Schools across the country are doing their best to respond to issues outside their gates, as we see more teenagers being drawn in to crime and violence.

According to the latest government figures, the number of convictions among 10-17 year olds has gone up by over 50 percent between 2014 and 2018.

Understandably, schools are struggling to find the time and resources to respond as effectively as they would like. An injection of funding to support interventions, accompanied by rigorous evaluation to find out what is working and what they should do more of, could make all the difference.

As part of the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, the Home Office has set up the Youth Endowment Fund with £200m available over the next 10 years to fund and test interventions aimed at preventing young people from being drawn into crime and violence.

Run by youth charity Impetus, in partnership with the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) and Social Investment Business (SIB), the Youth Endowment Fund will support interventions and community partnerships working with children at risk of being drawn into crime and violence, and build up our knowledge of what works to prevent that.

Youth offending is a complex and deep-rooted issue that requires early intervention if we are to positively impact the lives of young people. The Fund’s first grant round is an open call, because we want to hear about what is happening in England and Wales with young people aged 10-14 who are at risk of being drawn into crime and violence. We want to engage with as many organisations as possible to learn about what kind of interventions have a positive effect. This includes learning from schools.

Whether schools are investing in an inclusion unit to keep children with behavioural issues in school, or working to build character and emotional resilience, there is invaluable work happening within the school gates.

Much of this work happens at the initiative of teachers and school leaders, often in partnership with the third sector and other agencies such as the police and councils. Teachers know which children are vulnerable, but they tell us that there is a lack of support for the children that they are worried about. The Youth Endowment Fund provides an opportunity to plug this gap by putting in place new evidenced-based interventions designed to meet the needs of these children.

We want to know what schools and their partners are doing and help them evaluate their impact. We will then share this practice with school leaders so that schools and those who work with young people can be more assured that what they’re doing is effective.

Applicants to the first grant round, which is open for applications until 23 July, can apply for up to two years of funding, and although there is no upper limit, they must be in a position to use the first £100,000 of funding within the first six months of the grant (October 2019 – March 2020).

Successful grant applicants must:

  • primarily target young people aged 10-14 years old
  • be operating in England and / or Wales
  • be working to prevent young people’s involvement in crime and violence, or the risk factors associated with these outcomes
  • have a clear theory of change which explains how their intervention achieves this outcome
  • be willing to be independently evaluated
  • be willing to share learning to benefit others in the sector
  • be planning to deliver their intervention for at least 12 months
  • have the capacity to absorb the funding quickly.

We encourage schools to find out more about our open call grant round and to get in touch at www.sibgroup.org.uk/youth-endowment-fund if they are considering applying. Schools can’t do it alone, and we can’t do it without them.