UK Youth


This project is now closed

UK Youth’s EmpowHER programme, match funded with the #iwill Fund, provides young women and girls with opportunities to make change in their communities.

Project information

£2.96 million

Grant amount

January 2018 – July 2023

Project duration

UK Youth

Grantee organisation

To mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, UK Youth’s EmpowHER programme, jointly funded with the #iwill Fund, aimed to support young women and girls to use their voices for positive change – just as their predecessors did 100 years ago.

Spirit of 2012 and the #iwill Fund invested £1.3million each in the first phase of the EmpowHER programme, delivered by UK Youth.  The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to a £66 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.

Established in 2018 to mark the centenary of some women being allowed to vote, EmpowHER helped young women and girls lead change in their communities, increase their self-esteem and build wellbeing by providing inclusive and meaningful social action opportunities.

UK Youth delivered face-to-face activity sessions with young women and girls through their network of youth organisations. The sessions focused on themes of individuals’ rights, empowerment and resilience, as well as activities exploring inspirational women in history. The young women and girls were supported to give back to their community through inclusive and meaningful social action opportunities, provided by partner organisations such as the British Red Cross.

EmpowHER addressed the worryingly low levels of wellbeing amongst young women and girls in the UK and supported them to use their voice, be heard and give back to their local communities. Almost 2,000 girls and young women have participated in the programme, with 63% reporting improved wellbeing and 68% reporting improved confidence.

EmpowHER: Legacy

In June 2021 Spirit of 2012 awarded a further grant of £500,000 to UK Youth for the EmpowHER Legacy programme. Through this programme, UK Youth tested different approaches in the design and delivery of youth social action projects, explored how to make them sustainable and embed best practice into a bigger network of projects.

The grant funded:

  • The delivery of training and resources, including an evaluation framework, to 52 youth organisations;
  • Support for national partners to develop a network to share local knowledge of best practice in youth social action project design and fundraising.
  • Resources for sharing widely with other youth organisations to support the delivery of effective and sustainable programmes to embed best practice.

This was added to by an £18,430 underspend from the first phase of EmpowHER which was used for training for delivery partners, translation of the EmpowHER toolkit, and an access fund to support young women and girls facing barriers to participation.

Project aims

  1. Improve wellbeing of young women & girls
  2. Empower young women & girls to be agents of change in their communities
  3. Challenge young women and girls’ limiting perceptions, of themselves and other women
  4. Improve social cohesion through community action
  5. Create long-term, meaningful social action habits
  6. Explore different ways to design, deliver and scale youth social action projects

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