Media Release: Inspiring Scotland demonstrates impact of unique investment approach on tackling youth unemployment

WITH the UK youth unemployment figures nearing one million and the first six months of 2011 seeing the number of 18-24 year-olds claiming Job Seekers Allowance in Scotland at its highest since 1997, leading charity, Inspiring Scotland, highlights the even greater need to support young people within the findings of its 14:19 Fund Interim Report 2011 and demonstrates the impact of their unique investment approach.  

The charity’s 14:19 Fund helps young Scots aged 14 to 19 who are struggling to make a successful transition from school into employment, education or training by providing financial and development support from a range of private sector partners to 22 charities across 18 local authority areas.

The fund is tackling one of Scotland’s most challenging issues head on and changing lives long term.

Its interim report details that, in the six-month period from January – June 2011:

  • Through Inspiring Scotland support, £5.8m was invested in a range of carefully selected charities all focused on getting young people into a job, education or training.
  • 3,424 young people were supported and 5,316 qualifications and achievements were gained to help young people to be more prepared to move into a positive destination.

Inspiring Scotland chief executive, Andrew Muirhead, explained: “The latest UK unemployment figures are very concerning for the future of our nation’s youth, who sadly are frequently lost in the system and simply become an unemployment statistic.

“With a challenging economic climate and continual cuts in the public sectors it’s essential that time is invested now to improve young people’s lives and the social impact long term.

“Since the 14:19 Fund was established in 2008, through Inspiring Scotland £28m has been invested in carefully selected ventures.

“This has lead to 11,158 young people being supported – 4,737 of which have progressed into education, training or employment.

“12,987 achievements and qualifications such as Scottish Vocational Qualifications have been achieved on the way, helping young people to be more prepared to move into the workplace.

“Sixty-five per cent of the young people involved in ventures supported by the 14:19 Fund will achieve a positive destination.

“The aim is to make positive social and economic changes which in turn will create savings for the taxpayer in the future.

“This has only been possible as a result of Inspiring Scotland’s visionary investors and supporters who are on this long-term journey, tackling one of Scotland’s most challenging social issues head on.”

Inspiring Scotland uses an unique model of venture philanthropy – providing significant long-term funding and tailored development support.

This approach enables charities to realise long term plans, work towards achieving financial self sufficiency, and achieve maximum impact and deliver a social return – vital in the current challenging environment.

Rigorous evaluation, performance monitoring and high engagement ensures maximum return, just like any commercial investment fund.

One of the 14:19 Fund ventures is Impact Arts. The Glasgow-based charity uses interior design, fashion furniture design, dance and music to support young people into employment, education or training. 14:19 Fund investment supports the delivery of three core programmes:  Fab Pad interior design targeting 16-25 year-olds; Creative Pathways 24-week creative engagement project working with 16-19 year-olds and Gallery 37 an intensive summer arts programme aimed at 14-18 year olds.

Susan Aktemel, director of Impact Arts, said: “Inspiring Scotland’s investment approach has transformed the health of the organisation and the confidence its board, executive and external partners have in Impact Arts’ ability to continue delivering strong outcomes in the current challenging environment. Impact Arts has progressed from being a founder led social enterprise into a more substantial organisation.

“From the outset, Inspiring Scotland’s understanding of Impact Arts’ plans, commitment to letting directors make important decisions and trusting why investment was needed in a particular area was invaluable.”

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Note to Editors:

  • A copy of the 14:19 Fund Interim Report 2011 is available
  • The 14:19 Fund aims to invest £55m over a ten-year period, support 56,000 young people and help 35,000 into employment, education or training. It opened in January 2008 with the first investments made in January 2009 and there are currently 22 ventures in the 14:19 Portfolio
  • Inspiring Scotland was launched on 29 January 2008, driven by a desire to create social change – long term.
  • Venture philanthropy is an approach to charitable giving that applies the business principles of venture capital to the voluntary sector.
  •  Inspiring Scotland works with a range of supporters, including the Scottish Government, trusts and foundations, corporate and leading business people.
  • Inspiring Scotland now has a pool of over 120 business and individuals who offer their professional services and advice on a pro bono or restricted fee basis.
  • Work is funded around issues as opposed to funding work regardless of its focus. It operates three core initiatives:  14:19 Fund, Go Play to support the development of the play sector in 5-13 year-olds and Early Years Early Action supports vulnerable children and their families to prevent any problems they face escalating into costly and difficult crisis situations

For further information on Inspiring Scotland or to request an interview with chief executive Andrew Muirhead, please contact:

Eilidh Chalmers

communications officer

Inspiring Scotland

0131 442 8764 / 07917 712 9030

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Contact: Eilidh Chalmers
Phone: 0131 442 8760 / 07917 712 903