How Virgin Money Foundation is helping young changemakers
The Young Change Makers Fellowship Programme is available to young people aged between 18 and 25 who want to make a difference in their local community. It’s the first of its kind in the North of England and is for young people located in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.
Young people shared their ideas for how they wanted to improve their local area and eight changemakers have been chosen to take part in a six-month programme. They will also receive expert support, funding and learning opportunities to bring their idea to life. This includes a grant of up to £10,000 as well as a travel grant to cover the cost of researching similar community projects and a mentor to help them develop as a leader.
One of the new recruits is 22-year-old Mohamed Maxamed (Max), who has been running a gardening community initiative in Moss Side, Longsight and Gorton in South Manchester. He is passionate about promoting gardening in urban inner-city communities and wants young people to take pride in their area, hoping it will reduce crime levels.
He said: “I applied to the Virgin Money Foundation to be the change and to work with young people in my area to be a force for good. I hope to grow my gardening project and bring opportunities to young people living in the ‘hood’ or undeveloped areas, with a bold strategic approach. I’m driven by not allowing young people to be the followers of yesterday but to rise, take what's theirs and to be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Another member of the fellowship programme is 24-year-old British Army veteran Savannah Thompson. Based in Durham, she is passionate about human rights, equality and support for people with mental and physical health issues. She wants to help change Army welfare and legal services that are available to those in the services, starting with the services available to veterans in her own community.
Savannah said: “Most people will suffer with their mental health at some time during their lives, but many issues are compounded in military service through combat experiences, additional stressors to family life and potential isolation. Mental health issues may not be raised, or fully addressed, during service and can often be exacerbated by transitioning into civilian life. It can be difficult to recognise, or accept, a need for help. My aim is to utilise the invaluable support and advice available to me, from the Virgin Money Foundation and Northern Soul, in order to remove those barriers.”
Virgin Money employees will also get involved with the Young Change Makers Fellowship Programme, with 50 colleagues volunteering to offer their skills and knowledge to to help young people get the most out of their experience.
Visit Virgin Money Foundation to find out more.