Get Started ACT IT!

An essential guide for today’s young leaders
Surefire ways to
finance your venture
How they
dream project
into a reality
Practical info, tips
and strategies you
need to know
Young leaders
share real world
wisdom and advice
Highlights from
great projects
around the world
An invaluable
directory of great
funding sources
At the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000,
189 Heads of Government promised to end poverty by 2015. They
signed a declaration committing developed and developing countries
to eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
A magazine for young
people committed to
making a difference...
A collaboration between youth project
leaders and the British Council, we hope this magazine
serves to inspire and enable you to get ventures of
your own off the ground.
Inside, you’ll find contributions from UK DTA
participants keen to share their skills and experience
with you. We cover everything, from turning your
dream into a reality, showing you how to seek funding,
overcoming obstacles, forging support and establishing
projects guaranteed to enrich young people in your
community. You’ll also find an invaluable resource
directory to help you make connections and work
together in achieving your vision.
Whatever idea you have in mind, ACTONIT! aims to
provide all the support and encouragement you need to
make your project happen. Sharing knowledge is key,
both locally and globally, which is why we showcase
recent ventures from around the world.
Debate to Action (DTA) was developed by the
British Council in partnership with the World
Bank Institute. Running workshops across
Africa and the UK, its aim was to encourage
youth participation by raising awareness of
the Millennium Development Goals in a local,
national and global context.
In the UK, participants talked both to each other
and to young people in Africa about the impact
the MDGs could have on their lives. They
exchanged ideas and information, and focused
on how they could help from within their own
communities. Ultimately, DTA encouraged the
building of leadership skills among participants
in order to design projects and training that
offered far-reaching benefits.
ACTONIT! serves as a showcase to projects that resulted from this unique venture.
By enabling you to connect with like-minded young
people, and creating constructive networks, we believe
you can make an impact and a change for the better.
Every success story has to start somewhere.
Yours begins right here.
4 Setting Up
6 Securing funds
7 Making a difference
8 Be inspired
10 The bigger picture
11 Get your project connected
12 You said it...
You’ve got a great idea but don’t know
how to put it into action. Here’s how
Follow these simple steps towards finding
funding for your dream project
Established youth leader Andrae Palmer
explains how he got started
Find out what young project managers
have been up to across the UK
From Wales to Uganda, youth leadership
projects are taking place around the world
Looking for a potential backer?
Check out our directory
Inspiring quotes from the best and
brightest in today’s youth leadership
Editor Monomita Nag-Chowdhury
Project Manager Juan Toledo
Youth Editor Andrae Palmer Ground Up Development
Production Manager Tim Blyth
Monomita Nag-Chowdhury
Development Manager
Youth Contracts and Projects,
British Council
Tel: +44 (0) 207 389 4634
[email protected]
This magazine can be downloaded at:
The views represented in this magazine are not necessarily those of the
British Council. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this
magazine, the British Council cannot be held responsible for the accuracy
of the information herein, or any consequence arising from it.
Credits Pictures: istock, MDG icons: © UNDP Brazil
Published by Engage Publishing Ltd, on behalf of the British Council
So you have a burning idea...
You want to put something back into the community – a project that will benefit
young people – but you don’t know where to begin.
You’re not the first person to be in this position, which is why we’ve drawn upon
the experience of successful youth project leaders to show you how it’s done...
Setting up
The more original you can be in your approach the better.
Creativity is a strength and should be utilised. This is likely
to make your funders look at your project more favourably
if it’s up against competition. At the same time, be sure
there is a real need for the project you’re proposing. If
it addresses a social problem, or a shortcoming in your
community, the value of your proposal will be clear to all.
“Be sure there is a real
need for the project
you’re proposing”
4.Stay focused
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when putting a project together.
There are several proven steps you can always take
Establish your key themes and objectives, and stick to
them! Otherwise, you risk getting distracted by new ideas
and losing sight of your goals. Often, funders have ideas
of their own, so try to establish at an early stage whether
or not your project fits their criteria. Ultimately, you need
to stay true to your cause.
1.Plan in advance
The more preparation the better. Developing a timeline
is often very useful. Consider everything involved, from
your budget, fundraising strategies, and any recruitment or
marketing needs. It’s also worth building a little extra time
into the plan. You may not use it, but at least it gives you
the flexibility to avoid delays should problems arise - which
they will. With a clear and concise strategy in place, you’ll
know what’s involved in order to turn your ideas into a
successful project.
is vital, but
it’s just as
important to
be realistic
about your
4 Making it Happen
5.Build a budget
2.Be optimistic
but realistic
Like most things in life, the outcome of our actions are
often determined by the attitude with which we approach
them. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing then why
should anyone else? Positivity is vital, but it’s just as
important to be realistic about your objectives, outputs
and outcome projections. In terms of funding, you stand a
greater chance of success if you’re entirely realistic about
your expectations, and can demonstrate the full potential
of a project at the planning stage.
You may have the world’s greatest project idea, but without
the funds it just won’t happen! The first step towards
securing a backer is to establish a budget. Once you
have a clear idea of what your project will cost, it’s worth
factoring in between 5-12% to cover unforeseen costs.
The strength of a contingency budget can often mean
the difference between failure and success.
6.Money matters
A great idea goes nowhere without funding. Therefore,
it’s vital you make every effort to find out what’s on
offer. Check out our Directory on PX, for listings of the
main players, but also look at possible sources in your
neighbourhood. You might find individuals prepared to dig
deep, or even create a collective of funding sources that
share your dream and unite behind your project.
Securing Funds
You’re a project leader with a plan of action. All that’s missing is the money.
By following these simple steps, you can be sure you’re making an
application that stands up to scrutiny
Do your research
Before making an application, find
out exactly what your backer is
looking for in a project. Look at
previously funded ventures to find
out if yours will strike a similar chord.
The clearer you are about what you’re
offering, the better you’ll be able to
tailor your application to meet the
needs of any potential backer.
Understand the
Funding can be a slow process.
Pestering a backer for a response
could affect your likelihood of
success. The key here is to be crystal
clear about the process before
making the application. If in doubt,
ask. A backer should welcome the
dialogue, as it demonstrates that you
have a professional outlook.
The slightest mistake could ruin your
chances, so be sure your application
is spot-on before you submit it. Ask
people you trust to check it out.
Knowing you’ve done your level best
can only bring you peace of mind.
Consider your
Sell the vision
Applying for funds for your project is
a lot like applying for your dream job.
You know it’s a venture that will make
a difference. What matters now is
convincing potential backers. Don’t fill
in the application straight away. Write
several drafts until you’re happy you
have made your strongest pitch.
Most potential backers will ask for
references. They want to know you’re
the right person for the job, which
means making sure your referees
won’t let you down. Make sure they
understand what’s required right from
the start. If you’re in doubt that they’ll
deliver, choose another referee!
More funding advice on page 11
Progressing the
You’ve sold the idea.
The funds are ready for investment.
Here’s how to make the most of your momentum
If it’s a large-scale project, don’t try to do everything yourself. The fact is
people will want to help, so be prepared to work with others. Draw upon
their skills and make the most of their time.
Make sure everyone involved has a clear idea of their role and their
responsibilities. As well as issuing instructions, set aside time to listen
to your team. It’s the surest way to review and evaluate how a project
is progressing.
Regard obstacles as opportunities to refine your project. Adapting is often
the key to ensuring delivery of your project.
6 Making it Happen
Making a difference
Andrae Palmer is the founder and director of Ground Up Development,
a youth-led organisation based in Brixton, South London.
Andrae talks to us about his experience of youth project leadership
Rewards for all
My interest in becoming
a youth project leader
began with a journey.
I was also engaged in the British
Councils’s DTA Scheme during the
London pilot in 2007, This experience
has contributed to a range of projects
In 2005, I participated in a trilateral
exchange trip organised by the British
Council. Travelling to Cameroon with
a party of young people from Britain
and Germany, I encountered a different
world. It was one based on hardship
and poverty, but one that showed me
how strong the human spirit could be
in the face of adversity. Quite simply, I
saw young people setting up community
ventures on meagre budgets. It was an
inspiration, and I vowed that back home
I would follow their example.
and programmes since Hidden
Histories, each designed to enlighten,
educate and empower young people
regardless of their background. We
continually strive to seek funding, and
ensure that every penny is responsibly
invested to benefit all participants.
Leading the way
Drive and determination
From this Hidden Histories was born.
It was Ground Up’s first ever project –
supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
I started out with a notebook, holding
meetings in cafes with people who had
the experience and expertise to help me.
I quickly realised that I could get things
done providing I was 100% committed. It
took up a great deal of my time.
Giving back to the
My background fired me up to do
something positive for the people
around me. Growing up, I’ve seen
tragic things happen to loved ones,
largely through gang culture, knife
and gun crime. With Hidden Histories,
I saw an opportunity to open the
doors to a brighter future for inner-city
youths struggling with their sense of
identity and cultural pride. It enabled
participants to gain a positive view
of their heritage and empower their
outlook on life.
“There is no
better reward
than seeing
young people
utilise their
skills and
talents to reach
their potential”
Some say what I do falls within
the remit of a youth leader, social
entrepreneur or community activist. I
prefer to see myself simply as a ‘doer’!
Like anyone in my position, there’s
no better reward than seeing young
people achieve their potential.
The future
Ground Up is an organic organisation,
founded on the needs of young
people, and if we’re going to respond
to that I have to build capacity into
the organisation. Forging contacts is
critical. If I know that I can call upon
people guaranteed to help me, it gives
me the confidence to drive all manner
of projects. Ultimately, I want to help
young people realise their dreams,
just as I have realised mine.
Andrae’s advice
The needs of young people are constantly changing. You only have
to look at the impact of technology, such as the internet, to see
how their means of communication has evolved. As a youth project
leader, you need to react to these changes, and even anticipate
them. It’s the surest way of delivering something that’s genuinely
needed by the community – something that can bring people
together and even leave a lasting legacy.
Be inspired
This year, across England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland,
young project managers have achieved some
outstanding feats of enterprise
Climate change
Leaders Nathan Swain, Patricia McMahon, Teleri Lea
and Anna Guido
Our team came together as a result of the DTA Wales
day-school on climate change. We wanted to get young
people to engage with sustainability issues and so set
about organizing Cardiff’s Call to Action, a one-day
awareness-raising event at Cardiff City Hall. The day itself
included speakers and interactive workshops from a
variety of organisations - all with the aim of encouraging
young people to “be the change”!
“We wanted to get
young people to
engage with
sustainability issues”
Interactive sessions with
young people at the Bolton
council of Mosques. The
group will look at the issues
surrounding alcohol and
its impact upon health and
the community.
Leaders Jibraeel Salayman,
Umar Hussain
Dangers of smoking
Interactive sessions with
young people at the Bolton
council of Mosques. The
group will look at issues
surrounding smoking and
their impact on health and
the community.
Leaders Mohammed Koya,
Reme Begum
8 Projects
weekend away
A residential weekend on
personal development for 10
young people from Llandysul
Youth Club (NEET) and
Newcastle Emlyn School.
Leaders Francesca
The Change
Inspiring interest in global
issues, addressing intergenerational tensions locally.
Leaders Kaine Bentley,
James Viney
Advocacy on Poverty
Issues within the
student community
Investigating how the
economic downturn is
affecting students. We aim to
define the concerns of young
people who are studying.
Leaders Ahmad Wahid,
Step down
MDG workshop and Q&A
with David Milliband and Sir
Alex Ferguson.
Leaders Brian Talabi
Cross-cultural drama
MDG and health event
An awareness-raising
event about the MDGs,
and especially Health
and HIV/AIDS in Africa,
linked to Swansea
Mardi Gras/Gay Pride.
Leaders Ryan O’Malley,
Emma Rees
Where’s my Obama?
An action research project
that aims to explore the role
of a ‘leader’ in today’s world
of global challenges.
Leaders Holly Mae
Women into
Promoting awareness of
gender equality among
women of various ages.
Leaders Michaela Simpson
Respect and Protect
Aims to raise awareness of
HIV / AIDS and other sexual
diseases to young people
by delivering workshops,
discussing misconceptions
and ways of creating
awareness and implementing
the results.
Leaders Grainne Farrelly
Challenge Your
Aimed at empowering
women from ethnic minorities
living in Derry. The project
will increase awareness of
women’s rights.
Leaders Marlena Musialek
A project committed to
showing women that
beauty is not constrained
to age, size, shape or
ethnic background.
Leaders Emma McKinley,
Rebekah Martin
Local Democracy
Ongoing global youth action
project that aims to develop
youth voice and active
participation mechanisms via
links with local decisionmakers/counsellors.
Leaders Paul Lewis
Forced marriage
Leaders Hussan Adam and Humaira Patel
The idea for our project stemmed from a news story about
a local girl who had escaped a forced marriage in
Pakistan. We wanted to organise a conference to
highlight available help for vulnerable people.
To begin, we contacted a drop-in centre and a local
Imam to talk about how the issue affected the community.
We also contacted the Forced Marriage Unit in London.
They provided us with publications to distribute.
We motivated young people to attend the conference
by utilising Youth Action’s database of 6,000 members.
We’re now looking forward to a one-day conference
packed with great speakers.
“We wanted to help
vulnerable people”
Leaders 17-strong drama group
As part of the Youth in Action programme, we wanted to
create a performance drama that could be enjoyed by
English and non-English speakers alike. With our grant in
place, we conceived, designed and staged a play. It was
first performed in South Lanarkshire, before a group of
Estonian and Finnish young people. We went on to
contact Brouhaha International, who run an annual
festival in Liverpool. They invited us to participate in a
series of street theatre workshops. All these activities
were included in the official programme of Liverpool
European Capital of Culture 2008. We even
captured the whole experience on a DVD, which
will now be used as a tool for peer education.
“We conceived,
designed and
staged a play”
Wales Somaliland
Communities Link
Football Coaching
Production of a DVD and
manual on football coaching
for use in Somaliland. The
aim is to use football as an
educational tool for health
and other youth issues.
Leaders Ali Abdi
HIV awareness
northern ireland
Leaders Viola Ocharo
My project was inspired by an MDG residential course. I
came from Kenya to study in Northern Ireland, and
became interested in creating a project to raise HIV
awareness among young people.
I chose to do an awareness talk at a
college in Londonderry. With 80 students in
attendance, I brought in a professional
from the HIV Support Centre in Belfast.
Following an inspiring talk, the students
enjoyed a Q&A session.
Overall, it’s been an exciting and enriching
experience. I’ve met progressive young
thinkers and now understand the benefit of
different cultures sharing great ideas.
“It’s been
an exciting
and enriching
Creation of Upper
Bann Youth Board
Committed to establishing a
group for young people with
leadership potential to deal
with issues on any level.
Leaders Richard Hill,
Simon McClean,
Charmain McCum
Your Goals Explained
Peer training for future
Platform Two participants,
international volunteers and
those from youth services
interested in the MDGs.
Leaders Edward-Vincent
youth power weekend
merthyr tydfil
A youth empowerment
residential information and
training weekend for 10-15
young people aged 16-19.
Leaders Ryan Coulton
For more information email
[email protected]
or call Monomita at British Council
(see page 3) or Helen Jones at
CYEC (Commonwealth Youth
Exchange Council) 0207 498 6151
The bigger picture
Some leaders are helping to change communities other than their own.
Read here about recent projects that spanned the globe
It’s not just young people in
the UK who are setting up UK projects
in a bid to make a difference. It’s
happening everywhere!
Discovering what people are doing on
an international level, sharing ideas
and experiences, and even forging
working partnerships, can only serve
to strengthen our global community.
Northern Ireland
Discussions about agriculture,
infrastructure and health.
Participants in Northern Ireland
discovered plenty about Kenyan
community projects.
Among the challenges discussed
included participants in Ghana
working on large scale educational
projects with young offenders and
whether smoking companies might
object to their community project.
here’s where to start, with a list of
leading UK sources, including what
they’re looking for and how to get in
touch. Good luck!
British Council
Wales Uganda
Participants felt that hearing about
projects in Uganda was both
inspiring and interesting.
They even discovered plenty of
common ground in some of the
projects undertaken.
Miliband without frontiers
In January, David Milliband joined
Sir Alex Ferguson in meeting students
from Cedar Mount High School in
Manchester to discuss the pupils’
involvement in the British Councilmanaged Connecting Classrooms
initiative, which helps develop
collaborative projects between
schools in the UK and other
schools around the world.
The DTA team were on
hand to provide interactive
activities designed to raise
awareness of the MDGs.
10 Projects
Nick from Scotland reveals how his desire to raise
HIV awareness has seen him import success
Thanks to
the British
I’ve had many
opportunities to
exchange ideas
and information
about HIV
awareness at an international level.
While attending the African World
Economic Forum in South Africa,
I helped to establish Youth End
Poverty Cape Town. By getting
involved in the project’s HIV/Aids
awareness work, I left with a stark
insight as to how far behind we are
by comparison.
In South Africa, everybody is
If it’s funding you need then
Foreign Secretary meets
students to discuss how
to achieve the MDGs
Get your project
You’re a project leader with a plan of action in need of funding.
Get in touch with these potential backers and make that project happen
So, whatever your idea, it’s worth
reaching out to like-minded people
for help, advice and inspiration that
can transcend borders.
To help forge such connections, the
British Council has been hosting
international video conferences as
part of DTA. Check out details of
some unique exchanges.
England Ghana
encouraged to know their HIV status,
while rapid testing is widely available.
I was determined to see Scotland
come up to this standard.
In December 2008, the young
people of Youth End Poverty
Dundee, and their colleagues in
Cape Town, put on an award-winning
World Aids Day Event. We spoke
with the Public Health Minister, NHS
officials, HIV support groups and
other charities about the need to
raise awareness and be informed.
My project may only make an
impact on the immediate community,
but by continuing to work together
it can only help bring us closer to a
world free of HIV.
Youth In Action
Funded by the European
Commission, the British Council
is the UK national agency for the
Youth in Action programme. It
provides opportunities, through
non-formal education, to participate
in group Youth Exchanges,
European Voluntary Service, Youth
Initiatives and Democracy Projects
and Training Courses.
0207 389 4030
Global Xchange
A partnership programme managed
by the British Council, VSO,
and a number of local partners
around the world. In delivering
international volunteer exchanges
and other activities, it aims to help
create global citizens who value
volunteering, diversity, community
development and social action.
0208 780 7500
Active Citizens
The British Council is developing an
Intercultural Dialogue programme
that promotes global citizenship via
social action such as developing
networks and community projects.
Will launch in several countries.
0207 389 4264
[email protected]
The Youth Bank
A new UK-wide grant-making
initiative run by young people for
young people. Local YouthBanks
provide small grants to projects
that benefit the community.
0116 242 7446
Youth opportunities 14–19
Government initiative involving
local authorities around the country
to fund projects for young people
Please contact your local authority
to find out more.
The Rank foundation
Supports community-based
projects, particularly for young
homeless people.
01926 744550
UnLtd is a charity that supports
social entrepreneurs, people
with vision, drive, commitment
and passion, in fact anyone who
genuinely wants to change the
world for the better. The charity
provide a package of funding and
support to help individuals make
their ideas a reality.
0207 566 1100
The prince’s trust
Offers training, mentoring and
financial assistance to 14-30 year
olds, as well as small grants for
obtaining training, education or
work. Support is also provided for
budding entrepreneurs.
Grants vary from £50 to £3,000
depending on the project and the
help needed.
0800 842 842
Gives grants to young people and
communities who develop media
and technological projects, focusing
its activities on deprived areas.
020 7245 2861
Awards for All
A Lottery grants scheme that funds
small, local community-based
projects in the UK.
0845 4 10 20 30
An independent charity that
supports volunteering and voluntary
organisations. Aims to inspire new
volunteers aged 16–25.
0800 089 9000
Useful links
British Youth Council
uk Developments www.developments. UK Youth Parliament www. DEA www. The National Youth
Millennium Development Goals
your goals, make
You said it... “Seta plan,
interact and
Very quickly, get ideas generating,
I realised that be informed, show you
are somebody, show
I could get
things done Kristen Nielson,
providing I was
one Millenium Generation for Change
hundred percent
It’s hard to imagine
managing a project
committed. It took yourself
you’ve never
up a great deal of done before, it helps
to talk
my time, but I was I’ve seen participants gain
determined to
make it happen
real confidence through
the training in terms
of team-working and
Andrae Palmer,
Ground Up, London, England communicating
Amy Jones, DTA Facilitator
The most important part was getting young
people to attend. We achieved this by using
Youth Action’s database of 6,000 members.
As a result, we are now looking
forward to a one-day conference
that’s packed with great speakers
Hussan Adam and Humaira Patel, Forced Marriages project,
Blackburn, England
Our day included
speakers and
interactive workshops
from a variety of
organisations - all with
the aim of encouraging
young people to
It’s been an
exciting and enriching
experience. I now have
a clear understanding of
the benefit that can arise
from sharing great ideas
between cultures
“be the change!”
Nathan Swain, Patricia,
McMahon, Teleri Lea and
Anna Guido
Sustainability project,
Cardiff, Wales
Viola Ocharo, HIV project,
Northern Ireland
I am always impressed to see
the diversity of experience and
backgrounds that participants
bring to each project
Barbara Soetan, Youth Trainer