Children’s fund

The local network
fund is designed to get cash to those who are best placed to run projects for
young people – local people. Althea Efunshile describes the approach.

summer, the Children and Young People’s Unit publishes Creating Magic, promoting
good ideas that have been funded through the local network fund for children
and young people. The £70m fund provides grants direct to local community
groups and this publication highlights some of the 1,500 projects it has
supported, in its first year, to improve opportunities for young people.

The fund was launched
by the government in May 2001 as a key element of its drive to tackle child
poverty. The fund aims to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people by
supporting local groups to enable young people to reach their full potential.

The fund is piloting
an innovative model of grant making with the aim being to develop a means for
government funding to reach those that can make best use of it in supporting
children and young people. We believe that local people by their commitment to
the areas they live in are best placed to run projects that improve
opportunities for their children and young people. The fund has been set up so
that decisions on grant applications are taken by local people with an
understanding of the issues faced by local young people.

The publication
highlights initiatives that local groups have developed across the local
network fund’s four themes of aspirations and experience, economic
disadvantage, isolation and access and children’s voices.

The local network
fund operates through a partnership between this unit, the Community Foundation
Network, a national voluntary organisation, and local voluntary organisations
responsible for administering the fund. Key to the success of the fund’s first
year has been the enthusiasm of local voluntary organisations and the community
groups that run projects for young people.

Call 0845 113 0161,
or see  for more details on Creating Magic.

Althea Efunshile is
director of the Children and Young People’s Unit.


One of the projects
highlighted in Creating Magic (see column left) is Dyspraxia Connexion.
Dyspraxia is a condition of the brain resulting in messages not being properly
transmitted to the body. It affects at least 2 per cent of the population in
varying degrees and can result in some difficulty with physical co-ordination.
Five families created a support group in Nottinghamshire in 1993, which has now
developed into an independent charity with more than 1,500 families using the
drop-in support services and telephone helpline. A grant from the local network
fund has enabled a specially developed residential adventure programme to be
provided for young people from Dyspraxia Connexion.

Further details from
Anne Taylor: 0115 968 1100

On stage
in Liverpool

Another project given
the spotlight in Creating Magic is Liverpool’s Kensington Fields
Community Association, which provides arts and drama as diversionary opportunities
for young people aged 13-19 years old who have been identified as at risk of
offending, or exclusion from school. Association staff found that younger
siblings were often brought along to the sessions in the care of their older
brothers or sisters. To provide a full service for those aged between eight and
13 years old, a local network fund grant is funding a new programme. A 12-week
course culminating in a stage performance has been developed.

Manchester gets
more united

The Children’s Fund
in Trafford is looking to build on its provision of diversionary activities as
part of the government’s wider initiative on street crime this summer. It has
provided sports activities at Old Trafford in the evenings and at weekends for
those children and young people at risk of falling into bad behaviour, young
people on the fringes of offending and those already known to the police and
youth offending teams. The project has been run by a voluntary organisation in
partnership with SRB5, the youth offending team, sports development, the youth
service and Children’s Fund. Since February, 804 children and young people aged
from seven to 20 have attended. Crime and general nuisance have been reduced
when the service is provided.

For further details,
Sheryl Cocks, Children’s Fund North West 0161 952 4462.

Birmingham engagement

Birmingham Children’s
Fund has been involving children in choosing the services they are provided
with. Not only have they engaged children from various schools, after-school
clubs and play centres, but they have worked with specific groups including
traveller children, children with special needs and newly arrived children.
There are already plans to include children homeless in hostels in the near
future towards the commissioning of a relevant service. Children who have taken
part in the child selection activities were asked what they liked about it. The
responses included “the way the people gave us answers”, “doing the
interviewing and joining in”, “because we got to do what we wanted,” and “getting
messy with paint”.

For further details
contact Barbara Jagus, Children’s Fund West Midlands – 0121 212 5399.

Film of

The Children and
Young People’s Unit has been working with the Peacemaker anti-racist youth
development organisation in Oldham to develop a film resource. The video,
developed with support from Bob Geldof’s production company, aims to trigger
discussion about identity, segregation and the role of political and community

Further information
from 020 7273 4883.

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