Lived Experience Leaders celebrate National Lottery funding to tackle social issues

1 Jul 2019 01:53 PM

The National Lottery Community Fund has today announced that projects across the UK have received a share of £800,000 as part of its Lived Experience Leaders Pilot programme.

The new grants will enable organisations to put people with first-hand experience of social issues in the lead. Organisations including The Care Leaders, Muslim Women’s Council and Comics Youth will now build capacity for those with lived experience to become leaders within their community, for example by providing training for emerging leaders or improving governance structures.

The Lived Experience Leader Pilot Programme, which was developed through workshops across the UK involving more than 70 lived experience leaders, is a core part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s ‘people in the lead’ strategy. The pilot aims to better embed experts by experience in all aspects of an organisation’s operations – and enable the Fund and the wider sector to continue learning about how people with first-hand experience can become leaders, and how funders can support them.

Joe Ferns, UK Knowledge and Portfolio Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: 

“Thanks to National Lottery players, people with lived experience will use their unique expertise to lead social change and help their communities to thrive. We know that supporting those with first-hand experience to become leaders is a key enabler for civil society to do more, help more people and for our sector to have a greater impact.”

One of the projects to receive funding – The Care Leaders, in Chester - will use its £50,000 grant to create a national support network for care-experienced young leaders. The network will also offer leadership development opportunities, mentoring and a forum to connect care-experienced young people with local policy-makers.

Luke Rodgers, Director of The Care Leaders, said: 

“As someone who has first-hand experience of the care system, I’ve met some incredible human beings who have no platform to use their lived experience to develop into leaders. But we find when we give the young people we work with responsibility and opportunities, they absolutely thrive. That’s why we’re so excited about this grant – if you can extract authentic knowledge about the care system, you’re going to improve it.”

Muslim Women’s Council, in Bradford, has received £30,000 to deliver leadership training to Muslim women with lived experience of domestic violence, hate crime, Islamophobia, sexual exploitation and polygamy – with the ultimate aim of establishing a mini think-tank to empower participants to influence policy and debates around these issues.

Bana Gora, Chief Executive of Muslim Women’s Council, said: 

“There was always a sense that people parachute into cities like Bradford, and then back out again. There are very few credible, trained people ‘on the ground’ – especially in the Muslim community. So why not use the experience we have between us, as Muslim women in Bradford, to identify gaps in services that we’ve experienced.”

Liverpool-based Comics Youth – which uses the curation of comics and stories to support young people who have experienced trauma, mental health issues and marginalisation – has received a £39,000 grant to develop the leadership skills of young people, through the creation and operation of a publishing house.

Rhiannon Griffiths, Director of Comics Youth CIC, said: 

“The Lived Experience Leaders grant is going to enable us to open the first young person-led publisher of its kind in the UK, called Marginal, where we’re going to be supporting people aged 8 to 25 to create great comics related to their experiences in today’s society.

“Our programme will recruit 15 to 20 young people with experience of complex mental health issues to come together and run an editorial group about what’s important to them in today’s society – we’re going to be supporting them to become leaders of the future and publishers of the future, which we’re really excited about.”

Today’s announcement is also a key part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s commitment to enabling civil society to be fit for the future – helping organisations and the social sector create opportunities for people with first-hand experience to be at the forefront of decision making.

Notes to Editors

About the National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.