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The importance of Youth Voice and advocacy

Hi Sunshine News readers,

This week we wanted to highlight the importance and benefits of Youth Voice and advocacy, as we share some stories from our very own Sunshine Children and young adults.

Team Sunshine is committed to facilitating and supporting young people to have their voices heard.

There are so many benefits for young people when they get involved in Youth Voice and advocacy. But, more than that, it’s beneficial for the organisations too.

We generally facilitate Youth Voice in two ways; the first is by providing specialist equipment to young people to enable them to participate and access the world around them. This equipment is unavailable on the NHS or through the Local Authority and is often very expensive.

For many of our young people, receiving their equipment is the gateway that opens the door to so many new experiences, unlocking the potential to develop independence and progress independence. For example, last month one of the young people we’ve supported received her GCSE results which she passed with flying colours!

We funded 16-year-old Amy with a CCTV desktop magnifier when she lost her vision due to an optic nerve condition. Since then, she has adapted to life incredibly and advocates herself really well.

GREAT NEWS: Amy Bright collecting her GCSE results

Amy posts videos to her social media account where she talks about her condition, posts makeup tutorials and shows how she completes tasks with a visual impairment. She’s created a video thanking us for funding her CCTV system, and she shows how she uses it to complete schoolwork and revise for her exams.

You can see this video on our Facebook: or Instagram @sunshinefund.

13-year-old Freya is another example of a young person who advocates Youth Voice. She was born with charge syndrome, which means she has a visual impairment.

We also funded Freya with a CCTV magnifier to help develop independence, and more recently we’ve funded her with a Reveal 16i as she has now started at mainstream school, which she’s absolutely loving. These pieces of equipment not only allow her to complete school work and read and write, but it also lets her work on her art, which is something she is passionate about.

Freya has never shied away from voicing her needs and correcting misconceptions. She recently gave some feedback to The Centre for Life about the colour of the tape used at one of their exhibits as it wasn’t clear for her and she wasn’t able to see it as well (they have since changed it from red to yellow following her advice!) and more recently she has made a huge impression to one of our supporters, True Potential, after she presented a Q&A to 500 employees at one of their webinars.

INSPIRING: Freya recently presented a Q&A to 500 employees at one of their webinars

Research has shown that being able to share your voice and advocate for yourself is important for young people’s mental health. Being heard and listening to boosts young people’s self-esteem and confidence.

As quoted on the Centre for Youth Impact website: “Youth voice is important because it supports young people to have a positive impact and affect change in their communities. It can be a really empowering process, giving young people a sense of ownership withing their communities and society more broadly.

"Young people should be supported to take actions and make decisions themselves, not only through adult-led processes. The minimum threshold for this is consultation, and this can grow into young people developing and forming their own solutions to the problems they discuss.”

We strive to continuously improve our internal resources when it comes to facilitating Youth Voice and so far three members of Team Sunshine have completed Youth Mental Health First Aid courses and have been trying to integrate anything we can into our charity services that supports children and young people’s mental health, as well as parent/carers. If anyone is interested in finding out more, you can find lots of information on the Council for Disabled Children website and on the Youth Impact website. If you want to get involved with helping us as a charity and volunteering your time, ideas and skills we’d love to hear from you! Please contact to find out more.

If you would like to support The Sunshine Fund, to help us fund equipment for local babies, children and young adults living with complex needs, and consequently facilitate Youth Voice and advocacy, you can do so in many ways. You can make a one-off donation through our website at

You can use our text-to-give service – Text SUNSHINE 5 to 70085 to make a one-off donation of £5 or text EQUIPMENT 5 to 70085 to make a monthly gift of £5.

You can also play our weekly £1 lottery to help us generate regular sustainable funding, where you have the opportunity to win back! Simply visit

Thanks for reading – we’ll be back next week where we’ll be shouting out Milestone Transport Planning who have hosted a charity BBQ to raise funds for us this week!

Sophie X



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