The Year Ahead: New Year blog from CEO Phil Barron

Firstly I want to wish you all a very happy new year! 2022 is YWF’s 5th anniversary as an organisation, and so provides an ideal opportunity to both reflect and continue to look forwards. Our focus remains on strengthening the children and young people’s sector in Westminster and focusing on key areas of need which enable young people to thrive.

We ended 2021 awarding 24 grants totalling £313,000 through our third Brighter Futures Fund, in addition to ring-fencing additional funding for LBGTQ+ provision over the coming twelve months. The investors in the programme have continued to grow year on year and these projects include existing partners and new delivery for the City. The increase in applications we saw this time really emphasises the need for more interventions for young people who continue to bear the brunt of the impact of the pandemic.

Young Westminster Foundation will continue to work on three thematic priorities this year:


What we’ve done so far:

  • Collaborated with partners and members for a focused working group in the North West of borough.
  • Delivered consultation with members of public & young people, supported by the Behave Team at Total Media.
  • Funded Street Doctors to deliver workshops for young people via the Brighter Futures Fund.

What we will do this year:

  • Co-ordinate a round table with our community to disseminate these findings, working closely with the Met Police.
  • Employ a Youth Violence Programme Manager and implement a pilot across 3 estates in NW Westminster using funding secured from London’s Violence Reduction Unit.
  • Release a short film on serious youth violence, developed with Media Trust.


What we’ve done so far:

  • Forged a new partnership with Mind putting mental health youth workers within our Youth Hubs.
  • Brought community together to discuss mental health findings of Our City, Our Future.

What we will do this year:

  • Collaborate with Westminster City Council and the North West London Clinical Commissioning Group to fund further projects.
  • Release ‘Sound From Our City’ podcast created by young people which discusses key themes including mental health.


What we’ve done so far:

  • Mastering My Future continues to be flagship employability programme connecting young people with local businesses with 257 young people taking part last year.
  • Begun quarterly business webinars to open conversations with businesses around opening doors to the world of work.

What we will do this year:

  • Deliver another round of Mastering My Future with new businesses joining, and renewed funding from The Mercer’s Company.
  • Bring partners together as part of the Westminster Youth Employment Working Group.
  • Continue to collaborate with our business partners, target new sectors and open up opportunities for young people.

Other strategic priorities for YWF in 2022 include:

  • Workforce development: Build on 20201’s GRIT training delivered to 50 youth workers and look to coordinate a stronger offer of youth worker training.
  • Fundraising: Strengthen partnerships with our established network of local businesses and innovate new fundraising initiatives and partnerships in the borough.
  • Refugees and asylum seekers: Continue support for families being housed in Westminster, in partnership with Westminster City Council and wider members.
  • Youth voice: Through our recently revitalised group of Young Ambassadors, we will be ensure this group is representative and is given opportunities to advocate. The group will undertake a small piece of peer research in the Spring to reflect on what’s changed one year on from the release of the Our City, Our Future report
  • Impact and evaluation: Further deeper assessment of the value our work and the wider context of the sector.
  • Cultural competency/anti-racism:  Moving forwards our work with The Staff College, members and partners for evaluation, learning and improvement.

We value the voices of all of our 120 member organisations. This year is a good chance to reconnect with YWF and make the most of the opportunities to share and learn. We also value our partnerships with strategic organisations like Westminster City Council and local businesses, and will continue to provide opportunities to bring together our ever-growing network in 2022.

Be sure to join our monthly catch-ups and business webinars, and reach out to collaborate with other members and partners to develop new programmes over the coming year. We look forward to celebrating our 5th birthday with you all, so look out for more information about the anniversary campaign, launching soon.

As ever, please do not hesitate to reach out with any ideas or suggestions you may have! You can email us on

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