O’Connor has put £10,000 of his own money into The Future Heroes Project, which aims to distribute £1 million during the next five years. He has recently applied for charitable status for the organisation and is seeking a manager.
The project will choose a ‘hero’ aged between 13 and 19 years from 12 regions in the country to serve on a national board. Joined by three or four adult trustees, the “board of heroes” will review funding applications from children who hope to make the country a better place to grow up.
It is illegal for anyone under 18 years of age to serve as a trustee for a trust or unincorporated association. However, there is no restriction on under-18s serving as trustees for a charitable company, as long as they are able to understand their responsibilities.
The board will award grants of up to £1,000, with the aim of giving out 2,000 grants over a five-year period. It will also provide advice and support to grant recipients.
“We aim to empower children as much as possible,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor also hopes the Future Heroes Project will help children develop what he calls “the 3 ‘R’s”: respect for themselves and others, building relationships and taking positives risks.
The project will launch on Easter Monday with Conga4kids in Brighton. During this event, the charity hopes to give away £1,000 and appoint its first trustees. This event will be followed by a London conga on Fathers’ Day, 15 June.
If the Future Heroes project is successful, O’Connor plans to launch a similar campaign, ‘Bridge Across America, in the US for 2008.