Jamie-Lee Christie Jamie-Lee Christie, from Ballymena, was 18 when she joined the Big Lottery Fund Youth Committee and helped make funding decisions on the Empowering Young People programme for three years. Jamie Lee is 23 now and works as a support assistant full time for adults with learning disabilities.
“I was put in foster care from a very young age and I was moved 32 times before the age of four,” she says. “My experiences made me passionate about supporting other young people who are going through similar situations.
Coming from that upbringing, I have an understanding of what young people who have a similar background face, and the help and guidance they need.
Along with the other committee members, I was able to offer a fresh take on things, helping to give the adults on the committee a better understanding of what it is that young people want and need.
I fully enjoy that we were able to make a difference and help so many organisations working for the best interests of young people, especially those young people who simply didn’t have it easy or are still coming through struggles and disadvantage. Its rewarding to see that projects we supported empowered so many of those young people towards achieving their goals.
Big lottery fund gave me the experience and the reference I needed to strive in my career goals to help others. My employer noticed through my having done this that I’m always willing to step up and stand up for those I work with and to give a voice to those who cant get heard.
Being on the committee helped me gain the confidence to speak up and express my opinions and I realise how important that background is to me in my work. My opinion was valued on the committee and today people value it more because of that experience.
We are currently recruiting a new Young People in the Lead youth committee to make funding decisions on our Empowering Young People programme. The deadline has now passed and applications are currently being shortlisted, but if you would like to stay informed and know when our next recruitment is open, please sign up for our newsletter. We have had a great response from young people from all sorts of backgrounds and from all over Northern Ireland and it is encouraging to see that so many young people want to make a difference for those who are disadvantaged or who face extra challenges in their daily life. We will contact shortlisted applicants in early January.