Youth Focus Suffolk puts young people at the heart

Published

It has been announced by Suffolk County Council that 18 youth projects from across the county have been awarded a share of just under £240,000.

This is in response to the gaps faced after Covid-19 for activities and services for young people.

Almost 2.5 times over-subscribed, the Youth Intervention Fund, hosted by Suffolk Community Foundation, attracted an array of bids and has successfully granted both rural and urban projects from Lowestoft to Newmarket, Hadleigh to Eye.

It is expected that an additional 1,900 young people will benefit from these activities offered through the voluntary and community sector over the next 12 months and the schemes include performing arts to increase confidence, mentoring programmes to support mental health, forest schools and construction skills.

Cllr Andrew Reid, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Public Protection and Communities at Suffolk County Council said,

“We are thrilled to be supporting such a diverse range of projects which give young people opportunities after such a challenging period presented by the pandemic.  This work will kickstart activities to grow confidence in our future generation, developing opportunities to upskill and to have the safe spaces they need to thrive.”

Suffolk Community Foundation successfully levered in additional contributions of £79,350 through philanthropic donations and will be supporting the groups as they deliver their work over the year ahead.   Andrea Pittock, Head of Grant Programmes at Suffolk Community Foundation said, “This programme has been a wonderful opportunity to help meet the needs of young people in Suffolk. The variety of need covered includes, creating safe spaces, opening new youth provision in rural areas, focussing on impaired mental health and looking at the effect the pandemic has, and continues to have, on the young people across the county. By working with us here at the Foundation, it has also enabled some of those organisations that weren’t originally funded through this programme to now be funded with the help of other philanthropic giving.  It has been exciting to work closely with Suffolk County Council to help them to meet these needs and increase youth services through the Youth Focus Suffolk programme.”

The Youth Intervention Fund this year has formed part of a wider programme, called Youth Focus Suffolk, which is funded through the county council’s Suffolk 2020 fund.  The project supports both the voluntary sector and communities to become more resilient in supporting their young people through a range of measures.  This includes a fully funded programme of training, which is open for all adults to access, and ranges from youth mental health awareness, accredited youth work as well as themed support around drug and alcohol awareness, gambling and exploitation.  The project has also mapped out current youth provision to help people find out about the opportunities in their local area for young people to take part in and provides a peer mentor space online for professionals and volunteers alike to share experiences and learn from others.

More information about the project, and resources to support those working with young people, can be found at the new online platform www.youthfocus.suffolk.gov.uk