The NSPCC has recruited 15 young people aged 13 to 16 to its new young people’s board for change.
The charity has established this board to give young people the opportunity to have a say on what matters most to them to influence the work by the child protection charity.
It has been launched as “a vital part of the NSPCC’s commitment to ensuring they are right at the heart of its decision making”.
The young people will work to represent the views of children and young people and come from across the UK. They have a range of backgrounds, with many having active roles in their local communities and doing a range of work to help others.
Board members will also develop confidence and learn life-long new skills, such as campaigning and public speaking.
Over a two-year period, members of the board will have a key role advising staff and trustees as the UK works to recover from the pandemic.
Covid-19 has had a huge impact on young people, with the NSPCC’s Childline service carrying out more than 61,000 counselling sessions on mental health since the start of the first lockdown in March last year.
The charity is also calling on the government to put young people at the centre of its recovery plans.
Board member Will, aged 15, said: “This role is a chance to make positive change in the world with other like-minded teenagers. I will enjoy being able to be a part of helping create an environment where all young people regardless of gender, sexuality or race have equal and fair chances to make their way in the world and to always feel safe.”
Recently, the NSPCC appointed Ife Grillo, 22, and Sheanna Patelmaster, 24, as trustees with a specialist focus on working with and supporting the young people’s board for change.
Lucy Read, NSPCC associate head of participation, said: “The last year has changed the lives of many young people across the UK but, as we now look to the future, the new members of our young people’s board for change have a great opportunity to make their voices heard.
“We received over 300 applications from young people to join the board and during recruitment, I was impressed by the genuine passion young people had for the NSPCC’s work and a commitment to get involved and make a difference.
“We believe that a generation of young people should not be defined by the pandemic, so it has never been more important to listen to them and embed their views into everything we do. Children are the experts on their own lives, and there is so much that we can learn from their experiences.”