Overview of our Round 9 Funding Day
Prepared by MORRIS SAMY OF –‘ SANDWELL YOUTH IN ACTION’
Sandwell Youth In Action (SYIA) gives the space for youth to share their stories, practice leadership, and create change in their communities and in their lives. At SYIA, we understand that those individuals most affected by a problem are in the best position to determine solutions.
SYIA has successfully secured funding from Edge Fund to run its campaign against increased adoption in the region to punish low-income women, who are increasingly losing their children due to poverty especially among women of colour and refugees, which the group calls “the unjust separation of children from their mothers”. Charges of neglect are used to punish, especially single-mother families, for their unbearably low incomes. Our campaign is to petition for the ‘adoption policy’ to be revisited to reduce the number of children in care.
On October 27th, 2018, I attended the ninth Edge Fund funding day, in Manchester, on behalf of Sandwell Youth in Action (SYIA). This day was honestly one of the most democratic and consistent modes of fund distributions I’ve ever experienced with activists and community organisers deciding where the money goes – pooling together our diverse expertise, experience and passion because every group is doing such incredible and inspiring work to share a little between a lot.
I was extremely thrilled to see SYIA being voted by the various groups as being one of the 5 groups who were to be awarded with the full amount of £3000.
I was particularly moved by meeting Virginie from Unity Sisters in Glasgow as our group has an interest in campaigning for amnesty for all and right bill for single mums and children. I came to know they were also interested in the type of activities we were campaigning for i.e. Children unnecessarily removed from parents (a drive to increase adoptions as a punitive for low-income families).
The voting system was inspiring and very well coordinated and organised. Every participating group was actively involved in the process and spent a good hour going around, asking questions. Each group had chickpeas to distribute amongst the organisations gathered – and I could put as many or as few in each “tub” as I wanted to. I put something into every tub and more into others and was relieved in the knowledge that we would all be going home with something – everyone would take home £1500.
We encourage new groups working on issues of social justice to come forward with their inspiring approaches of addressing social injustice to Edge Fund for support.
The £3000 we were awarded by Edge Fund creates an incredible opportunity for us to invest in young people and supports us to connect with other activists organising across UK to skill-share and network.
A big thank you to Edge Fund who not only gives funding to amazing people working on the ground, but set a precedent for how money can be distributed in activist communities, one that I hope will be taken up nation-wide.
A huge thank you also to all groups which were represented at the event. I learnt so much from you in such a short space of time and I am overwhelmingly grateful that you all exist.