Space Unlimited

Amount Given:

£44,091 over one year (grant made in 2016)


Empowering young leaders

Space Unlimited

Catherine Hillis,

Grants Manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Space Unlimited work with young people to find solutions to issues within their communities. Working in Gorbals and Govanhill, Space Unlimited supports young people to lead enquiries into how the local area can be improved and then to take action.  This work fits well with our priority of empowering young leaders as Space Unlimited engages young people who might not normally get involved in this type of project. What struck us particularly about Space Unlimited’s approach was how the collaboration between young people and local organisations was focused on how young people’s ideas could be turned into tangible changes in the community.

Gill Gracie,

Managing Partner, Space Unlimited


Through our New Spaces for Leadership and Learning programme, Space Unlimited is developing a youth-led enquiry approach that enables young people to work alongside their schools, local youth service providers and community anchor organisations to establish new services and opportunities for young people in their local communities that address the attainment gap.   Our high level goals are to:

  • Encourage young people, as school students and as citizens, to become more active participants in influencing and initiating change in their communities;
  • Build collaborative capacity in communities, and among young people in particular, to sustain a dialogue about their shared needs and aspirations;
  • Break down artificial boundaries between schools and their communities that act as barriers and open up rich learning that draws on the diverse assets within communities;
  • Identify the links between such experiences and pupil achievement/ performance in school in ways and thereby support the design of a more relevant curriculum that genuinely prepares young people for life and work.

Young Participant,

Aged 13, Gorbals



Space Unlimited

It felt good to be part of the youth-led events planning group. I liked that I could lead something that might help other young people in the Gorbals. It was great to share ideas, get ideas from other young people then plan stuff…. I also got to talk to lots of different people at events to hear what they thought. I felt really happy doing this, especially when we did the questionnaire.

We got some good ideas and it helped me to know that we really were going to do this for real. I think I was happy because even though we were doing all this work I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out brilliant.

When I think about the whole experience of planning an event I realise I have learnt some things. I learned how to budget, to get better at communicating with others.

I used to hold back a bit when I had something to say. I don’t hold back as much now. The youth workers helped me to talk more and share what opinions I had.

They were good at asking me questions that helped me to think about things.

I think youth-led planning is good because you need to know different young people’s ideas. Not just the adult’s ideas. I don’t mean that in a bad way it’s just better if the adults just listen so we can tell them what we need.

Local delivery partner,

In communities where young people are often viewed negatively, Space Unlimited see only innate potential.  They help young people realise their skills, strengths and abilities plus their ability to identify solutions and bring positive change.  Staff give young people space and time, carefully building relationships and trust….  In Govanhill we are already seeing the impact of Space Unlimited’s approach through youth-led activity, but specifically in young local residents whose skills are being developed so effectively.