Young people leading change in their communities.
Welcome to The Agency Manchester, run by Contact since 2013.
Every year we run programmes aimed at empowering young people to become the creative leaders and change-makers of their communities.
Scroll down to learn more about getting involved, and listen to 2023 Agent Sufyaan on BBC Radio Manchester below!
What is The Agency?
The Agency is a creative entrepreneurship programme enabling young people aged 15 to 25 from some of the most underserved areas in the UK to generate social change projects based on the needs they identify in their own communities. The Agency was originally developed by the Brazilian theatre maker, activist and journalist Marcus Faustini in the favelas of Rio De Janeiro.
The programme was brought to the UK through a partnership between Battersea Arts Centre (BAC), Contact and People Palace Projects (PPP). Instead of asking what they can do to help young people through the arts, they thought about how they can pool their resources, knowledge and expertise to foster change based on the desires of young people.
Read all about our recent successful Agents here, and here.
How do we usually recruit?
We provide young people (or Agents) with the professional training, support and advice they need to generate new innovative ideas. Agents pitch their ideas to an expert panel that decide which projects will be receiving seed funding of £2,000 and additional support, helping their ideas grow and reach bigger audiences.
Over the past 5 years over 266 young people have taken part in The Agency in Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester, London, Southampton, Brent and Waltham Forest, with projects receiving £178,547 in funding.
How did it start?
The Agency was originally developed by the Brazilian theatremaker and journalist Marcus Faustini in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, where the project has become a major force for change – Agencia de Redes para Juventude.
The Agency began in the UK in the Moston and Harpurhey areas of North Manchester, and the Clapham Junction and Battersea areas of London (in collaboration with Battersea Arts Centre and People’s Palace Projects). In 2017, The Agency was awarded £883,771 by the Big Lottery Fund to grow the project nationally to communities in Belfast and Cardiff in collaboration with FabLab Belfast and The National Theatre of Wales.
👀 Interested in establishing The Agency in your local community? Talk to The Agency today at this link here.
Houses of Parliament
In 2019, Agency participants from Manchester and London presented to politicians and policy-makers at the Houses of Parliament, speaking about their projects and the impact of the programme on their communities. The project was also the focus of a major Guardian article: Knives, gangs and kids: how to break the cycle.
Find The Agency on Social Media:
Head to their website here to find out more.
You can keep up to date with The Agency by following the @agency_change accounts on Twitter and Instagram and liking the page on Facebook.
In 2019, we published a detailed report on the delivery of The Agency. You can view it here.
You can also watch a selection of films created for The Agency on YouTube
The Agency is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation. The UK pilot was funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.