Dame Kelly Holmes Trust has launched its Youth Panel - a group of young people who will help shape the future direction of the charity’s work on issues that matter to them.

The panel comprises of young people who have already completed the Trust’s flagship Get on Track or AQA Unlocking Potential programmes, and will give the charity a better understanding of the challenges, opportunities and barriers that young people face.

The Trust works with young people who are most in need of help, including those who are long-term unemployed, care leavers, homeless people, young offenders, women at risk of sexual exploitation and those living within isolated communities.

The Youth Panel will add a further layer to the charity’s industry recognised Theory of Change model and learning frameworks, which have delivered transformational results to the lives of thousands of young people facing disadvantage across the UK.

Each member of the Youth Panel will also receive additional support to further progress their own personal development. This will include opportunities to have their voices heard at a range of political forums, through the media and at other high profile events.

Dame Kelly Holmes, Founder and President of Dame Kelly Holmes Trust said: “I’m delighted that my charity is giving young people the opportunity to further develop themselves, while making a valuable contribution to the future impact that our programmes will have on the lives of those who need our support most.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the wide ranging and different perspectives each member will bring to inform our future programme design, which represents a significant step in the continued evolution of the Trust.”

Hannah Ruddlesdin, 24, former Get on Track Medway participant and Youth Panel member said: “Through my volunteer placement with the Trust they invited me to join their Youth Panel. It’s certainly given me the skills, drive and motivation to say I’m not going to be in the background any more. I don’t want to see other young people like I was: it feels great to know my voice can make a difference.”

Ben Hilton, Director of Programmes added: “The input the Youth Panel will give us is invaluable and we’re glad we’re able to support them to become leaders for change.

“Having gone through our transformational programmes already, these young people have realised a new-found motivation and confidence, and it’s tremendous to see them determined to continue their own personal growth and want to make a contribution to the lives of their peers.

To learn more about members of the youth panel click here.