About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Announcing the Future Ready Follow-on Fund Grantees

The purpose of the follow-on funding is to help existing Future Ready Fund grantees increase their impact by building their project’s reach, evidence base and longer-term sustainability. All grantees will reach new young people through the fund – either by scaling into new areas, or going deeper in existing areas. The focus of their work will continue to be on social and emotional skills and resilience in 11–18-year-olds.

The funding was allocated through a competitive application process to grantees who could demonstrate the capacity for, and value of, significant further scaling and evaluation work in the 2020–2021 school year.

The four grantees we are supporting through the Follow-on Fund are:

The Foundation for Positive Mental Health

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Awarded £60,000

The Foundation for Positive Mental Health, based in Scotland, runs a specially-adapted version of the NHS-endorsed Positive Mental Training (PosMT) programme called Feeling Good for Schools. Based on work in the health sector, the intervention uses audio tracks on resilience and self-perception (Feeling Good Teens app), tailored teacher training, and teacher-led peer-to-peer class sessions. The initial Future Ready Fund grant supported the Foundation for Positive Mental Health to transfer the programme from health settings to a school context, running a pilot with a group of schools in Scotland and England.

The follow-on funding will support the Foundation for Positive Mental Health to further scale their programme into 13 new schools, reaching 2600 students. With the support of a consultation group, they will also pilot the programme in an alternative provision context.

Follow them on Twitter @feelingoodapp.

Voice 21

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Awarded £59,970

Voice 21 runs a professional development programme which supports teachers to build students’ oracy skills through curriculum and pedagogy. The Future Ready Fund initially supported Voice 21 to transition their mainstream programme offer into 6 Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) in London, North-West England and Yorkshire and the Humber, helping students to improve their social and emotional competence through oracy skills.

Following the success of the pilot, the Follow-on Fund will support Voice 21 to expand their programme into an additional 12 PRUs, reaching over 600 new students. They will also use the grant to transition to a blended programme of in-school and out-of-school professional development, create a network for peer-to-peer learning and produce high-quality resources that can be accessed via an online platform.

Follow them on Twitter @voice21oracy

Empathy Lab

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Awarded £55,787

Empathy Lab runs a professional development programme for schools, helping them to embed a year-round empathy education programme involving the whole school community. The programme builds the capacity of schools to simultaneously develop young people’s empathy and literacy skills, and their social activism. With their initial Future Ready Fund grant, Empathy Lab adapted their primary offer for delivery in secondary schools and embedded their programme in eight new schools in Swansea, Wales.

The follow-on funding will support Empathy Lab to further scale their delivery in Wales to an additional nine Welsh schools in Pembrokeshire (reaching 3,500 new students), embed an annual open-access training day and build new strategic partnerships.

Follow them on Twitter @empathylabuk

Sidmouth College

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Awarded £33,000

Sidmouth College is a comprehensive community college in Sidmouth, Devon, for students aged 11-19. The Future Ready Fund initially supported the school to pilot their ‘Building Resilient Learners’ programme in collaboration with the University of Exeter and Five Areas Ltd. The programme features a six-week life skills course called ‘My Big Life’, which uses CBT techniques to help young people develop a toolkit of resilience and coping strategies, targeting Year 7 students with low wellbeing scores.

The Follow-on Fund will support Sidmouth College to develop Building Resilient Learners into a universal provision model and expand into 17 new schools, reaching 4,000 new young people. It will also enable them to conduct a randomised control trial with 30 schools, with the view to running a larger national scale trial in the future.

Follow them on Twitter @resilientlearn

A summary of evaluation findings from the Future Ready 2019–2020 funding round can be found in this report from our evaluation partner, the University of Sussex.

If you would like to get in touch with Nesta to hear more about our work in education, please contact us at [email protected]


Emma Sutherland

Emma Sutherland

Emma Sutherland

Assistant Programme Manager

Emma was an Assistant Programme Manager in Nesta’s Education team.

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