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The Youth Endowment Fund – five years on

The Youth Endowment Fund arrives at the halfway point in our 10-year endowment this spring with more work to do than ever.   

Over the next five years, as violence continues to affect the lives of children and young people in communities across the UK, we will focus our efforts on funding what works to prevent it and building a movement of leaders, organisations and experts on the ground to put this knowledge into practice.  

We recognise that a tough road lies ahead. Which is why, behind the scenes, over the first five years of our lifespan we’ve been investing our time and resources into the strongest of foundations from which to move forward.  

We rarely shout about what we’ve been up to. But to mark this important milestone, here are five ways in which YEF has sought to make the most of as many years in existence.  

Finding and Funding What Works

We have funded hundreds of interventions for violence affecting young people across England and Wales, and evaluated their impact at a scale that’s never been done before.  

  • Through awarding over £117 million in grants across five years, YEF has funded 278 interventions and reached over 205,000 children and young people.  
  • We have funded the first multi-site Randomised Control Trial (RCT) of community mentoring organisations, the largest multi-site RCT looking at the impact of mentoring on reducing offending behaviour among young people in the UK, and the largest multi-site RCT looking at the impact Focused Deterrence in the world.  
  • Prior to YEF, only 33 RCTs with outcomes linked to violence and crime existed in the UK. We have now funded over 40 more of these, focused on interventions spanning a range of sectors including youth justice, family support, education, policing.  
  • We have overseen the largest number of impact evaluations on reducing violence ever funded by one organisation in the UK, with 50 now under way.  
  • We’ve secured more than £85M on top of our £200M endowment to further help us find and fund what works to keep children safe from violence.  

Engaging Audiences in What Works  

We have produced and published an extensive, free library of resources, reports and evidence whilst working to engage with different vital audiences about what works to reduce violence.  

  • We’ve created the largest evidence-based repository of studies on interventions for violence affecting children and young people in the world — the Evidence and Gap Map (EGM) — and made this knowledge accessible through the Toolkit.  
  • The Toolkit has 29 strands so far — each assessing the global evidence on topics ranging from knife surrender schemes, to social skills training, to hotspots policing — with six more being added this year.   
  • Toolkit evidence has been shared with over 6000 people through presentations and workshops.  
  • Over 1,100 professionals across education, youth justice, policing and the youth sector have joined our virtual learning cafes to hear more about what works to reduce violence.  
  • In March 2024 we held our first national conference about Engaging with Parents of Children at Risk of Violence, with our second in April focusing on the Youth Sector.  
  • Over 3,000 people across five communities in England and Wales have been involved in designing and running their own response to better keep local children safe from violence.  

Centering Youth Voice  

We have included, listened to and championed the lived experiences and voices of young people in our work.  

  • YEF’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB) won the Children and Youth Board of the year at our recruitment partner Diversifying’s Board Awards in 2023.  
  • Through our annual Children, Violence and Vulnerability (CVV) report, we’ve conducted and published the largest national survey on young people’s experiences of violence ever, with roughly 7,500 participants.  
  • We’ve delivered the largest youth-led research project on violence affecting children and young people ever, the Peer Action Collective (PAC).  
  • PAC has so far engaged over 6,000 young participants (a total which will increase to over 17,000 by early 2028) by working with 50+ partner organisations in 30+ locations across England and Wales.  

Prioritising Race Equity  

We have developed a robust and accountable process for achieving racial equity objectives, both internally at YEF and in terms of the work and organisations we fund.  

  • 28% of the organisations we have funded have leaders from racially-minoritised backgrounds and 35% of the young people taking part in YEF-funded programmes are from racially-minoritised backgrounds.  

Influencing Policy

Our work is having a widespread influence on how politicians, authorities and service leaders make decisions about how to prevent violence affecting young people. 

  • The Home Office now require all Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) to spend at least 30% of their funding on topics rated high or moderate in the YEF Toolkit.  The VRU spending for 2023/24 was £47,577,000.
  • As a result of this commitment, there are now more 20 police forces across England and Wales who are using the Toolkit to make better decisions about how to invest in interventions which prevent violence on the ground, including the scaling up of hot spots policing, based on YEF recommendations.  
  • We have been securing regular meetings with and commitments from ministers and shadow ministers in both major political parties who are increasingly citing YEF’s evidence as the basis of their policymaking plans as they prepare for a forthcoming General Election.