The Irish Youth Foundation (UK) was established in 1989 and is the only national charity in Britain specifically aimed at helping disadvantaged young Irish people and their families.

Since its inception The Irish Youth Foundation has awarded over £4.5 million to help improve the lives and opportunities of young Irish people in the UK. Grants are awarded annually to a wide range of welfare organisations and community groups working with disadvantaged young Irish people and their families in Britain and Northern Ireland and to Irish students at colleges and universities in the UK.

As the foundation is almost entirely voluntary, the funds raised go directly to where they are most needed.

The IYF supports a wide range of projects including: help for the homeless; employment and training schemes; women and children escaping violence; young offenders; Irish Travellers; mental health; drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes; cross-community initiatives as well as social and cultural activities encouraging young people’s awareness of their Irish heritage.

Each year the IYF invites grant applications from projects all over the UK. An independent Advisory Committee, which includes a number of specialists in the sector, uses well-defined criteria to assess applications and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

In 2005 the Irish Youth Foundation incorporated The Lawlor Foundation and has continued its work towards the advancement of education in Northern Ireland through a programme of grants supporting disadvantaged pupils from all community backgrounds.