Spirit of 2012’s Youth Advisory Panel (Spirit YAP) has awarded its first funding grants. Two separate awards of nearly £50,000 have been made to a young offenders’ reading project in Northern Ireland and a Plymouth-based intergenerational music project.

Working with Spirit staff, the Youth Advisory Panel managed the entire funding process – from the initial grant specification and criteria, to the final decisions on allocating funding. The panel consists of twelve young people from across the UK who ensure that the youth voice is heard and included in Spirit’s decision making. You can learn more by watching our short film, below:

Carl Konadu, Chair of Spirit YAP, said: “We are so excited to launch our first project as the Spirit Youth Advisory Panel. One of the main reasons we all joined the panel was to make an impact in local communities and these two awards will do exactly that. We’ve had the privilege of creating the grant from scratch, with the fantastic support of the Spirit staff and Board, and we look forward to working with Plymouth Music Zone and Verbal Arts Centre to help better the lives of the people in these communities.”

The two projects that have received funding from Spirit are:

Reading Rooms – Beyond the Walls 

The Verbal Arts Centre in Northern Ireland has been awarded £49,917 to deliver a shared reading project working with young ex-offenders, many of whom have experienced mental health problems. Reading Rooms will meet weekly and offer a safe, facilitated space to discuss and share reflections on carefully selected written pieces. A group of ten young people from this group will also undertake training and mentoring in order to become qualified Reading Room facilitators. They will then themselves run weekly Reading Room sessions in the wider community, spanning different generations and demographic groups.

Verbal Arts Centre’s Chief Executive, James Kerr, explained: “To say we are delighted to be recognised by the Spirit Youth Advisory Panel would be an understatement. Everyone here is over the moon! Reading Rooms is privileged to engage with some of the most marginalised and vulnerable young people in our community, whose voices often go unheard and ignored. The chance to work with Spirit and become a part of the larger Spirit family has the potential to make a genuinely transformational impact.”  

Rhythm and Respect 

Award winning music charity Plymouth Music Zone have been awarded funding of £49,430 to deliver Rhythm and Respect – a one year project which will bring a wide range of people from the Plymouth community together to make music and develop their skills, with showcase performances dotted throughout the year to celebrate their work. 

Plymouth Music Zone’s Executive Director, Debbie Geraghty, explained: “We’re utterly delighted that Spirit’s Youth Advisory Panel singled out our Rhythm and Respect programme to support. It is invigorating to partner with a funder like Spirit that genuinely values the empowerment of young people and who we share so much in common with. Like Spirit, we’re committed to sharing our learning and to making as much of a difference to communities as possible. This project will help us do all of that and feels like a perfect match. We can’t wait to get started!”   

The chance to work with Spirit and become a part of the larger Spirit family has the potential to make a genuinely transformational impact


Related links:

Verbal Arts Centre 

Plymouth Music Zone