impact
  • Organisations, groups and collectives with the skills to deliver the work alone or in partnership
  • Those who are interested in sharing what you learn with our funding, and in learning from others too.

This funding is NOT for:

  • Tokenistic work which exploits young people
  • Work which will only train young people in leadership skills and not offer actual leadership roles at the end
  • Organisations with a turnover greater than £200,000 per annum.

We particularly want to receive applications for work which:

  • Focuses on young people who have experienced injustice(s) and which will give them opportunities to bring their experience and expertise into leadership roles
  • Trusts in young people and their abilities, and creates bold leadership opportunities which is reflective of this trust
  • Is ambitious about its potential impact. This doesn’t mean you need to be working with or supporting a lot of people; you might be aiming to make a big change for a small community
  • Has potential for longer-term impact by, for example, influencing other organisations and systems
  • Is progressive in values and willing to challenge the status quo
  • Is rooted in an orgnisation’s existing relationships with young people

We expect all applications to have meaningfully involved young people in their development.

Questions we want to explore

Learning from funded work is an important part of our collective impact. We will work with all partners to define our final learning goals, but some of the questions we are interested in addressing through this funding include:

  • Which types of youth leadership do not currently get the funding they need?
  • In the different organisations and systems which affect young people across society, where is youth leadership most absent and how can this be addressed?
  • What support, structures and approaches are effective in supporting young people into leadership roles?
  • How does increased and improved youth leadership affect an organisation and its activities?
  • How are the young people who step into leadership roles affected by these opportunities?

Our learning partner – Collective Discovery – will support all those who receive funding with their reflections and work with them to share their knowledge.

Assessment criteria
  • We will be scoring applications according to the ambition shown in relation to youth leadership, the need for the proposed work, and the potential for learning
  • We will also be assessing the mix of partners within the cohort, with an ambition of funding a range of partners across England, working with different groups and ages of young people, in a variety of different ways.
Q and A

Meet The Listening Fund’s Advisers

On 1st December 2022 we held a webinar for interested applicants to ask questions about the funding opportunity. You can watch a recording of that session here.

How much funding is available?

We have allocated a total budget of £150,000 for the lifetime of this funding programme. The maximum grant for which you can apply is £10,000 per annum. Funding is available for two years.

We received nearly 120 applications in response to the advisers’ first call-out and were only able to fund eight organisations. We anticipate similar demand for this funding.

Can I apply for unrestricted funding?

We expect that most grants will be restricted to specific programmes of work, unless the whole organisation’s mission is aligned to the objectives of this funding programme, in which case we will consider unrestricted funding.

Can I apply if I am already receiving a grant from one of the Listening Fund’s funders?


Can I apply if I already receive a grant from the Listening Fund?


How to apply


Click here to apply

The deadline for applications to The Advisers’ Fund: Grassroots Youth Leadership is 6pm on 22nd December 2022.

If you need support with your application, please contact Edd Fry our Head of Programmes at We are happy to accommodate different access needs including, for example, organising a phone call where you can dictate your answers to the questions on the application form to a member of staff.

Key dates

  • 17th November 2022 – call-out launched
  • 1st December – online Q&A session
  • 6pm on 22nd December 2022 – application deadline
  • January 2023 – we will set up phone calls/video calls with applicants where necessary
  • Mid-February 2023 – funding decisions made and communicated
  • March 2023 – funding released