The Community Foundation for Surrey supports a number of funds that have been set up to specifically help individuals in need across Surrey – the Surrey Young People’s Fund provides a lifeline to our disadvantaged young people. Nick Brooks, Chairman of the Surrey Young People’s Fund, tells us more…
We established the Surrey Young People’s Fund (SYPF) in October 2014 to support disadvantaged young people in Surrey gain access to training and employment. We bring together a strong alliance of donors, referrers of young people towards our fund, and a network of experienced volunteers covering the county, to undertake assessments of applicants. Grants are awarded by an experienced panel of volunteers who have a passion for assisting local young people to improve their employment prospects. Our volunteer assessors are an essential part of our offering, and aim to meet each applicant to discuss their background and explore their aspirations in order to better understand whether their application can proceed, and whether additional or alternative support could be beneficial to enable them to achieve their objectives.
“I was invited to join SYPF as a volunteer assessor to fill a gap because the east of the county was under-represented on the SYPF panel. I had an immediate appreciation of the need in parts of Surrey where some of the most privileged live in very close proximity to some of the most disadvantaged in our society. There are very compelling reasons for me to be involved: styled as the fund being a provider of grants to young people who have identified a pathway towards employment but who are struggling to find often limited financial assistance to pursue that goal, I relish the chance to be the representative who can say “yes, we can help”, to see the young people light up with the realisation that their dream can be realisable, and to feel that we’ve helped a young person potentially on their way to financial independence and a sense of self-worth.”
Anna Briggs, Vice Chair of SYPF
“I joined SYPF having seen an advert for volunteer assessors while I was looking for a way to contribute to my local community. With its mission to help disadvantaged young people (who are often hidden by the impression that Surrey is home only to the affluent) get on in life, SYPF ticked all the boxes for me. I’ve been part of the team since 2016 and love the collaborative way assessors work, learning from each other’s experiences to ensure we give the best support, financial as well as signposting better opportunities to the young people we help, who now number in the hundreds across Surrey. It can be challenging at times, but it is a very rewarding experience, and I am proud to play my small part in achieving our aims.”
Andrew Whitby-Collins, SYPF volunteer
SYPF provides vital funding for individuals (aged 16-25 inclusive) who are resident in Surrey with the purpose to assist young people to move towards an identified goal in education, training, apprenticeship, or employment.
Grants from the Fund will typically be up to £300 and will fund items that will directly enhance the young person’s employability skills, such as;
- assisting them to obtain qualifications, certificates or licenses,
- developing vocational or technical skills, or
- providing self-development opportunities that improve social skills, motivation and confidence
We are pleased to typically provide between 65 and 90 grants per year, directly supporting disadvantaged young people to support them to improve their lives
Showing what a difference SYPF can make to a young person’s prospects
A young person in the care system
“Since I received my laptop it’s been a tremendous help, especially since having to do college work online in 2020. In my progress meeting with my teachers, they all tell me I’m a top student and all my coursework is done on time and up to the standard. I couldn’t have done this well if I hadn’t received a laptop because it would have been impossible to do my coursework on my phone.”
This young person successfully completed her Level 3 course, has continued her studies at college, and is working part-time with an offer to move full-time with the same employer when her course finishes.
Struggling with poor mental health
A young person who had a number of mental health challenges and who struggled in conventional education was supported to attend the Therapy Garden, where he thrived and discovered a passion for gardening and horticulture. He received guidance and support whilst at Therapy Garden and displayed significant personal development whilst there.
SYPF contributed towards the course costs to ensure he was able to stay at the Therapy Garden. He has now successfully applied to attend Merrist Wood College to move towards obtaining a qualification in either landscape gardening or horticulture.
Please note: The Fund is a funder of last resort and applicants will be expected to have been unable to obtain funding from other sources. Our funds are limited and so we may not be able to award a grant for all of the funding requested. In addition, our experienced assessors discuss with professional referrers from other agencies how best to provide support to the young person.
Working together to support the SYPF fund
The Surrey Young People’s Fund is one of our collective giving funds – meaning that anyone can contribute funding to support it. We know there are many more disadvantaged young people across the county who we want to reach out to. Work together with us to support our endeavors to reach these young people – you can donate now to ensure this fund never has to turn anyone away!
Together we can.
If you are interested in donating to the Fund, please contact us for more information on 01483 478092 – thank you.