Gaining a voice in Youth Sport Trust

On February 27 I attended, for the second time, the Youth Sport Trust Annual Gala Dinner, writes columnist Jemima Browning.

Thursday, 15th March 2018, 6:19 am

This year, however, instead of just being a guest, I went as part of the new Youth Sport Trust Youth Board for 2018.

I am very privileged to have gained a position on this board and am very excited to see what comes of our projects.

After a very touch and go journey in and through the Beast from the East, I made it to attend the FA women’s yearly celebration and then the Gala Dinner. The dinner really set the tone for the next day. I met so many great people to network with and saw the awards being presented.

The evening buzzed with conversation and celebration of the amazing award winners.

The 28th marked the start of the Youth Sport Trust Annual National conference. The theme this year was Sport Changing Lives for Good. This theme truly resonated throughout each key note speech, workshop and meeting.

Sport really can be used as a catalyst to achieve so much. It can break down barriers, increase confidence, boost fitness, improve school grades and so much more.

The first speaker was John Ratey MD. He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

He spoke about the numerous benefits of sport and activity but focused on the positive impact it can have on education, grades and academic attainment.

His talk really opened my eyes to the power of sport and activity which can be harnessed to better young people’s lives both now and in the future.

The closing speech delivered by Dame Katherine Grainger. This looked at the links between academic pressures and the pressure to achieve in sport.

She really focussed on the fact that sports deliverers must look at athlete wellbeing and the behaviour of coaches. Her speech allowed for a focus and insight into how important it is to balance a sport and other aspects of life in the increasingly demanding society.

Our Board met for the first time ever at this event. It was incredible to meet young people from such a wide range of backgrounds with different niche’s and interests but all with the same passion and goal for sport.

We are a team of eight including our chair. The seven of us were all handpicked to cover each of the Youth Sport Trusts’ seven goals and aims.

My aspect was Ability. This is because of my passion to ensure people with disabilities, both physical and learning, are given the same opportunities as those without.

I want to use my voice to help represent those with disabilities who are unfortunately often overlooked and feel as if they have no voice.

I also want to ensure that all sport is accessible to those who do not have accessible choices and opportunities when it comes to starting or taking part in a sport.

Sport can have so many incredible benefits to those who take part. Self-esteem can be boosted, friendships can be made, communication skills improve, working in a team becomes easier and stress levels decrease, to name but a few.

Levels of employability will be higher due to the skills gained through sport.

I think it is so important for everyone to have the opportunity to access which ever sport they would like to do and subsequently reap the rewards that sport brings to your life.

I will try to achieve this through my new role on the Youth Sport Trust Youth Board.