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Themed grant round

Positive activities

Through this grant round we’re testing the impact of sports, arts and adventure and wilderness activities on preventing violence.

Applications closed 5pm Friday 26th May 2023

Entry deadline:
26th May 2023

Applications have now closed


The Youth Endowment Fund exists to prevent children and young people becoming involved in violence. We do this by finding out what works and building a movement to put this knowledge into practice.

We know that positive activities can help children and young people improve their physical and mental health, develop positive behaviours and build self-esteem. But what we don’t really know – due to a lack of high-quality research and impact evaluations – is the impact these activities have on reducing youth offending and violence.

Through this themed grant round we’re aiming to answer the following question:

Do positive activities lead to improved violent offending outcomes for children and young people (primarily aged 10-18) who are at high risk of being affected by violence, offending and /or exploitation?

Scope of programmes we’ll fund in this round

For this round, we define positive activities as either:

  • the arts (including music making, arts and craft, dancing, drama, creative writing and poetry, photography, painting, pottery, sculpture or new media/digital arts)
  • sports
  • wilderness activities
  • adventure activities

Who we’re looking to support

We’re looking to fund and evaluate projects that target, support and work with children and young people who are:

  • Primarily aged 10 to 18 years old.

And have one or more of the following key characteristics:

  1. They are already involved in the youth justice system, either in custodial or community-based settings. 
  1. They are considered at risk of involvement in youth offending, due to a variety of factors, including:
  • individual, familial or geographical reasons (often referred to as youth violence ‘hotspots’), or
  • being affiliated with groups involved in crime, violence and trafficking (often referred to as ‘gangs’), or
  • being excluded from school, or
  • being affected by serious violence, criminal or sexual exploitation (as perpetrators and/or victims).

What we’ll invest in

We aim to identify 5 or 6 projects to fund and evaluate. We’re planning to spend between £9 million and £10 million depending on how well applications meet our criteria.

Projects must be delivered in either England and/or Wales. Applications from projects delivering outside of these countries are ineligible for our funding.

What does the current evidence say?

In the YEF Toolkit, we estimate that sport programmes have a ‘high’ impact on crime and violence. Adventure and wilderness therapy programmes also have an impact, though we estimate it’s lower. In both instances, our confidence in the evidence is ‘low’ because of the lack of high-quality research.

Evidence for the impact of arts programmes is currently limited. Later this year, we’ll be publishing a new Toolkit strand summarising the existing evidence on arts participation.

Application guidance

Please read the accompanying application guidance to check your eligibility before starting your application.

Application workshops

You can watch a recording of one of our application workshops below.


5th April 2023
Applications open
5pm, 26th May 2023
Applications close
Late June 2023
Shortlisted applications informed
November – December 2023
Co-design with evaluator
February 2024 onwards
Delivery begins


Applications closed at 5pm Friday 26th May 2023.