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Youth Endowment Fund to support grassroots organisations to take part in research to find out what works to keep children safe from violence

Today, the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) has announced how they’ll support smaller organisations to take part in large research projects, giving grassroots organisations the chance to work with leading evaluators and demonstrate what works to prevent children and young people from becoming involved in violence. To do that, the £200 million fund will invest in two innovative new evaluations, working exclusively with smaller organisations.

We know that lots of these organisations are often deeply rooted in their communities, with lots of knowledge and experience in supporting children and young people in their area. But they often don’t get to benefit from taking part in some of the most robust types of research (like randomised control trials). That’s because these types of evaluations only work when there are lots of children and young people taking part in a project.

The YEF’s funding will support groups of smaller organisations who are delivering the same activities to run something called a multi-site trial. Funding will focus on two approaches that are commonly used by grassroots organisations – hospital navigators (who help people who have been the victims of a violent assault to access additional support) and mentoring (where relationships are built to support a mentee to achieve their goals) – testing to see how multi-site trials can help us to understand how these common practices make a difference to the children and young people taking part.

The YEF is here to work with everyone who has a role in keeping children and young people safe from violence – from large public sector bodies to grassroots, volunteer-led groups. Without working with this broad range of people and organisations, they won’t be able to achieve their mission to find out what works to prevent children and young people becoming involved in violence and building a movement to put that into practice. And this funding will help them do that, by working with smaller organisations to test an innovative approach to evaluating their impact.

Multi-site trial 1: Hospital navigators

Lead project partner: Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit

Evaluators: The Behavioural Insights Team and University of Hull

YEF funding for feasibility stage: £158,210

Hospital navigators use the ‘teachable moment’ of hospital attendance for violent injury to engage people at risk of further involvement in violence. The nature of support offered is tailored to the individual, but typically involves community-based pastoral and social support, and signposting towards relevant support services. Though the approach has been widely adopted, evidence on hospital-based interventions in the UK is limited.

Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit have commissioned voluntary sector organisations to deliver navigator interventions across five hospitals[1] over 18 months. The YEF is supporting the project by providing additional co-funding to support delivery and has commissioned a multi-site trial across the five hospitals. The evaluation aims to estimate the intervention’s impact on violence and help fill the gaps in understanding on whether it’s effective, particularly for children and young people.

Multi-site trial 2: Mentoring

Evaluators: Centre for Evidence and ImplementationThe Centre for Youth Impact and Bryson Purdon Social Research

YEF funding for feasibility stage: £561,496 

Mentoring matches children and young people with mentors who provide guidance and support. It’s a widespread practice, commonly delivered by small organisations. The YEF’s Toolkit shows that mentoring is likely to have a moderate impact on reducing violent crime. But there is little high-quality UK evidence, especially on delivery by grassroots organisations or on specific practices.

The YEF funding will initially see around 10 small organisations that deliver mentoring recruited to take part in a feasibility study of the multi-site RCT[2]. This will inform the roll-out of a subsequent pilot RCT evaluation involving up to 20 small organisations, delivering mentoring to approximately 1,000 children and young people over the course of a year.

Smaller organisations have an important role to play in keeping children and young people safe, but they often haven’t been given the support they need to take part in large-scale evaluations.

Through this funding, we want to learn about how we could run innovative and reliable large-scale evaluations with lots of smaller organisations, all delivering common activities. That way, we can make sure we’re building a broad picture of what works to prevent children and young people from becoming involved in violence, which will help us advocate for the things that make the biggest difference.

Dr Daniel Acquah, Assistant Director of Evaluation, Youth Endowment Fund

[1] Please see Notes to Editors for participating hospitals and navigator delivery partners.

[2] Please see the EIF’s ‘10 steps to evaluation success’ for further information on different types of evaluations, available here.

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

For media interviews, please contact: Matt Shaw, Senior Communications Manager at the Youth Endowment Fund on: ; 07414 405031. 

Table 1. Navigator hospitals and delivery partners

 HospitalNavigator delivery organisation
1Milton Keynes Hospital (Milton Keynes University Hospital)YMCA
2The Horton, Banbury, Oxon (Oxford University Hospitals)Connection Support
3The Royal Berkshire Hospital (Berkshire including West Berkshire NHS Trust)Starting Point
4The Stoke Mandeville Hospital (Buckinghamshire NHS Trust)7Roadlight
5Wexham Park Hospital  (Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust)Aik Saath -Together as One

About us

  • 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.