Transcript for Children and young people's rights Q&A

Power The Fight


  • Veda Harrison, Director of A Fairer Future and Creative, Confident Communities
  • Catherine Hillis, Funding Manager and Children and Young People Lead
  • Laura Lines, Funding Manager and Social Change Lead
  • Luna Dizon, Communications Manager

Welcome and introduction to Esmée's new A Fairer Future strategy

Veda Harrison

Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to this webinar on Esmée's A Fairer Future priority: Children and young people's rights.

I'm really pleased that so many of you could join us today and welcome to those people specifically who are a first time for this webinar. Many of you may have joined our last webinar on arts and creativity making change, and welcome to you as well.

So my name is Veda Harrison, I'm Director of A Fairer Future and Creative, Confident Communities at Esmée.

I'm here with my colleagues, Catherine Hillis and Laura Lines who will share more detail about our children young people's rights priority. And my colleagues, Luna, Charlotte and Annabelle are also on hand in the background to help with the Q&A when it starts later on.

For accessibility, we have Sammy, who will be providing a BSL interpretation and interpreting what is spoken live. We also have asked speakers to describe themselves and where they are.

So I am a Black woman with short Afro hair, wearing a black top and very jazzy earrings, and glasses. And I'm sat in my loft in southeast London looking out the window on quite a grey day.

Okay, so let's have a few housekeeping practicalities for the start. You're going to hear a lot from me at the start. And my role is really to set the context for the changes that we've made to A Fairer Future. I promise I will get you to the people like Catherine and Laura, who you really want to hear from so please bear with me.

As I said, Live captioning is available for this session. Luna has shared the link in the chat if you'd like to see the captions in a separate window. And you can also click the live description sorry, live transcript button at the bottom of this window to see them within zoom.

You can post any questions at any point during using the Q&A facility which you can find at the bottom of your screens, and encourage you to vote for questions submitted by another participant if you'd really like to see that one answered. And you can do this by clicking the thumbs up icon next to the question.

As I mentioned, we've also got Charlotte and Annabel typing responses to questions in the Q&A. We are expecting a lot of questions, of course. So we'll be prioritising ones that are up voted. Please note, if you have a very specific question related to your work, it might be better to email us or if you add it in the Q&A, we can get back to you personally afterwards.

And finally, we are recording the webinar. And we'll share it along with a transcript on our website in due course.

Okay, so about A Fairer Future, and that's why we're all here today. So before I begin, I just wanted to say thank you for your patience in bearing with us over the past year. We know it was a really difficult decision to close to applications, we recognise the impact it's had on the sector. But we felt it was really necessary in order to make the strategy much more clearer and much more focused.

So as many of you will be aware, in late 2020, we launched a new five year strategy focused on three strategic aims. And they were A Fairer Future, Creative, Confident Communities, and Our Natural World.

Now, just before I continue, I just wanted to make a really important point about the difference between Creative, Confident Communities and A Fairer Future because this is a question we do get asked about a lot.

We all know that the work that you're doing is located in a place and as you develop and deliver that work in that place. But the work that we want to support under A Fairer Future is that it has impact beyond any given geographic community, even though a lot of your evidence may be related to what's happening in that place.

Within Creative, Confident Communities, we want to support work that is place-based, and the community of that place is developing and leading the work. So if you want to know more about Creative, Confident Communities, please take a look at our website.

Okay, so let's have a look further at A Fairer Future. So, the three strategic aims launched in 2020 build on the work that we, Esmée, have already been supporting in a number of sectors for many, many years, with the purpose of moving towards more proactive work across the whole strategy.

Ultimately, we want to support work that is achieving long term sustainable change and enabling organisations to work towards that change.

However, given the scale of the challenges that we all face, particularly in light of the ongoing impact of Brexit, the current economic uncertainty and it's impact on everybody, as we continue to recover from the pandemic and in, ultimately, our ongoing organisational journey and work on anti-racism, it's become clear that A Fairer Future needed to work to clarify the long-term outcomes we're seeking, and the best way to support and serve organisations that are working towards these outcomes.

Over the past year, we've been reviewing and identifying where we want to target our support. So our five priority areas for the next five years, as you can see on the screen, are children young people's rights, arts and creativity making change, which was the subject of last week's webinar, and our three justice areas race, gender, and migration.

And these are the areas that we as a funder, want to support organisations that are developing new ideas, building solutions, working in partnerships and unusual collaborations, build on your expertise and practice to enable long-term change.

So while many of you will be focused on the priority areas to the right of the screen, it's also worth noting the change in how we're articulating our impact goals, as these clearly signal what is important to us, and how we want to work with you to achieve these outcomes.

They're more focused around improving systems, policy and practice, strengthening you and your organisation's capacity, as you're at the forefront of advocating for and delivering change, to your power to tackle systemic injustice, systemic justice, and inequity.

And finally supporting you to work together and build movements to tackle systemic injustice and inequity. And in all of this, we're really keen to support organisations that are led by the people that they are seeking to serve.

Another key aspect that I want to draw out is that A Fairer Future is designed to work across the intersections of the priorities. The strategy aims to take into account the different ways in which multiple systems of discrimination are embedded in individual's lives, communities, cultures, and institutions, and how they impact differently dependent upon each lived experience.

We recognise that much of your hard work does not just sit within a single priority. Because we know that injustice and inequity doesn't work like that - it isn't siloed, is not compartmentalising to meet boxes.

And this makes our focus our continued focus on diversity, equity and inclusion even more important. We've been bringing much more of a focus to this on how we identify how we assess and who we fund. But we recognise that we, in the funding sector, and the organisations which we seek to support need to prioritise this within our own practice.

As I finished my introduction, I just want to make a couple of points to highlight that things that are important to us as a funder. And we know that you in the work that you're doing are all too well aware of the issues that you're tackling and challenging can take an emotional, and in some cases spiritual toll on you.

As a funder, we are well aware that we're not just funding organisations, we're funding people to deliver this work and many of you have been battling uphill for a long time to see change in the sectors in which you work.

We want to know how we can better support you as you lead this work in your places and in your spaces and in your sectors. Because we want to continue to be a listening and learning funder, we're still developing our plans, and we're excited about working with you and in service to you as you address structural injustice and inequity in our society.

We also acknowledge that the work we're seeking to support can often be positioned as being highly politicised, which can make conversations and use of terms and definitions challenging. But by supporting this work, we want to provide an open and compassionate space for open and compassionate conversations, which we might not always get right or even have a solution for. But we recognise that.

We are aware, however, that there are many of you that have great work that you're seeking funding support for. And as with previous years, it's likely that we'll be oversubscribed and won't be able to meet all requests.

The team will have to make some tough decisions and using the new strategy, we're using a funding guidance to help us to guide those decisions.

So enough from me. I'm now going to hand over to my colleague Catherine Hillis, who will begin with an audio description for the audience. Over to you Catherine.

Children and young people's rights

Catherine Hillis

Thanks so much Veda and hello, everyone. I'm Catherine Hillis, I'm one of the funding managers at Esmée and I lead on our work with children and young people. I'm a white woman, I have very, very curly corkscrew curly hair. And I'm wearing a very fluffy white jumper. I'm sitting in Esmée's offices in Kings Cross, looking at very drab, grey sky, but delighted to be here with you all today.

So children young people's rights, this is one of the priorities under A Fairer Future. And why this priority? So for us at Esmée, we believe that if we are going to achieve A Fairer Future, we need to address inequality and injustice early. We need lasting changes to policy and practice that gets support to all children in the vital first years of life, and young people at important transition points in adolescence.

We have five long-term outcomes in this priority, which you can see in the funding guidance Luna has kindly pasted the link in the chat. And the four that I'm going to be talking us through this afternoon are our early years outcome, our preventative work around young people, legal support, and youth-led change. I'll then be handing over to my colleague, Laura, who will talk us through the fifth outcome, which is our leaving care learning programme.

Those of you who have applied to Esmée before will recognise these areas of focus, which aren't a wild departure from our previous strategy. But what we've tried to do in this iteration, very much in response to feedback, is be much more specific and transparent about what we're hoping to achieve through our funding.

And also what are our areas of interest. For example, we've supported organisations trying to reduce school exclusions for a long time. But we've not explicitly said that. So we want to be clear about what we will and won't support so organisations know whether it's worth investing the time in an application.

And although we're trying to be more specific, this doesn't mean that as Esmée's moving to do more project funding, we will continue, as our preference, to give core costs and unrestricted funding for organisations who are focused on achieving the same outcomes that we're working to.

So I'm going to take us through each of the outcomes in turn, but before I do, so, I just wanted to talk a little bit about how we make decisions in general.

So across all of our three aims at Esmée, we are looking for applications that do three things. We are looking to support organisations, that when they're trying to create change are leading the way either themselves or as part of a movement or collaboration.

We're also very interested as our strategy says, on unlocking change. And we know this isn't easy, but we want to fund work that is looking to drive change for the future by breaking new ground or by using tried and tested models to push things forward.

And we want work to support work that makes a lasting difference, that reaches beyond direct beneficiaries and those directly engaged, to try and influence policy, practice and behaviour.

As Veda has already said, Esmée receives many more applications than we're able to support. So it may be that your application is in one of our areas of interest and perhaps needs these three aims. But because of the volume of of applications that we receive, we need to prioritise. So we want to be clear about how we make these decisions and how we prioritise.

Particularly at this time when organisations are under so much pressure, as we know, and particularly uncertainty with ongoing impact of COVID and concerns about rising costs.

So when we're making decisions, we consider track record. So we'll be looking at the successes and the change, you've managed to create already on policy and on practice, and also what you've learned when things haven't worked. And in terms of track record, we are conscious that particularly historically, not everyone is offered a seat at the table in terms of policy discussions. So certainly, particularly organisations who are led by disabled people or led by those from racialised communities - we want to understand what your plans are for how you will create this change around policy and practice.

Connections. We're interested in how you're connected across the sector to create this change, and also how your work connects and complements all the work that we support. And if you want to find out more about that there's a link on our website so that you can find out what we already fund.

We're interested in the broader context, particularly in this moment, what are the opportunities and barriers for you to create the change that you're working on? Who your allies and your collaborators? And how will you use the levers that you see to influence change?

And we want to know what's the difference that our support can particularly make, what value could our funding and extra support add to your work.

The other thing that I want to mention which cuts across everything that we fund under children young people's rights is what we say in our guidance about wanting the views and voices of young people to be at the heart of the work that we support.

We know that there's a lot of buzzwords around youth voice and co-creation. And it's unhelpful for us as a funder to use those if we can't be specific about what we mean. So for us, we use the Involving Young People Values, which were researched and written by our brilliant Involving Young People's Collective, who are 10, young people paid to act as consultants to Esmée and they devise developed these values, and we use them both to help steer us as an organisation in how we involve young people and also to guide our decision making.

We're not expecting any organisation to tick off all of the values and certainly for ourselves at Esmée, we're very much on a learning path. But we thought it'd be helpful to to share these to try and help explain our thinking around co-production, and Luna, I think is currently going to drop a link to those in the chat if you'd like to have a look at those.

So now, I'm going to take us through each of the four outcomes. And say a little bit about what we're looking for in each area. When you apply to children young people's rights priority, you have to meet one of these outcomes.

You may meet more than one, but you'll see that they are relatively distinct. But maybe you may also meet other priorities in our strategy, perhaps racial, migration, or gender justice. Don't worry, if you meet more than one, we see that as a good thing. So just apply under the one that you feel is the best fit to and then if we take your application forward, we can discuss that.

I won't read out everything on each slide. This is taken from the funding guidance that you can access on our website, and Luna posted the link to, but I'll try and give a bit of a flavour to what we're looking for. And also talk through some case studies of work that we've funded before and try to explain why.

So in early years, we're particularly keen to support work that's trying to influence policy and practice. We know there are lots of incredible early years programmes out there. But we don't have the resource to support all the individual programmes unless it also focused on creating a shift beyond their own beneficiaries.

And we do recognise how hard it is to create change in this sector. But we're really looking for applications about the ambition and a clear plan of how they want to create change for those young children and families not currently getting the support that they need.

I've given three applications, three case studies here of work that we have supported. I'll talk you through why. The Parent-Infant Foundation who worked with specialist teams across the UK to support relationships between infants and their primary caregiver, particularly when emotional wellbeing and development is at risk. So we supported this because we were very interested in the work that they were doing to both influence national policy as well as local commissioning and the work that the organisation has done in developing 1001 Days movement to help build the influencing power of the sector.

We're supporting Coram Family and Childcare Trust to work with parents of disabled children and those with special educational needs to campaign for better access to child care. We're really interested in how FCT (Coram Family and Childcare Trust) was supporting parents to use their lived experience of where systems are failing to push for change, both in their local communities, and nationally.

Our partnership with the Sutton Trust has been trying to shift how early years settings in lower income areas can better support, early language development, testing place-based solutions for professional support and working with local and national policymakers to find pragmatic ways to spread these solutions.

In terms of our preventative work for young people. We want our funding to be able to help young people access support before crisis point.

Organisations that we fund under this outcome are working to build safe trusted relationships with young people, working alongside young people themselves to rethink and redesign how services can better support them, and also working to ensure these approaches can be embedded more widely in how and change how things are done.

We also recognise the stark disproportionality in statistics for young people excluded from school and in contact with youth justice services, particularly those from Black Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and those with special educational needs.

We're particularly interested in supporting organisations led by and for those communities. Luna, could have the next slide please, just as I go talk through the case studies. Brilliant. Thank you.

So the three case studies I've highlighted here are Power The Fight, a Black-led organisation working to improve how local services engaging people impacted or at risk of youth violence, aiming to build trust between services and community. We were particularly impressed by their vision of tackling the disconnect between policymakers and communities, and the practical impact of their programmes which deliver culturally sensitive approaches.

EYST (Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team) in Swansea worked with young people from racialised communities in Wales, and they've seen a sharp rise in the number of young people excluded from school. They're working to provide legal and practical support to young people and their families. As well as providing practical solutions to Welsh Government and schools to address issues earlier, we've been really impressed by their policy influencing, their connection to communities and partnerships to help deliver change.

The Alliance for Youth Justice brings together organisations working in the youth justice sector. We've been impressed by their effective policy lobbying, their interesting partnerships, and particularly their work with the youth justice advocates and people with lived experience of youth justice who are campaigning for fairer systems.

In terms of work around children's rights and legal support, we know far too many young people have their rights denied and we want them to be able to access specialised legal support, and for marginalised young people to be better protected under the law.

The three case studies I've highlighted here are Just for Kids Law, who provide specialist legal support, and campaign for change. We've been really impressed by how they engage young people with lived experience to help shape policy intervention and strategic litigation, and the changes they've managed to get enshrined in law as a result.

The Children's Legal Centre in Wales have been partnering with specialist organisations working with migrant young people, with Gypsy, Roma, Traveller communities and disabled children to provide specialist legal support. And we've been really impressed about how they've used these partnerships and partnerships across the sector in general to develop the practice of strategic litigation in Wales for the first time.

Child Law Network, currently hosted by Clan in Scotland is bringing together organisations across the four nations to ensure more young people can access specialist legal support, is promoting best practice and collaborating with others to influence policy and advanced reform.

The fourth outcome I'm going to talk about is that around youth-led change. So we believe those closest to the issues have the solutions. We fund organisations who support young people with experience of injustice to lead and secure change.

We partnered with Paul Hamlyn Foundation on the Act for Change Fund, which has really helped clarify our thinking and understanding in this area. And subsequently, we've worked with Chrisann Jarrett, a very experienced youth activist and leader alongside the Blagrave Trust to develop a theory of change around youth organising in the UK.

So if you're thinking about applying under this outcome and want to understand some of our thinking and the previous work that we've done, in the sector and around youth organising, we'll pop into the chat a link which will show you some of the resources that might help show a little bit more of our thinking.

The examples that I've given here are the 4Front Project, a member-led youth organisation empowering young people who have been impacted by violence to create change in their own lives, communities and society. We've been really impressed by how 4Front supported its members with leadership, advocacy and media skills in order to speak at the Houses of Parliament, international media about what needs to change and support for communities impacted by violence.

We Belong led by migrants is fighting to end the hostile environment around immigration and ensuring barriers preventing full integration for migrants removed. We've been incredibly impressed by how their youth organising models create change, not least in their major campaign victory around getting the home office to reduce the 10-year route to settlement to a shorter and more affordable five year route.

Reclaim in Manchester work to support and amplify the voices of working-class young people. We've been impressed by their campaigns to ensure organisations are capturing data on class and their work in Leigh around toxic masculinity. And their brilliant campaigns to put an end to politicians using violent and dehumanising language.

Northern Ireland Youth Forum is a youth-led organisation that lobbies, advocates and promotes for the rights of young people. We've been impressed by their tireless campaign for better political engagement of young people in decision making in Northern Ireland, and their work to deliver the youth manifesto for change.

So that's my overview of the four outcomes. I'm now going to hand over to Laura who is going to talk us through our leaving care work.

Laura Lines

Great. Thank you, Catherine. Hi everyone. My name is Laura Lines. I'm a funding manager and the lead for social change. I am a short white woman with brown eyes, dark, wavy hair with a fringe and I'm talking to you from my lounge, but I've blurred out the background, so there's nothing to see there.

I lead on our work ending the cliff edge of support for young people leaving care. And as many of you may know, this isn't a new area of work for us. We've been running a focused programme to support care leavers for the last five years.

For the first three years, the programme was open to applications. However, it is now a closed fund. And we do expect to make more grants in this area, it will be few and by exception for areas where we have identified gaps in the portfolio or respond to issues that our grant partners have identified.

So just to give you a bit about the programme, the objectives are to enable more care leavers to develop and sustain supportive relationships for them to have more say on what happens to them, and for the services they engage with to be consistent, of high quality and respond to the voices of young people, as well as evidence and good practice.

We have funded 37 organisations from across the UK. And it's a real mix of groups with different expertise and approaches. They include things such as relationship-based practice, working directly with local authorities to improve services and policy, or focusing on specific issues such as insecure immigration status or over representation in the criminal justice system. And within the cohort, there's a cluster of arts organisations using creativity to raise awareness, influence practice, as well as supporting young people to develop their own creativity and storytelling and prepare for creative careers.

Now, alongside the funding, we also operate a learning programme, which convenes all of the cohort to share learning and good practice, identify opportunities for us to take collective action together and work more closely with policymakers. The learning programme has been a real asset and a real strength to the to the work, enabling us to work more collaboratively, more closely with partners. And they've definitely given positive feedback that they've benefited from that.

As it's a closed fund, I won't go into more detail about the actual work. But if you're eager to understand more about it, I would point you to two insight reports. The first is Insights from our learning programme. And the second is Using most significant change to understand outcomes for young people leaving care. And I will hand back to Catherine and I think Luna is going to join us now to start the Q&A.

Q&A - questions are in bold

Luna Dizon

Hi, everyone, I'm Luna, I'm the Communications Manager at Esmée. I am a short woman with long black hair, and originally from Southeast Asia, and I am in our office in Kings Cross. Right. I think we will get started with questions if that's okay. And just as a reminder, I just want to say that we will share all the questions and the answers after the webinar along with the recording. So any questions that we don't get to, we'll answer them afterwards. And also the questions that I know my colleagues are typing responses to we'll also share those so you will have access to all of them.

Right, you've got a good first question to start with, from Priti. How are you evaluating if a project has made a lasting change? What are your parameters?

Catherine Hillis

Do you want me to start on this one Veda? And I'm sure you will have thoughts as well. I mean, Priti, this is such a brilliant question, because we were just discussing the other day in the office. Sometimes we talk about lasting change, it's impossible to know, isn't it until a decade afterwards.

And in fact, we had a bit of research published last year before from a project we funded 10 years ago that looked at the 10 year impact of that particular bit of work. And I guess that's the only way that you know, about lasting change, isn't it, unfortunately.

But yeah, I mean, what parameters do we use? I suppose when we talk about lasting change, what we're saying is, with the work that we fund, we want to be able to understand that it is creating change that is likely to run beyond the cost of the programme itself. So I guess what we're hoping for, giving you a few examples, is that an organisation that is trying to put in place changes to policy, or changes to the law that that will have an impact on and beyond the programme itself.

The example I gave before of We Belong, the change that they've managed to secure with the Home Office, so long as that that change isn't reversed, is hopefully a lasting change that will benefit many people over and beyond. I mean, I guess that's very much the gold standard about trying to get that shift in the law or enshrined in the long-term.

But certainly what we're hoping is that there will be a ripple effect from the work that we fund, and that will go beyond the direct impact of the work. It's interesting, so at Esmée, we've been trying to, through our learning work and our conversations with organisations that we fund to have conversations about the change that they've been able to achieve. And it is hard to measure this. And also, it's very hard to talk about causality, as you all know, because often organisations are working together to secure a particular bit of policy change.

But certainly, it's something that we reflect on with the organisations that we support about change. And certainly, if we take your application forward, through our assessment process, it's the sort of thing that the funding manager will be drilling into a little bit about talking about the sorts of longer term impacts that you've been able to have. Veda, you may well have better things to add.

Veda Harrison

No, Catherine, I think you you've covered all of it. And I think we know that, obviously, the organisations on the webinar will know that, you know, working with, doing work to impact the lives of children, young people is long-term, you know, seeing change over the long-term, and the changes in the lives of young people and their support networks and their families is what we're kind of aiming for.

So we're not expecting people to you know, you say that, in some cases, there'll be some very quick wins that you'll be able to demonstrate and share. But we do recognise that this is long-term work with this general intergenerational work. So it's about standing with you and supporting you as you get those changes in place for this generation and future generations as well. But nothing more to add. Thank you, Catherine.

Luna Dizon

Thanks, both. And we've got a couple of questions on how we prioritise applications. One from Geraldine on whether we prioritise applications that are from organisations that are based or working from certain regions or nations of the UK, and one from Sophie, on whether we would prioritise work undertaken by smaller charities over work being done by larger, national charities.

Veda Harrison

I'll take this one, if that's okay, colleagues. I think to the first question about prioritising work in different parts of the UK, we do know that as a funder, we're we are very London and SE (south east) weighted. And I think if you were to speak to most national funders, that's where we tend to see a lot of weighting in terms of who and where we fund. However, going back to the point, we are a UK funder, and it's interesting, we were having this conversation this very morning, about, you know, having a better understanding of as a UK funder, what's the data and insight that we have that we can access that helps us to understand which parts of the UK we are not funding in, and which parts of the UK there are organisations that we're not reaching, and that we'd love to hear from.

So we are very cognizant of the fact that we're London and south east weighted. We are a UK wide funder, and we will be reaching out and understanding better where those cold spots are. And that also includes our relationships with our devolved nations as well, because that's really important to us. Because we do recognise there'll be issues that are very specific to young people across the UK.

But as I said, in my introduction, we also recognise that the evidence that you're collecting may be very specific to that place to that city, to that region, to that neighbourhood to that ward. So we are looking to do much better in terms of our coverage of the UK and the examples that Catherine shared and some of the examples that Laura will know from the leaving care programme will reflect across the whole UK including our devolved nations as well.

In terms of the question around, sorry, it was around prioritising smaller charities over larger charities. What's really important for us is that the organisations that we support, as we said, are 'led by and for' and in a lot of cases, they tend to be smaller charities. We're really keen to make sure that there is space for organisations that are doing fantastic work that are bringing something unique into that work and supporting smaller charities in that respect is really important to us.

Not just charities either - CICs, CIOs other types of organisations that are constituted differently. We're challenging larger organisations when we talk about diversity, equity and inclusion. We're challenging much larger organisations to really assess and understand how are they as a large organisation that, you know, has the has the space and the power to leverage change is actually working in equal partnership with smaller organisations. Smaller organisations in some of the sectors in which we're working tend to be 'led by and for' people from racialised communities, from disabled people's organisations. What are larger organisations in that space doing to ensure that power is equally shared and how they're developing, and ensuring that those voices are able to allow them to be heard, that the partnership is equal, and the support for them is equal, because this is about creating a legacy of organisations and the work that we're doing.

So it's really important that we're not prioritising one over the other. But we recognise the mix of the work that we're doing in these sectors does require responsibility for some of the larger organisations to think about how they're working with smaller organisations, particularly those 'led by and for'.

Luna Dizon

Great, thank you. Next question, how much involvement do projects need to have with those with lived experience? Do you have levels of involvement in mind?

Catherine Hillis

I could kick that one off. In fact, I was just trying to drop into the chat and link on our website to where we talk about diversity, equity inclusion around classifying our data, because there is actually on that link, and apologies colleagues, I think I've sent it to all the panelists and not to everyone else, I can't figure out how to do that. But I'll talk if someone else is going to do that technical challenge. Thank you.

And we do talk I mean, as Veda was just mentioning, that we are interested in organisations 'led by and for' and in the link that we'll get to you, we talk about what that means to us practically, in terms of what we are expecting to see in terms of diversity of boards, and diversity of senior management team in order for an organisation for us to be considered, led by and for.

And that isn't something that we've done ourselves, that's work that we have contributed to as part of a funders collaboration on the DEI Data Standard. So do have a look at that, because the link to the actual DEI Data Standard has got some really useful work that has been done to explain what lived experience is to those groups. So the group of funders consulted with organisations led by disabled people, organisations led by those experiencing racial inequity, to come up with these definitions and what it means by lived experience.

For us, I think we recognise that lived experience that, you know, although we are doing this work to define it, we do take it on a case by case basis, in terms of the organisations that we work with, we will ask you to complete a very short survey link to the DEI Data Standard when you apply for us in terms of an Expression of Interest right at the very start. But if we are taking your application forward, we will have a discussion with you about what lived experience means to you within your organisation.

And certainly, just like with the work that we've done around involving young people, we don't want this to be a kind of tick box exercise of saying every organisation has to have this, this, this and this. You know, we think that's reductive. It's tokenistic. What we want to do is to have a conversation about the values and the ways of engagement and your approach towards co-production that sits behind your work. I hope that answers it. But please do come back in the Q&A if there's anything that needs clarifying or colleagues jump in, if there's anything to add.

Luna Dizon

Thanks. And I think the co-production with involving young people work is also worth a look at as well around that.

And so next question. Would you support pilot projects? Or do they have to show some past impact or learnings?

Catherine Hillis

Sorry, Luna, can just repeat the first part?

Luna Dizon

Would you support pilot projects? Or do they have to show past impact or learnings? I guess this is around the you know, when we're thinking about track record.

Catherine Hillis

Yeah, absolutely. We have funded pilot projects in the past, some of which have gone on to grow. For example, we supported The Difference that's working to reduce school exclusions and raise outcomes within alternative provision and we funded that when it was at the pilot stage - quite early days.

Generally If we're to support very brand new work, then we'll be having a discussion about how an organisation knows that that's the right thing to do, who they've consulted with, who they're partnering with, what the track record is of the team and the way they've worked before. So we do, but with the proviso that we're not, say for example, you know, Paul Hamlyn Foundation have the Ideas and Pioneers Fund, which is completely brand new startups, I guess, we're not settled in that way.

Generally, as you have seen in our guidance, we expect an organisation to have a certain level of turnover, £100,000. And that generally excludes very, very brand new work. But we do sometimes fund brand new things through a conduit if there's another organisation that they're working with. Or if it's an established organisation piloting a new approach or a new way of work. And certainly, if it meets all those criteria, I mentioned about the track record of the people involved, the consultation of those with lived experience of the issue, and their involvement, etcetera, then that is something that we would support.

Luna Dizon

Thank you. Next question is from Siobhan. The strategy says 'creating the right environment for systemic change'. Is there a central focus on the practical campaigning to make change happen? Or are you open to programmes or charities that build the wider skills and culture needed to enable young people to influence and lead change?

Catherine Hillis

Yeah, this is a really interesting one, because it came up a lot in the discussions that we've been having, at the end of the Act for Change Fund, about how do we grow youth organising, as a movement in the UK because obviously, the approach around youth organising is much more developed in other bits of the world - in the US, in South Africa, in some parts of Sub Saharan Africa.

And, you know, we have a lot to learn from those places where community organising and youth organising, is more developed. We are interested in work that kind of supports the right conditions for this. And we are likely to do some more proactive work in partnership with other funders around this. The theory of change that I mentioned earlier, which is on our Funding Youth Activism link, perhaps talks a bit more about this.

So in short, yes, we are interested in work that is about developing the right conditions as well as kind of specific programmes. And I think you'll see in our strategy as well, and Veda might want to say more about this reference to movements and organising and kind of building the right conditions for that kind of work, which we recognise we need across the board. And if there's anything you'd like to add,

Veda Harrison

Yeah, thank you, Catherine, that's really a really important question. Because when we look at some of the challenges that we're facing in society, and have faced, and some of the change that's been really profound and radical, it's been as a result of organisations and some individuals coming together and trying to plot a track to that change. And that's involved, kind of, you know, movement, building, understanding that kind of the nature of movements, the kind of the narrative of movements and the ecosystem of movements.

And we're really interested in this because we do see that a lot of the issues that we're seeking to support through the whole of our strategy, not just within A Fairer Future, but within Creative, Confident Communities, and Our Natural World, will involve movements of people, movements of communities, movements of identity organisations coming together to understand how they can best collectively, really kind of unlocking catalyse change, which is why we've put it as an impact goal, because we recognise that.

As we've seen, particularly in the last few years that the changes that we've seen has been a result of people working in very specific ways that have the features of working towards a movement. And as a funder, we have to think really carefully and helpfully - so how can we best support organisations and individuals who are working in organisations to actually move towards change because it's very easy to find something right at the apex when it's just about to kick off and we're all getting very, very excited about it.

But what we do know about movements is that there is a lifecycle of a movement and sometimes getting behind and sticking with, you know, organisations and movements when they're having really difficult problems, when there's been a backlash against the work that they're doing is perhaps the best time to really get behind them.

But also, as I said, in my introduction, an important aspect of that is movements are made up of people. And there's a lot of energy and emotion that goes into driving towards change. So we're looking to understand better and I think the work that Catherine has been leading with PHF on Act for Change has been a real eye opener as to how we, as a funder, alongside other funders can better understand where we are better placed when it comes to movement building and supporting those that are moving to using that as a mechanism for change. Thank you, Catherine.

Luna Dizon

I'm gonna move on to a question from David, because he got in there first, and he's been very patient. So this is a question about deaf children and young people who aren't able to get the appropriate qualified BSL support in classrooms. And their parents don't know how to fight for their own deaf children's rights to get appropriate qualified BSL support. Will this meet the funding criteria to employ deaf children and young people's rights advisor to train, support, and empower them to speak up, etc. This will help deaf children to get fair and equal access as their own hearing peers.

Catherine Hillis

Well, thanks for a great question, David. I think a couple of things here. We are acutely aware of the inequalities that deaf and disabled children can face. And we have funded quite a bit of work in this area and will continue to do so.

In terms of a specific funding application, I suppose, what we'd most be interested in supporting is work that is looking to try and change the issues that are in the system. So I can completely understand that part of that is the practice of ensuring that there are suitably qualified interpreters who are working within schools that are accessible to children, and also work that is trying to address the fact that why that isn't currently happening. We fund a number of organisations that are working around SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) rights, and we are very aware of the challenges that there are in the system at all levels.

And we know how hard it is to try and make change and that the current reforms on the table are perhaps not going to help create the change that I know a lot of the organisations that we support are really keen to see. So in in essence, are we open to applications that are trying to create better access and level the playing field for deaf children? Yes, absolutely. Where is our interest? Our interest is in work that is trying to create that change, I guess both practically, and to try and make that change at a policy and systemic level. I hope that answers but please do come back in the Q&A, if not.

Luna Dizon

Thank you. So next question: our young persons council are really looking to become more innovative in how they are leading on projects our partners host. How do we find success stories from Esmée to support some of their new ideas?

Catherine Hillis

Oh, interesting. So this, I suppose is success stories of organisations that have been able to create that change perhaps? Yeah, I mean, we do try and share success stories, I guess on our Twitter feed, actually, Luna is the best place to have a look. Some of the case studies that I've mentioned today are going to be written up and available on our website. On our Twitter feed, we try and push out success stories and wins and you know, great bits of work that organisations that we fund are doing.

Also we are, with a couple of other funders, part of a partnership hosted by the Blagrave Trust called the Listening Fund, which is very much about trying to push best practice in how young people's voices and views are embedded within organisations. And they've got on their hub, an amazing collection of research studies from the various phases of the Listening Fund work that their young advisors have funded recently around trying to create policy change. Hopefully, there's some examples there that are of interest.

And certainly, as we work more closely with our Involving Young People Collective, they've been doing a lot of research for us on issues like this, and where we do find good pieces of work and case studies, they've been doing quite few blogs for us and things that they found. So it's certainly something I can discuss with them about whether we can perhaps highlight some more of that work.

But if I misunderstood the question, please do do come back in the Q&A.

Luna Dizon

Thanks. So next question is from Amy: if we are a small 'by and for' charity, supporting girls and young women in the care system, who are predominantly Black, which stream should we apply under as we fall under children, young people, racial and gender justice?

Catherine Hillis

Brilliant, a great question, Amy. And, yeah, I mean, in some ways, I would say, just have a quick look at the descriptions of each of the priorities, feel which resonates most with you kind of almost instinctively and put the application in under that.

And then if we were able to get the application forwards, when we discuss it with you, we can talk through where we see the fits well.

But in some ways, that's our problem, not your problem. It's great that you tick a lot of boxes. And I think that, you know, that means that there's likely to be, you know, kind of synergy across a number of areas. So that's work that we can do a little bit internally. I think just put in, when you read it, what kind of gut feeling feels the best to you. But Laura, as that's a leaving care one, I don't know if there's anything you particularly wanted to highlight as well.

Laura Lines

Yeah, I mean, I was just going to say when you do apply and submit an Expression of Interest, you have the option to select a priority, and then some additional ones. So you can tick a few different areas. And then obviously, when we're looking at when we're making the initial assessment, in terms of I guess, if it's care experience, I mean, I feel like it's probably more likely to be in the children and young people one, then racial justice.

But again, this is for us to have that conversation once you apply. In terms of if it's working with young people leaving care, obviously, it is a closed fund. It's good to be aware of the work. So by all means pop us an email. But I think if it's actually people who are in the care system at the moment and influencing that change, then there might be some other areas under the children and young people's rights priority where it would fit in terms of disproportionality, and things like that. So I think have a look at the outcomes across the A Fairer Future strategy. And I guess, tick, which one you think you most strongly align with.

Luna Dizon

Right, thank you. And there's a good question here from Katie, well, lots of good questions! So next one, this one's for Veda I think. Veda talked about the emotional impact of this work on the people working to deliver the change we all want to see, especially for those with lived experience. And this is something that they feel acutely, that there isn't funding out there to provide the support required. Funders' outcomes are focused on outcomes for the people we want to create change for. Those you've discussed today are and rightly so. So I'm, the question is made. So I'm keen to understand how do you envision supporting the emotional well being of people delivering the work within the funding you offer?

Veda Harrison

Brilliant question, Katie. And I'd also like to call out, I think it's Sonia. Yes. Sonia asked us a similar question. So it's great that you both, great minds. Yes, for me, and for the organisation, and this is why I make reference to it, because I think that increasingly, and quite acutely, the heavy lifting for the work within the social justice realm is 99% done by those with that lived experience, but there isn't a recognition of the impact it has on them as individuals and also how the organisation functions as well.

So for an organisation that's doing this work, as part of your application, if you're flagging that as something, that's something that we are live to, and we understand. The other area that we have, in terms of funding is our Funding Plus that's available. And, you know, I remember having a conversation with Catherine, when we were looking at an application and we talked about, you know, the work that this organisation was doing, we talked about the fact that this person carried the burden of the work and the risk there are to that person in terms of burnout and leadership and understanding all of those things.

So we have mechanisms at our disposal to support organisations that are focusing in on this. We have insight reports, we have data, recognising that, you know, impacts on individuals within social justice can be really acute, particularly on some really intractable issues. So I would say talk to us because we haven't got a perfect solution for this.

It's just something that we want to better understand the ways in which we can support you as leaders within this sector as you're delivering this work, to help us to be able to share that with other organisations as well.

You know, Act Build Change also did a really good report on recognising this and calling on funders to better understand how funding this work isn't just about the outcomes of the people that you're focused on, but recognising the kind of individual leadership that's at the heart of the organisations that are on this. But you know, we're recognising it, and we're still kind of working out what we do. We do have some tools at our disposal. In terms of how we can better do this, but we're still learning in this space. So bear with us, but talk to us about it.

Laura Lines

Can I just come in on that, because we've done a couple of examples, I think, maybe not directly but through some of our collaborations and delegated grant making. So, in Migration Exchange, they did some scoping work and run a specific leadership programme, which focuses on kind of resilience and development and peer support for leaders who are refugee or have migrant backgrounds to support them. And I think, Funding Plus, we recently brought a cohort of organisations who work with people who are going through trauma linked to violence, migration, etc. And think about how what their organisations can be doing to protect their staff and keep them safe, and building those processes and setting boundaries. So there's pockets of work that we're doing around things to build our understanding and think about how we can build this into our ongoing processes. So yeah, very interested to hear people's ideas to this. And yeah, solutions.

Veda Harrison

Thanks, Laura.

Luna Dizon

Thanks. So I'm going to do the last two questions now. So we might run over by just a couple of minutes. Penultimate question from Owen: you mentioned wanting to continue to give core or unrestricted funds as well as project and restricted funds. To qualify does organisations' wider aims and articles need to meet the values and long-term goals of A Fairer Future. If we demonstrate this through your application process, does this mean the projects we already have funded, but without overhead costs, or core contributions, can be supported to grow evidence of impact and reach to aid advocacy/systems change through this funding? It's quite a long question. Sorry, were you able to understand that?

Catherine Hillis

I think so. But Owen might have to come back if I grabbed the wrong end of the stick with it. I mean, where an organisation is working towards similar outcomes that we are hoping to achieve. And obviously, when we look at that, we'll be looking at your current strategy, we're looking at your charitable objectives and constitution etc. But if we feel that you are working in the same area, as we are trying to create the change in then it may well be even if you apply to us for project funding, we may be able to give that funding as unrestricted core funding, which is our preference if we are able to do so.

And that's for charities, we can't give that to other nonprofits. But for charities, yes, we are able to do that. And then it is really up to you, whether you use it for overheads or particular projects or whatever, that's entirely up to you if that funding is unrestricted.

The way that we make sure that the work that you are delivering is on track for what we are hoping to achieve through our aims is through three outcomes. So you'll see on our website the various stages of an application process to Esmée but you put in an Expression of Interest. If we're able to take that forward and invite you to make a full proposal, at that stage we'll ask you to set three outcomes, which are the outcomes that you hope to achieve with our funding.

And that will be the way that we check in I guess that you are moving in the same direction as the aims that we're looking to achieve. So those three outcomes become what you report on us, we have a fairly light touch reporting system, an annual reporting system where you talk about progress against those three outcomes. And then at the end of a grant period, that's how we have the learning conversation - reflecting back on progress against those three outcomes.

But the funding will be unrestricted, and then that will be for you to use, as you see fit within the organisation. But we would be, I guess, monitoring how you've able to move on those outcomes. I hope that's what you're asking for. And please come back. If not, do email us afterwards. And we can pick this up on the questions afterwards.

Luna Dizon

Right. Final question: at what level are you looking for young people leading positive change and shaping decision making? Are you looking for impact on national policy and practice? Or is it enough that young people are developing the skills and learning for this at a local level, for example, within their youth group, and the learning from the organisation in supporting this is shared?

Catherine Hillis

It's a really interesting question, because currently, we fund both organisations supporting young people to create change at a national level, and those that are doing work to local levels. So say, for example, The Warren in Hull, we fund, who are working across a whole range of issues of social justice in Hull, and it's very much about creating change at that local level.

As you rightly say, what we're interested in is, well, I guess a number of things. I would say, one is that we're really interested for young people with experience of injustice to be supported to make that change. We're really interested for organisations to support young people's ongoing engagement. So rather than it just being a quick project, as it were, generally, the organisations that we've funded have been talking to young people, about how you create change, about power and privilege, about roots and levers for change. And have been trying to build a community of young people delivering that change, rather than looking at one specific issue. But yes, it doesn't have to be about national change. Sorry, that's probably a long way of saying that.

I can see Luna is looking at the clock, I'm going to mute myself and be quiet.

Luna Dizon

Thank you. And thank you, everyone. I'm gonna finish with Veda who's just going to wrap up and close the webinar. As I said in the chat, we will continue answering questions that we haven't got to, and we'll share everything in the next few days. So do check our website, but I'll probably send you an email with everything anyway. So, Veda, over to you.

Final thoughts

Veda Harrison

Yeah, just to say very, very quickly. Thank you on behalf of Esmée for coming today. Thank you for your fantastic questions. This is really important for us to understand how strategy lives and breathes in practice.

As I said at the beginning, you know, we don't have all the solutions on this, we've got the funding guidance, which will help you as you consider whether applying to Esmée is the right thing for you. And it also helps us to better understand when we assess you and we talk to you about what we're looking for and how we can best support you.

I'm really, we're really excited about getting going with this. So we look forward to hearing from you and any further questions that you have.

But thank you very much for today. And I wish you well for the rest of the day and into the evening. Thanks very much. And thank you to Catherine, to Sammi, to Laura, to Charlotte, to Annabelle, and of course to Luna, for putting the webinar together, answering questions, and leading on the BSL interpretation. Thank you very much. Bye bye.

Luna Dizon

Thanks, everyone. Bye.