Pete Henderson, Head of Toolkit, Youth Endowment Fund
What is the best way of preventing children and young people from getting involved in crime and violence? If you’ve ever tried to answer this question, you’ll know that research is limited, hard to find, and hard to apply to the real world.
The Youth Endowment Fund is here to change that. Our strategy, launched last week, sets out our plan. We’ll build knowledge of what works and make sure that insight is easy to find and understand. We hope that this will give everyone working on our mission the best chance of investing in services and policies that make the biggest difference for children at risk.
Our What Works briefing and Toolkit
One of the first ways we’ve tried to help is through our latest What Works briefing. We’ve been working to review existing evidence about the best ways to keep children safe from involvement in violence. Our briefing sets out some of our early findings.
While we hope it’s a useful way to start thinking about what works, it’s only a short summary of some of the research. It’s a starting point but we know you’ll need more detailed tools to help you use evidence in your decision-making.
That’s what my team’s work is all about. Next year we will launch the Youth Endowment Fund Toolkit, an online and free-to-use summary of the best available research on the effectiveness of different approaches, practices and programmes. The Toolkit will describe what worked in the past, but won’t give fail-safe instructions for what will work in every context in the present. Instead we see it as a tool to support better-informed decision making by indicating which services or approaches are the ‘best bets’ for keeping young people safe.
How can you get involved in creating the Toolkit?
As we get the Toolkit ready, we want to make sure it’s a resource that really works for you. By working with people who make decisions about keeping young people safe, we’ll make sure that the Toolkit is as useful and user-friendly as possible.
That’s why, I want you to get involved to help us shape the way the Toolkit looks and works. Sign up to tell us your views.
What are the other ways I can get involved with the Youth Endowment Fund?
We know that the What Works briefing is just the first step as we try to understand the evidence. We’ve used it – and the conversations we’ve already had with people working closely with children and young people – to come up with some initial ideas about what our priorities should be over the next three years, as we decide where we should focus our funding.
But we know that, to make sure our priorities are right, we need to understand more.
That’s why we’re asking for your views, to double check the evidence we’ve reviewed so far is pointing us in the right direction. If it isn’t, we’ll change the way we’re going.
Developing the Toolkit isn’t a one off – we’ll continue to add new knowledge, review the evidence when it changes and keep testing it to make sure it works for as many people as possible. Throughout the ten years of the fund, we’ll keep asking, keep listening and keep adapting. Because we know that, to get our Toolkit right, we need to work with you.