In 2021, we used an Islington Council Community Chest grant to establish a small grants programme, Islington Ignite, for which we distributed up to £300 to young people for a range of creative, entrepreneurial and educational activities. We worked with the five members of our Youth Board to design the application process, and make the final decisions on who would receive funding.
We had an open call for applications, in order to reach young people who we may not have worked with before, who might be experiencing additional barriers to accessing opportunities like this one. By doing this, we connected with many amazing individuals and groups from across Islington, receiving a huge number of applications.
The Youth Board reviewed the applications based on their assessment of the long term impact the grant could have on the applicant. They also looked at whether the project could feasibly take place based on the budget applied for. It was agreed that we would fund a range of projects, so as not to favour a particular theme and ensure that the grants could have as broad an impact as possible. In total, we funded 15 young people, paying for things like an actor’s showreel; a photoshop course; items for starting a dog walking business, and much more.
As with our Young Catalyst grants, all of the participants have been able to take a crucial next step towards achieving their personal, creative and career goals. They now have greater access to opportunities to further explore their aspirations, and connect with their wider community. By achieving this, they have also grown in confidence, and shown that they can act independently when putting their ideas into practice. We have also seen that they have been able to improve their skills in certain areas, using the funding to attend training courses, or purchasing tools for practising their craft.
We hope to have more funding rounds available soon, so please keep an eye out for future announcements.