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Youth organisations are crucial for society at this time : Grants available now!

Local or national youth organisations responding to community needs, especially groups reaching out to vulnerable people such as the homeless or refugees can apply for a grant from the Council of Europe’s European Youth Foundation until 22 June. Marco Leidekker, the head of the European Youth Foundation believes that youth organisations, dynamic, forward-looking, innovative are particularly suited to helping societies in adversity.


Interview with Marco Leidekker – European Youth Foundation

The Council of Europe’s European Youth Foundation is extending its deadline until the 22 of June to apply for grants where local or national youth organisations are responding to community needs, especially groups that reach out to vulnerable people such as the homeless or refugees. Marco Leidekker is head of the Foundation.

Charles Amponsah: What’s your assessment as to how youth organisations are being affected by funding cuts during the coronavirus pandemic?

Marco Leidekker: Many youth organisations as many other NGOs do finance themselves to a large extent from projects that they run or from activities that they organise. If they can’t apply for funding or execute projects, or activities the consequences can be financially quite dire. For some, financial needs are already an issue at the moment, for others, they may come by the end of this year or even later. The European Youth Fondation is itself a major donor for youth organisations, so for our part, we try to be as flexible as possible here.

CA: The European Youth Foundation’s pilot activity grants : What are the criteria for applicants and how much money can groups apply for?

ML: The European Youth Foundation has been established in 1972 and the idea is to provide financial support to youth activities. It has a number of grants, different types of grants, and one of them is indeed pilot activities. These pilot activities have something peculiar that they need to meet local needs, they need to have a local impact. The maximum amount of money that we can disburse for a pilot project is ten thousand euros.

CA: And what do youth groups need to be doing to qualify for pilot grants and indeed other grants?

ML: Little by little, it is becoming crystal clear that the COVID-19 crisis may have some very long term effects. It could very well be that suspension of school programmes, as we see in various Europeans countries, may have a long-term effect on contact with the education system. It may be that certain groups are falling behind. It could very well be that there will be some tensions between certain groups. It is not unthinkable that the accelerated instability that we see at the moment, exacerbated by the crisis, may be difficult for certain people to digest and to work with. The effects of Covid-19 may differ per country, per region and very much per community. We are quite flexible as to the nature of the project. This is a Council of Europe fund. The objectives of the project should be in line with Council of Europe priorities, in particular the priorities of the youth sector.

CA: What is your message to youth organisations during this difficult time?

ML: It is a time of change, isn’t it? It is a time of fundamental and perhaps irreversible change. We believe that youth organisations are very crucial at the moment. It is their dynamism, their direction towards the future, their sense of innovation that make them particularly suited to help society and to help us all in these times and to build up society after.