Youth Voice Team Northern Ireland
Our Youth Voice Team
At The National Lottery Community Fund, we want to make sure young people’s voices are included in all our work, whether it’s through the grants we make, the people we influence or the things we learn - we support people and communities to thrive. We fund things that matter and in the last three years alone we’ve invested £861m in projects for children and young people – making us the biggest non-statutory funder of young people in the UK.
How have we been working with young people?
In 2016 we recruited a group of dynamic young people from Northern Ireland to work with us to ensure that young people have a voice on what matters to young people in Northern Ireland and to shape how National Lottery money will be used to support children, young people and communities in the future.
They voiced their opinions and used their experiences to help us distribute more than £20million of grants which are making a difference to young people across Northern Ireland. Their insight, knowledge, experience and skills made a big impact on our work and we wish them luck as they move on in their personal and professional lives.
We are delighted to welcome eight new young people who will be influencers, advocates, researchers and decision makers and bring their experience and their voice into our local grant making as part of our new NI Youth Voice Team.
The group meets monthly and decide as a team what work to focus on and how it should be achieved. They also receive support and guidance as part of a tailored training package to develop their skills and experience.
If you have any queries or would like to discuss the group further, please don’t hesitate to contact our Head of Youth Voice, Joanne Rich Joanne.email@example.com
Meet the NI Youth Voice Team
Ajuma is 23 years old and lives in Derry/Londonderry. She is currently a postgraduate student studying healthcare innovation and how we can use technology to improve our lives and make better everyday decisions. Ajuma is passionate about mental health, earth sustainability, and equality. She also spends her time volunteering at the Northwest Migrant Forum. Ajuma is most looking forward to looking back and saying the NI Youth Voice Team had an impact on our communities.
“I joined the Youth Voice Team to give the youth in my community a chance to engage in decisions that will affect their lives, teach them how to best use sources such as The National Lottery Community Fund and make their voices heard. Here in Derry/Londonderry, mental health has been a big topic with issues such as inequality and cross community differences prevalent. I want to be part of a force that can bridge the gap, break the bias and bring communities together because united we stand, but divided we fall.”
Alicia is 19 years old and lives in Belfast. She is currently part of a youth committee where she plans events such as summer schemes and takes intervention activities, like weekend football for local young people. She is passionate about sports, mental health and equality and diversity issues.
“I actively volunteer within my community and have a good insight into the needs of the area and the inequality that local young people face, and I want to be a part of giving local young people opportunities to better themselves. I want to use my time with the NI Youth Voice Team to make a difference not just in my community but on a wider scale.”
Eve is 18 years old and lives in Portadown. She is currently studying her final year of A Levels and is a young carer of her disabled mother and is also registered disabled herself. She is passionate about raising the awareness of disability in the community.
“Many people with a disability have been forgotten about and more so during the pandemic, therefore I want to raise the importance of being a young person caring for someone with MS and how it affects the young person and their family, as well as the person who is sick. I’m looking forward to working in the NI Youth Voice Team to also try and help my local area.”
Hannah is 25 years old and lives in Ballymoney. She is currently a community worker and is passionate about creating change within her community and advocating for people to have access to the resources and opportunities they need to live a meaningful life.
“I wanted to join the Youth Voice Team, as I wanted to be part of a collective action that would genuinely listen, challenge and change what is needed by young people in Northern Ireland, with the hope that it would benefit my peers and wider community.”
Katie is 20 years old and lives in County Antrim. She is a member of the Mae Murray Foundation and currently sits on their youth panel. Her favourite activity is surfing at the north coast in Northern Ireland. Katie is passionate about inclusivity, specifically for disabled people who are often excluded as their needs are not met.
“Disabled people face many barriers such as lack of accessibility, lack of dignified toileting, lack of support, high cost of equipment and lack of adapted activities. These barriers mean disabled people are not able to take part in leisure activities, leading to social isolation, lack of friendships and poor physical and mental wellbeing. I am passionate about this as I have personal lived experience of all these barriers as a wheelchair user.”
Rosalind is 23 years old and lives in Belfast. She studied French and Spanish at the University of Cambridge and is currently a podcast host, speaker, and climate activist. She is passionate about environmental action and climate justice and how art, creativity, and imagination can help address the climate crisis.
“What most excites me about the NI Youth Voice Team role is the opportunity to engage with other young people, and to make positive changes in Northern Ireland. I joined the team as I am interested in youth advocacy, youth engagement and increasing youth participation in politics, decision making and consultation. I want to further integrate youth voice into a mainstream conversation, not only making sure young people have a seat at the table, but when they are at the table, they have the necessary toolkit and resources to be effective with that seat and use their voices effectively.”
Victoria is 24 years old and lives in Belfast. She currently works in the arts, culture, and heritage sector as a data analyst, delivering people-focused research for organisations. She is passionate about the value of the arts in communities.
“I'm passionate about the arts and helping National Lottery supported organisations that provide opportunities for young people to have fun and be creative in a safe space. From my job I have good working relationships with existing arts and culture organisations that work in the community and am fairly aware of the evaluation process and common funder expectations. I'm looking forward to being on the other side of things and figuring out the decision process. I think it's important to listen to young people as they have the best ideas of what they need. There is nothing to compare with lived experience and its value cannot be replicated.”
Yusra is 17 years old and lives in Belfast. She is currently a member of Belfast City Youth Council where she was a part of writing ‘Elephant in the room’- a research report on young people's mental health and creating an online survey on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (B.A.M.E.) young people’s experiences of living in Belfast. She is passionate about issues facing the B.A.M.E. community.
“Racism and inequality are major issues in society today that need combated. I have grown up in Northern Ireland, in a predominantly white area. From this, I have gained an insight on the problems B.A.M.E community faces daily. I have developed an interest for this topic through speaking up for B.A.M.E rights and hope to achieve this through being on the NI Youth Voice team.”