Youth Scotland Action Fund makes immediate impact for community youth groups during Covid-19 outbreak

Two youth workers stand in front of a swing set in the empty playground of a block of flats.

Thanks to the rapid response of funders STV Children’s Appeal and The Robertson Trust, allowing existing funds to be repurposed to face the Covid-19 crisis, Youth Scotland was able to launch the Youth Scotland Action Fund on 25 March. Within the hour of the fund launching, About Youth, a member group based in the Calders in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, was successfully funded.

Youth Scotland’s Action Fund has been established to help youth groups and youth workers meet the needs of young people in response to the Covid-19 Coronavirus. It is a Micro Grant fund that is being supported by some key funders, STV Children’s Appeal, The Robertson Trust and The Gannochy Trust. We are reallocating existing funds to meet the emerging needs of youth groups. The maximum amount available per application is £500.

In their application, About Youth wrote:

We are already getting feedback from young people saying that they are finding the temporary closure of youth facilities difficult. As a result, we want to try a variety of different methods to engage young people online… Currently we are looking at delivering live streams, film, book and music clubs, coordinated online games tournaments and group quizzes and challenges.

Speaking to Alan Ross from About Youth, he told us about how the fund is already making difference.

“We need the help and support now, so the responsiveness is great. We’ve only got two staff, so the turnaround is important. When you’ve got over a 190 young people you normally work with – and no way to meet face-to-face – you wonder how it’s going to work.

“The difference this fund will make, is it’s about giving us additional resource that gives us what young people need, and it’s easier to adapt to that than our existing funding can be.

“By aligning it with digital youth work, it gives the tools to bring it together and to enhance our meaningful contact with young people. In general, at the moment, the needs of young people are not being well represented – this funding allows us to make sure they are represented.

“It’s letting us reach young people who, let’s be honest, are having a pretty bleak and monotonous day right now. We can reassure and keep our relationships built on trust and support.”

We asked how quickly the funding will make a difference:

“We’ve started. In terms of a different response to young people, and to help with contact and the stress they are dealing with, we’ve been able to act right away.”

Community youth groups can read more about the Youth Scotland Action Fund, the application criteria and how to apply are here

For editors:

STV Children’s Appeal

The STV Children’s Appeal is committed to helping children and young people affected by poverty in Scotland. The money raised by the STV Children’s Appeal helps make a real difference to those who need it most, by providing practical help like food and warm clothes; creating opportunities for training and employability; and enabling social and emotional support.  In just nine years the Appeal has raised over £21 million, funding 1102 big and small awards across all 32 local authority areas in Scotland, providing much needed support to over 79,000 children.

Every single penny raised by the STV Children’s Appeal stays in Scotland and 100 per cent of donations are spent on the children who need it most, as all overheads are met by STV and The Hunter Foundation. In 2019, the Scottish Government once again committed to match fund the first £1m raised.

The Robertson Trust 

As the largest independent grant-making trust in Scotland, The Robertson Trust has given over £250m to charities, helping realise the potential and improve the quality of life of people and communities throughout Scotland– inspired by the example of our founders, the Robertson sisters.

The Gannochy Trust

The Gannochy Trust was founded in 1937 by Arthur Kinmond Bell, known as A K Bell, for charitable and public purposes as a direct result of his family’s successful distilling business.

It is the aim of the Trustees to invest wisely in order to make donations to charitable projects and meet the purpose of A K Bell’s visionary Trust Deed which was set out in 1937.

Youth Scotland 

Youth Scotland is Scotland’s national charity supporting the delivery of community-based youth work. We believe that every young person has potential and high-quality youth work helps young people to realise their potential. Through our member groups and affiliated Area Associations, Youth Scotland reaches into communities all over Scotland, including rural areas, towns and cities.

We deliver a range of projects and services which support a network of over 1,450 youth groups running in diverse communities the length and breadth of Scotland. These groups work with over 66,000 young people up to 25 years of age. Young people are supported by more than 8,200 passionate and committed youth workers, of whom a majority are volunteers.