Future 4 me in numbers

Figures based on participation in Phase 2 of F4M (2017-2019)


young people engaged with Future 4 Me. 64% male 35% female 1% non binary


received tailored 1:1 support from a F4M keyworker


days was the average length of the support relationship


young people were supported to access appropriate accommodation


goals were progressed through engagement in positive activities


were more able to discuss their mental & physical health with their support worker


developed/re-established relationships with family/peer-groups/social networks/wider community


progressed in self-management of their health and emotional wellbeing


improvements in day to day life skills

The Future 4 Me Project

Future 4 Me (F4M) developed and delivered a best practice, nationally acclaimed model for engaging young people leaving care and custody. It specifically targeted those most disengaged and mistrusting of services, at risk of homelessness, social exclusion, exploitation, deteriorating mental health and offending.

Future 4 Me was funded by the National Community Lottery Fund (formerly the Big Lottery Fund) and delivered in the West of England by 1625 Independent People, working alongside a wide range of partners and stakeholders. The project comprised two phases delivered over a 7 year period from March 2012 to December 2019. The focus of the second phase, in addition to continuing the highly successful direct work, was to develop a national resource to share learning from the project.

Iterative evaluation was a key part of the project and, across the 7 years, the external evaluation by the University of Gloucestershire found the same core aspects of Future 4 Me were highlighted by young people as what they found most valuable: 

  • Positive and trusting relationships with young people who have often lacked healthy relationships in their life
  • Practical support
  • Advocacy
  • Positive activities

identifying the need

The significant challenges facing young people leaving care and custody are well documented.

In planning the second phase of Future 4 Me, a range of national and local reviews and reports were used to help evaluate current need. From this information, four specialisms were identified which we believe are key to working with this cohort. You can read more about the evidence for the Future 4 Me approach here.


delivering the project

Future 4 Me employed 5 project workers to engage directly with young people, across 4 specialist areas:

  • Mental Health
  • Resettlement
  • Work & Learning
  • Participation

Support was structured using a relationship based approach. Research has highlighted that relationships lie at the heart of successful engagement, and that high quality, trusted relationships are crucial to enhance motivation and positive choices, sustain engagement and build resilience to negative influences (Beyond Youth Custody, Effective Resettlement of Young People, 2015). When working with care leavers, research points consistently to the quality of relationships with ‘key’ workers as the main factor in determining whether support works or fails. (Effective Interventions and Services for Young People on the Edge of Care: A Rapid Research Review, IPC, July 2015; The Care Inquiry 2013).

Support began with project workers building a trusting relationship with each young person. This process often took a great deal of time, and the project was structured to ensure this relationship building was not pressured or rushed. F4M workers offered the time and commitment to walk with young people through transitions, provide practical support and advocacy and open up opportunities within the organisation and wider community to enable young people to take control, often for the first time in their lives.


learning and legacy

This toolkit is a key part of the legacy of the Future 4 Me project. It is designed to provide resources for those doing direct work with young people and, for assessing how ‘friendly’ an organisation is to young people who have experienced care or custody. There are resources, videos, practical examples and case studies demonstrating approaches which have succeeded, and evaluations and reports to inform service design and improvement.

Future 4 Me has been a hugely valuable project; for the young people we were able to support, for 1625ip itself and for our partners. We hope that this toolkit can offer you some of that value.