Northern Ireland Youth Forum

Empowering Young People

Northern Ireland Youth Forum

Empowering Young People is a grants programme designed to support projects in Northern Ireland that give young people aged 8 to 25 the ability to overcome the challenges they face.

Northern Ireland
Suitable for
Voluntary or community organisations
Funding size
£10,000 to £500,000
Application deadline

31 March 2021

How to succeed

Talk to us – we’re really interested in your ideas. And we’re here to support you to make the best application possible.

You can apply for funding from £10,000 to £500,000 for projects from one to five years.

We’re looking to fund projects that meet one or more of the objectives below:

  • More young people have the skills they need for the future
  • Young people have better relationships with their support networks and communities
  • Young people have improved health and wellbeing

We fund projects which can show us that young people are fully involved in the development, design, running and evaluation of the project. See our blog - Can your community group empower young people?

How have you involved young people and the community in designing your project? Show us that you’ve really listened to what they said and understand why the project is needed.

Don’t just listen to young people. Listen to their support networks and communities too, and show us how their aspirations are reflected in your plans.

It can be good to involve parents and guardians at an early stage. If they understand how you can help, they’re more likely to encourage young people to get involved.

It’s important that young people are involved in running your project. Tell us how you’ll make sure their voices are heard and their advice acted on.

We want to back projects that suit all kinds of young people. Include a range of interests and experience, as well as different levels of confidence and ability.

Show us how your project is different from others that are already out there. Or how you plan to collaborate with others who are similar.

Be clear and direct in your application. Use facts and evidence, and focus on the problems you want your project to address.

Most important – give us a call. We’re available on 028 9055 1455 if you have any questions or want to talk about your project idea.

Before you apply

There are five stages to the process of being awarded a grant:

  1. Check if you're eligible

  2. Develop your application

  3. Apply for funding

  4. Host a visit

  5. Get a decision

People get in touch with us every day to discuss their ideas, their communities and what matters most to them. Call us on 028 9055 1455 Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm (not including public holidays).

1. Check if you're eligible

Find out if you’re eligible

2. Develop your application

In How to succeed you’ll find guidance on planning your project.

3. Apply for funding

Find out how to apply.

4. Host a visit

We love meeting our applicants in person and seeing the great work they do so we will organise a meeting with you to discuss your application. We’ll let you know how to prepare for our visit, and we may contact you afterwards to get more information.

5. Get a decision

We’ll consider whether your application is strong enough to be put forward for funding.

We’ll be looking at how your project:

  • meets the programme aims and outcomes
  • involves young people in the planning and delivery and meets needs that they’ve identified
  • complements other services in your area
  • brings changes or benefits for young people
  • how appropriate and realistic your project is
  • whether you have the right skills, experience and resources

The final decision about your success will be made by either staff or our programme committee made up of NI committee members and young people. We will explain this when we visit your project.

We’ll let you know the decision within four months of receiving your application.

If your application is successful we’ll send you an offer letter and get in touch to discuss next steps.

If your application is unsuccessful we’ll send you a letter confirming the decision. You can also request a meeting to get more feedback.

Check if you’re eligible

You can apply if you’re a voluntary or community group, such as a:

  • Unregistered voluntary or community organisation
  • Registered charity
  • Not-for-profit company
  • Charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)

Partnerships are also welcome to apply as long as they’re led by a voluntary, community or social enterprise organisation.

Independent branches of larger organisations must have their own governing document and be allowed to manage funds and staff without referring to another body.

If you’re a dependent branch of a larger organisation you could still be eligible to apply. To find out call on 028 9055 1455 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

We can fund some or all of your project costs, including:

  • staff salaries
  • training
  • volunteer expenses
  • equipment
  • premises costs
  • evaluation
  • overheads

We can’t fund:

  • costs for items or activities you have already incurred before you get a decision
  • fundraising activities
  • activities that are statutory obligations or will replace statutory funding, including activities on the school curriculum
  • second hand vehicles
  • activities outside the UK
  • projects that lack safeguarding policies, particularly in relation to children and vulnerable people, such as: staff checks, staff training, appropriate staff ratios, and risk assessments. For advice on how to obtain these, see
  • projects that break EU rules about State Aid
  • projects that lack appropriate insurance
  • projects that don’t promote equal opportunities and challenge discrimination
  • organisations that lack relevant policies and procedures for employment, recruitment and selection procedures
  • organisations that lack financial records including personnel and payroll records for staff As The National Lottery Community Fund is an organisation that gives out public funds, we’ll check the information you provide us.
Applying for funding

Before you apply, you'll need to:

Download an application form

Please email your application form to

If you have any questions or need the form in a different format (such as large print), contact or call us on 028 9055 1455 Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm (not including public holidays)


As an organisation that gives out public funds, we carry out some checks on the information you provide us. Learn more about our checks