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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."

Eloise Stingemore

Youth Advisory Panel representative for Wales. "I am a marketer with a strong love of all things digital and who aspires to work as a marketing manager in sports. My involvement in the YAP provides me with the chance to put my digital media skills to good use, ensure the voices of my community are heard and ultimately make the world a better place (as cheesy as that sounds, it’s true)."

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."

The YAP Challenge Fund was launched in 2015, when the panel decided to award funding to Reading Rooms, a literacy group for young offenders in Northern Ireland, and Rhythm and Respect, a community music project based in Plymouth.

Rhythm and Respect has just concluded, having been hugely successful in engaging young people and leaving a wellbeing legacy of increased life satisfaction and decreased levels of anxiety among participants. And such has been the success of Reading Rooms that the YAP have chosen to continue to fund it. 

This year the YAP have awarded £75,000 to Youth Cymru – a national youth work charity operating in Wales, to tackle mental health issues among young people.

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