13 Dec 2021  |  Josh Stearns

ESTEEM has been around for a long time, but we’ve not always been at the size we’re at today. It has always had hard working people and the core values of trust, support and respect for the young adults that work with ESTEEM. 

However without the means to make these ideas a reality, we would not likely be anywhere close to the place we are at now. 

This is where the National Lottery comes in. Around 4 years ago, ESTEEM began receiving funding from them, and I thought it would be a good idea to reflect back on the last couple of years, and see in what ways the fund has helped our organization grow. I’ve talked to Cat, Emma, Jinx and Maz, who’ve been working with ESTEEM throughout these past 4 years, about how the fund has shaped ESTEEM.

What is the national lottery fund?

“The National Lottery Fund is a grant making body. You apply to them, and you explain your project and what you hope to achieve. Then they decide whether they would like to fund you or not. In there, you put a budget of what you’re going to spend the money on. If you’re successful, then you create a project that’s based on what your applications said you were going to do.”


In general, how has the national lottery fund changed ESTEEM over the last 4 years?

Cat, Chief Officer

“It’s helped us to transform from a small organization where everyone was volunteering, including me. There were only just a couple of people really running the organization. We didn’t have a permanent base.”


“I think reflecting on the space we have now is a really important thing, because now ESTEEM isn’t crammed into one office, now it happens all over the place. We do activities outside, we do trips, we’re working with schools. We’re in fact looking at getting a bigger space, and that says alot about how much we’ve expanded ESTEEM.”


In what ways has ESTEEM stayed consistent over the last 4 years?

Emma, Programme Manager

“We’ve been really careful to try and keep true to what the vision of ESTEEM was. To encourage spaces where young adults can take the lead and be involved… Consistency-wise, we’ve always tried to have that community, and almost like a small charity feel, even though we’ve been growing. So the fact that people feel welcome, that they feel part of something, and that they can grow their confidence, that’s always remained the same.”


What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned over the last 4 years?

“Personally for me, it is just to be aware of time constraints. We can only do what we can do in the time that we have. I’ve also definitely been able to prioritize better. I think just realizing that we’re all working as hard as we can, and for one common cause.”


“I think the biggest one is; have a plan. Make a plan, make a strategy, know where your organization is going, and how everybody fits into the aims of the organization, and work out how in your role, how you’re going to do that, and how that links into the people. Then share that, share that with everyone, share it with young people, share it with volunteers, share it with the community.”


What services and opportunities has the fund helped ESTEEM provide?

Jinx, Youth Link Worker

“So many, so many, I mean, ESTEEM is about promoting health and happiness. I think a lot of those things can be achieved through taking part in social activities, having fun, being outdoors, being in nature, working as a team. So part of our program with Youth Coast was to have that social element.”


The fund has enabled staff and youth work staff, who have incredible skill sets, in order to be able to be really diverse and flexible in their approach. This lets them offer really quality time with somebody.”


“So with work experience, that’s one of our core services that we provide to support young people to come into the organization. That’s the one of our core services that we provide.”


Where do you think ESTEEM would be without lottery funding?

Maz, Business Administrator

“I’d like to think that I would have stuck it out, even if we hadn’t got it, but it would have been pretty tough. I would ‘ve been in a very different place.”


“Without lottery funding, I don’t think we’d be here, or we’d be running a real skeleton service. We’d only be able to support a very small number of young people.”


How can other organisations receive funding from the national lottery?

“So if you go online to the National Lottery website. There’s a number of different grants that the National Lottery have, a number of different amounts that you can apply for. This National Lottery project that we’re just finishing as part of the reaching communities grant, but there are also things like:  “Awards for All” ,  which are slightly smaller as well. One of the big things about the National Lottery, is that it also supports staff and core costs, which can sometimes be quite hard to fundraise for, and that’s the stuff that really underpins the work that we do. It’s a really great bit of funding, just visit their website and complete the application process.”


Well there you have it! ESTEEM has grown so much, and it would not be anywhere close to the size it is today without the funding from the National Lottery, and that’s plainly evident from my conversations with some of the people who have been at ESTEEM all of these years, and the stories they had to tell.

Article written by young adult Josh.