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Targeted projects

Funding for projects that are widely used or promising with the potential to scale.


This funding is paused. Applications for projects using trauma-informed practice will open in September.

We’ve had an incredible response to our targeted projects funding. Thanks to your offers of partnership and shared desire to find out what works to keep children safe, we’re already on track to far exceed the five grants we intended to make each financial year. This means that we’re currently pausing applications for this stream of funding. We won’t be accepting any more speculative applications for now, but we will reopen in autumn, ready for more targeted projects in the next financial year (2022/23).

In the meantime, you can still check your eligibility and leave us your details (which we’ll use to get in touch with you when we’re ready to start funding Targeted Projects again). You can also get in touch with the team by emailing us at

You might also be interested in the specific targeted projects funding round on trauma-informed care approaches, which we’re launching in September 2022:


Our  targeted projects funding is for programmes that don’t fit into our themed rounds or place-based funding, but are widely used or promising with the potential to scale. We’ll provide the resources to fund, evaluate and learn from them.

We are only likely to make up to five targeted project grants each year. Applications will be therefore assessed both individually and competitively against other proposals submitted during the same rolling period.

We will prioritise applications from organisations that:

  • Are reaching, or have the potential to reach, the highest number of children across multiple regions.
  • Are ready for large scale trials earlier.
  • Have the greatest potential to achieve change at scale. This could be through you directly scaling up your programme, others learning from what you do or by your programme leading to a change in the system.
  • Have secured significant match funding.


Organisations can apply for targeted projects funding against two strands of activity. Across both strands there is a requirement for organisations to have significant match funding. This can include in-kind contributions or previously secured grant funding, for example, if project staff time is already paid for – by you, a partner or other funder – those staff costs will count as match funding.

We are also open to applications from organisations that have secured all delivery costs and are only seeking YEF support to cover the evaluation. In this instance, all delivery costs will count as match funding.

If you are applying for YEF to cover only the cost of evaluation, we do not need you to know the exact costs for that at this stage, we will help you work that out as part of the next stage of the application process (the co-design phase).

Strand one

To fund and evaluate popular and commonly used interventions and approaches to better understand their effectiveness. Projects applying under this strand must:

  • Be able to clearly explain what the project involves and how the activity achieves its intended impact. This is sometimes called a theory of change, which is a method to help describe long-term goals and map backwards to explain how an intervention will get you there.
  • Be actively reaching hundreds of children each year in England and/or Wales.

Strand two

To fund and evaluate promising interventions and approaches that draw on good evidence and have the potential for impact at scale. Projects applying under this strand must:

  • Be able to draw on evidence to clearly explain what the project involves and how the activity achieves its intended impact (a theory of change).
  • Be willing and likely to deliver to hundreds of children within two years in England and/or Wales.

Funded projects

1. Step Together

  • Delivery partner: West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit
  • Evaluation partner: Ipsos Mori and London School of Economics
  • Co-funder: Home Office
  • Evaluation type: Pilot study
  • Target regions: West Midlands
  • Funding amount: £420,000

The Step Together pilot project aims to help keep children and young people safe on their journey to and from school. The project sees youth workers based along routes to school, acting as trusted adults and a point of contact. Their job is to de-escalate potential violence and to build positive relationships. The scheme launched in Erdington, seventeen other routes across the West Midlands will also open in the near future.

2. Alternative Provision Specialist Taskforces (APST)

  • Delivery partner: Department for Education
  • Evaluation partner: RAND Europe, University of Westminster and FFT Education Datalab
  • Evaluation type: Efficacy study
  • Target regions: West Midlands; North West – Greater Manchester; Yorkshire and the Humber; North West – Lancashire; London; South West; East Midlands

Alternative provision specialist taskforces will work directly with young people in alternative provision settings to offer intensive support from experts, including mental health professionals, family workers, and speech and language therapists. This 2-year programme will aim to keep pupils that are in alternative provision – including those who have been excluded from school – engaged in education, getting them back on track with their studies and preventing them from being criminally exploited.

3. Support, Attain, Fulfil, Exceed (SAFE) Taskforces

  • Delivery partner: Department for Education
  • Evaluation partner: RAND Europe, University of Westminster and FFT Education Datalab
  • Evaluation type: Efficacy study
  • Target regions: West Midlands; North West – Greater Manchester; Yorkshire and the Humber; North West – Lancashire; London; South West; East Midlands
  • Funding amount: £891,000

SAFE taskforces which will be rolled out in 10 serious violence hotspot areas from September 2022. This 3-year initiative will be led by local schools to protect young people at risk of truancy and exclusion. The SAFE programme will deliver targeted interventions to reduce truancy, improve behaviours, and reduce the risk of individuals failing to enter education, employment or training (NEET).

4. SHiFT

  • Delivery partner: SHiFT
  • Evaluation partner: Centre for Evidence and Implementation
  • Evaluation type: Feasibility study
  • Target regions: London
  • Funding amount: £50,000

SHiFT works with children who are caught up in, or are at risk of, harm. Multidisciplinary teams of professionals work systematically with young people, their family, friends and community (including any statutory bodies) to develop trusted, therapeutic relationships that can break destructive cycles of behaviour.

5. Excluded Initiative

  • Delivery partner: John Lyon’s Charity and The London Community Foundation
  • Evaluation partner: University College London
  • Evaluation type: Capacity building
  • Target regions: London
  • Funding amount: £97,500

Excluded Initiative offers special support to secondary schools in London that have exclusion rates higher than the national average and are seeking to tackle these issues in an inclusive, nurturing way by building their inclusion capacity and expertise to drive down exclusions to a minimum.

How to apply

Due to our approach to evidence and understanding, the application process can take up to six months to complete.  If your project is time sensitive (for example, if you’re only applying for evaluation costs for a programme due to begin within the next six months), please email us to arrange a call to discuss your proposal before applying. 

Step one
Confirm eligibility
Read the targeted projects guidance.

Complete the online targeted projects eligibility checker to confirm you are eligible to apply.
Step two
Initial proposal
If eligible, send a proposal (no longer than one page) setting out which strand you are applying for, your funding request, proposed timeline of activity and how you meet the programme assessment criteria to

We will email within six weeks to confirm if you have been successful at the initial proposal stage.

If you are successful, we will send you guidance to complete a full application.
Step three
Full application
Complete the full application.

We will email within eight weeks to confirm if you have been successful at this stage.

If you are successful, we will be in touch to arrange for any further information required to take your proposal forward to our Grants and Evaluation Committee.
Step four
Committee review
Successful applications will be taken forward for review at our quarterly Grants and Evaluation Committee. We will let you know the date your application is due to be reviewed and will update you on the outcome within one week of that date.
Step five
Evaluation design
All YEF funded programmes must be independently evaluated. We will work with all applicants to design an evaluation which works for you and your project.

Designing an evaluation normally requires your proposed project plan to be adapted in some way. We don’t expect you to have a clear idea of how your programme could be evaluated when you apply. But you will have to work with us to shape your project so that it can be robustly evaluated by one of our approved evaluation partners.

This may involve, for instance, adjusting some elements of delivery, or delivering your programme on a larger scale than you initially proposed. To enable this to happen, programmes will need to engage in an extensive co-design process which may take up to three months (depending on the size and complexity of your programme).

We’re looking to work with partners who are committed to understanding more about their programme, and who are collaborative about working with us and an independent evaluator. It’s important that everyone’s happy with the agreed project and evaluation design before any delivery starts. We wouldn’t be able to go ahead with the project otherwise.

We will also try to understand how your programme works. Alongside the impact evaluation, the independent evaluation team will conduct a detailed process evaluation. This usually involves speaking to participants in depth, conducting surveys, interviews, and case studies to learn as much as possible about your approach.
Step six
Committee final approval
Once you, your appointed evaluator and us are happy with the evaluation design, we will make a final recommendation to our YEF Grants and Evaluation Committee for approval.

The Committee may come back with clarification questions which we will work through with you and your appointed evaluator.

If the Committee approves your grant award and evaluation design, we will share a draft grant agreement for your review and signature.
© 2022 The Youth Endowment Fund Charitable Trust. Registered Charity Number: 1185413.
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