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Young Citizens receives Co-op funding for youth-led projects in coastal communities

Young Citizens will build on its recent success with youth-led community action thanks to extra funding from the Co-op Foundation’s #iwill Fund.

The grant will allow us to embed Bring About Change (our newest social action programme for young people aged 11+) and our long-running primary programme the Make a Difference Challenge within two deprived coastal communities in 2023.

Register your interest now.


About the programme

Working with a wide range of local organisations in Torbay in the South West and along the Lincolnshire coast from Mablethorpe to Skegness, the project will support children, young people, and their educators to identify and tackle community-space issues.

They will particularly focus on problems related to living by the sea. Projects could include beach cleaning, improving access to youth facilities, educating tourists on the risks of litter for marine life, and campaigning to reduce the amount of plastic used by local businesses.

Stella Baynes, Social Action Programme Manager, said: “Coastal communities have some of the poorest health outcomes and life chances in England, partly due to poor educational attainment and diminishing employment opportunities. By working intensely in these areas we hope to raise the aspirations of a large number of young people living there, equipping them with life skills, instilling a sense of belonging and granting them ownership of their community spaces.”

In Lincolnshire, Young Citizens will work closely with the YMCA, which delivered a successful pilot of the Bring About Change programme earlier in 2022. In Mablethorpe a group of young people aged 16-18 created murals to enhance sea walls, litter picked, and created a video for children about the dangers of litter on marine life. Watch a video about their project.

Georgina, Deputy Youth Services Manager at YMCA Lincolnshire said: “We’re really excited to be working with Young Citizens on this project. Young people in coastal communities face unique challenges: living in a neighbourhood that changes with the seasons; coping with an aging population; a lack of job and education opportunities. Many young people feel frustrated, that their needs are overlooked and that they aren’t heard. Giving them the skills and confidence to influence decisions about the place they live in is an important step to helping them feel ‘this is where I belong’.”


Get involved

If you’re a school or organisation working with children or young people in either Torbay or along the Lincolnshire coast (Mablethorpe to Skegness) we’d love for you to get involved. Complete this form and we will be in touch with more details.

The project will begin with a free local twilight session for all participating educators. See dates below:

  • Lincolnshire – Wed 22nd March, 4-7pm
  • Torbay – 26th April

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About The Co-op Foundation

This work has been made possible thanks to Co-op Foundation’s £5 million #iwill Fund. This is a partnership between Co-op Foundation, the National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to help young people get involved in social action activities, like fundraising or volunteering.

The Co-op Foundation has been awarding grants from its #iwill Fund since 2018. Its flexible funding is helping to build fairer and more co-operative communities to deliver on Co-op’s vision ‘Co-operating for a Fairer World’.

Nick Crofts, CEO of the Co-op Foundation, said:  “Our partnership with the #iwill Fund over the past four years has shown the positive impact of youth social action, which has the triple benefit of helping the young person taking part alongside their peers and the wider community. We’re delighted to be extending #iwill funding so more young people can be empowered to make a difference.”

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