‘Pitch days’ are an opportunity for young people to present their ideas in person to the people who make the funding decisions. The day is the culmination of a process that begins with an online application form and includes an essential training day run by UK Youth, where they have a chance to give – and get feedback on – a ‘practice pitch’.
Starbucks Youth Action provides funding for young people to make a positive change in their communities. Projects this year range from renovating skate parks, mentoring projects, young carers projects, gardening and music projects and an engineering project for young women.
On the day
Each project has seven minutes to present their idea. Panel members then have the opportunity to ask questions, and their decision is communicated to the young people at the end of the day.
Typically, a panel comprises Starbucks and UK Youth staff, MPs and councillors from the region and someone from the media. This year, members included Christine Chapman, Welsh Assembly member; Liam Brennan, MP; Sheila Gilmore, MP; Mark Williamson from the Edinburgh Herald; Mary McLeod MP and Ed Balls, MP and Shadow Chancellor.
Starbucks staff are also able to offer groups practical support – such as meeting room space, business mentors and free refreshments – on top of the funding. UK Youth staff provide encouragement to the ‘pitchers’, as well as expert advice to the panel.
“The training day provided me with lots of useful information and gave me the skills and confidence to present my pitch to the panel. The pitch allowed for questions – and it also gave me a way of communicating my passion for the project in a way I was unable to do by simply putting it on paper.” Jack Williamson, MaD Miners Youth Project, Manchester.
“Having to present my idea to a group of people was terrifying but, once I found out I’d been given the funding, it gave me a great sense of achievement knowing that they believed in me and the project.” Zara Browning, ‘Music is an international language’ project, Manchester.
“The process of applying for the grant was an excellent opportunity for one of the students to develop her confidence and interaction skills through collaboration and the final presentation. The pitching environment was continually supportive.” Claire Thomas, on behalf of Sarah Calder, Upward Mobility, Edinburgh.
‘Pitch days’ took place in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, and Manchester. So far, £89,627 has been spent on 51 projects. UK Youth will be monitoring and supporting projects and linking them with Starbucks volunteers. A number have been nominated as case studies, so look out for news from them in the future!
Click here for more about Starbucks Youth Action.