The power of youth voice in Yorkshire

“Listening to their [young people] journey makes me once again realise the power of volunteering and how it can positively impact a community.”

How 18-year-old Shamza Butt views her time volunteering in the Bradford where she, and so many young people in her area, are making a huge difference in their community.

With today (Tuesday 6th June) being Power of Youth Day and the end of Volunteers Week 2023, we want to highlight the great work taking place in Bradford as part of the Peer Action Collective programme.

Bradford City AFC Community Foundation and the Sheffield Wednesday FC Community Programme have been integral in Yorkshire supporting and guiding hundreds of young people to produce research and create social action on youth violence in the city.

As part of the Peer Action Collective project, where the EFL Trust partnered with the Youth Endowment Fund, #iwill Fund and Co-op to deliver a regional programme, Bradford’s team conducted one-to-one interviews and group sessions to understand young people’s views on knife crime in Bradford, and what can be done to make young people feel safer and reduce the number of young people carrying knives.

The young people have worked with Bradford Police and PCSOs to deliver knife-crime awareness workshops in schools, joined Street Angels in providing lifesaving first aid training, and some of the Peer Action Collective are now Independent Police Advisory Group members too.

United by the EFL Trust, Bradford City AFC Community Foundation, alongside the Sheffield Wednesday FC Community Programme, delivered weekly workshops for boys and young men 15-18 who could benefit from extra support and encouragement at HMP Young Offender Institution Wetherby.

Earlier this year, the Foundation joined young people at the Houses of Parliament, where they shared the story of the project with MPs.

In May 2023, Shamza – an integral voice and driver of the project – was chosen as one of the nation’s Coronation Champions.

“Achieving this honourable award in less than six years being in the UK fills me with a sense of pride and accomplishment, and I look forward to continuing with all the volunteering work and doing more for my community as I spend more time getting to know my city,” she said.

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be invited to Buckingham Palace for the garden party.

“I had the chance to speak to so many people who are doing great things in their communities, key workers, teachers, mentors and many volunteers.


Peter Walker, Project Manager at the EFL Trust added:

“We all roughly know some of the reasons why young people get involved in youth crime and violence, and the impact it has on them and the community. But to see and hear the views, opinions and stories of hundreds of young people about the issues they face is something else.

“It’s great to see that there are young people that want to project this youth voice to help make a change, raise awareness, become positive roles models, and embed themselves into local decision making. Bradford City AFC Community Foundation have been incredible in making this project a success.”