How we work with the Involving Young People Collective

Esmée's Involving Young People Collective is a group of young people, connected by their drive for social change. Catherine Hillis, Esmée’s children and young people lead outlines how we’re working with the Collective to improve our practice and support for young people.

In March 2020, Esmée commissioned Hudl Youth Development Agency to help us think about how we could involve young people in our work through co-designing a model with young people. Read about why we started involving young people and our initial approach.

This work evolved into the Involving Young People Collective, a group of paid consultants who work with us across all aspects of Esmée’s work.

Learn more about the consultants in the Collective.

Development, Innovation and Communications

The Collective work with us on three key areas, with consultants leading three areas of activity:

  • Development: overseeing the recruitment, training and support for the consultants and the development of the Collective. This has included the research and writing of the Involving Young People Values, and the Collective’s work around impact and evaluation.
  • Innovation: helping challenge Esmée’s thinking on key issues, leading the staff team in Hackathons and innovation sprints on pressing issues such as diversity in the environment sector, investment strategy and participatory grant making.
  • Communications: leading communications work for the Collective, writing and creating content for Esmée, and helping us think about how we can better use our communications to reach and engage people on involving young people as well as improving funder practice.

Supporting the funding process and challenging how we fund

Early on in our work together, consultants would ‘shadow’ funding managers to help them better understand our funding process, including how we make decisions. This has developed into the consultants working closely with funding managers on the assessment of individual funding proposals – those where the work directly impacts young people, as well as work where consultants have expertise or an understanding of the issue. So, if you are applying to Esmée, you may meet some of the consultants in your assessment meetings!

As well as bringing their expertise, the consultants provide another perspective, and help us to reflect and check our assumptions. And this process has been really valuable in helping Esmée think about how we can improve our funding practice.

Get in touch

If you would like to find out more about the Collective and Esmée’s work with them, please contact: communications@esmeefairbairn.org.uk. Alternatively, you can also get in touch with Keji at Hudl Youth Development Agency who facilitates our work with the Involving Young People Collective.

Learn more

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