We are delighted to welcome eight new young people to our Northern Ireland Youth Voice Team.
Since 2016, our Youth Voice Team have worked with us to shape how National Lottery money is used to support children, young people and communities. Their insights have helped us distribute more than £20 million of grants, making a difference to young people across Northern Ireland.
Now it’s time for a new set of young voices to be heard.
Our new Youth Voice Team includes young people from across Northern Ireland, each with their own unique experiences, skills and interests to offer.
One member of the new team is Ajuma, from Derry/Londonderry, who is especially interested in how technology can be used to improve our lives.
“I’ve always had a keen interest in change and forms of innovation that aid us, humans, to live better. I’ve always been drawn to opportunities that allow me to serve other people as I am someone who enjoys connecting with people and experiencing something different.”
Other passionate interests across the team include mental health, equality, sports, disability awareness, the arts and climate justice.
Ajuma and the rest of the team will be influencers, advocates, researchers and decision makers, bringing their voice to our local grant making.
“I believe the team has the ability to shape, create and redirect resources to organisations that provide resources for young people. This is the reason I’m part of this mission.”
The Youth Voice Team meets monthly, deciding together what work they want focus on and how their goals should be achieved. They also receive support and guidance to develop their skills and experience.
Ajuma is particularly eager for the team to explore how well our funding programmes work for young people, and what we might need to change.
“The project I’m really looking forward to being a part of is the funding portfolio review of 2023. The Empowering Young People portfolio has run for over five years and is a £44.5million programme, but applications have dropped in recent years. We need to help the team understand whether this is due to a lack of need for a separate funding pot focused on young people or a lack of accessibility to our funding.
“I aim to carry out an evaluation from the young people in my communities and the organisations that support us to see where the missing gap lies. I will then present my understanding of their needs to help the Fund understand how they can meet those needs.”
Ajuma has already got stuck into her role, taking part in a panel for the Platinum Jubilee Fund, which offered funding to support community events or celebrations throughout 2022.
“Not only did I develop strong decision-making skills but working with the team was such an incredibly memorable experience…Through this opportunity, I learned that being assertive and open-minded is such an asset and can make teamwork fun.”
We can’t wait to hear what valuable insight Ajuma and the whole Northern Ireland Youth Voice Team can bring to our grant making.