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Youth Advisory Panel

Youth Advisory Panel

Young voices are woven into the fabric of our decision-making through the Spirit of 2012 Youth Advisory Panel (YAP), made up of young people from across the UK.

Every other year, the YAP are given responsibility for allocating money through their Challenge Fund to projects they feel will empower young people. They manage the entire process – from setting out the initial application criteria to making the final decisions on allocating funds.

Youth Advisory Panel

Sana Amin

Youth Panel Chair
"Young people are leaders. We have the imagination, potential and power to change the world for the better and being part of the Youth Advisory Panel means having the chance to do that with other amazing individuals. I’m excited that I represent young people just like me and can't wait to continue challenging expectations."

Thomas Copeland

Spirit of 2012 Youth Advisory Panel representative for Northern Ireland. He is founder and editor of Challenges NI, a political youth engagement platform aimed at tackling apathy amongst young people towards the Northern Irish political process. Thomas is a regular political contributor on regional and national television and radio programmes, including BBC, RTE and Sky, commenting on issues pertinent to young people across the UK.

Festus Akinsulire

"I'm privileged to be working with great minds and an inspirational team. We've got dreams, plans and goals. It's time to 'get active'. Being part of Spirit of 2012's YAP gives me the perfect opportunity to not only learn and unleash my potential, but to unlock potential in other young people. For me it's changing the narrative, seeing a smile and being that difference in my community."

Freya Fleming

"I am continuously encouraged by the work young people do within their communities and for the world itself. It seems only natural that the future leaders and visionaries are given a platform to make a difference and have a voice. It is essential to recognise the vitality of arts, sports and culture-based activities in building relationships and improving personal and community well being. I feel proud to be on the Youth Panel having the opportunity to represent and harness the views of young people".

James Wilder

"Legacy lies in inclusiveness. As a teacher, every day I see inspirational, talented and compassionate young people but I also see the complexities and struggles young people face. Being on the YAP gives the unique opportunity to transform the lives of those young people who feel disenfranchised through the power of sport, volunteering and social action. Together, we must endeavour to empower all young people with the confidence and skills to fulfil their potential, meeting the promise of 2012 to inspire a whole generation of young people."

Michael Blake

"Young people have a huge role to play in shaping the future of our country and fulfilling our potential as leaders and changemakers. As a member of the Youth Advisory panel I get the opportunity to learn from and work with other amazing young people from around the country as well as use my professional experience and passion to affect change across the UK. Spirit 2012 gives life changing opportunities and shines the light on the issues affecting society and I am proud to be a part of this."

Kirsty Ewen

"I am really excited and proud to be part of the YAP. I am very passionate about young people as leaders and the impact that they can have. I also have a strong interest in the power of sport and volunteering to initiate positive change in peoples lives with a personal interest in the benefits for mental health. I’m looking forward to working with the rest of the panel to represent young people’s voices and views and to make a difference in communities across the UK."

Bethany Stevenson-Crinks

"I am passionate about the impact of cultural activities on both individuals and communities. As a YAP member I have the opportunity to learn best practice from projects around the country and be a part of the decision-making process that enables this work to take place. A significant part of my own personal development has been in the voluntary sector and I’m constantly inspired by the people who make projects happen."

Sophie Humphries

"Working in the arts, I see first-hand the impact creativity and movement can have on a person’s wellbeing and growth. Having the opportunity to express your feelings, to be a part of the wider community and have that sense of belonging and a voice can truly transform a young person’s life, in a society clouded with difficulties for the younger generation. Being a part of the Youth Advisory Panel, I am excited and motivated to join other likeminded individuals who want to give back to the community and support the changes that are needed to enrich the young people of today."

The first YAP Challenge Fund was launched in 2015. Since then the Panel have allocated over £200,000 to 3 projects:

  • Reading Rooms, delivered by Verbal Arts Centre in Derry/ Londonderry, was a literacy group for young offenders in Northern Ireland. Groups met weekly in a safe, facilitated space to discuss and share reflections on carefully selected written pieces.
  • Rhythm and Respect, delivered by Plymouth Music Zone, was a community music project based in Plymouth. The project brought isolated people of all ages and abilities together to make music, develop skills and showcase performances.
  • Youth Cymru’s project Creative Minds aimed to use creativity as a means to de-stigmatise mental health conditions in young people in South Wales. The young people were trained as Champions, and they devised and delivered social action projects to spread a positive message about mental health conditions, and the help that is available.

Applications are open until Friday 20th March at 5pm for this year’s YAP Challenge Fund. The Panel would like to fund a project delivering intergenerational arts activities in a coastal community. Find out more and apply here.

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