The Youth Opportunity and Capital Funds are providing young people with a voice and decision-making power leading to greater participation and an improvement in the quality of activities. This is the conclusion of an evaluation of the impact of the funds, which will run until 2011.
The funding was distributed to councils so that they can work with young people to improve the provision of positive activities and give them the power to decide how this funding should be spent in their area. Applications are made by young people to a panel of other young people who make decisions on whether applications are appropriate and should receive funding. The funds are open to all young people aged 13-19 and encouragement is given especially to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and the hard-to-reach.
The most common types of projects and activities to receive funding related to sports, arts, drama, day trips, residential and youth centre refurbishments.
Young people who took part have benefited from learning new skills associated with the specific project. Many had gained in self-confidence and, in some cases, this had led to further outcomes as they engaged in other opportunities or activities. Young people said they gained socially from making new friends and some said that their behaviour had improved since their involvement.
The research revealed that the experience council staff gained from involvement in the funds is expected to impact on their future approaches to allocating funding to youth provision, including the new programme of capital investment to improve facilities for young people. They planned to consult more with young people and to adapt their spending to reflect more closely what young people want.
The report is available from DCSF. http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/DCSF-RR046.pdf