Young people on the edge

The Bikuben Foundation works toward creating new opportunities for young people who face complex social problems. As our point of departure, we believe that all people have resources that can be mobilised, and we are intent on strengthening young people's capacities for coping with their own lives
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In Denmark, we have young people who lead lives that only few can imagine. They struggle with complex social and mental problems. They are excluded from many of society's main communities in connection with education and the labour market. They live at the very edge of society and are at risk of ending up living their entire lives as vulnerable. In the Bikuben Foundation, we strive to prevent young people from ending up on the edge, and we strive to help those of the young who are in the midst of the problems. 

Co-creation generates  permanent change

We wish to launch initiatives that will try out new approaches and methods for strengthening young peoples' opportunities for coping with life; and we believe in the importance of involving the young people's perspectives, dreams and desires for their own lives in our efforts to develop such initiatives. We also believe that collaboration across disciplines and sectors is the way towards creating holistic solutions and permanent change. An important premise for our contribution to the creation of such change is to be in dialogue with all who are working with young people on the edge. But, rather than beginning by introducing an idea for a specific project, we much prefer to enter into a dialogue about the specific problem areas that we should work towards solving – and about who will be in a position to contribute to the creation of these solutions.

Below, we have listed the focus areas that constitute the basis for our work as well as our permanent application rounds pertaining to the social area.

Read our discussion paper about young people on the edge

In collaboration with the think tank Mandag Morgen (Monday Morning), we have prepared a discussion paper focused on how we strengthen and develop initiatives targeted at young people on the edge. Here, you will find analyses, stories and examples that put the challenges faced by vulnerable young people into perspective, proposing a road ahead with the pivot point being the capacity for coping with life.


Core challenges facing young people on the edge

The young people we wish to help are challenged in a number of areas in their lives. Their problems, complex and mutually reinforcing, complicate their social participation
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Four core challenges facing young people on the edge:

  • Relations and community
    Young people on the edge have fewer close relations than other young people. They are frequently facing problematic family situations and have weak social networks. They miss having friends their own age, as well as stable adults in their lives.
  • In control of everyday life
    Young people on the edge find it difficult to make everyday life work: coping with practical activities, managing their finances, structuring their days. They lack the tools and support to be able to lead an independent existence in their own homes.
  • Learning environments
    Young people on the edge frequently have weak links to the educational system. They often find it difficult to live up to what is required to complete their education or to hold down a job. They lack an environment within which they can develop skills for the long-term objective of getting an education or a job.
  • Self-worth and self esteem
    Young people on the edge frequently have low self-esteem, and they find it difficult to believe that they may be of importance to other people. These young people need to experience how it is feasible to create positive changes in their own lives and how they can contribute positively to other people's lives.
Frequently asked questions

Who devises your evaluations?

Oxford Research is the Trusted Advisor for the Bikuben Foundation. In several the initiatives for which we allocate funds, we are obligated to carry out an evaluation. We previously employed an internal evaluation consultant, but this function is now handled by Oxford Research. They assist with sparring and advice and ensure that evaluations are carried out in accordance with our guidelines and produce the expected and relevant knowledge about the efforts.

Oxford Research has 25 years of experience in evaluation in the field of welfare for municipalities, ministries, agencies, foundations and NGOs, and the consultants from Oxford Research are active in the Danish Evaluation Society and contribute to the ongoing development in the field.

Why do you say that you do not support projects?

Over the years, we have supported many individual projects which, regrettably, were not continued after the expiry of the project period. A number of projects were launched before problem areas had been mapped out and the solution defined. This is why we are first and foremost focused on understanding the problem from a 360-degree perspective and then begin to develop solutions for implementation and scaling.

How do I apply? Any deadlines I should be aware of?

We work in part with specific application rounds for which there are deadlines and in part with ongoing dialogues concerning relevant initiatives within our strategic focus area; young people on the edge, aged between 13 and 30. You are always welcome to contact our secretariat to learn more about how we work. You can find further information about current application rounds elsewhere on this site.

Do you support core costs?

Yes, we support both core administrative costs and development.

Do you support research within the area?

As a point of departure, we do not support research. But we may support research, on the provision that such research is an integrated element in an initiative.

How will I find out whether the problem we wish to solve will fit into the Bikuben Foundation's strategy?

If you are in doubt after having read about our strategy and initiatives, you are welcome to contact us via

What defines the Bikuben Foundation's evaluation procedure?

The core principle of our evaluation practice is that not necessarily everything must be subjected to evaluation. We continuously assess which initiatives to evaluate. Any evaluation should contribute to knowledge and learning – with respect to the Bikuben Foundation, the organisation behind the initiative and the overall field. This also means that our evaluations will all be published.

How to open a
dialogue with us

We would like to hear from you, if you possess important knowledge or have good proposals for ways in which some of the problems we work with may be solved, or if you can contribute as a collaborative partner within the framework of some of our initiatives. Please write a brief e-mail, then we will let you know if a meeting or an application will be relevant.