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Young social entrepreneurs given chance to make a difference in their community

A group of 11 young people in the north of England have been given the chance to make a positive difference in their local community, thanks to funding and support from an innovative new scheme.

The Young Change Makers Fellowship Programme supports young people aged between 18-26 who are passionate about changing society for the better. The programme was launched in 2021 by Virgin Money Foundation in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund and Northern Soul.

The announcement follows an open call to young people across the North East and North West of England, and Yorkshire and the Humber, invited to share their ideas for how they would improve their local community.

The group of 11 ‘Change Makers’ will now receive expert support, funding and learning opportunities to bring their idea to life, including a grant of up to £10,000 and a mentor to help them to develop as a leader. They will also benefit from working with Virgin Money team members to help develop their business model.

The successful entrepreneurs include Emma Redfearn [pictured above] from Sheffield, Dami Fawehinmi from Newcastle and Farhad Gohar from Manchester.

Emma Redfearn, 24, is working with young people to help break down the stigma around mental health, in collaboration with the University of Sheffield.

Emma said: “I was inspired to apply for the Young Change Makers programme because I knew it would help me amplify the positive impact I wanted to have on my community. My social enterprise, Studio Self-Made is all about empowering young people to launch their creative careers in the north – through entrepreneurship, freelance or employment.”

Nancy Doyle-Hall, executive director of Virgin Money Foundation, said: “The Young Change Makers programme was born out of a recognition that very often the people who know best the issues that need to be tackled in a neighbourhood are the young people living in these communities.”

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