Our Work

The Young Foundation has prioritised work in four areas: health, wellbeing and ageing; young people, learning and work; resilient communities and housing, and social
innovation and investment.

These priorities are based on a combination of areas where we have extensive experience and knowledge, and where we face – in the UK and abroad – significant challenges.

Social innovator pointing to a computer screen during a partner conference
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Health outcomes have massively improved in the west. However, we face new challenges around increased ageing, rising health inequality and concern about trends in relation to particular public health issues including mental health, substance and obesity. Public resources are limited and that many of these issues require much wider responses from prevention to changes in individual and market behaviour.

In some ways we have seen an education success story in the UK and further afield, with more children and young people in school. However, educational outcomes remain deeply unequal, social mobility has stalled and our leaders are still drawn from elites. More broadly, too much of the debate about education and training ignores the factors that really seem to make a difference to how young people fare in their future lives; whether this is access to social networks or emotional and developmental skills.

The Young Foundation’s history started in communities and neighbourhoods. We continue to seek to understand what makes people and communities work and why some are able to be more resilient than others. Too often regeneration and housing has focused on infrastructure and neglected the real and lived experiences of neighbours. Our aim is to understand how to encourage rather than frustrate support and neighbourly contact, help everyone feel they belong in their area, and make them have an influence over local institutions.

What brings this work together is our experience and understanding of social innovation itself and how new approaches and enterprises can succeed in different settings.