Empowering activism

YST Empowering activism
Empower young people through sport to become local activists, tackling the issues of their generation.

We will equip them with the skills, confidence and opportunities to lead change in their communities.

Children’s wellbeing is in decline. Young people are feeling less happy about their physical health, many feel disconnected from their families and communities and unable to influence decisions that affect their lives and futures.

Did you know?

  • 71% of young people in the UK report feeling disenfranchised, and that their voices are not heard at all or their opinions do not make a change anyway (www.unicef.org.uk)
  • 36% of young people do not currently feel in control of their lives (The Prince’s Trust Index 2019).

We want to change this. We want to empower young people to make a difference by providing them with opportunities to develop and lead their own projects to bring about change within their communities.

Through our programmes young people will develop skills in planning, leadership, marketing and event management which help them devise and run social action projects on issues they care about.

There is compelling evidence that young people who volunteer and take part in social action initiatives develop critical skills for employment and adulthood.


  • Collaborate with young people to identify their needs and develop innovative solutions which enhance wellbeing
  • Support children to take action in their community
  • Work with organisations supporting young people to create more social action opportunities
  • Demonstrate and celebrate the impact of children to change their community through activism.

What we’ve done so far:

  • We’ve been working alongside Sporting Equals to deliver Breaking Boundaries, a three-year programme funded by Spirit of 2012, aimed at boosting community cohesion through cricket
  • We created the Young Ambassadors programme to build the leadership skills of young people to encourage their peers to become more engaged in sport. We continue to support its delivery in Scotland and Wales, with funding from sportscotland and Sport Wales
  • The Active Across Ages innovation pilot, funded by YST International and the Sir John Beckwith Charitable Trust, delivered in five locations in England. We’re tackling isolation by bringing together the two loneliest generations – young and older people – to play sport and get active
  • The Local People Project continues to connect schools and communities to unlock the social benefits of sport and physical activity in local neighbourhoods, fostering a sense of pride in the community. We deliver the project in five areas on behalf of the People’s Health Trust
  • Birmingham Connect is encouraging social integration by partnering pupils aged 11 to 13 with students in other schools across the city to help them connect through sport – capitalising on the excitement around the 2022 Commonwealth Games
  • Through the Mentally Healthy Schools programme we are helping to transform Manchester schools’ approach to mental health. The project was commissioned by the Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership and we are delivering in collaboration with Alliance for Learning, 42nd Street and Place2Be.

Read more about our impact in our 2018/19 Impact Report, published in January 2020.

To read our full strategy please click here or click below to look at another objective. 

Our Strategy

In 2018 we launched our new four-year strategy, focusing on six objectives. At the heart of these objectives is a goal to tackle the alarming decline in young people's wellbeing.
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Transforming physical education

Transform PE's place in the curriculum, putting it at the centre of wellbeing and achievement in education.
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Removing barriers to sport

Harness global best practice to ensure youth sport in the UK is inclusive, accessible and fun.
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Unlocking potential

Unlock sport's potential at every stage of a child's life, especially where they face inequality or disadvantage.
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Championing insight

Champion the impact of physical activity, PE and sport through research and insight.
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Strengthening foundations

Strengthen our foundations to ensure we can sustain our mission.
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