29 June 2021
After a year and a half of delivery, the London Youth Microgrants has completed four rounds of recruitment and has officially come to a close. The programme offered up to £400 funding to encourage young people aged between 14-20 to create a project that promotes or raises awareness of positive mental health and wellbeing in their community. 47 young people were given the opportunity to use this funding, and over the past year, they have proved that a lot can be done with £400.
Both before and during the pandemic, young people used Microgrants funding to:
- Run online support groups to encourage families to start conversations around mental health
- Create health packages made up of natural products, herbal teas and self-care tips
- Create videos about mental health and spirituality
- Run an entirely youth-led theatre production around depression and anxiety
- Send indoor gardening packages to other young people who don’t have access to a garden
- Create a campaign about true beauty
- Run art and wellbeing workshops
- And much more you can read about here and here
The Microgrants programme was funded by The Greater London Authority in partnership with Thrive LDN and the #iwill Fund and was delivered by London Youth. The programme followed a flexible structure that included:
- Application: an individual or group of young people creating an application for the funding (supported by a youth worker)
- Training: successful applicants were selected and offered project management training either in person or online and support throughout their project
- Feedback: unsuccessful applicants were given feedback on their project ideas and invited to reapply in the next round of funding
- Funding: young people had the opportunity to have personal responsibility over their £400 budget using a money card, enabling them to make transactions for themselves throughout the project
- Evaluation: once the project was complete after a timeline decided by the young person, they evaluate their project either individually or with the support of London Youth
- Support costs: the youth organisation received £250 in supporting costs for their help with the project
The Microgrants programme was a great offer for young people. Applicants responded well to having responsibility of their own budget and running a social action project from start to finish. It helped young people to explore project management, pathways into their dream careers, and methods of improving mental health.
Here’s some quotes from young people who took part in the programme:
‘I don’t think I would have done this in a million years until I actually got the opportunity to do it through the microgrants. I’d love to do something like this again’.
‘First of all I liked that this programme was created for young people. Then the support that I got from the begging through all the process, from applying for the grant to delivery it and evaluating it, from both my youth worker and London Youth team was fantastic and without them the workshop would not have been possible’.
‘The process was very exciting as we grew to anticipate the next steps more and more. We liked feeling in control as we realised that we could actually create a positive change that works. It was an opportunity for everyone to build skills and confidence which would benefit us in adulthood’.
It also provided youth organisations with a structure to promote meaningful engagement during a pandemic and build positive relationships and long-term youth leaders. Despite COVID-19 providing substantial obstacles, the Microgrants programme has proved to be a valuable offer for many young people. Even as the programme ends, there continues to be interest in this type of opportunity in the future.
You can read more about the successes and challenges of this programme in our Microgrants Summary Report.