Youth Ambassadors are a vital part of YMCA England and Wales, representing young people’s voices in national and local campaigns, and ensuring that YMCA is accountable to the young people it serves. They help to influence government policy by speaking from their lived experience of their own communities and of the issues that young people are facing today. We are so proud that our very own Nissi has been selected as a Youth Ambassador!

In the coming years, Nissi will participate in meetings with other Youth Ambassadors around the country to discuss the challenges faced by their YMCAs and communities and explore how YMCA can create awareness and address these challenges. 

Nissi has already begun this work; during her first meeting she explored the importance of campaigning for more government support for the youth work sector and increasing funding for youth services. Since 2010 there has been a 73% decline in local authorities’ spending on youth services which means that young people have fewer safe spaces to go to have fun, meet their friends and interact with trusted adults that listen to them, and offer guidance and support. 

“In the last month I have learned how all YMCA’s can work together to identify the needs of young people.”- Nissi Youth Work Practitioner and Youth Ambassador 

On the 20th May, she headed to London to learn more about public speaking techniques and had the opportunity to meet Youth Ambassadors who had been in their roles for many years and had a wealth of knowledge to share. She learnt the power of personal testimony and had the chance to share her story with the other Youth Ambassadors and hear more about their experiences. One of the things she is enjoying most as a Youth Ambassador is the opportunity to speak with people who share her interest in advocating for young people. 


Nissi has also been learning about how we can better equip young people with the space and tools to chat about their mental wellbeing. She has been actively promoting the Small Talks campaign and resources, encouraging our staff to initiate meaningful conversations about mental health.

“A lot of things are out of the control of young people, so having their experiences and perspective on things can have a great impact.” – Nissi Youth Work Practitioner and Youth Ambassador 

Last year Nissi won the Lewis Sewell Award at YMCA’s National Youth Matters Awards. This recognised her exceptional work at YMCA Northumberland, planning and delivering fun and engaging youth activities, and creating a welcoming and supportive space for young people. As a Youth Ambassador, Nissi can use those skills and experience to have a widespread positive influence, and we can’t wait to see where this journey will lead her next!

If you want to be updated on Nissi’s progress as a Youth Ambassador and get the latest news from YMCA Northumberland, you can sign up for our mailing list here.