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Author Bethany Steventon-Crinks & Freya Fleming
Youth Advisory Panel members
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Challenge Fund 2020: forming the YAP research team

The first stage of the YAP process was to decide our groups for the Challenge Fund – AKA who’s doing what.

After establishing both a Fund Development and Communications team, we became the Research team. Our task was to research and create three potential fund proposals and present them to the YAP. A big focus of Spirit’s engagement with the Youth Panel is our own personal development as “YAPpers”. Three of us chose the research team, as we felt the experience would support our studies as well as give us the potential to truly understand and be passionate about the final project, having researched real people, their experiences and the impact a project could have in a community. We narrowed it down to three areas of interest: a disability arts project, intergenerational green space activity and a physical activity for young people within blue spaces. The whole YAP then held a meeting where, after a VERY long discussion, we realised that we loved them all and opted to bring the three of them together, resulting in a proposal for intergenerational arts in a coastal community.

We decided to fund an arts-based activity as we felt there were a range of creative ways that people could explore and react to the environments unique to coastal areas. We wanted to create an opportunity for people to respond to the positive impact that blue spaces have on wellbeing, enabling communities to be both happier and healthier. This fund isn’t necessarily about creating great art, it’s about creating a space where people can develop or even find their own creativity, whilst building a sense of community.

The YAP were interested in intergenerational participation as both age groups have something in common – loneliness. Although the age ranges are so far apart, over-75s are the loneliest age group in the UK, with those aged between 21 and 35 being the second loneliest. Whilst older people may feel lonely due to bereavement, loss of independence or social networks, younger people in today’s society have social media, employment expectations and pressure burdening their sense of belonging. Because of this we wanted our project to connect these two age groups in a space that was theirs. After a few months of researching, organising and planning with a YAP from all across the UK, we are now ready to present our YAP Challenge Fund, #CreativeCoasts.

As the Spirit of 2012 Youth Advisory Panel, we want to fund a project that will bring about #HappierPeopleHappierPlaces.