British Blind Sport’s See My Voice receives funding to help young people make a difference in their community through sport and social action

British Blind Sport’s See My Voice receives funding to help young people make a difference in their community through sport and social action

British Blind Sport’s See My Voice in the United Kingdom has been given £122,480 from Sport England and the #iwill Fund to help young people use sport to make a positive difference in their communities – all thanks to funding from the National Lottery.

Sport England and the #iwill Fund are creating more opportunities for 10-20 year-olds to get involved in social action and use sport and physical activity as a way to benefit others in their local area. The #iwill fund is made possible thanks to joint funding from the government, and Big Lottery Fund using money raised by National Lottery players.

#iwill Week 2017, which ran from November 20-24, celebrates young people who lead social action and their capacity for bringing others together.  The week marks the fourth anniversary of the campaign and is all about shining a light on the impact that young people are having, as well as the great work of the 700+ #iwill partners who’ve pledged to create more social action opportunities.

Currently 4 in 10 young people get involved in activities that make a positive difference. However, research indicates many more have an appetite to be involved but cite a lack information and opportunities as key barriers.[1]

Sport attracts many young people and can provide a springboard to social action. Just over half of young people say they prefer sport to any other volunteering pastimes. The Sport England Potentials Fund aims to unlock the potential that young people have whilst also developing the skills and experience they need for their own future.

British Blind Sport (BBS) are leading a project that develops and supports young visually impaired (VI) people to make a difference in their local community as well as giving them a voice to influence sports decision-makers. The idea for the project is borne out of research with many young VI people saying to us that they feel frustrated and are often not ‘seen’ by persons in authority e.g. doctor/teacher and feel that ‘as they cannot see, others often do not hear them’. The project focuses on developing young (11-18yrs) VI people through a volunteering, mentoring and leadership programme. The programme will empower our recruited Young Leaders (YLs) to volunteer in sporting roles, develop life skills, and enable them to share their opinions and experiences to shape the sporting landscape for VI people.

British Blind Sport are a national charity that enables blind and partially sighted people to have the same opportunities as sighted people to access and enjoy sport and recreational activities in the UK.

Chief Executive of British Blind Sport, Alaina MacGregor said, “We are thrilled to receive this funding that will enable us to reach more visually impaired young people and equip our Young Leaders with skills for life that will inevitably develop their character and enhance their employability prospects. We know first-hand how important it is to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle, and this project empowers so many young people to voice their opinions, meet other people and realise that they are not on their own. I am very proud of what we achieved as an organisation and thanks to Sport England, the #iwill Fund, Big Lottery Fund and DCMS we can continue to make a visible difference through sport with the See My Voice project.”

Sport England’s Director of Sport Phil Smith said:

“Through social action young people can help others get active and benefit themselves in lots of ways; social action can do wonders for job and career prospects, mental health and making friends.

“That’s why volunteering and social action is a key part of Sport England’s new strategy, Towards an Active Nation. We’re delighted to be helping See My Voice enable more young people to be the catalysts for change in their neighbourhood.

“It’s one of 32 projects in which Sport England is investing over £4 million to support volunteering projects and opportunities between now and 2021. These projects will test various different approaches, with the ultimate aim being a larger number and more diverse volunteers. We are targeting people who are currently less likely to volunteer in sport, such as women, disabled people, people from BAME groups and people on a low income.”

The #iwill campaign is run by the charity Step Up To Serve. Its Chief Executive, Dr Rania Marandos, said:

“Young people across the country often start their social action journey through community sport. Sport has the potential to enable even more young people to make a contribution to their communities whilst developing their own skills and wellbeing. It is fantastic to see such a range of projects receive funding through the #iwill campaign’s partnership with Sport England in support of our collective aim of making meaningful social action part of life for more 10 to 20-year-olds.”


[1] Source: Youth Social Action in the UK – 2015: a face to face survey of 10-20 year-olds in the UK, conducted by Ipsos MORI.

Get involved

For more information regarding the project, or if you would like to apply to become a Young Leader please contact British Blind Sport on 01926 424 247 or info@britishblindsport.org.uk

About the #iwill campaign and the #iwill Fund

The #iwill campaign is a UK-wide movement aiming to make involvement in meaningful social action (e.g. fundraising, volunteering and campaigning) part of life for 10-20 year olds by the year 2020.

The #iwill Fund is independent from the campaign, but supports its aims. It is a joint investment by Big Lottery Fund and the Department of Culture, Media & Sport – each has committed £20 million up to 2020 to support the creation of high quality social action opportunities for young people.

The #iwill campaign is being coordinated by the charity Step Up To Serve. It was launched in 2013 after Government research into how the business, education, public and voluntary sectors could support young people, aged of 10 and 20, to engage in social action (campaigning, fundraising and volunteering).

HRH The Prince of Wales is the Patron of Step Up To Serve, and the #iwill campaign. To date more than 750 organisations from across UK society have pledged to support the campaign goal of enabling young people to get involved in social action, wherever they live and whatever their background.

More information can be found at www.iwill.org.uk and @iwill_campaign.

About Sport England

Sport England is a public body and invests more than £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport. It wants everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no, or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active – like women, disabled people and people on lower incomes.

About Big Lottery Fund

Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, our funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 we have awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people.