Success of Fund helping young people find their voice

The Pears Foundation in partnership with Leeds Community Foundation has distributed over £200,000 through the Pears Youth Fund since its inception in 2016.

The Pears Foundation is a family foundation that promotes understanding of key issues through research and education programmes. The Foundation has a specific interest in young people and in understanding the causes and effects of issues affecting communities.

The Pears Youth Fund was set up to encourage projects that actively involve young people in their design and delivery, and which have a genuine focus on voice, engagement and influence.

32 projects have been funded across Leeds and Bradford enabling young people to increase confidence and self-belief, improve health and wellbeing, find voice in the age of social media and build trust and support networks.

Just some of the projects that have been funded include Bradford Community Broadcasting: who hosted a series of training workshops to encourage young women to get involved with producing their own radio programmes and Eccleshill Adventure Playground: who organised a youth led design and build of a new play structure in place of their burnt down indoor playroom.

 New Wortley Community Centre in Leeds also received support from the Pears Youth Fund. They used this funding to set up a Children’s Board at the centre. This Board focused on engaging young people in the local area, involving them in the decision making around the focus of the centre’s activities. The Board had a significant impact in helping the young people improve their life skills, confidence and recognise the power of their voice.

Rebecca Houlding, Building Blocks Manager at New Wortley Community Centre, said: “The Pears Youth Funding is helping us engage young people in investing their time in positive activities within the community centre and local area. It is helping raise aspirations, ideas and skills of young people and giving them an opportunity to grow in confidence, self-esteem and achieve great things.”

The Pears Youth Foundation had this to say; 

“We’re really looking forward to seeing the ideas and projects submitted this year, and which organisations the grants panel, including young people from previously funded projects, choose to support.  This year, for the first time, the fund includes the opportunity for organisations to bid for higher levels of funding in partnership with another group, in response to feedback from previous applicants and grant holders.”

“Thank you to all the organisations, including their staff, volunteers, young participants and wider support communities, that we have had the pleasure meet through the fund.  It’s been a privilege to understand and learn from your approaches.  And a big thank you to our partners at Leeds Community Foundation, who manage this fund along so many other sources of critical support to local organisations, and work so hard to consistently reflect on and develop their approaches and processes.”

The Pears Youth Fund 2019 is now open for applications across Leeds and Bradford, funding projects that explore different methods of engagement and collaboration, understanding more about barriers and solutions. For more information on how to apply visit: