The Changemakers ethos is about developing young people’s skills, confidence and values to lead positive change in the world around them. As leaders, they can make a positive difference in their community; they can inspire other young people to become active citizens, and they become new talent and resource available to employers.

We’re welcoming the Changemakers brand into the Foyer Federation, because we believe this approach to talent, skills and potential will help us better transform opportunities for young people. Scroll down for more info on the Changemakers story, and how we got to where we are today.

Where it began – Changemakers since 2000 – Merging into the Foyer Federation

Where it began

Changemakers was founded in 1994 by a coalition of educationalists and NGOs and was an early champion of young people leading their own social action and change. Since that time, more than 100,000 young people have participated in programmes and hundreds of organisations have adopted the approach.

Over the past decade, Changemakers have influenced many of the key developments in education and youth policy. This has included;

  • the introduction of citizenship and enterprise education;
  • the creation of youth volunteering initiatives such as the youth volunteering body ‘v’, Millennium Volunteers, and the Russell Commission on the future of youth volunteering;
  • enshrining youth leadership methodology in national policies for young people, including ‘Aiming High’, the previous government’s strategy for positive activities for young people, and ‘The Youth of Today’, the previous government’s National Body for Youth Leadership.

Changemakers since 2000

Supporting the development of young leaders has always been at the heart of the the Changemakers approach. The year 2000 saw the launch of the flagship youth leadership development programme, which is still going strong today.

In 2004, Changemakers launched Y SPEAK, the country’s biggest ever youth led grants scheme, which in part lead to the government’s introduction of the Youth Opportunity and Capital Funds, placing young people in control of local authority youth budgets.

Since then this youth led methodology has been taken to other sectors. For example through projects focused on the criminal justice system in Birmingham, on the arts sector in Newcastle, and on establishing young people as commissioners of public services.

Changemakers’ programmes have also piloted different ways of delivering the core programmes, focusing on developing the skills, confidence and values of young people, and supporting organisations to harness young people’s leadership potential.

Merging into the Foyer Federation

The Foyer Federation and Changemakers began to collaborate on shaping a new offer in 2009. In 2011 the partnership began in earnest when the Foyer Federation won a two year contact from the Department for Education to support young people into education, employment and training, with Changemakers being one of the two delivery bodies.

The partnership was further strengthened when the Foyer Federation won a £2m Big Lottery Fund programme ‘Millennium Now’ as part of the Channel 4 ‘Secret Millions’ television series to help young people design an alternative approach to the job centre and work programme.

In July 2014, the Boards of Trustees of both organisations decided to formalise the excellent relationship by merging Changemakers into the Foyer Federation from 1 September 2014, allowing the Changemakers brand to become part of the Foyer Federation’s approach to transforming opportunities for young people.