Empowering young people pilots

Client: DCSF | NFER Contact: Sarah Golden

The Empowering Young People Pilot (EYPP) is a £14.5 million Government initiative forming part of Aiming High for Young People (HM Treasury, 2007). This ten-year strategy sets out to transform leisure-time opportunities, activities and support services for young people in England. The role of EYPP within the strategy is to encourage disadvantaged young people to take part in positive activities of their choice.

Pilot projects, running in nine local authorities (LAs), are aimed at 20,000 young people in each LA in years 9 to 12 who are in care and/or eligible for free schools meals (or sub-groups within this bracket). Each young person receives up to £40 per month to spend on activities such as theatre trips, sports, music, dance, drama and outdoor pursuits. Young people do not have direct access to funds, but are able to access activities/equipment/transport using funds paid to the provider.

Through EYPP, it is intended that young people will gain ‘more control and choice’ over the services available to them, and that they will be encouraged and supported in their choices. Pilot projects are using various methods (for example debit cards, web-based funding or key workers) to overcome the financial barriers faced by young people in participating in positive activities. The pilots differ in their start-up date (from October 2007 to April 2008), but all nine run until March 2009.

Research questions

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) wish to test the following hypothesis: ‘Empowering individual disadvantaged young people to take part in positive activities of their choice through access to spending power increases their participation in such activities and contributes to educational engagement and other beneficial outcomes.’

Impact and outcomes

A final report will be presented to DCSF in June 2009. The report will indicate the relative impact of EYPP in relation to the occurrence of increased participation in positive activities, the occurrence of increased engagement in education,, and the emergence of other beneficial outcomes. The report will indicate the relative effectiveness of each delivery model and suggest ways in which to develop the Pilot scheme.

Research design and methods

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), in partnership with the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and the University of Warwick, have adopted a two-fold research design in response to the diversity of LA approaches, the nature and size of the target population and the inherent difficulties of ascertaining the impact of a single operational model.

NFER will carry out an end of programme analysis of the management information gathered by the EYPP pilot LAs to explore the nature and timing of the take-up of activities and the characteristics of those who choose to participate in the EYPP.


The main audience of the evaluation is DCFS, although LAs and other organisations interested in children’s services, 14-19 reform, youth support and inclusion, along with youth crime and justice are also important audiences.

Time scale: October 2007 - June 2009

NFER Project Code: EYP