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Working for change

We’ll build a movement of people throughout England and Wales who are passionate about keeping children safe.

What we mean by change

The Youth Endowment Fund was set up with a ten-year mission and a £200m endowment from the Home Office to find out what actually works in preventing children getting involved in violence.

Policy makers, public services and voluntary organisations working with children don’t have access to good evidence of what really helps children avoid becoming involved in violence. The picture is complex, resources often scarce and evidence of what has a positive impact either not there or inaccessible. 

We know that our most obvious route to failure is to spend ten years doing good research and writing a lot of reports and recommendations that could make a real difference, but don’t. We might produce the best, most high-quality research, but if it isn’t read or acted on it won’t help the children and young people we’re here to support.   

We’re determined that won’t be our legacy.

We want to make sure the evidence we build is useful and accessible to the people working with children at risk, and that it drives tangible change in the way we support children, so that their lives are free from violence.

In our strategy, we set out three paths to making this happen:

1. Scale up what works

When an activity is shown to be effective, we’ll help expand  it. We might provide funding and encourage other funders to support scaling up programmes. And we’ll help organisations strengthen their internal structures and capacity, so they’re ready to scale up their work. That could include expanding their existing provision or replicating programmes in new locations across their networks.

2. Spreading great practice

When a practice is shown to be effective, we’ll work with others to spread it. We’ll build networks and coalitions of people and organisations who are passionate about children  getting support we know works. We’ll make evidence on what does work clear and accessible and then work together to spread great practice throughout England and Wales.

3. Improving the system

Sometimes what will be needed are changes to the system itself. We’ll need to work together to change the way public services and other support is provided, where resources are directed and how children and their families are supported. Where there’s evidence that change is needed, we’ll work with others to make that happen. It will be hard, and sometimes it may make us unpopular with some. We’ll always seek to put children and young people first and ask what is needed to keep them safe.

Across all three strands, we know that we need to work with others. We need to build partnerships and coalitions with those who are passionate about protecting the children most at risk and want their decisions to be based on the best available evidence.

How we’ll make change

As an evidence-led organisation, championing what works, we want to make sure we’re learning from other movements that have successful brought sustained changed. That’s why we asked our colleagues at IPPR and the Runnymede Trust to investigate what’s worked for other movements trying to solve complex, seemingly intractable social problems like young people’s involvement in violence. 

We’re going to use the insights in this report as a compass to navigate how the Youth Endowment Fund can best support the diverse group of policy makers, campaigners, practitioners and public service leaders working hard to improve life for children in our communities, and make sure every child can live free from violence. The insights point in a clear direction for us. And we hope this report will be useful for other organisations working to reduce youth violence and solving other challenges facing our society today.

Working with you

We know that, unless we work together, we can’t achieve our ambition to make real change for children and young people. That’s why we’re building a network of people who are passionate about protecting the children most at risk and want their decisions to be based on the best available evidence. Together, we’ll set the Fund’s change objectives and work together get them implemented.

If you’re interested in working with us to make change happen, we’d love to hear from you.

© 2022 The Youth Endowment Fund Charitable Trust. Registered Charity Number: 1185413.
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