Project information


In an area blighted by generations of unemployment we want to transform the community with our personal development training and see it embodied in a series of young people-led community projects. Activate! will lift "at risk" young people out of a culture of cynicism and dependence.

January 2012 - December 2012

Charity information: Grit: breakthrough programmes

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  • Need


    In our work in Sunderland we have found intergenerational unemployment fostering apathy and a culture of dependence. There is also disconnection between many young people and the adult population of the city and, for young people in particular, a link between the lack of an adult figure and the inability to form and sustain positive relationships with peers and adults which form the basis of an independent and sustainable life.


    There is a clear need for activities led by young people and evidence that, given the support, young people are willing and able to create them.

    Standard approaches are directed at alleviating the symptoms of the problem, helping young people "manage" and "cope" with their situation, creating cycles of dependency. Working together with specialist partners and agencies our approach enables young people to confront the root causes of why they think, feel and act the way they do.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Transform young people: creating a radical change in behaviours, a genuine aspiration to achieve.


    » A 4 day intensive personal development course with a 6 month follow-through, supported weekly by a volunteer Life Coach.

    Success will be...
    85% of the young people showing increased levels of well-being (through improved self-esteem and self-confidence) and to have set and worked towards goal

    Aim 2

    Develop positive social networks - constructive and supportive friendships with peers and adults.


    » Young people and adults design and take part in intergenerational and enterprising projects and activities.

    Success will be...
    85% of the young people reporting being able to create new opportunities for themselves (including being self-supporting when looking for advice)

    Aim 3

    Create the confidence and support in the community to transform the lives of these young people.


    » Personal development workshop plus ongoing coaching from our expert trainers

    Success will be..
    85% of the young people having recruited and worked constructively with at least two peers on a community project.

    Aim 4

    Community to have more positive perceptions of young people and greater aspirations on their behalf


    » Adults and young people's peers working with them on the intergenerational projects; high profile activities showing the young people at their best

    Success will be...
    80% of adult volunteers reporting being better able to support the young people develop and achieve their goals.

    Aim 5

    Help young people acquire the skills to make a positive contribution to society


    » Run 'Enterprise Workshops' and support the young people to come up with and put into action entrepreneurial projects

    Success will be...
    Enterprising intergenerational projects that continue well beyond the lifetime of Activate! and inspire other young people and communities to do the same

  • Impact


    We will know that we have been successful when:
    • The intergenerational projects continue beyond the Activate! programme, supported by local business, young people's peers, and the adults from across communities
    • Young people complete our project – research has shown the impact continues on participants through their adult life too
    • Government and other funders talk about tapping into the potential of ‘at risk’ young people rather than focussing on young people as ‘problems’ to be managed


    Loss of key staff/poor staff performance - trainining is delivered by subcontractors - an established team of 30 existing skilled staff in place
    Young People placed at risk - experienced staff already in post. All staff have enhanced CRB checks. Clear safeguarding policies and procedures incl. training for volunteers, annual staff refreshers.
    cannot recruit enough young people and adults - established track record in the city and strong partnerships. We have a sizeable volunteer base


    Donors will receive quarterly email reports on the project detailing progress to date, forthcoming activities and positive and negative results. Our website will be regularly updated and donors will be invited to observe the project in action and become a volunteer with us

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £91,182

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      Amount Heading Description
      £30,000 Personal Dev Trng Delivery of all 25 days of training workshops
      £11,841 Travel/Subsistence/Volunteer Travel/subsistence and volunteer expenses
      £15,600 Venues/Catering Venue hire and catering costs for workshops
      £13,547 Project Management/Design Management/Design of the over all project
      £6,830 Evaluation/Community Project Evaluation/Costs associated with recruitement and retention
      £13,364 Overheads Administration, on costs and contribution to the running costs of Youth at Risk
  • Background


    In recent times Sunderland has experienced sharp economic decline and deeply entrenched unemployment. 43% of the population of Sunderland now live in one of the 20% most deprived areas in England and 51% of children in the city are in low income families (compared with 42% across England as a whole). The number of 16 -18 year olds are Not in Education Employment or Training is higher than the national average and 5.2% of the working age population are unemployed (compared to 3.8% nationally)


    Of the young people we have worked with in in Sunderland only 10% or so lived with both parents with many lacking any kind of constructive and consistent relationship with any adult. We know also that 64% of children living in poverty in Sunderland are in a lone parent family (10% above the national average). A number of surveys and consultations have found that among children and young people in Sunderland one of the main concerns is about the negative perception of children and young people

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Other organisations focus on immediate, palliative issues – we confront the root causes of why young people behave the way they do: we help them clear the way for them to make lasting and sustainable change in their lives. Our work with young people in Sunderland has been very successful: for example, 93% of young people report increased. Other programmes we have run have demonstrated an energy and willingness to take on issues and projects within communities. Activate! can make this happen.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Clare Turnbull

    She will manage the programme and is a Youth at Risk Operations Manager with five years experience, Clare has been leading on our work in Sunderland.

    Youth At Risk Trainers

    Our trainers come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds including criminal justice, teaching, social work, counselling and psycho synthesis.

    Youth At Risk Graduates

    Young people who have successfully completed a Youth at Risk programme will play a major role in supporting the recruitment of participants