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Uniformed Youth Social Action Fund

social action

Thousands of young people living in disadvantaged areas and from hard-to-reach communities are getting involved in social action by joining uniformed youth organisations through the Uniformed Youth Social Action Fund (UYSAF) programme.

Youth United Foundation and the Cabinet Office awarded £10 million (provided by HM Treasury from LIBOR fines) to organisations delivering a wide range of projects across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The projects funded for UYSAF have created sustainable opportunities where young people are provided with life-changing opportunities to both develop themselves, as well as their community through social action. The target for UYSAF was to create 15,000 new places for young people from disadvantaged communities. By the end of the programme, we had created over 27,000 new places.

The successful organisations for the funding were:

  • Catholic Guides of Ireland Northern Region
  • Church Lads' and Church Girls' Brigade
  • Combined Cadet Force Association
  • Fire Cadets
  • Girlguiding
  • Jewish Lads' & Girls' Brigade
  • Marine Society & Sea Cadets
  • Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (RFCA)/Army Cadet Force (ACF)/Air Cadets
  • St John Ambulance
  • The Boys' Brigade
  • The Girls’ Brigade England and Wales 
  • The Scout Association
  • Volunteer Police Cadets
  • Woodcraft Folk

An independent evaluation of UYSAF carried out by Ipsos MORI looked at the impact that young people in uniformed youth groups can have on their wider communities. This research, a high volume quantitative survey, suggests that when a uniformed youth group is operating in a community, people feel a greater sense of pride in their area and are more likely to volunteer themselves.

UYSAF Round 2 (innovation) focused on innovative approaches to youth social action and engaging with young people from particularly hard-to-reach groups, including young offenders and young people with special educational needs or disabilities. Five organisations received funding in this round:

  • Marine Society & Sea Cadets
  • The Boys' Brigade
  • The Scout Association
  • Volunteer Police Cadets
  • Woodcraft Folk

Ipsos MORI conducted a process evaluation of this programme that suggested that Youth United groups can be accessible and valuable to very hard-to-reach young people. There was clear demand from young people with a range of challenging needs for the opportunities offered up by our members. But our members know they sometimes need to adapt their offer to make it accessible to all. The learning generated from this research will help them to do that more effectively, as well as contributing to learning in the wider youth sector.