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The #iwill Fund – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the #iwill fund?
The #iwill fund is a new national independent fund supporting Step Up to Serve’s #iwill campaign to increase by 50% the number of young people participating in meaningful youth social action by 2020. Step Up To Serve will be represented on a fund Leadership Board but will not directly administer or distribute the funds. This will be done by Big Lottery Fund and by match-funders.

What activity will be funded through the #iwill Fund?
The #iwill fund will look to support activities that create opportunities for 10-20 year-olds to take part in social action, in line with the ambitions of the #iwill campaign. The #iwill Fund Leadership Board set the funding priority areas for the #iwill Fund in line with our principles for the #iwill Fund:

  • To create a natural pathway for social action engagement from 10-20 to develop the character of young people and their capacity to significantly contribute to their community – continuing into adult life.
  • To develop and grow high quality opportunities pre and post National Citizen Service (NCS) to fulfil the ambition of creating a socially active generation of young people into adulthood and ensure we optimise the significant investment into NCS for young people.
  • Create a learning environment, independent from Government, to share what works, as well as initiatives that haven’t been as successful, ensuring that funding helps to grow organisational knowledge across delivery partners and funders.
  • To ensure funders work collaboratively when investing in youth social action, ensuring less duplication and that there is investment where it is really needed.
  • To ensure more young people are taking part in high quality youth social action opportunities across the country, with a particular focus on young people from backgrounds who are least likely to take part in social action.

Who are the match funders?
On the 21st November we launched the first three match funders:

We will continue to recruit match funders throughout the lifespan of the #iwill fund.

When will the funds launch?
The #iwill Fund will be working with different match funders who will be distributing the money. They will each have different distribution and application processes. On the 21st November we announced the first three match funders: Pears Foundation, UK Community Foundations and Comic Relief. In 2017 we will be announcing more match funders.

When will the fund close?
There will be different deadlines for different elements of the fund. We currently have seed funding committed up to the end of 2020.

How do I apply for funding?

Each match funder will be distributing their part of their #iwill Fund and each have their own processes. You can find out about each one through their information pages.

Is the fund UK-wide? 
Current funding is allocated to England only but our aspiration is to grow investment over time to ensure it becomes UK-wide.

What size will the grants be?
The #iwill Fund is seeking to engage local, regional and national organisations that develop opportunities for young people to participate in social action. The grants will vary accordingly to reflect the reach and localities of the #iwill Fund target areas.

How will decisions be made to award grants?
The #iwill Fund Leadership Board will set the strategic aims for the fund and agree with match funders the parameters of their individual funds. The match funders will be responsible for designing the application process and assessing applications bids through their own existing processes.

How will recipients be expected to monitor progress/successes?
The #iwill Fund Leadership Board are currently developing a ‘Learning Hub’ which will work to process data and evidence and enable better investment decisions by both the Leadership Board and match funders as well as best practice amongst grantees. This will support the collection information about activity and impact.

How will the fund grow?
It is anticipated that the initial investment from Government and Big Lottery Fund will be a minority contributor to the final full fund, with the majority of funding coming from other organisations, businesses and philanthropists.  Step Up To Serve, the organisation behind the #iwill campaign, have already had initial discussions with both large investors and potential match funders and as a result are confident that there will be significant investment over the 4 years.

How does this relate to NCS?
NCS is one programme in the whole journey of social action. The opportunities created by the new fund will encourage a journey into NCS by getting young people engaged in social action at an early age and recognising the benefits of participation. It is intended that the fund will also support NCS Graduates to find further opportunities to continue their social action journey.  For example, NCS Graduates recently plugged a gap in adult volunteers in the Boys Brigade. This will support the ambition of a lifetime commitment to social action and harness the positive outcomes of the NCS programme. The fund will not be used to develop NCS places.  Neither is it intended to extend the programme of NCS to a different age range. This money will not be used to fund ​NCS places.

What is the #iwill campaign?
The #iwill campaign is a cross sector initiative aiming to improve the quality, quantity and frequency of youth social action. It is also seeking to enable ALL young people, wherever they live and whatever their background, to have access to social action opportunities. Social action is defined as ‘practical action is the service of others to create positive change’.

Where can I find out more information about the #iwill fund?
If you’re a funder and interested in knowing more about how you could collaborate with us please email hello@stepuptoserve.org.uk and mark your enquiry #iwill Fund.