"It's just more stuff I can put on my CV. Which is wicked because on top of all these skills I can write down, I've actually gained communication skills"

On Thursday 11 April, Access Sport’s Inclusive Club Network came together to explore the transformational benefits of including young people in your club at its Youth Voice and Your Club webinar.

This was the third webinar hosted by the Network and brought together clubs, coaches and volunteers from a range of community sports to learn more about Youth Voice and how it can positively impact a club's journey, as well as the young people involved.

We were joined by Nikki Tysoe from BMX club, Redbridge Spitfires, who shared the experience she has had involving young people in the BMX club’s development and the numerous benefits they’ve experienced. As well as Tom, a young person involved in coaching and volunteering at Redbridge Spitfires and has first-hand experience of the positive impact youth voice can have.

We also spoke to Dren Matoshi from our Access Sport Youth Board, who shared his passion for being involved in his community sports club and how being a member of our Youth Board has impacted not just his life, but other young people around him.

What’s the need?

Young people care about their clubs and want to support them. When you’re running a club for young people, it’s so important to involve them in decision-making, volunteering and coaching. The sustainability and longevity of a club rely on the opinions and feelings of those it exists for, which is why youth voice is so important in a community club's journey.

Key learnings and takeaways

Our host Alex, and guest speakers Dren, Nikki and Tom shared some of their own knowledge and experiences. Some key learnings included:

Young people know what they want: As much as adults think we know what young people want, we don’t! It’s important to listen to feedback and ideas from young people at your club.

Tap into Duke of Edinburgh Award: As part of the Duke of Edinburgh award, all participants must complete 3 weeks of volunteering. Why not complete it at the club they’re already involved in? Nikki shared that they have multiple young people who started by volunteering for their Duke of Edinburgh award and have continued to volunteer at the club. 

Young people at the heart: Youth voice work is all about ensuring young people are at the heart of what we do. This is really important to us, and we think that it will be for a lot of you too. It’s about ensuring their voices are heard and they can shape the things that affect them. This could be simple things such as having a vote on the new kit or discussing training and what skills they want to learn.

The ladder of participation: The ladder is a guide on how engaged young people are in decision-making processes. Generally, we want organisations youth-focused to be at the top of the ladder, with young people and adults sharing decision-making responsibilities and working together. Towards the bottom of the ladder, is where we see that young people aren’t fully engaged, and where adults or organisations are seeking to seem more youth-focused than they are. It's all a process though and working your way up the ladder is the goal!

1 to 1 peer support: One of the many things Redbridge Spitfires has learnt from including young people in their club journey, is the transformational peer support that is happening within the club. Many young people may not feel comfortable sharing their thoughts or concerns with an adult, however, by having a young person as part of their coaching team who they know is there to support them at the club, they feel more confident speaking up and sharing any concerns they may have.

Increasing capacity: Nikki from Redbridge Spitfires said – ‘I think some organisations worry that including the youth voice can lead to extra work for them - but we've found the opposite. If you truly involve the young people, they won't add to the workload, simply make it better.’

Empowering the young people: We heard from Tom, who is a young volunteer coach at Redbridge Spitfires. He told us that being involved in his club's journey he’s developed his communication skills, earned qualifications to add to his CV and has a say in important decision-making.

What next?

We're recruiting for our first regional youth voice groups! If you'd like to be involved or know someone who would be interested in the role, please get in touch with Alex > [email protected].


There's loads of great information out there, but here's some great resources to get you started below:

The National Lottery, How to support senior leaders to commit to youth voice

Sport and Recreation Alliance, Model Youth Board

The Lundy Model of Child Participation

Youth Sport Trust, Leadership Framework

Get in Touch

Please get in touch with us to tell us how you’re empowering youth voice people and/or what actions you’re going to take to prioritise youth voice at your club > [email protected]