Through the Your Best Friend Fund we are distributing £300,000 in grants to organisations and groups based in England and Wales to create their own ideas and projects that support Your Best Friend’s aims. We expect to give 30-40 small grants of £1,000 - £10,000 and 6-8 large grants between £10,000 and £25,000. Please read on to learn more about the project, what you can apply for and how to apply.

Applications open on 24 November 2021 - you can read the guidance on this page or download the guidance notes here.
Apply to the Your Best Friend Fund
Key information
If you have any hearing impairments, we have added subtitles to the video - please turn on the closed captions on the video menu
Guidance Notes
What the grants are for?
We listened to hundreds of girls, young women and non-binary people to find out what they see their friends experiencing in all types of relationships and what stops young people from spotting toxic behaviours and red flags. They told us what helps them, or stops them,
intervening if their friend is in a toxic relationship and what would make them seek professional advice.

You can apply for a grant to use these ideas in your own groups and organisations, or to develop ideas of your own. All we ask is that your idea or project must:

  • increase understanding about healthy, unhealthy and toxic relationships
  • give people the knowledge and confidence to know how to keep their friends safe

We organised what we heard into eleven Themes which you can read about on here.

Now, we are developing ideas for things young people can use to help their friends. Here are some of the ideas:

  • connected TikToks which give practical information, tips and skits showing the challenges faced by LBT+ people in their relationships
  • a commercial video which provides information on relationships, red and green flags and tips and advice for organisations who work with teenagers
  • an Instagram campaign with quotes about what a good relationship looks like so you can open their eyes
  • a simple series of posters which have QR codes that you can zap to go the advice to help you help your friend and that show red flags in relationships that you might be missing in your friend's relationships
  • a Time to Step In Navigator where you answer yes/no questions that let you know when you need to step in and what you need to do to help your friend a podcast of young people in conversation about how to open a friend’s eyes about their relationship

Think about what a good way to raise awareness about toxic relationships in your community might be. Could you collect and share stories, have a poster campaign, write and perform a play or song or run an event?

What about setting up, or adapting, a peer support group in your youth club or school?

We’re interested in all good ideas to help you keep yourself and your friends safe.
What is the current schedule for applications?
The current schedule for applications is:
  • Small grants first panel: 24th January 2022
  • Large grants deadline: Friday 18th February
  • The week of 7th March: large and small grants panel
  • The week of 25th April: small grants panel
  • Second deadline: 20th May 2022
  • The week of 6th June: small and large and grants panel.
  • The week of 18th July: small grants panel.
How much can I apply for?
  • You can apply for a small grant (£1,000 to £10,000) or apply for a large grant (£10,000 to £25,000).
  • You can only apply for one grant at a time. Please only ask for the money you need to run your idea or project as we will ask you for a simple budget.
What can I apply for?
  • You can apply for a grant to use the tools and resources Your Best Friend creates in your own community, or to develop ideas and activities of your own.
  • Your idea or project should focus on girls, young women and non-binary people aged 13-24. We are particularly interested in getting these tools and resources to those who might not find the help they need easily and need it in a language, or style, or place where they feel safe.
What can I use the money for?
  • You can use the grant to pay for staff, for professional help (like a graphic designer), to hire a venue, pay for printing etc.
  • We will ask you to provide a very simple budget.
What can’t I apply for?
  • We will not give grants to produce websites or apps.
  • Grants cannot be used for political or religious activities.
Can anyone apply?
We welcome applications from groups and organisations that include:
  • Schools (pastoral teams, peer mentors, feminist societies, sports and drama teams etc)
  • Colleges and universities (student union, societies, sports and drama clubs, pastoral teams etc)
  • Community-based social and health services (inc sexual health, pregnancy and young mums’ support)
  • Charities and community groups (national, regional and/or local) Religious groups
  • Youth clubs, groups and societies (inc activism, sports, drama, music, Scouts and Guides, adventure, craft, support groups etc)
We cannot give grants to individuals, but please contact us on yourbestfriend@safelives.org.uk if you have an idea and/or would like to be involved in another way.
How do I apply?
Please use the online form - the links are above on this page or you can find them here:
If you prefer, you can print your application and post or email it to us at yourbestfriend@safelives.org.uk - you can download the files in the grants information section above on this page.

We want to make applying as easy as possible, so if you’d like to record the main section in a that’s absolutely fine. If you are sending us a video or audio submission, then in the description field for the relevant questions, please let us know the link to wherever we can watch or listen to it (if a video, we recommend uploading it to YouTube or Vimeo. If audio, we recommend using SoundCloud. If you are sending us a private link, remember to let us know the password to watch/listen to it).
When will I hear if my application has been successful?
  • Decisions will be made by 3 Grant Panels which are predominantly young people and will be based in the South of England, the North of England and in Wales.
  • We aim to give you a decision between 4-6 weeks after receiving your application.
If I am successful, what do I need to do?
  • We’ll email you to confirm your grant and pay it into the bank account you have given us.
  • For large grants, we will retain 10% of the grant amount until we receive your End of Grant report. For all grants, we will email you with a simple survey periodically so you can tell us what you’re doing and how it is helping.
  • If you are successful, we will send you some suggestions for how you can collect things that will help you tell a story about what your project did and what it achieved.
More questions?
If you require more information or have any further questions before applying, please email us yourbestfriend@safelives.org.uk


71%
Through the Your Best Friend project, we’ve been speaking to hundreds of other girls, young women, and non-binary people - 71% of them have seen their friend in a toxic relationship.
Young people are dealing with demands and stresses online when they engage with online spaces. Whilst managing these multiple connections and beginning relationships online, they are exposed to immediate online pressures, including unwanted personal/sexual comments, being asked for nudes, receiving unwanted sexual images/nudes, and unwanted people messaging them. There is a need for young people to be able to access resources to keep themselves and their friends safe, and deal with these pressures.

Anyone can find themselves in a toxic relationship – no matter our background or
where we live. We might grow up thinking toxic behaviours are normal, because of the adult relationships we see. Or maybe someone we trusted turns out to be not who we thought they were.

It isn’t always obvious what’s toxic and what’s not - especially if people tell you you’re wrong or being over-sensitive about something. If you’re worried about yourself or a friend, it can be really hard to know what to do.

Although there are lots of organisations who deal with “domestic abuse”, they might not feel like the right place to go for you. But just because you’re young, doesn’t mean it’s any less serious. And we know that at the best of times, it’s hard talking about this stuff and getting help. It’s even harder if you don’t have the language to do it or know who you can talk to.

Your Best Friend is a project where girls, women, and non-binary people have joined forces with 11 organisations to give you honest, practical information and advice about:
  • what’s okay and not okay
  • how to talk about it
  • how to stay safe and find safety
  • how to protect your friends and yourself
You can read more about our learnings so far here.
Why is this so important...
Two young friends standing by each other
Want to help?
If you want to get in touch to help with this project please contact yourbestfriend@safelives.org.uk

#WhatWillWork #YourBestFriend