Youngsters encouraged to follow Olivia’s lead

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Young people from 
Midlothian have the chance to help shape the future of Scottish sport as 
sportscotland launches its search for new Young 
People’s Sport Panel members.

Olivia Preston, from Bonnyrigg, is hoping to encourage the next crop of inspirational youngsters from the region to apply to become members of the Young People’s Sport Panel (YPSP) with applications now open.

The panel is currently in its fourth two-year cycle and Olivia, who plays for Bonnyrigg Rose Girls FC and Great Britain’s Deaf women’s team and has competed in the Deaflympics, has already made great strides in ensuring the voice of young people is part of the sporting conversation across Scotland.

Three main project areas were identified by the panel to make an impact upon which are: women and girls sport, access to sport and mental health and sport.

Established by sportscotland and supported by Young Scot, YPSP provides a national platform for the voices of young people to be heard and valued in the sporting system.

Crucial to the programme is that panel members have the opportunity to influence decision making and drive change in Scottish sport.

The YPSP is part of sportscotland’s commitment to provide a legacy of confident young people who will become the next generation of leaders to help take the sporting system forward.

In 2018, Olivia and 14 other panel members, who are between the ages of 17 and 24, were selected following a rigorous recruitment process to be part of the team.

Commenting on her time on the panel, Olivia said: “Sport allows me to be free and I don’t feel judged for who I am. I feel like there’s no limits of what I can do, and nothing can stop me.

“Everyone in sport is treated as an equal and that’s why sport means the whole word to me.

“The highlight of my time on the YPSP was attending the equalities and inclusion conference and hearing the BSL national plan. “It was interesting to see their points of view about the involvement of deaf people in hearing clubs.

“I got to go to America for nine weeks to coach children’s soccer.

“I have also started volunteering with the National Deaf Children’s Society at deaf events and was the winner of the Jock Young Award 2019 for being an inspiring role model for Deaf young people across Scotland.”

The Young People’s Sport Panel recruitment is open and will close on February 24.

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