We pledge to ensure that young voices are woven into the fabric of our decision-making through the Spirit of 2012 Youth Advisory Panel (YAP), made up of 10 young people from across the UK.
The young people we work with are incredibly engaged with what is going on in the world around them, and are passionate for change that will make things better. All of this makes #iwill’s work so vital – and it’s why we’re proud to support it.
This year, we want our young people to do our talking for us, which is why we’re featuring a different ‘YAP-er’ every day of the #iwill week on our website and social media. Today, we welcome Thomas Copeland who will set out what volunteering – and Spirit of 2012 – means to him.
Spiritof2012: Can young people make a difference? How?
Thomas: Young people have a unique set of skills, experiences and a fresh perspective on life and the challenges our societies faces. Young people are the most diverse and varied group in our society and every single person has something different to offer. We can all make a huge difference by simply volunteering in our local communities – be it in a dog shelter or a charity shop, an old people’s home or on an advisory board. Young people can contribute so much to the world around them through volunteering.
Spiritof2012: What social change do you most care about?
Thomas: I think political engagement among young people will be a driving force in the 21st century. Whether it’s through working with campaign groups, lobbying their MP, or even just by voting, young people have the potential to completely change British politics for the better. We may be the leaders of tomorrow but we also need to influence the leaders of today.
Spiritof2012: How is Spirit of 2012 helping you make change? Thomas:
Spirit is opening my eyes to the huge benefits that arts, culture and sport can bring to communities across the UK. Every single young person has something to gain by engaging with the projects that Spirit funds and the skills that they learn will stay with them for the rest of their lives. I might not be a millionaire myself, but my role in Spirit allows me to give some amazing projects the financial lifeline they need to keep on changing the lives of young people everywhere
Spiritof2012: What myth about young people are you most keen to debunk?
Thomas: I suppose the biggest myth is that all young people are one homogenous mass that mindlessly tweets and posts about superficial issues and ‘first world problems’! It’s just not true! We are far from apathetic when it comes to society’s challenges. Young people today have to adapt in order to tackle problems that are new to all of us. Far from social media causing isolation, technology has brought us closer together. The leaders of today need to listen to the solutions offered by young people which are informed by the interconnected and open-minded nature of the lives we strive to lead.