Future Shapers Social Impact Bond

Future Shapers Social Impact Bond

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Primary impact area  Impact area Geographic location of impact Investment commencement SDG alignment
Social Education & Employment UK 2015  


Future Shapers supports the social and educational development of young people in South Yorkshire, UK, helping them to get the most out of life. Targeting 14 to 17-year-olds, the program was supported by the social impact bond program between 2015-2018. The Future Shapers program was financed through a social impact bond between 2015-2018 in the Youth Engagement Fund. Sheffield Futures delivered the program, commissioned by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), and local co-commissioner Sheffield Council.

Young people taking part in Future Shapers Sheffield have been given a better chance of finding a job by developing their skills, attitudes and understanding as they move from education to the world of work. Personal mentors offered support tailored to the young people’s specific needs. This could include helping them to grow in confidence, improve school attendance, gain qualifications, take part in extra-curricular activities, socialise with other young people, look for work and more.

The program targeted young people who are at risk of not being in education, employment or training and dropping ‘through to cracks’ in the economy. This identified young people who have poor attendance at or have been excluded from school, who have experience in the youth justice system, are ‘looked after’, have special educational needs or disability, or are teen parents.

The project was launched in 2015 as a social impact bond, under which investors finance the project and receive payments based on results. 

Key Results

Over the course of the program, Future Shapers worked with 1319 young people across Sheffield. The program supported both young women and young men: 43 percent of young people on the program were female and 57 percent were male.

Some of the highlights:

young people have moved on to college

young people have achieved entry level qualifications so far

achieved Level 1 qualifications

young people are now in employment

have shown an improvement in behaviour and

have shown an improvement in attitude.

Ongoing impact

While the social impact bond and the program has come to an end, young people who have been supported through the three-year program have continued to progress, and positive benefits for the young people involved have continued. 

For example, in January 2020, a more than 100 people in the Future Shapers gained employment through local job fairs with employers.

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“QBE’s Premiums4Good initiative financed the Future Shapers program, which helps vulnerable young people improve their educational attainment and access to work.

“Through the focus on outcomes in the impact bond, Sheffield Futures, worked with young people over three years to establish a good foundation in education, employment or training, to reduce the number of young people in Sheffield facing an uncertain future.

“We are so proud of the achievements of all of the young people on the program. Our mentors have seen young people face their fears and gain the confidence needed to try new things; whether this is the high ropes, making friends or learning something new and improving their educational attainment”

— Gail Gibbons, CEO Sheffield Futures

Case study: Trevor’s Story

Trevor, 16, from Sheffield, was becoming increasingly isolated and excluded from society with low school attendance and problems at home brought about by the dysfunction that can be caused for families when living in poverty, until a Future Shapers mentor stepped in to help Trevor get back on track  and manage his home life and education.

When the Future Shapers mentor first met Trevor, he was very isolated, spending most of his time on his own in his room using computers and not attending school consistently. The Future Shapers mentor met with Trevor several times to build a trusting relationship and look at ways to help Trevor engage with society again. “My mentor really helped me to get back to school by helping me to set up a plan with school for my return” he says.

With arguments at home disrupting Trevor’s attendance at school further, the Future Shapers mentor continued to visit Trevor and during this time helped him with techniques to deal with his situation at home including tips for staying calm rather than getting angry. The disruption at home coincided with his year 11 exams and the Future Shapers mentor worked with Trevor to ensure Trevor attended all his exams. At this point, Trevor was doing well at school and school said that he was their most improved student.

Unfortunately, just as things were starting to look up, events took a turn for the worse and Trevor’s relationship with his family completely broke down. Trevor was given a place to live within a young people’s housing project and his mentor helped and supported him to settle in there and to attend college.

Sometime later, Trevor is still living in the housing project and has gained new life skills such as managing money and cooking his own food.  Trevor is now managing his life well, the conflicts with his family have reduced, and he has improved his attendance at college.

“My life has gained stability that I would never have achieved without the support of my Future Shapers mentor” he says.

“For the first time I feel like I’m in a position to look forward and start to build a future.”

Source: Premiums4Good Investment Impact Report 2019-2020