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Young researchers come together in Liverpool to learn how to make change and end violence

  • The Peer Action Collective (PAC) is a ground-breaking network led by 120 peer researchers and 1,500 Changemakers, who have reached over 4,500 other young people through their research.
  • Young researchers have come together at an event held in Liverpool to share what they’ve learned so far about violence – and about what needs to change to make their communities fairer places.
  • A full report will be launched in March 2023.

Today, Peer Action Collective (PAC) members from all over the country are coming together in Liverpool, to share research about young people’s experiences of violence – and what they’re doing to make their communities safer, fairer places.

Through a ground-breaking new youth-led network, which is funded by the Youth Endowment Fund, the #iwill Fund (a joint investment between The National Lottery Community Fund and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and Co-op, over 120 peer researchers have listened to young people, recording their experiences of violence. They’re coming together to share what they’ve learned so far.

But that PAC aren’t just here to understand the problem – they’re here to make change. Together, they’ve been using their research to lead social action in their communities. They’ve been working with the local Police and Crime Commissioners, schools and local authorities to bring about the change. From working to improve police-youth relations, setting up a youth centre or campaigning for changes in the education system – the PAC has been creating opportunities for young people to make their community a safer, fairer place. 

They’ll be joined by adults who have the power to help them, by listening to them and acting on what they’ve got to say. Today’s a day to celebrate everything the young people have achieved and make sure that young people are supported to create safer, fairer communities.

Victor Agbontean, a Peer Researcher from Birmingham, said: Being a PAC peer researcher was an incredibly rewarding experience that allowed me to pursue my interest in research and passion to tackle social inequalities.  As I was interviewing young people, one thing that stuck with me was their concern of not having the chance to express how they feel about topics like youth violence. Not having someone to listen to their worries and concerns, it exposed the reality of some young people not being able to have a voice.

I look forward to meeting other likeminded people at the conference and celebrate the achievements of the young people that spent the last year working on this project. I hope to learn from the other peer researchers from all over the country, to not just be a better researcher but also a better representative for young people.”

Peter Babudu, Director of Impact at the Youth Endowment Fund said: “The Youth Endowment Fund is here to find out what works to keep children safe from violence. We know that, without the voices of young people, we won’t be able to do that.

PAC has given a platform to young people across the country who want to see change in their community. We’re delighted that more than 5,000 young people have taken part in PAC and that young people have made change happen in their community, from working with young offenders in Yorkshire and Norwich, to powerful campaigning activity from London, to Middlesbrough, to influencing violence reduction strategies in Merseyside and Wales”

Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Shared Value at the Co-op said: “All too often, young people’s voices aren’t heard, and this has to change. But change won’t happen if young people aren’t at the heart of it.

That’s why Co-op is hugely proud of the achievements of PAC, empowering young people to not only embrace an innovative way of researching, but giving them the chance to take the lead, shaping the solutions they want to see to create a safer, fairer world for not only themselves, but for future generations.

“Thank you to our members who enable this work through shopping with Co-op.”

Phil Chamberlain, England Director of Strategy, Partnerships and Engagement at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The work of the #iwill Fund has had an incredible impact on young people, supporting them to speak up and have their voices heard about the things that matter most to them.

By placing young people at the forefront of this initiative we are providing them with a platform to share their experiences to help inspire positive, lasting change in their communities. The National Lottery Community Fund is committed to youth voice and the Peer Action Collective is enabling us to build on our ongoing work with young people to further understand and inform how to best support them now and in the future.”

To find out more about the project, visit the Peer Action Collective website.

To find out more about Co-op’s work with young people, please visit their website.

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Find out more about the young people involved in PAC

PAC | Peer Action Collective | Shamza Butt Peer Researcher Bradford – YouTube 

PAC | Peer Action Collective | Kevin Edegbe Peer Researcher Shielfield – YouTube 

PAC | Peer Action Collective | Shamza Butt, Kevin & Pavan Sembi – YouTube 

If you want to download the video, please use the Vimeo links 

Shamza – Final ( 

Kevin – Final ( 

Bradford – Final ( 

For media interviews, please contact, Sarah Fitton ( / 07702 506 126) and Mark Carrington ( / 07890 384 471) 

About the Youth Endowment Fund   

  • The Youth Endowment Fund is an independent charitable trust. It was founded with a £200 million Home Office endowment by Impetus, a charity focused on transforming the lives of disadvantaged young people.   

Contact us

Matt Shaw, Senior Communications Manager at the Youth Endowment Fund:; 07414 405031.   

About the #iwill Fund    

 The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £66 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.  

The #iwill Fund brings together a group of organisations who all contribute funding to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people.  

The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill movement- to make involvement in social action a part of life for young people, by recognising the benefit for both young people and their communities.  

By bringing together funders from across different sectors and by making sure that young people have a say in where the funding goes – the #iwill Fund is taking a collaborative approach.   

About the #iwill movement  

The #iwill movement is a collaboration of over 1,000 organisations and 300 young #iwill Ambassadors from across the UK. They are united by a shared belief that all children and young people should be supported and empowered to make a positive difference on the issues that affect their lives, their communities, and broader society.  

#iwill was launched in November 2013 after an independent review into how different sectors could help more young people to make a positive difference.   

The #iwill movement is supported by an independent coordination hub, hosted by Volunteering Matters & UK Youth.  

Take the lead by signing up to the Power of Youth Charter at or follow us @iwill_movement on twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.  

About The National Lottery Community Fund  

We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we support people and communities to prosper and thrive.

We’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with Government to distribute vital grants and funding from key Government programmes and initiatives.

Our funding has a positive impact and makes a difference to people’s lives. We support projects focused on things that matter, including economic prosperity, employment, young people, mental health, loneliness and helping the UK reach net zero by 2050.

Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.  

National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £43 billion has been raised for good causes. National Lottery funding has been used to support over 635,000 projects – 255 projects per postcode area.


  Contact us:  

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

  • General enquiries
    • 020 7211 6000
  • Press Office
    • Media enquiries (journalists only) 020 7211 2210
    • Out of hours telephone pager 07699 751 153.

About Co-op   

The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance, legal services and health. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates 2,500 food stores, over 800 funeral homes and provides products to over 5,100 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited.  

Employing over 62,000 people, the Co-op has an annual turnover of £11.5 billion. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Co-op is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes. The Co-op exists to meet members’ needs and stand up for the things they believe in.