A new approach to distributing funding is being pioneered by Youth Moves.

Where traditionally resources and grants are allocated to organisations and young people by adults, we are turning that on its head. 

A pilot scheme in Knowle West, is being rolled out in other parts of the city.

We have teamed up with Mutual Gain, to offer opportunities for young people to be involved in decision making in the city. Often young people can get overlooked in who decides where funding goes, so we felt it was important to put them front and centre.

A series of local events run by young people inviting the wider community to engage have taken place in South Bristol. Youth Moves apprentice Macey LeFevre, who grew up on the local Knowle West estate, was involved in the organising of the first event. It’s never easy engaging with young people at events like this, so how did they do it? Macey explained: “I didn't think that many young people were going to turn out. I thought it was going to be full of older people.

We made sure we promoted it well and gave an incentive of £10 for anyone to turn up,” she added.

Some of the skills needed to run an event are stretching for some young people, having to step outside their comfort zone. Macey was having to ask questions on the microphone, “I was nervous at first, but then it just came to me. I became more confident throughout. I was facilitating groups and standing up speaking to all of them. 

Eventually lots of young people were asking questions, and it was good to see," she added.

 Flyer for the Mutual Gain event at Filwood Community Centre in Knowle West

Youth Worker Levi Hodge, who has come through the project as a young person himself, sees this new approach as central to not just empowering young people, but changing negative perceptions of them. He said: “I think it's good to do things like this in the community. It's young people centred, as you aren't always seeing young people in a positive light. So, adults in the community are now seeing that young people can do that sort of stuff, and that’s changing perceptions of how they are seen in the wider community, which is good.”

“Its also challenged some adults that have perhaps been used to making all the decisions, so to see us step up is something interesting for them to see too," he added.

The initial meeting at the New World Café in Knowle West saw about 50 people, with a good 80% of them being young people – which for an event focused on local decision making is unheard of and Macey is proud of that.

She said: “We Don't always get a brilliant reputation as young people, particularly in this area. To step out on a Saturday afternoon, it shows we have things to say, we want to be involved.

And a lot of young people do get stereotyped, as when an older person sees a young person be bad. They assume every young person is bad, but not every young person is.

So you see potential in a lot of them. And it was great to see older people from the local area listening to what they were saying.”

Young people at the Mutual Gian event at Filwood Community Centre in Knowle West

The project has £18,000 of funding to distribute, with projects being able to apply for up to £2500. These were for projects with a particular focus on activities and facilities that are related to improving people’s mental health and wellbeing.

The applications are open soon, so get in touch with us if you or another party are interested.

Initiatives like this that empower young people into making decisions like this in their communities, will help us start bridging the gap in Bristol.