Would you only fund organisations where there only or main activity falls within one of your priority areas? E.g. we are a charity supporting unpaid carers including young people who are carers - but this is not our only area of focus.
Not necessarily, first and foremost we would consider the potential for impact in the area or work where an org does fit with our strategy, but also look at the partnerships and leadership role an organisation has in a particular area, even if they deliver wider work.
We are a coaliation of over 250+ youth organisations fighting for policy and system change to improve children and young people's mental health. We are an organisation in our own right but also represent lots of other organisations and work directly with young people to bring about change. Is our kind of organisation one that you would be able to fund?
We encourage organisations to work collaboratively to achieve change and we have funded work that has taken this approach. We need to fund a lead organisation which meets our governance and financial requirements, but assuming this was in place we could consider funding an organisation to deliver work through a coalition.
Can a university lead a partnership bid? We have charitable aims and are managed by a board of governors.
Although it is rare that we fund universities, we could consider a partnership bid led by a university if the university met our governance requirements. We would certainly need the partnerships in questions to demonstrate a high level of equity and you would need be able to demonstrate why the university was the best placed organistaion to lead the work and/or the application.
Will you consider funding work which supports parents during pregnancy and in the early years to benefit the rights of their children (rather than supporting children directly)?
Yes, we could potentially consider this as we understand that parental health is key to childrens long term outcomes. As with all of our early years work, we would be seeking to support those facing the greatest challenges, for example, we have funded organisations such as Birth Companions and Birthrights who work with women experiencing disadvantage, and the Young Dads Collective.
I note that your funding policy does not fund clinical work including counselling and therapy - do you support any work with a mental health and or wellbeing focus - for example supporting young people with ASD/LD - including advocacy within schools to prevent disenagement etc.
We fund very little work in schools except in specific circumstances such as work contributing to our aim of reducing school exclusions. Work would need to be non-medical and contribute to wider policy and/or practice change, going beyond the work in that school more widely.
For programmes focused on benefiting 0-5 year olds, do you consider the parents to be the main people/partners contributing to the work and its design, given the age range of the main beneficiaries? How do you see it?
We recognise the key roles parents and caregivers play so yes, we would expect that, in many cases, parents would be integral in work we fund under this aim and anticipate close working with parents in lots of cases, along with professionals and practitioners.
The Learning Programme for the young people leaving care funding stream looks like a brilliant initiative - it's an ask that we are making of our funders to bring us together and enable us to learn from and connect with organisations doing similar work. Are you planning similar learning programmes for other priority areas?
Whilst we have no current plans for learning programmes for other priority areas at present, we do, on a much smaller and informal level, connect grant partners. And as part of our new strategy, we certainly hope to use our power to convene and share learning more, and regularly listen to ideas on what we could do.
Do you ever host networking - online or physical but mainly online - that can get organisations to meet each other and co-produce together? Especially smaller ones finding larger organisations or innovative with more established traditional types?
We have not done as much of this as we like, and our work connecting grantees for co-creation and networking tends to be done as and when a need or opportunity arises from our relationships with our grantee partners. We have limited capacity to facilitate larger physical or online networking and learning events, and tend to focus capacity for this on targeted areas of work, such as bring a cohort of grantees together to connect and share learning, such as our Young People Leaving Care Learning Programme. We will also support with individual requests as much as we can though if an organisation has an idea of the type of person or organisation they would benefit from being connected with.
For care leavers, there is an over-representation in the criminal justice system and under-representation in higher education, though accessing further education can be transformative. A project, revamped from a run pre-COVID, is being run in partnership with the local council working with care leavers on breaking down the barriers they face when accessing opportunity. The Learning Programme speaks to a portion of the project and would be beneficial to our delivery - if funding was granted, would the Learning Programme would accessible to our organisation as well?
Our Young People Leaving Care Learning Programme is at capacity at present, and although this does not mean that we will not fund work with care experienced young people outside of the programme under another long-term outcome, it means that in the event that you were awarded funded for the project you describe, we would not necessarily be able to also invite you to be a part of the programme. This is because we work with this cohort of partners more closely and on specific learning aims, and future invitation is likely to be by exception and where we and our grantee partners identify a specific gap in our collective experience and representation. However, we are committed to sharing the learning of the programme more widely and you can find the reports on our website.
Do you have Funding Plus support to support the organisations you fund to develop their approach to co-production?
Yes, we can consider this on a case by case basis for grantees but is not something we can guarantee.
About a quarter of people we work with are care leavers, but three quarters are not. We work with young people seeking asylum and who are unaccompanied. Could we be considered under the migrant justice stream, even though we work with some care leavers?
It sounds like your work could be a fit with our Migrant justice priority, and we expect and encourge crossover between our different priority areas. Apply under what feels most appropriate for your work and the change you are trying to make.
Is there overlap and understanding of the intersectional way that many organisations in the youth justice space operate?
We recognise that many organisations, in the youth justice space, indeed in many sectors, work across the intersections of injustices. Work that is primarily focused on the youth justice sector is most closely aligned to our ‘Children and young people’s rights’ priority, where we explicitly name the youth justice system as one that we hope to influence. But we recognise that organisations may well also be working to address racial justice, gender justice, migration justice within this, and indeed to tackle other issues, such as those facing neurodiverse and disabled young people. Please just apply under the priority that you feel resonates best with your work. There is the opportunity to state which other priorities you are addressing as ‘secondary priorities’ and we can have the discussion about this if we progress your application.
Given that gender equality is widely considered to be a right for children, my question is, would you consider a project a fit for the children and young people’s rights strand that tackles the limiting effects of gender stereotyping on children’s choices and aspirations? The charity I am fundraising for works to help schools and educators to challenge these stereotypes by providing the training and resources they need. Its approach integrates gender equality into the school curriculum, ethos and routines: equipping staff and pupils to recognise, discuss and challenge stereotypes and inequality.
We recognise that gender injustice impacts on children and young people but the project you describe might not be targeted enough for us to consider under our Children and young people's rights priority, where we have focused on the five quite specific long-term outcomes. It is also very rare that we fund work in schools and work focused on delivery of the curriculum. Work on influencing at policy level to feed into curriculum changes could potentially be something we might support but it is unlikely we would see general gender stereotype challenging work as a fit under our new, more focused priority. We would be more likely to consider (under our Gender justice priority) something more targeted, such as preventative work with those at greatest risk of exhibiting harmful behaviours to women and girls, and/or work focused on women and girls who face intersecting identities or experiences that put them at greater risk from gender-based harm. With this kind of work, we would also consider things like the scale and reach of the work and any learning that arises from it, as well as any evidence or research that could result from the work.
If young people define their community by having a shared interest / lived experience, which doesn't necessarily reflect thier local geographical community, either as they are few in number, or live in rural isolation - how does this fit with your criteria?
For work that we will consider funding under A Fairer Future, in the majority of cases, we will not consider geographical location to be a key factor in reaching our decisions, unless there are important local policy considerations that factor such as the way a local authority area responds to the needs of young people with additional needs for example. For A Fairer Future we consider 'communities' to be of shared identity, shared lived experienced of injustice or shared protected characteristics. For work supporting marginalised young people to lead positive change for instance, those young people do not need to live in the same geographical area but are likely to share similar lived experiences of injustice. The key considerations under A Fairer Future are less about geography and much more about how the work you are seeking funding for addresses one of the long-term outcomes.
You said that A Fairer Future was for work that can be applied anywhere and that Creative, Confident Communities, was for work based in a geographical community. Given that, which is the best fund for a digital and virtual community?
It depends on the change you are hoping to achieve. Are you looking to achieve change for a specific group of people facing particular barriers, or are you looking to change the way that a place works for wider geographical communities? The former would be a better fit for A Fairer Future and the latter with Creative, Confident Communities.
I am working on a project that feeds into policy change in schools, local authorities and at the Department for Education. Our project is working to address systemic and cultural change with children, teachers and senior leaders in schools, to enhance ‘inclusion’ with a focus on attainment and attendance (SEND and other intersections). Is this something that speaks to the A Fairer Future agenda?
We rarely fund work in schools, other than through our work to reduce school exclusions. We would not fund work focused on general inclusion, attendance and attainment. Where work has a highly focused and specific goal to influence better SEND policy at a national level or is work taking a strategic approach to tackling school exclusions (perhaps work which provides legal challenge and support with regards to SEND or exclusions) we may consider this but it is unlikely that work which falls within a package of more general work in schools would be a strong enough fit.
I know that your funding is limited to the UK - how would you respond to a project which looked at international policy which includes improving UK policy? And on the understanding that the funding was being used in the UK.
You are correct, we are only able to fund work which takes place in the UK. Whilst we recognise that for some work, the policy context often means that it is helpful to take an international perspective in order to be best informed to make change, our funding must be spent on UK-focused work and with impact and outcomes primarily felt for people and communities in the UK.
What does the application process look like?
There are six steps to applying for Esmée support. The first three include taking a quick quiz to check you meet our minimum eligibility criteria, reading our guidance to see if we would be a good fit as a funder for your work, and if you decide you want to apply, you can submit an Expression of Interest. Based on the information you've shared, as well as information on your website, we will assess whether to take your application further. We outline each of the six steps in more detail in our guidance.
How long will this funding round be open?
There is no deadline, this is an open programme.
I was going through the website and cannot immediately see an indication of how much groups can apply for and for how long (over how many years)?
We don't stipulate how much or for how long groups should seek funding for although our minimum grant amount is £30,000. In the first instance, we suggest that you ask for a balance of what you need to be able to deliver your impact goals and request an amount that is proportionate to the size and turnover of your organisation. The majority of groups we support are funded for 3-5 years but again this varies dependent on the aims and direction of your organisation, whether the work is pilot or tested, alongside other considerations. Should we decide to take your application further after you submit an Expression of Interest, this is something we will discuss to better understand your needs.
One of the questions in the eligibility questionnaire is around whether the work is primarily the responsibility of statutory authorities. How do you define statutory authority responsibility?
By 'responsibility of statutory authorities' we generally mean work that is the legal responsibility of local authorities to provide using public funds. For example, social services for children and older people - so things that are a statutory requirement for local authorities to provide.