In Funding Stories, Strengthening community cohesion

Project: #iwill end youth homelessness
Grant: £5,000
Fund: #iwill

The aim of this project was to build an engaging social media campaign that will encourage young people to take positive action to share the developments in local youth homelessness services. This included taking selfies in support of the campaign, fundraising, designing posters and being part of a virtual youth steering group.

Working with a communications professional, Youth Concern consulted with young people in order to develop a social media strategy that focused on developing the charity’s presence online and reaching the right audiences. In total 15 young people actively engaged in the project and as a result Youth Concern now reach many more young people through their social media communications. Their Facebook followers have grown to over 600, 50% of whom are young people. They also set-up an Instragram account following further consultation with young people who claimed this was their favoured platform.

With the strategy in place, they proactively started to communicate with local schools and colleges and were welcomed by Aylesbury College where, with a young ambassador, they addressed large groups of students about homelessness issues faced by young people and the support available to them. In total around 800 people attended these presentations in the first year of the project.

Building on the work delivered through their multi-media studio and existing sessional worker, young people were able to explore film and social media as another form of communication. A number of Youth Concern’s young ambassadors had the opportunity to share their personal experience and present to the college or local schools. Helping to raise awareness of the support Youth Concern offers, as well as promoting their new service for youth homelessness by communicating with their peers in a creative way about issues important to them.

Fran Borg-Wheeler, CEO for Youth Concern said:

The social media that has come about as a result of this project has encouraged more supporters to get involved including local businesses, which in turn has helped us raise more funds to get this new project off the ground. Young people have developed new skills and built their confidence too.

For this project Youth Concern also worked with TEEG Digital, a local organisation offering apprenticeships in digital marketing. Their apprentice was able to help develop their social media and marketing materials to ensure that they spoke to the correct target audience.

Coincidentally, the apprentice had just been kicked out of his family home and was living with his girlfriend and her parents. By engaging with this project Youth Concern were able to help support him through difficult times, empowering him and boosting his confidence and self-esteem.