Jason Arthur
31 Jul 2023

This month, Mission 44 celebrates its second birthday. When we launched, Mission 44 was little more than a press release, a terrible website (the less said about it, the better!) and some big ambitions. Although we are still a start-up in so many ways, I’m incredibly proud of how far we’ve come over the last two years. When you have a moment, do check out our (considerably better) website to see our latest news, find out more about our wonderful cohort of partners and see how you can support our work.

From the outset, one of the key things that has always been part of Mission 44’s DNA is the belief that young people should be at the heart of everything we do. To transform the lives of young people from underrepresented and underserved communities, we have never believed that it is enough for us to work for them, treating them as passive recipients of our support. Rather, we need to work with young people, championing and empowering them to drive positive change.

That’s why, of all the things we have done over the last two years, setting up our Youth Advisory Board is undoubtedly one of the most important. We are now working with fourteen young people, based across the country, with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. Each of them is absolutely committed to building a fairer, more equitable future in which every young person can thrive.

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the group in recent months. Their insights and ideas will undoubtedly deepen and broaden Mission 44’s impact over the years to come. As expected, they have asked me a number of tough, strategic questions about the impact Mission 44 is hoping to make and the approach we are taking. I have no doubt that working with them will improve my answers!

As a firm believer in youth voice and participation, I’ve spent much of my career working to embed young people into the organisations I have worked in and with. I know every Mission 44 employee and trustee is committed to ensuring that the Youth Advisory Board never feels tokenistic; and I’m delighted that we are working in partnership with HUDL to make sure the Board can shape our strategy, grantmaking, research and campaigns in a meaningful way.

“We believe young people should be heard in all spaces. We are society’s future leaders and role models. As Board members we want to provide representation for all communities and be a voice in the charitable sector.”

Safa, 23
Mission 44 Youth Advisory Board member

Will we make mistakes? Undoubtedly. But there are a number of key principles and commitments that we will make to ensure Youth Advisory Board members are able to contribute fully, including (but not limited to):

  • Ensuring that the Youth Advisory Board’s purpose and roles are clearly defined
  • Providing context, digestible information and tailoring communication styles
  • Creating opportunities for each member of the group to learn new skills and develop
  • Sharing regular feedback on how their work is shaping decisions
  • Being brave about where we can truly devolve decision-making

Look out for further information on how the Youth Advisory Board is shaping our work over the coming months.

Jason Arthur
CEO, Mission 44