Potentials Fund

We want to help create opportunities that get people helping others from an early age through our Potentials Fund

There’s been a surge in recent years in the number of young people doing ‘social action’ – activities that benefit others and create positive social change. Three-quarters of 16-24 year-olds say they want to do more.

What we will focus on

We want to tap into this trend and help create opportunities that get people helping others from an early age. Many of those who take part in social action regularly started when they were as young as 10.

We also know that sport attracts many young people and can provide a springboard to social action. Just over half of young people prefer sport to any other volunteering pastimes.

We’re keen to test bold new approaches to getting young people involved in social action that includes sport and physical activity – especially those who might not have been involved in sport before.

The Potentials Fund will focus on:

  • Young people who are potentially interested in doing more social action. Of those who are likely to do some form of social action in the next 12 months, more than three-quarters say they could be encouraged to do more.
  • 10-14 year-olds – evidence suggests that people who get involved in social action when they’re young are more likely to continue in later life. We’ll be looking for projects which connect with the lives and aspirations of 10- to 20-year-olds, but are particularly keen on projects which target the 10-14 age group
  • Young people who are at higher risk of developing mental well- being issues. We’re looking to use social action in sport as a way to support young people who are struggling with issues like bullying, social isolation, anxiety and low self-esteem. We are particularly looking to support projects which can deliver the greatest impact for young people, which is likely to be those facing multiple risk factors, such as living in a deprived community, minority groups and those with long-term health conditions or disabilities.

Principles of youth social action

If you’re interested in applying for the Potentials Fund, you’ll need to show that your project meets the six principles of youth social action:

  • Challenging – stretching and ambitious as well as enjoyable and enabling
  • Youth-led – led, owned and shaped by young people’s needs, ideas and decision-making
  • Socially impactful – having a clear intended benefit to a community, cause or social problem
  • Progressive – sustained, and providing links to other activities and opportunities
  • Embedded – accessible to all, and well integrated to existing pathways to become a habit for life
  • Reflective – recognising contributions as well as valuing critical reflection and learning.

Social action that follows these principles has a double benefit – to the young person who takes part, by developing their skills, character and life opportunities, and to the community, cause or social issue they give their time to.

Read more about youth social action at #iwill.