Funding policy is about building a brighter and happier future for young people; however, it requires long term commitment. Although the impacts can be hard to measure, policies have the potential to have a large and lasting impact. AIM has found that funding the roles in the policy departments of charities, results in those charities gaining influence in government policy and their funding priorities, therefore able to generate long term change.
Impetus works with their charity partners to give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the support they need to succeed. AIM has been a long-time funder of Impetus, and in recent years has focused its financial support towards research and policy. AIM believes that all children and young people deserve the best chance to succeed, whatever their background, and Impetus is committed to achieving that vision.
Impetus focuses on improving policy in education and employment for young people. They combine data from their research, with lessons learnt from their partner charities, to influence policy successfully. Impetus works on policy in education attainment, widening participation and youth unemployment. They have focussed on lobbying the need for apprenticeships. Apprenticeships offer on the job training and often aid young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to start careers.
Acknowledging that young people would be hit hardest by the impacts of COVID-19, AIM brought forward funding for Impetus that was ‘incredibly useful’. This funding has allowed the charity to plan with decision-makers to diminish the impact of COVID-19, both in education and youth unemployment. Impetus helped design the National Tutor Programme (NTP). They secured £350 million for the NTP exclusively for children eligible for free school meals. In response to the youth unemployment crisis, Impetus helped form the Youth Employment Group, focusing on lobbying the government to reduce job-loss and support for young people.
- Young Minds
Young Minds focuses on influencing policy about young people’s mental health and wellbeing. They have driven changes in mental health units in the NHS and in schools. Young Minds listens and actively involves Young Activists in its work, allowing them to understand what young people need the most. With mental health problems on the rise and support underfunded, AIM intends to help change policy to give young people the support they need. AIM has contributed to the salaries on the policy team at Young Minds, for the past three years, allowing them to make significant and continuous strides in influencing government and policy.
As a direct result from their campaigns, Young Minds has secured more mental health funding, so that 350,000 young people will receive support, and have secured fundamental changes to the education system giving mental wellbeing more priority. In addition, Young Minds have been instrumental in establishing a new law, to reduce the use of pain-inducing restraints on young people in NHS.
“What your support meant was we could really focus on our policy and influencing work that was never more critical than during this time.”
CEO of Young Minds
AIM’s COVID-19 response prevented any of Young Minds’ policy team being furloughed. In turn, this allowed Young Minds to start a new campaign aimed at reducing the impact of COVID-19 on young people’s mental health, called Beyond Tomorrow. Through this campaign, they secured an extra £4 million for mental health charities, a new cross-governmental task force, and increased support in schools and the community in order to provide earlier interventions that prevent the escalation of mental health issues.
MAC-UK works to develop and implement mental health services for excluded young people, using the input and guidance of young people. MAC-UK has recently started to influence other organisations to adopt their practices of employing young people with lived experience to help co-produce solutions. AIM has committed to three years of funding so MAC-UK can have a Public Health and Prevention team.
Over the past year, MAC-UK has shared their work with the British Psychological Society and the Standing Committee for Youth Justice. Mac-UK is committed to working with marginalised young people with lived experiences to help make a positive impact on other young people who are going through similar struggles. In particular, young people have co-designed services for victim support, and improvements to the Youth Criminal Justice System and mental health pathways.
The Children’s and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition has brought together leading charities to campaign jointly on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people for 10 years. CYPMHC has helped to ensure that there is a greater focus on mental health in Ofsted’s inspection framework, making schools focus on the mental health of their pupils.
CYMHC has recently launched a report with policy recommendations based on a large consultation with their 200 member organisations and views from a diverse group of young people. At AIM, we are currently reviewing our grant making decisions to be aligned with CYPMHC’s recommendations.
Mental health is the most significant health issue young people face. AIM looks to fund charities that have opportunities to leverage their effectiveness and spread their impact through replication or scaling their interventions that help prevent, reduce and minimise the impacts of mental health issues.
With 40 years of working with young people and their mental health, 42nd Street aims to provide accessible mental health services for all young people. They support young people with their emotional wellbeing and mental health-promoting choices and creativity. AIM has committed to funding the salary of a training coordinator for three years. They will develop, alongside young people, a training package to increase practitioners’ knowledge and awareness as well as how to de-escalate critical situations.
The training is delivered both online and face-to-face, to both young people and those who interact with them. Due to their long-standing digital training sessions, 42nd Street have not only been able to carry on training during the global pandemic but become digital front runners in doing so. AIM’s funding has allowed 42nd street to review and update training programmes, create new ones, including one that trains others on how to work with young people online, and evaluate and understand the impact of their training.
“Useful, interactive, real, enjoyed the mindfulness, good chatting to other parents, helpful suggestions.”
(Parent accessing exam stress workshop)
Papyrus aims to shatter the stigma around suicide and give young people and their communities the knowledge and skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour. Papyrus has identified that too many young people suffer in silence with mental health and suicidal thoughts. AIM has committed to fund the training of 2700 people in suicide prevention over the next three years so that more young people get the help they need.
Papyrus has targeted schools, colleges, local community groups, business organisations and other frontline third sector charities with their training. The training sessions have been called ‘Very worthwhile,’ and one youth worker added: “The training has given me an added confidence to ask [about] and prevent suicide.”
Guided by an advisory board of health care practitioners and teachers, Youthscape aims to help young people with their wellbeing. AIM has helped fund the Alumina programme, a live online service for young people to seek help with self-harm. The service helps young people to see what triggers their harming and learn how to avoid them. The programme also educates them on the dangers of self-harming and the underlying feelings that they have. The programme allows young people to remain anonymous, allowing them to talk more freely about their issues and concerns.
The programme has made many young people feel better about themselves and less alone, giving them the support to reduce their self-harming. Over the next few years, Youthscape aims to reach more young people and continue to support them online by replicating and scaling their interventions.
“Alumina has made me feel better about myself… and I know who I can get further support from. I have loads of coping strategies that are starting to help me see a better future.”
Award winning CALM’s goal is to prevent male suicide through frontline service provision and culture change. In response to rising demand for the use of technology and waiting times to access helpline workers, AIM has helped to fund an AI system that CALM is designing.
The AI will determine the urgency and nature of people’s queries. This leads to an increase in efficiency in handling requests for help and enabling those in a crisis to access lifesaving support more quickly. The AI will also be able to answer common and straightforward queries and direct people to other available services. CALM has predicted that this AI system will be able to respond to an additional 19,000 webchats in a year. Innovations like this can help reduce the unexpected burdens on helplines, like the rise in demand seen due to COVID-19.
Student Minds empowers students and members of the university community to look after their mental health, support others and create change. They aim to transform the state of student mental health so that students can thrive. AIM funded a pilot peer support workshops to support first-year students with the pressure of University.
AIM funds charities that provide direct help to those already struggling with mental health or in a difficult situation. AIM focus is on people living in Essex, as this is where AIM’s endowment funds were generated.
The Children’s Society
AIM continues to support the Children’s Society East. AIM has funded the role of a young carer support worker. This role provides one-to-one and group sessions, organising and supporting family activities and developing self-care resource to support hidden young carers. Hidden young carers have the weight of extra responsibilities, such as caring for family members due to parental mental illnesses or substance dependency. In response to COVID-19, AIM funded extra training for the staff to conduct online sessions including the tools they can use and to provide additional support for the staff during this challenging time.