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Hear more from three of the young people involved.

Hi, I’m Chloe, one of the peer researchers who worked on this research project.

I came to be involved with VMF through the BALTIC and their Young Producers group which was funded by VMF’s #iwill Take Action Fund. I started the project with no experience in research and no idea what social action was! However, throughout the process of researching Youth Social Action and conducting interviews, I came to love the research process and the ability to have conversations with people discussing these complex and intriguing topics. For me, this experience has been one of the most valuable things I have done in developing my confidence and ability to speak with people, especially in a professional way. I used to be extremely socially anxious often struggling to have conversations with even my closest friends, but now, thanks to this research project, I can happily talk to strangers and professionals without any stress! Also, this project has inspired me to continue working within peer research and social action research - potentially influencing my future career. This shows just how impactful doing a project like this can be on the peer researchers themselves!

I think the research presented and explained in this zine is vital to VMF as it impacts their method of conducting social action, specifically their focus on place and social action, the relationship between which is different from how VMF originally thought. We discovered through our research process that people felt more connected to a place after being involved with social action rather than being inspired to participate in social action because of where they live. Furthermore, our research revealed young people felt their communities were both physical and digital so VMF could potentially look into funding more online social action groups or spaces for young people. Overall our research and experience can be used to change how VMF market their funding for social action and evidences the importance of listening to young people’s feedback to influence future decisions.

My name is Grace and I worked as a peer researcher for Virgin Money Foundation. I have taken part in a number of art related projects at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art which were all funded by VMF. I found out about being a peer researcher through these projects at the Baltic.

As peer researchers we looked into the impacts that social action can have on young people and their communities. I helped to create the interview and survey questions, interviewed young people who took part in projects funded by VMF and then analysed the information. We used the information we gathered to create the Zine. My favourite part of being a peer researcher was the training we took part in to learn about different ways we can collect information and how to evaluate it. I also liked the process of actually carrying out the interviews, this helped with my confidence and social skills. All of these skills will be very helpful in further education and future careers.

The thing that stuck with me the most during my time as a peer researcher was the impact social action had on people. Whether they helped to organise or just took part in projects, many people said it helped them gain confidence and new skills that can be used throughout their life, and many also said they gained new friends.

I think that the benefits that social action and youth projects have on people is clear and that more projects like this are needed in the future to help more young people and to bring awareness to more causes.

Hello! My name is Gage, and I’m the managing director of a non-profit film production company based in Leeds called Oxygen Films - dedicated to supporting young and systemically excluded creatives to access the industry.

I was so honoured when I was selected as a Fellow on the first Virgin Money Foundation Young Changemakers Fellowship when it launched in 2021, and to say that the experience was life- changing is quite the understatement. As part of Virgin Money Foundation, I received funding to improve myself as someone making change in the North, as well as a bursary to travel anywhere in the world (I visited New York during Pride and 4th of July, and met some of the most incredible people).

Joining the research group Ludvigsen McMahon as a Peer Researcher on this project was a fantastic opportunity to learn from the other incredible young people who VMF supports, and find ways in which VMF can further support young people in the North, by improving their programmes or providing new access to community giving. I saw the ways first-hand in which the course had improved from the Year One cohort, to Year Two who offered that vital input while they were experiencing the Fellowship.

The four other fabulous Peer Researchers and I unearthed so many findings that we feel VMF can utilise to empower future generations to tackle the systemic issues their communities face head-on. VMF knows there is more to be done - and our discoveries provide input, honest advice and improvements directly from the young people in the North that VMF supports.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank VMF and Ludvigsen McMahon for providing this valuable research, and I hope that VMF and its partners continue to put its trust in the young people committed to making their communities a better place to live.