News Story

The Agency is thrilled to announce the expansion of its groundbreaking creative entrepreneurship programme, made possible by significant funding from the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation. This year, The Agency will be partnering with Energise Me, Storyhouse and New Lodge Arts to bring about transformative social change in underserved areas across the UK, and continuing to deliver the project at Contact and Battersea Arts Centre.

The incredible support of the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation has been instrumental in enabling this expansion, especially during the cost-of-living crisis in the UK, where young people in these communities are disproportionately affected. The Agency is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2023 and, since receiving this huge boost in funding, is reinforcing its commitment to supporting young people in the years to come.

"The support of the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation has been instrumental in enabling the expansion of our programmes. With their generous support, we are able to extend our reach and ensure that the young individuals hardest hit by the cost of living crisis receive the crucial support they need."

Andrew Westle, National Programme Manager for The Agency

Through The Agency, young people aged 15 to 25 are given the opportunity to identify and address the social challenges they see in their communities. The programme equips them with the necessary skills, resources, and mentorship to develop and implement their own social change projects. By placing young people at the centre of the process, The Agency empowers them to make a tangible and lasting difference in their neighbourhoods.

The Agency's continuation in Southampton with Energise Me, returning to Belfast with New Lodge Arts, and joining forces with Storyhouse in Chester highlights the programme's commitment to reaching underserved areas and engaging young people from diverse backgrounds. These partnerships reflect a collective effort to amplify the voices and ideas of young individuals, creating a unified force for systemic change.

Energise Me, a leading organisation dedicated to promoting active lifestyles and improving health and happiness, is entering its third year of running The Agency programme in Southampton.

"It's incredible to be involved in The Agency. What excites me about the programme is not knowing at the start what desires and project ideas will emerge from young people in the group, but knowing they'll be brilliant and will make a real difference to their community."

Penny Woods, Head of Place-Based Development at Energise Me

New Lodge Arts, a thriving community arts organisation based in North Belfast, is returning to run The Agency after a successful partnership in 2019-20.

"The program totally aligns with our belief that young people should be at the centre of social change, mobilised around the social issues they care about. Being part of a national network like The Agency amplifies the voices and ideas of young people, creating a collective force for systematic change."

Katrina Newell, Head of Arts & Youth Development at New Lodge Arts

In addition, Storyhouse, one of the UK's foremost cultural centres, is joining The Agency network, bringing its wealth of expertise in theatre, libraries, and cinema to empower young people in Chester.

"I am so delighted to be bringing The Agency to Chester and in particular to The Lache. I know firsthand what a difference this project makes to young people and their communities, and I am excited to see what ideas and projects young people from The Lache come up with."

Suzie Henderson, Creative Director at Storyhouse

As The Agency enters its 10th year, the programme remains committed to its mission of enabling young people to drive social change based on the needs they identify in their own communities. With the continued support of dedicated partners and the passion of young individuals, The Agency is poised to create a brighter future, one project at a time.