Empowering Young People

This programme closed permanently to new applications on Monday 13 May 2024.

Empowering Young People aimed to help young people:

  • get the skills they need for their future.
  • have better relationships with their support networks and communities.
  • have good health and well-being.
Northern Ireland
Suitable for
Voluntary or community organisations
Funding size
£20,001 to £500,000
Application deadline

Closed to new applications

If you applied

This programme closed permanently to new applications on Monday 13 May 2024.

If you applied, here's what happens next:

  1. We'll email you to let you know we got your application form.
  2. Then we'll get in touch to talk about your idea within around 6 weeks.
  3. We’ll give you some feedback and let you know if we are taking your application further.

We’ll only take forward the strongest applications to the next stage.

If we take your application forward to the next stage

  1. We’ll ask you to complete an additional, more detailed application form within 30 calendar days. And send us this along with supporting information we ask for. This may include job descriptions, salary breakdowns, evaluation plans and an exit plan or sustainability strategy for the end of the project. We’ll ask you to send us a budget for your project. You can use your own budget. Or you can use our template budget table (Excel Spreadsheet, 28 KB).
  2. If your application is to continue or develop an existing project, you should also send us an evaluation showing the impact it has made.
  3. You'll get a funding officer. Your funding officer will get in touch to ask some questions about your project. They’ll also arrange a face to face assessment visit with you.
  4. You'll meet your funding officer. You'll have the face to face assessment visit with your funding officer. They’ll want to know how your project fits with this funding programme, as well as the difference you’re looking to make, and how you’ll run the project.
  5. Your funding officer will write a report. After the visit, your funding officer will write up an assessment report. They might get in touch with you again to ask some questions before they write their report. The report will assess:
    • how you plan to run the project and how much it will cost
    • how well your project fits with what this funding programme is asking for.
  6. We'll decide to fund you or not. Your funding officer will take your application to a decision meeting. As a group, we decide which projects get funding. This group will be made up of staff, or NI committee members. There are always lots of good applications, and we only have a certain amount of funding to give away. Making final funding decisions can be tough. It’s a competitive process and we can’t fund all the good applications we receive.
  7. Your funding officer will let you know. If we decide to give you funding, your funding officer will let you know. They'll talk about next steps too. If we decide not to fund your project, your funding officer will get in touch with feedback.

We will still be assessing applications and making decisions about funding throughout 2024.

Some extra tips for your application:

  • Tell us how you’ve involved young people, and the community, to come up with your project. Show us that you’ve really listened to what they said and understand why the project is needed.
  • Don’t only 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.

Here’s what happens after we give you the funding

Once you’ve been awarded over £20,001 of funding from us, here’s what to expect. This page will also let you know about the things you need to do.

Reducing your environmental impact  

We all have a responsibility to protect the environment for future generations. This includes the communities and projects we support. 

We’ll expect all applicant organisations to consider their environmental impact and to have relevant policies and procedures in place.

Find out more about the environment considerations you could take on board when developing your project idea on The projects we fund page.

You can also access some links to local guidance on the Reduce your environmental footprint page.

The projects we fund

The projects we fund

We fund projects that work with young people (between the ages of 8 and 25) to face and overcome challenges.

The projects we fund through Empowering Young People can last from one to five years.

We’re supporting projects that involve young people in their development, design, running and evaluation.

If you’re not sure how to do this read our blog ‘Can your community group empower young people?

We're also supporting organisations to change and adapt to new and future challenges, including the current cost-of-living crisis.

We're funding projects that help young people:

1. Get the skills they need for their future

This could be practical skills for jobs they’d like to do. Or life skills, like helping young people deal with difficult situations.

2. Have better relationships with their support network and communities

Support networks are just people. These people can be family and friends. Or different groups that help people like doctors, the police, charities, youth groups and teachers.

When we say community, we mean:

  • people living in the same area
  • people who have similar interests or life experiences, but might not live in the same area.

3. Have good health and wellbeing

When we talk about health, we usually mean physical health. And when we talk about wellbeing, we’re normally talking about how a person feels emotionally. So we look at how your project might help young people both physically and mentally.

Land and building projects

If your project will include land or buildings, you should read our Land and Buildings guidance (PDF 221KB).

Environmental Impact

We encourage and support all projects and communities to consider their environmental impact when designing their projects.

For example, if your project requires a vehicle to help support your community, we expect you to have considered whether an electric or hybrid option is a viable alternative to petrol or diesel. Electric or hybrid vehicles will help reduce your projects carbon footprint, but it can also save you money on fuel, tax, and servicing.

If your project involves a building we expect you to consider how you can reduce its environmental impact and therefore its running costs.

This could include:

  • Choosing to use more sustainable, environmentally friendly or recycled materials as much as possible
  • Conserving water by ‘harvesting’ rainwater (it is free after all) with water butts or reusing ‘grey’ water (the water from sinks, showers, washing machines, etc.) to flush toilets
  • Reducing the amount of energy your building needs by installing energy efficient lighting and low energy appliances. Or even consider generating your own energy by installing solar panels
  • Reducing the amount of heat your building making sure your building is a well-insulated as possible or consider more efficient alternatives to oil or gas such as infra-red heating, heat pumps or biomass boilers
  • Consider what will happen to all the waste that will be generated from your building project and commit to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible.

We do checks on the information you give us

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

What you can spend the money on

What can you spend the money on?

This list doesn't include everything. Speak to your funding officer if you are not sure.

We can fund:

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

We cannot fund:

  • any activities or items you spend money on before we give you a final decision about your application
  • activities outside of the UK
  • fundraising activities
  • second-hand vehicles.