Spirit of 2012 has a Youth Advisory Panel, which consists of 12 young people from across the UK who receive mentoring and training and who are empowered to make funding decisions on behalf of Spirit. Here, Panel Member Josh Saydraouten explains his own part in the process of YAP awarding its first ever Challenge Fund grants.
"We so often hear the terms ‘youth led’ and ‘young people at the heart of the decision making’ that I wouldn’t be surprised if you believed they weren’t anything more than buzzwords. Before joining the Spirit of 2012 Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) back in January this year, I had never heard of organisations giving young people the opportunity to develop their own funding pot and to consequently make funding decisions on behalf of an organisation.
The opportunity to develop the YAP Challenge Fund was something I found incredibly striking and exciting to be an integral part of. What excites me the most is that Spirit has invested time in us as people – to develop and explore our own creativity, taking into account our own life experiences – and to let this influence their funding portfolio. It’s allowed us, as young people, to drive through the youth voice in the organisation in such an open and transparent way, which has been exciting for all of the YAP to be involved in.
"Before joining the Spirit of 2012 Youth Advisory Panel, I had never heard of organisations giving young people the opportunity to develop their own funding pot and to consequently make funding decisions on their behalf."
The YAP has developed an application pack which details the grant specification and explains the Stage 1 application process, in addition to containing an expression of interest application form and matching assessment criteria. Due to the nature of the YAP being spread across all of the United Kingdom, my role was to coordinate the production of these documents from start to finish between our smaller sub-groups – right from the draft (version 1) all the way through to the final document which was version seven!
My career aspirations have always been targeted towards working in the sports sector; designing, managing and accessing funding rounds and applications is a vital aspect of this industry. This opportunity has allowed me to fully immerse myself into every part of this, and has developed my interpersonal sensitivity and project management skills, in addition to my professionalism skills – as we had to pay so much attention to the quality of this work.
As mentioned previously, the YAP are scattered all across the UK and represent a diverse range of young people – through not only their backgrounds but also due to their current lifestyle choices, for example some are students whilst others are in full time work. This presents different demands on each person’s time and availability, which was really challenging to understand and manage at first. In terms of putting the pack together, what we all found challenging was making sure that this document represented Spirit of 2012 as an organisation, in terms of the right style of language we used through to the format and the layout of the document matching previous documents designed by Spirit.
What would I say to other organisations considering giving young people a pot of money with which to make funding decisions? DO IT! Society today is so rich and diverse in culture that creating opportunities for young people from all walks of life to be involved in making funding decisions creates an output that is extremely tangible at all levels. This is not only for the young people themselves, but also for the organisation who can only prosper from their involvement."
Watch our short film about Spirit's Youth Advisory Panel