The Young People’s Sport Panel or YPSP provides a national platform to represent the voices of young people across Scotland.
2022 marks the panel’s 10th anniversary, each panel is made up of around 20 people aged 16-24 who have a passion for raising the profile of sport and want to influence and shape sport in Scotland.
The panel is led by sportscotland and supported by Young Scot.
As part of the national agency sportscotland the panel is a driving force of change as it focuses on the accessibility of sport from disability inclusion to eliminating barriers through campaigns.
One hurdle that often stops or limits people from joining a sport is the lack of access to equipment or kit, be it a hockey stick, trainers or a tennis racket. The Kit for All Campaign tackles this by encouraging people to pass on second hand kit.
Speaking of making sport within reach for everyone, panel member Fionn Renfrewshire said: “I’d love to be able to make sport more accessible for everyone in deprived areas, because I’ve seen firsthand the experiences of people in those areas and what they ‘re missing out on.”
Sportscotland continues to advocate for better access and opportunities in sport through its sponsorship of categories at events like the upcoming Daily Mail Young Scot Awards 2022.
Another well received drive initiated by the previous panel and developed by this group is the Walk a Talk initiative, which promotes physical activity and open conversations about mental health. The idea that just a 20-minute walk a day or a couple of times a week, whilst talking to a friend, can encourage people to increase their level of physical activity.
The panel bring awareness to the fact that physical activity plays a huge role in supporting mental health and even becoming involved with a local club as a volunteer can have huge rewards, you don’t have to necessarily be a sporty to take part.
Fellow panel member Molly Tayside resonates with the fact that there is something for everyone, she said: “Sport is so beneficial, and I know everyone says that but there are so many different things that you can just develop from being a part of the sporting community, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be doing sport.
“You could be coaching, helping out or volunteering, there are so many roles to take part in.”
Both sportscotland and Young Scot staff who work together to support the panel, have witnessed the positive change the panel brings to both its members and to Scotland. They highlight the growth in both confidence and skills that they witness over the two year period for each panel.
Stewart Harris added: “The panel is our way of committing to ensuring that we are listening to the needs of our young people.
“They help us to understand what they want, which allows us to listen and deliver.”
For more information about the work sportscotland does to diversify sport in the community take a look at the official website, here.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.