The 5 things we have learned from the Restart Youth grant is:
- Covid has changed the needs of young people
Covid fractured professional relationships. Accurate referrals have dropped even if numbers have increased and there is little support through the referral process. Young people want more accessible, open points where they can find help, rather than having to navigate their way round a broken system to find support.
- Building relationships matters
Young people facing social injustice want services they believe will genuinely understand their identity and the issues they are facing. They value lived experiences within organisations. Young people want to build relationships before seeking support as they do not give away their trust easily. Persistence and ensuring there are quick wins for those that do engage are essential.
- Organisations need to think differently about youth leadership
Partners responded to the funding with initiatives to embed young people in their decision making, as had been intended by our young advisors. Many of the partners began to employ young people as part of their teams, or as associates, rather than involving them as volunteers. This meant that young people’s experience was valued at the heart of organisational covid recovery efforts.
- Services need an intersectional approach
Young people want services to recognise all aspects of their lives, and be open and welcoming to their needs. One of the clearest areas of impact was in partners approach to intersectionality, with tangible outcomes from the training and support offered by Blagrave meaning that they have become more inclusive and accessible spaces for all young people who need them.
- Small steps make a big difference, but momentum needs to be sustained.
Restart Youth was highly effective in creating immediate impact for young people in the wake of Covid, despite the small scale of the grants, with some exciting research and scoping work taking place across the region. But impact was limited because the short term nature of the funding (6 months) did not give long enough for partners to embed the work. Momentum must be sustained. Young people face increasing challenges in the years ahead and need services to collaborate with them in planning and decision making.
Read more about our insights here.