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Ten years of Young Ambassadors programme creating inspirational role models

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The ten year anniversary of the Young Ambassadors programme in Wales will be marked at a special event next week organised by Sport Wales and children's charity the Youth Sport Trust.

The Young Ambassador programme aims to empower young people as inspirational role models so that they can encourage their inactive peers to enjoy sport and physical activity.

It is a key area of work for the Youth Sport Trust in Wales with the charity supporting the development of young people's skills and confidence.

Over the past decade, a super squad of around 19,000 Young Ambassadors have taken part in the programme, while thousands more have been inspired by them to participate in sport or start volunteering.

In schools, colleges, universities and communities across Wales, the Young Ambassadors can be spotted every week leading sports sessions, coaching younger pupils, volunteering at events, officiating matches, and generally encouraging others to love sport as much as they do.

There are currently around 4,000 active Young Ambassadors across Wales, ranging from Bronze Young Ambassadors in primary schools, through to Silver, Gold and Platinum Young Ambassadors in secondary schools, colleges, universities and the community.

In a survey of Welsh Young Ambassadors last year, 96% of them said that the programme had given them more confidence, while 98% felt it had improved their leadership skills.

The programme's achievements over the last decade will be celebrated at the 10th National Gold Young Ambassador Conference being held in the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday 8 November.

Hailing the impact made by the programme, Sarah Powell, the Chief Executive of Sport Wales, said: "The Young Ambassador programme plays a key role in our strategy to create an active nation where as many people as possible are able to enjoy and stay active through sport.

"The programme is thriving in all corners of Wales thanks to local authorities, national governing bodies and schools who have embraced the way the scheme empowers young people, teaching them invaluable life skills such as leadership and communication, and giving them bundles of confidence.

"I've been impressed with how the Young Ambassador programme has not only increased participation in sport, but it has also helped to shape thousands of young people as confident and well-rounded individuals who can thrive in life.

"The programme exposes them to so many amazing positive experiences, widens their horizons, and builds friendships which will hopefully last a lifetime.

"I'm very proud that Sport Wales has funded the programme ever since it was first introduced in Wales in 2010. It's amazing to think that some of our current Young Ambassadors weren't even born when the programme was initiated by Lord Seb Coe in 2006 as a legacy of the successful bid to host the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Several former Young Ambassadors will be sharing their experiences at the national conference, where they will also be joined by their compatriots from Scotland and England's Young Ambassador programmes. 

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive at the Youth Sport Trust, said: "Ten years in, we are excited to be celebrating an impressive alumnus of Young Ambassadors. Some are now working in sport, most aren't, but all of them gained vital skills through the programme that are helping them to succeed in their chosen fields.

"We're already looking forward to what the next decade will bring. We're keen to get our current Young Ambassadors thinking about how they would like their lives to look in ten years' time, and how the programme might help them in some way to achieving those dreams.

"Young Ambassadors have become important influencers across Wales and we hope they continue to take on even more direct responsibility to help sport to thrive in their communities and schools well into the future."

The tenth National Gold Young Ambassadors conference will be attended by nearly 100 Gold Ambassadors from every Local Authority area across Wales. The event will also see four exceptional Young Ambassadors rewarded for their efforts through the Young Ambassador Awards. 

Read more about the Youth Sport Trust's involvement in the Young Ambassador programme