The voice of young people in sport is growing ever stronger in Scotland. Sport panels are being formed on a local level within local authorities and within Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport and young people are increasingly positioned in decision-making roles in community sport hubs and clubs.
South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture, with support from sportscotland, has launched one of the first Young People's Sport Panels in a local authority. We found out more about how this group was established and what they've been up to.
Taking a lead
South Lanarkshire Young People’s Sport Panel was formed in June 2017, made up of eight members aged 16 to 25, following an authority-wide application process. The members were keen to emulate the aims and objectives of the national sport panel, led by sportscotland and supported by Young Scot, so they established the following priorities:
- to give young people a voice and influence decisions around sport and physical activity
- to raise the profile of sport and physical activity
Active Schools Coordinator, Leah Wilson, explains: “We were inspired by the positive work of the national Young People's Sport Panel and the impact that young people can have on decision-making.
"We wanted to create a panel which would give young people in South Lanarkshire a platform for their voices and opinions to be heard about sport and physical activity. We wanted to hear the experiences of young people growing up in the villages and towns of South Lanarkshire and how we can make a positive impact.”
A productive first six months
The panel members have been very busy since forming only a few short months ago; they have linked with the national panel and in particular with member Sam Butler and also Michelle Livingston, Partnership Manager for sportscotland, who oversees the national sport panel project. Michelle said, "We are delighted to see South Lanarkshire providing a platform for young people to have their voices heard and influence decisions in sport on a local level. We have gained a wealth of learning at sportscotland through our work developing the national Young People’s Sport Panel. As part of the Year of Young People 2018 we are developing a toolkit with the national sport panel to support any groups across Scotland who wish to create their own panel or are looking for guidance to support young people to have a voice in sport."
They have met with the four local sports councils within the local authority and have been involved in the South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture marketing group, developing strong relationships with influencers who are eager to hear the opinions of young people. They have given invaluable suggestions on ways to provide activity opportunities to young people locally.
Some of the members supported the local Young Ambassador conference, where they shared their experiences with younger pupils and explained their role within the panel. The panel were responsible for delivering workshops to the S4 pupils, a great opportunity to share experiences and fantastic learning and development for the young people.
Passionate about promoting Active Girls Day and Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week, the panel decided to profile local female role models on social media every day during the week. Because the young people on the panel picked role models they felt their peers could relate to, the initiative was a great success and some members also volunteered their time to help at events throughout the week.
Year of Young People 2018 offers young people in Scotland a really exciting opportunity to grow their entrepreneurial skills and showcase their talents, through funding available to create events. The panel decided to submit an application and were successful in securing £600 to organise two events for young people in South Lanarkshire.
Karen McInally, Active Schools Manager, said: “I’m delighted to see how the panel has grown and developed in such a short period of time, the young people have added real value across a number of our programmes assisting in decision-making and sharing their views and experiences of sport and physical activity.
"This year is an exciting time for all young people in Scotland and we can’t wait to celebrate the amazing talents, achievements and contributions of our young people here in South Lanarkshire."
Find out more
To find out more about the South Lanarkshire Young People’s Sport Panel please contact Leah Wilson, Active Schools Coordinator.
Inspired to create a panel for young people in sport? Check out the work of the national Young People’s Sport Panel using #sportpanel or contact Michelle Livingston.
Passionate about sport and want to be part of the next national Young People's Sport Panel? Applications will open on 29 January 2018, follow #sportpanel on Twitter and check www.sportscotland.org.uk/sportpanel for updates.
Young people can apply for funding up to £1,000 to run events in their local area as part of Year of Young People 2018 celebrations. Run by Young Scot and EventScotland, the fund is a chance for people aged eight to 26 to develop entrepreneurial skills while showcasing their talent within local communities. Events can be anything from film festivals to gigs, theatre and dance performances or fashion shows. The deadline for applications is 22 January.
Find out more and apply online.