Young people take part in a Seaham beach clean-up

#iwill fund launches again for County Durham and Tees Valley.

County Durham Community Foundation is proud to be distributing the latest round of #iwill funding in County Durham and Tees Valley made possible thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund and DCMS. Please note, applications for County Durham are now closed. Applications for Tees Valley groups are open until January 4th 2023.

The foundation is using match funding to make almost £135,000 available in #iwill Fund grants for local youth social action projects, contributing to the £1.4m total for the programme nationally. Social action involves activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering and has huge potential to create enjoyable opportunities and skills development for young people, and in turn benefit the local people and places.

The #iwill movement brings together cross-sector organisations and young people who believe that all children and young people should have the chance to make a positive difference on the issues that affect their lives, their communities, and broader society. The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill movement and is made possible thanks to £66 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Grants of up to £10,000 are available for projects lasting up to a year for participants aged between 10 and 20 – or 25 for young people with a disability – focusing particularly on the 10-14 age range. The programme aims to fund both new and well-established groups, and to encourage young people who are new to social action.

Successful projects will be led, owned and shaped by young people’s needs, ideas and decision making, have a clear benefit to a community, cause or social problem and be accessible to all.

Dawdon Youth and Community Centre was funded in the last round, and young people chose to organise a huge beach litter pick, do first aid training and become summer mentors for younger children attending the centre’s summer activities. They also researched and organised their own Pride festival and wrote an LGBTQ+ handbook called Coming Out to support their peers.

Michelle Cooper, chief executive of County Durham Community Foundation, said: “It’s just so great to see these young people making a difference in their community, and putting their own ideas into practice in such a practical way. Young people have had a very tough time lately but it’s interesting to see how many are bouncing back by thinking of others, thinking about what they can contribute. They’re an example to us all.”