One of the things I found out about at the v conference on Thursday was vcashpoint.

vcashpoint is their “funding initiative” where they will give money directly to young people to fund set up voluntary community projects. The idea is that if a young person (aged 16-25) has an idea for something that they think will benefit their community, they can apply to v for a grant of up to £2,500 to help them make it happen. Successful applicants get the money transferred to a bank account of their choice, and v monitor the outcome of the project in much the same way that they would with a voluntary provider like us.

I’m not sure what I think of this. It sounds like a very positive idea – for an organisation which works hard to show itself as being youth-led, it is good to see them putting this into practice. And I think they are hoping that this approach may lead to some innovative and novel projects that other more traditional youth volunteering services will be able to learn from.

(Although, I would hope that a good youth volunteering service would already involve young people in the development and creation of new projects – that is certainly our approach.)

I have to admit to wondering how it will work in practice to give potentially large sums of money to under 18-year olds. But then, the whole pot is only £1 million (£500,000 from HSBC, £500,000 from Government) which is a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things, so even if there are some cases where the money is wasted, it’s perhaps not the end of the world? Maybe it’s best to see it as an interesting experiment – a small seed fund to try and generate some interesting ideas for new approaches to youth volunteering.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this will evolve. Hopefully some of the young people that we work with will consider submitting a proposal – it would be good to see how the scheme works firsthand.

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