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Apply now to Ideas Made Real!

The West Midlands is turning 50! To mark the occasion, we are bringing back the award-winning Ideas Made Real!

Have you got an idea you’d like to bring to life? Something that would make a positive change in your community?

If so – we want to hear from you! 

If you’re aged 16-24 and live in the West Midlands, tell us your idea for a project that would improve your community, your region, your HOME.

Last year’s projects ideas included:

  • A community garden for homeless young people in Kidderminster
  • A community basketball league
  • Creating a charity to support young people with autism
  • Walking group for isolated young men with mental health challenges
  • Theatre project raising awareness of womens safety
  • A careers fair for young people to get into creative jobs
  • Supporting mental health through dance in Wednesbury

Whatever the idea, we want to hear it, so we can help you make it REAL.

What’s on offer?

United By 2022 Legacy Charity will select a range of projects that have the potential to make a big difference to local communities.

If shortlisted, you will be invited to our exciting PowerPlan weekend on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st of April, where you’ll receive training, workshops, and lots of support to see if we can make your idea a reality!

But it’s not all work! There’ll be lots of fun and the chance to meet some great people, all there to help you take your idea to the next level.

From there, each winning idea will receive up to £8,000, as well as a dedicated member of our team, to help you deliver your project between May 2024 and January 2025.

How to apply

You’ve got until Monday 1st April to complete our online application form and submit a short video telling us your idea and why you want to make a difference to your community.

Don’t worry- we’re not looking for you to have a business plan or a marketing strategy – we just want to learn about your idea and what you would do with the funding if your idea was chosen.

(Please note- you will need to be available to attend the PowerPlan weekend on the 20th and 21st April!)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ideas Made Real award?

The Ideas Made Real award is an opportunity for young people (aged 16-24) to apply for funding to carry out a social action project that will benefit communities across the West Midlands. Successful applicants will be supported by our team at United By 2022 and partnered with a supporting organisation, who will help them to deliver their project and make a difference.

What do you mean by “youth social action”?

Youth social action refers to the activities undertaken by young people to make a positive difference to others or the environment they live in.

There are lots of ways in which you can do this, including formal activities (like volunteering at a local charity shop) or informal activities (like tutoring a younger student at your school).

Other types of social action include fundraising (collecting money or resources) and campaigning (speaking out about issues that matter to you).

Young people don’t have to try and save the world on their own. Taking positive actions to improve your home, school, or neighbourhood can help to improve lives and solve problems within your community.

You might already be doing a form of social action without even realising it!

What can I use the funding for?

Our theme for Ideas Made Real this year is Home and Community – and we would love to see project ideas that incorporate this! Feel free to use the examples below as inspiration, but remember, we are looking for unique ideas that match your interests and are relevant to the needs of your community. Nothing is off limits!


1. Community Garden Project

Transform an unused/neglected space in your neighbourhood into a vibrant community garden. The project could involve clearing the area, planting flowers, vegetables, and herbs, and organising regular community gardening sessions where residents can come together. The garden will promote sustainability, provide a peaceful retreat for the community, and foster a sense of pride and ownership in the neighbourhood.


2. Social Benefit App

Design a social benefit app to bring young people in the community closer together and promote positive activities and events that they can access.


3. Neighbourhood Cleanup Initiative

Create a Neighbourhood Cleanup Initiative to beautify and improve the cleanliness of your town. Gather volunteers from the community to pick up litter and tidy public spaces such as parks, streets, and alleyways. The project will not only enhance the appearance of the neighbourhood but promote environmental stewardship and community cohesion. After the cleanup, you could organize a celebratory community picnic/barbecue to thank volunteers and further strengthen neighbourhood bonds.


4. College Wellbeing Service

Improve the wellbeing services and facilities at your college. You could set up a Student Council, with representatives from each year group, to find out what changes students would like to see. Together, you could use the funding to create a Wellness Room which hosts a variety of events throughout the academic year, including workshops on goal setting, stress management, and creating healthy routines. During the first session of a new Creative Arts club, get students to make kindness bookmarks with positive messages to leave around the school library.    


5. Refugee Sports Festival

Organise a sports festival specifically designed to bring together refugees in the community. The festival could feature a variety of sport activities, such as football, basketball, volleyball, and athletics, that cater to different interests and skill levels. Participants can form teams representing their countries of origin or join mixed teams to promote inclusivity and unity. Alongside the sports activities, provide opportunities for cultural exchange, where participants can share their stories, traditions, and experiences.


6. Accessible Community Events

Coordinate a series of community events designed to foster inclusion and support for individuals with disabilities. These events could include workshops, art exhibitions, cultural celebrations, and social gatherings held in accessible venues with accommodations for various disabilities.


7. Cultural Community Food Festival for Care Leavers

Organise a cultural community food festival exclusively for care leavers, celebrating diversity through food and shared experiences. Provide cooking workshops and opportunities for care leavers to learn culinary skills and share their own recipes. The festival serves as a platform for care leavers to connect, share stories, and feel a sense of belonging in their community.

I am passionate about something, but I don’t think it counts as social action. Is there still a way for me to get involved?

Definitely! In fact, the type of projects that we are looking for are those based on something that you are really passionate about.

If there is something in your life that brings you joy, it probably has the power to make a positive difference to others too.

For instance, if you are a member of your school’s basketball team, could you find a way of making basketball inclusive for young people who haven’t had the chance to experience the sport before?

What areas of the West Midlands can apply?

Young people who live, work and/or study in one of the following areas (from the date of application until 31st January 2025) can have their idea considered as part of the Ideas Made Real programme:

  • Birmingham
  • Coventry
  • Dudley
  • Sandwell
  • Solihull
  • Walsall
  • Wolverhampton

Successful projects must also be delivered in and benefit communities across these areas.

Can I apply with my friends?

Yes! We accept individual or group applications (with a maximum of 5 people per group). All applicants must be 16–24 years old.

I've submitted my idea, what's next?

Shortlisted applicants will be contacted by Wednesday 10th April and invited along to our PowerPlan weekend on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st April. During this event, you will undergo training to enhance your budgeting, marketing, and presentation skills. You will take part in fun activities and meet other likeminded young people before presenting your idea to our panel of community leaders and young people.

The panel will select the successful applicants, each of whom will receive up to £8,000 of funding to deliver their project between May 2024 and January 2025.

If I get shortlisted, how should I get my idea ready to present to the panel at the PowerPlan weekend?

Upon finding out that you have been shortlisted on 10th April, you will have an 11-day period before you present your idea. Don’t worry, you are not expected to do this alone! Someone from our team at United By 2022 will contact you to provide you with helpful guidance and all the tools you will need to prepare for the PowerPlan weekend.

Will I be supported to complete my project?

Absolutely! Every Ideas Made Real participant will be supported by our team at United By 2022. We will assist you in bringing your idea to life and help you to stay on track.

In addition to this, your supporting organisation will help you to deliver, budget and review your project. They will hold and spend the money on your behalf, in line with your project plan. This is due to legal and safeguarding reasons.

I am already part of an organisation who are willing to help me. Can they act as my supporting organisation?

Yes! We will need to contact the organisation to make sure that they are aware of your application and discuss their role as a supporting organisation. In your application form there is a section for you to include their details.

However, please bear in mind that project ideas must come from you, as a young person or group of young people.

This will have no bearing on your success or not, so please don’t be put off if you are not part of an organisation. We will connect you to a local organisation to support you throughout your project.

I need to be partnered with a supporting organisation, can I pick which one?

Given that you will be working closely with your supporting organisation throughout the programme, it is important for us to make sure that they are well equipped to help you deliver your project. We will be selecting organisations from across the West Midlands who have knowledge of your project area, experience of working with young people, and who are located close to you.

If you are successful, we will partner you with the organisation that is most suitable for you and your project needs. We want to include you in this process to ensure that you are happy with the partnership.