Involving young people in assessing funding applications

November 23, 2023 by No Comments | Category Children & young people

The Children’s Rights Unit have recently commissioned 8 new projects through their Innovation Fund and young people have been involved from the start!

The fund was established to provide financial support for testing and implementing creative approaches to embedding children’s rights in public bodies. This blog focuses on how children and young people were involved in the application process and spotlights one of the successful projects.

The Youth Panel

We wanted to ensure young people were involved in the selection process. To do so, we worked with the youth work organisation, Youth Scotland, and the grant-making charity, Corra.

It was the responsibility of the panel of children and young people to identify a final short-list of around 15 applications totalling up to a maximum of £650,000. The panel  then recommended these applications to the Scottish Government for a final decision. The panel focused on the impact the proposed project would have on the public body who was applying and how children’s rights would be better recognised, delivered or furthered as a result. This is how it worked:

  • we received 33 applications, Corra then undertook initial checks to assess the applications
  • the Corra team then shared those that they considered high quality. Each application had an assessment report which was easy-to-read, impartial, and contained videos from the applicants. This was important to ensure the young people were able to engage with the information in a format that was accessible to them
  • ahead of an intensive two-day panel meeting, Youth Scotland facilitators supported the young people through a short introductory session which refreshed principles of grant making, explored children’s rights and built relationships among the group
  • then, over a very intensive two days, the facilitators supported the panel to gain an understanding of the Fund’s aims and supported them to agree a decision-making process to use in their group’s selection, which included how they would work as a group to review the applications and how to score or rate them. This gave complete ownership over the process – a very important component when designing participation with young people
  • the intensive days were supported by Corra staff who took notes during the panel meeting, confirming the final recommendations and relevant comments on each application with the panellists at the end of the meeting. This ensured an initial feedback loop was closed as the feedback had been checked by the group
  • these recommendations were then incorporated into a report and presented to the Scottish Government for the final decisions to be made
  • Scottish Government senior decision-makers then selected the successful applications from the final short-list agreed on by the panel
  • finally, the Children’s Rights Unit prepared a short response to the panel that reflected on their final choice of awards, so that the panellists understood the final decisions that had been taken. This closed the feedback loop and ensured the young people understood how their voice had influenced the decision making process

One of the successful applicants was the Youth Family and Community Learning (YFCL) Pathfinders in South Lanarkshire.  We will revisit them at the end of their project to learn how they got on but let’s find our more what they are aiming to do.

Pathfinders projects: case study

Youth Family and Community Learning (YFCL) is an alternative intervention initiative that works to improve outcomes for young people living on the edges of care and their families, addressing causes of instability in both the educational and personal environments of the young people they support.

Through the Innovation funding the YFCL Pathfinders will empower young people by creating a South Lanarkshire wide Pathfinders constituted group, giving young people on the edges of care and the extensive number of peers they represent across seven high schools a platform for their voices to be heard.

They will upskill young people by facilitating a Pathfinders personal development programme, nurturing the skills and talents needed to represent peers across the authority while gaining an understanding of their rights.

Young people will grow their skills and confidence through a development programme.  Consultation events, designed and led by young people, will be held in local high schools, to gather information from other young people.  This information will provide evidence for the change needed to best support those on the edges of care, ensuring their rights are fulfilled.

The young leaders will be key partners at the center of the decision-making process throughout, shaping programme delivery and content delivered. The programme will culminate with a young person led conference for key partners, where the young leaders will represent the views of their peers, sharing their life experiences, barriers faced, and support needed to fulfil their rights, shaping future policy and provision.

Based on the evidence gathered from young people, they will implement system wide change, laying the foundation for a circular, sustainable platform to ensure the rights of the child are being met while giving young people the opportunity to have a direct influence on the decisions that affect them.

We will follow-up on this project and share learning through another blog in 2024. If you would like to know more now, please contact the team.

Read more blogs on children’s rights and participation.


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