Social investor recruited for £200m effort to slash youth violence

One of the UK’s top social investors has joined forces with a leading venture philanthropy foundation to drive a government-backed initiative that will plough millions of pounds into achieving ‘a generational shift away from youth violence’.

The Social Investment Business is working with Impetus – which focuses on transforming the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds – to deliver the £200m Youth Endowment Fund.

A further partner, the Early Intervention Foundation, was also announced this week by Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

The initiative will deliver funds to support programmes and community partnerships working with children at risk of being drawn into crime and violence. 

The core fund will be given out in grants over the course of 10 years – so there is no social investment element in terms of how the money will be distributed.

However, in addition to the £200m injection, the partners will seek to grow the fund to a potential £300m through donations and investments.

Pioneers Post understands that there is some potential to look at loans and other forms of investment if the partners are successful in raising this additional and more flexible funding alongside the endowment. But at this stage it’s too early to predict how this might work.

Social Investment Business CEO Nick Temple said: “The Youth Endowment Fund provides a generational opportunity to tackle the causes of violence amongst children and young people.

“We have already helped thousands of charities and social enterprises become more resilient and make a greater positive impact – we look forward to working with our partners to make a significant impact on youth offending over the next decade.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said early intervention was “vital to protect young people from being groomed by gangs and drawn into crime”.

She said: “This fund will support important work in the community to prevent vulnerable children and young people from falling into a life of drugs, gang culture and violence.”

This fund will support important work... to prevent vulnerable children and young people from falling into a life of drugs, gang culture and violence.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the fund would work with local communities “to ensure that support reaches those at most risk, diverting them away from crime and violence to lead fulfilling lives”.

Impetus CEO Andy Ratcliffe said: “We need to be ambitious if we’re to tackle this issue - that means early intervention to stop children and young people getting themselves into serious trouble.

“The Youth Endowment Fund will be working with front line organisations to provide the support they need to put young people on the right track.”

Impetus plans to launch the first funding round, a general open call round, with the aim of awarding the first round of grants in the autumn.

In addition, the fund will be used to evaluate the impact of interventions so that the most effective ones can be scaled up and delivered more widely.

The announcement comes amid growing concerns about rising violent crime. Knife crime in England and Wales, declining in the years to 2014, has been rising again since 2015 according to official figures.