Young people are ready for change

By Global Fund for Children | November 16, 2023 | Europe & Eurasia | Youth Empowerment

This guest blog post was written by Megan Whiteside, a Young Gamechangers Fund Steering Group member.

In this article, Steering Group member Megan Whiteside shares her experience with the Young Gamechangers Fund. Co-op Foundation, Co-op, and #iwillFund have launched the Young Gamechangers Fund, which will be delivered by Global Fund for Children and Restless Development.

The Young Gamechangers Fund is a new fund that shifts power to young people, providing grants of up to £20k a year for them to transform communities into safer, more sustainable and more inclusive places to live. A Steering Group of young changemakers was formed to design the fund from the ground up, from the application process through to grant decisions and more!

Members of the Steering Group

Members of the Young Gamechangers Fund Steering Group. © Restless Development

I’ve often wondered – what is it that drives somebody to break the status quo?

There can be many catalysts in our lives that drive change but sometimes, it’s that one spark that ignites the fire and catapults us into action. What is that one spark for you?

This push for change has fueled many young people to go on to do great things, ideas big and small. I believe if we look closely, we see a cycle of events which often drives the action…

1) The Spark

This is the time we become aware of the issue, we may see something happen that doesn’t sit right with our morals, and we may notice a jigsaw piece is missing from the picture or a person from the table.

2) The Passion

This is when all of the emotions we feel during the trigger time morph into a need to do something. The power to change.

3) The Team

You may gather your troops now, and scout your activists, campaigners, and changemakers. Time to learn your strengths and weaknesses so you can develop a powerful team.

4) The Blueprint

Once united you can talk in a space and discuss ideas and knowledge on related topics, this is where you will find your ideas and wants, forming an achievable plan.

5) The Push

Now is where you will push to see your blueprints are listened to and understood, and your team will meet with others who can make changes. rewrite rulebooks and protocols. Once you’ve pitched your ideas, it will be down to you to make changes.

6) The Change

Now it’s time to see change, to see the difference your team has planned for. This can look very different depending on who you pitch to, it could be that you’re given a fund of money to make a difference with, it could mean a change of policy, or it could mean a whole new rule is added to the rulebook of how things are run.

Or it could end in you not being heard at all, you’ve spoken, you’ve left a copy of your blueprints on their table after the pitch and they’ve never picked them up since. It may feel like they have just humoured you, pretended to listen to young people but only to tick the box. Tokenism.

The Young Gamechangers Fund doesn’t stand for tokenism, they are the blueprint for change. They are creators of space for young people to really tackle issues. Here you will be heard and taken seriously.

Whilst being a part of the Young Gamechangers Steering Fund I have been in a welcoming space full of young people just as passionate as I am about systemic change. Every week we meet to talk about what we as young people can do to create a better world, from funding-deprived areas to equality and equity in school and healthcare— no issue too big or small for our discussion space.

I believe having a youth-led fund is so vital in today’s climate because as young people we are in a position that other generations will never be in again, we see things that different generations may now miss.

We are the ones in the schools, in the children’s hospitals, in the youth groups, in the group chats. We are the ones with the knowledge, the lived experience, and finally, now we have the power. With our difference in age comes a difference in perspective.

When young people are given funds, space, and power we are able to take up space at more tables that we should have been invited to sit at already. We are finally given the power to make changes about issues that have an impact on us.

I grew up in a deprived area and now I’m in a space not only to talk about change, but to make it happen. I have a huge passion for helping those who need a hand and pushing for justice.

I am a proud supporter of several movements and efforts such as: BLM, supporting Palestine, supporting the LGBTQ+, supporting women and ensuring their safety and empowering deprived communities, creating safe spaces for all. Here I can learn about how to make changes and support in ways that can actually benefit my movements and efforts.

And what was my own spark? My passion for driving change was ignited by a peer network which knows that change can’t happen in silos. We must leverage what we have and fight for what we believe in. As we stand together to build a world that we’re proud of, we’re calling upon YOU to join us.

Are you ready for change? To find out more about the Young Gamechangers Fund, click here.

Header photo: Members of the Young Gamechangers Fund Steering Group. © Restless Development 

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