About the Fund

The Government (DCMS) and Big Lottery Fund have partnered – through the investment of £20 million seed funding each – for a new independent fund, the #iwill fund, to support the creation of an additional 1.4 million youth social action opportunities through the #iwill campaign. Step Up To Serve is the charity coordinating the #iwill campaign.

Big Lottery Fund and Department of Culture, Media & Sport are each investing £20 million seed funding over four years to create the #iwill fund. Community Foundation for Calderdale is acting as match funders adding £30,000 to the fund locally and are awarding grants on behalf of the #iwill fund.

A Definition of Youth Social Action:

‘Young people taking practical action in the service of others in order to create positive social change that is of benefit to the wider community as well as to the young person themselves’. Young Foundation.

Youth Social Action includes volunteering, fundraising and campaigning, as well as skills and confidence-building projects which work with young people, particularly from less affluent backgrounds, to develop an appetite for this sort of activity.

What is the #iwill Fund?

iwill is a UK-wide campaign that aims to make social action part of life for as many 10 to 20 year-olds as possible by 2020. Through collaboration and partnership, it is spreading the word about the benefits of youth social action.


The programme aims to increase the overall participation of young people in meaningful social action from 40% to 60% by 2020, with a particular focus on deprived areas.

Social action involves activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering and has huge potential to create enjoyable opportunities and skills development for young people and, in turn, to benefit local people and places.

The #iwillFund aims to support activities that create opportunities for young people aged 10-20 to develop their character and their capacity to significantly contribute to their community.

SIX PRINCIPLES OF SOCIAL ACTION. Projects must demonstrate how they will apply all six principles of youth social action.


  • Grants are between £1,000 and £5,000.
  • Projects can be up to a year in duration.
  • Grants should deliver social action opportunities for young people age 10 to 20 years old, or 25 for disabled people.


  • This fund is open to registered charities, constituted community groups and other charitable organisations including Social Enterprises and CICs in England.
  • National organisations with local branches (with their own management committee and bank account) can apply.
  • New organisations that can demonstrate they are financially robust can apply.


We will prioritise projects that:

  • Seek to increase participation from young people from less affluent social economic groups, hard to reach groups and people who might not usually take part in social action.
  • Are working with young people at the younger end of the spectrum (age 10-14 years).
  • Build the appetite of young people to continue with social action, support habit forming behaviour, and leave a legacy of behaviour/activity after the funding stops.
  • Involve young people in planning, delivery and evaluation.
  • Give young people the opportunity to learn new skills and develop their character and confidence.
  • Give young people the platform to get their voice heard.

This fund aims to develop opportunities rather than fund the provision of existing youth work. We are looking to fund organisations that support young people to thrive and where the involvement of young people in social action will improve the outcomes of the organisation.

Skills development projects, which help young people be ‘social action-ready’, are as valuable as existing project delivery itself.

What we Will Fund

  • Staff costs – Budget for staffing, including full-time staff, part-time staff and other related expenses.
  • Development and capacity building costs – Budget to help build capacity and sustainability of organisation e.g. staff/volunteer training, external consultancy fees.
  • Volunteer costs – Budget for reimbursements of expenses, e.g. telephone calls, travel and meals.
  • Activity costs – Budget for resources to facilitate a project/activity that falls outside capital, volunteer or staffing costs, e.g. catering, insurance.

What we Won’t Fund

  • Statutory services
  • Activities promoting party political activity
  • Capital costs / large equipment costs – however, small-scale equipment, such as tools, are acceptable up to 10% of the requested grant
  • Individual sponsorship
  • Activities generating private profit
  • Faith groups are welcome to apply but activities which evangelise or proselytise religious beliefs will not be eligible, and projects that only work with one faith are also not eligible.


We will ask for the following documents to carry out due diligence on your organisation:

  • A copy of your governing document (e.g. constitution, memorandum & articles or set of rules).
  • A copy of your most recent annual accounts or management accounts.
  • A photocopy of a bank statement no more than 3 months old. The bank account must be in the name of the organisation applying.
  • Copies of your safeguarding and equal opportunities policies.
  • A list of the names and addresses of your Trustees or management committee. You will need a minimum of three unrelated Trustees/management committee members.


  • Involve young people in planning, delivery and evaluation – ask young people for advice.
  • Sociable enjoyable activities where young people can be with their friends or make new friends are likely to work well.
  • Opportunities to learn useful skills and demonstrate reliability are valued.
  • Regular activities held at the same time every week may work well, but may not always be the right formula.
  • Flexibility and responsiveness are key to maximum engagement.
  • Email, text and social media mean convenient sessions can be planned and publicised quickly.
  • Bite-size events are a good option and help overcome booking and timing challenges.
  • Consider prioritising warm weather, because many people don’t like to go out in the rain, especially in winter.
  • Avoid the exams season.

Repeat funding is a possibility.

Before applying to the #iWill Fund, we strongly recommend that you download and read the full #IWill Fund [formally the CRITERIA_#iwill_2018 (003)] which includes tips and hints about the types of project that will be prioritised, and about how to complete a successful application.Repeat funding is a possibility.

How to apply

Step 1 – Check that your group fulfils the eligibility criteria [HERE Link to Applying for a grant page]

Step 2 – Check that your group can provide all the documentation/information that will be required to support your application [HERE link to applying for a grant page]

Step 3 – Read guidance notes

Additional guidance. The “Over £1,500” application form asks particular questions relating to your project proposal. The guidance below is to show you where to put information to demonstrate you are meeting the criteria for this fund. These questions are in Section 2 of the Application form:

(a) How will you spend this grant to address the need in your area, bearing in mind the Vital Signs priorities? Please detail the project you intend to carry out, what type of youth social action project you want to do, and also refer to how the project relates to Vital Signs.

Step 4 – Before applying please read our Conditions of Grant Aid and PR and Communications Agreement. [Link to PR agreement].

Step 5 – When you click the apply button, you will be asked to tick a box to confirm that you have read and understood the guidelines and then asked to enter your email address. When you have done so, click the proceed button at the bottom of the page next to where it says, “Send an email and continue”. Within a few seconds, an email will be sent to you – MAKE CERTAIN YOU SAVE THIS EMAIL, as it contains a unique link which will take you to your individual application form. You can use the link at any time to get back to your form.

For guidance in completing the online application form please call the grants team on 01422 349700.
You can also get help with your application from the Calderdale Voluntary Sector Infrastructure Support Service (VSI Alliance).

Please note your project must start after the expected date for decisions (this date can be anything up to 12 weeks after the fund closes for applications; estimated dates can be found HERE). We cannot retrospectively fund projects. If you would like guidance on this, please call the grants team on 01422 349700.

Please use the buttons below to apply. It is important that you complete your application on the correct form.