New Year's Resolutions - What will the Jack Petchey Foundation do differently in 2021?

Written by Gemma Juma, Deputy Chief Executive

At the Jack Petchey Foundation, we aim to put young people at the centre of everything we do. We involve young people at every stage of our strategy and programme design, in our grant assessments, in penning and reviewing our communications. Above all, we make space for and listen to their ideas.  

Over the summer, JPF ran a significant youth survey focusing not only young people’s experiences through the lockdown, but their aspirations for after the pandemic and their ideas for what will help young people reach their goals in the future.

Over 6,000 young people from London and Essex responded to our survey, making it one of the largest youth surveys run during the pandemic. We are determined to consider the issues raised and let young people’s ideas inspire the next stages in our programmes.

Here are our New Year’s resolutions of how we will respond to the issues and ideas young people raised and use them to inspire our future programmes…

Resolution 1: We will increase work opportunities for young people

The youth are the future. We will be the next generation of politicians, bankers, drivers, cleaners etc. We need more opportunities for work and we need to be taken seriously. - Zakiya

We asked our survey respondents what opportunities would most help them reach their goals in a post-pandemic world, The most popular response was a call for more work experience, internship and training opportunities. Over half of respondents said that they wanted to see this prioritised in the future, and two thirds of respondents told us that they are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on their future job prospects.

In response to this, we have doubled our Jack Petchey Internship programme in 2021 and have recently launched a £1m scheme offering funding to 40 youth organisations to enable them to fund a year-long paid internship. We hope this expansion will support more young people to get a flying start to their career in the youth sector as well as enabling the host charities to expand opportunities for young people.

Organisations working with young people across London and Essex can apply now to host an intern via our website. Applications close 15th January.

Resolution 2: We will improve our support for schools and youth clubs

So many children need places where they feel like they are noticed and special… please fund and open more youth centres. – Cairo

Almost half of the young people surveyed said that their youth club was important to their wellbeing over the lockdown. Two-thirds of respondents said that they were usually involved in youth clubs outside of lockdown, but that only half of these were still operational during lockdown. As supporters of grass-roots youth work, we know how important it is for small organisations to be supported, especially during these uncertain times.

In light of this, we aim to improve our support for our youth group and schools grantees by investing in and launching  a simpler grant application and reporting system  and by increasing our Leader Award Grants from £750 to £1000. These light-touch grants provide organisations running the Jack Petchey Achievement Awards with additional funds to enhance their work with young people.

Resolution 3: We will embed youth participation and voice in new ways in our work

Listen to us. Listen to us when we speak about the issues that matter to us. - Arlie

1 in 10 young people asked the UK Government to consult and include young people more in decision making. Here at the Foundation, we work closely with our Youth Consultancy Panel in designing, implementing and reviewing all of our programmes.

In 2021 Lewis Hooper, a member of the Panel, will be joining our board as a Young Trustee. He will be in a unique position to highlight and amplify youth voice at the very highest level of decision making at the Foundation.

Lewis said: “I am very excited to get my teeth into the role of Youth Trustee at the Jack Petchey Foundation. I am hoping that I can represent youth voice on the board and further the already fantastic work that the Foundation does. “

Resolution 4: We will continue to celebrate youth achievement, Jack Petchey style!

I would say that recognising the achievements of young people is what should be prioritised… because young people are doing amazing things for society. – Evangeline

The Jack Petchey Foundation has always focused on encouraging and celebrating youth achievement. Our survey showed that over half of young people helped others during the lockdown, an incredible achievement that highlights just what a positive impact young people have on their communities every day.

We are committed to celebrating young people and rewarding them for their hard work. This continues during the pandemic, where our events team are working hard to take our usual Achievement Award events online until we can bring our high profile Achievement Award events back to stages across London and Essex.

We are excited to see what the new year brings and how our continued youth participation generates new opportunities to further our reach and impact on young people across London and Essex.

About the Jack Petchey Foundation, and find out more...

The Jack Petchey Foundation is a grant giving organisation that has invested over £133 million in programmes and opportunities for young people across London and Essex. Its flagship programme, the Jack Petchey Achievement Award Scheme, is run in over 1,600 youth clubs and secondary schools and recognises over 12,000 young people’s achievements every year. Alongside this, the Foundation’s partnership programmes provide young people with opportunities across sport, science, maths, music, engineering, public speaking, singing, and much more.

If you would like to read more about the survey, you can download the full report here and watch a discussion video here. For further updates about Jack Petchey Foundation’s work, sign up to their newsletter, which brings the latest news right to your inbox.

If you are a funder working with Children and Young People, do join the London Funders CYP network.