Starbucks Youth Action is a national youth development programme offering seed funding to invest in young people wanting to make a difference in their communities. UK Youth’s role in the programme is to train and support those young people.
The Project Management training day covers organisation and communication skills, budgeting and – most important of all – ‘planning a pitch’. After the training, groups are shortlisted to ‘pitch’ their ideas to the local panels that decide on their funding.
Skills for the future
On the day participants have to show they can collaborate on tasks in pairs and small groups. This means plenty of discussion, debate and compromise – and the development of negotiation skills.
The practical focus means that even projects who don’t go through to pitch, come away from the day with a clearer understanding of their strengths and the areas they need to work on to get their ideas off the ground – a message clearly illustrated by this feedback from one of the participants whose project didn’t make the shortlist:
“I found the whole experience exhilarating, informative and extremely helpful. Meeting other young people who give up their time and devote endless hours to communities close to their heart was a humbling experience. Thank you for giving us this opportunity not only to meet new friends but gain the knowledge, knowhow and confidence to carry our ideas forward.”
Making their pitch
The climax of the day is the 'two-minute pitch' activity, where everyone takes on the daunting challenge of ‘pitching’ their idea to the group – essential practice for the ‘real thing’.
The range of project ideas is as diverse as the young people themselves. They include: youth orchestras, peer mentoring projects, boxing academy, young parents theatre, community events, renovating skate parks, dance groups, mentoring projects, pop-up cinema, cookery skills, carers courses, engineering mentoring for girls, gardening and photography projects….and many, many more!
During May, shortlisted groups will pitch to a panel made up of Starbucks and UK Youth staff, plus MPs and councillors from each city. Decisions will be made on the day, and funding released in early June. The focus then turns on to action in local communities.
Applications for Youth Action funding in 2012 are now closed but keep an eye out for them opening again in the new year.
Click here for more on Starbucks Youth Action.