WHAT IS THE AGENCY?
The Agency gives young people aged 15-25 the chance to develop projects that create a positive impact on their local area, empowering them to become the leaders and change-makers for their communities.
Over the next five years, this phenomenal and life-changing National Lottery Community Fund grant will continue supporting, young entrepreneurs in London and Manchester.
It will also allow The Agency to expand into other areas. An additional 580 new young people will be recruited from marginalised areas across England, with funding for 87 youth-led social change projects in these communities.
Since it started, 355 young people across the UK have gone through The Agency. 104 Agents have gone on to lead social change projects that have directly engaged over 19,000 people. The Agents have additionally raised £131,547 to develop their projects, significantly more than the £90,000 initial seed funding offered in total by The Agency. 46 of these projects are still running today, with many Agents leading COVID-response activity in their communities over the past year.
Suzie Henderson, Head of Creative Development at Contact, says:
“The Agency has always been a vital project but in the wake of a pandemic that has laid bare the inequalities within our society it has become more urgent that ever before. We are incredibly grateful to NLCF for the funding that will continue to support the work of The Agency not only in Manchester and London but its continued growth in communities across the country.”
You can read more about The Agency and its history at Contact here.
The header image on this page is from The Agency’s 2019 trip to the Houses of Parliament, where participants spoke to politicians and policy-makers about the impact of the programme.
WHAT HAS THE AGENCY BEEN DOING RECENTLY?
When we went into lockdown in March 2020, The Agency programme was working with young people here in Manchester, as well as Battersea and Brent in London, in Cardiff and in Belfast. These projects were adapted to provide online support and continuity for the young people on the programme, and for recent Agency alumni who were also in need of support.
Some of this support came in the form of IT equipment. Young people without digital access could continue to work and study as well as carrying on their projects and joining in with Agency zoom events.
Our young people here in Manchester were able to continue their work, and adapting some parts of them into online projects in response to continued COVID-19 restrictions.
Some of 2020/21 agents have created and shared blogs talking about their individual projects which you can read here:
- Saphia’s project We Integrate – uses music to engage with young people, click here to read in full.
- Dasha’s project Embracing Me – body positivity workshops for young people read it here.
- Demereece, Ahtasham and Aaliyah’s project Dawn to the Light – a video game that aims to spread awareness and help young people with mental health issues here.