The NSPCC, has appointed its first ever young trustees as part of their renewed commitment to ensure children and young people are at the centre of every decision they make.
Sheanna Patelmaster, 24, who grew up in Manchester and Ife Grillo, 22, from London, have joined the organisation’s Board of Trustees, after being elected at the charity’s first virtual Annual Council Meeting (ACM) which took place via Zoom on Thursday 1 October.
The charity received 166 applications from young people across the UK, making the standard incredibly high and resulting in not one young trustee, but two.
The new role runs for a three-year term and will see Sheanna and Ife sit alongside NSPCC Chair of trustees, Neil Berkett and 16 other trustees on the NSPCC decision-making board. They will also work with the charity’s Young People’s Advisory Board.
Within their role as trustees they will represent and reflect the voice of young people to ensure the NSPCC’s work is relevant and powerful.
Both Sheanna and Ife stated in their applications the NSPCC is a charity that has ‘always been close to their heart’.
Raring to get started the young trustees have already identified key areas they want to get started on, with Sheanna wanting to improve children’s interactions with protection services to increase a range of support for children.
And Ife wanting to create structural change to improve the lives of young people and avoid condemning a generation, as well as ensuring black voices are heard so their journey in finding a place in the UK is made easier.
Both have impressive education and career backgrounds, graduating from the University of Cambridge and Bristol respectively. Ife has also served as Vice-Chair of the board of trustees to the British Youth Council between 2014-2017, and Sheanna has served as a youth leader and young trustee at multiple charities including Tameside Scouts.
Ife Grillo said: “I’m really humbled that I was chosen for this position and I don’t take it lightly. I’m excited to get to work to make sure young people get the representation they deserve, and I hope that I get to see more people who look like me on Boards as a result.
“I have always believed that young people aren’t just the future, they are part of the present. That means their voices need to be heard at every level within society, in order for society to be effective. It means a lot to me that a leading children’s charity like the NSPCC recognises that, and I hope more organisations follow suit.”
Sheanna Patelmaster said: “I’m really excited at the chance to have a positive impact for young people as a young trustee, while also feeling responsible to make sure this role is successful given it’s the first time.
“I believe that young people are the best sources of information for the type of support they need, and are often aware of systemic issues that go unnoticed by adults. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to make sure that the NSPCC is able to gather young people’s perspectives and ensure that institutions with significant influence over children’s lives take them into account.”
Peter Wanless, CEO of NSPCC, said: “I am energised by their enthusiasm already and confident that they will both be a real asset to the Board, providing step change in the diversity and breadth of perspective at the top table. We stand to learn a lot from this approach and new way of working.
“Children and young people must be at the heart of everything that we do and every decision we make, across the entire organisation. We exist to fight for every childhood, and in order to do so we must be child focused at all times.”
Eithne Daly (B.Ed), from Northern Ireland, was also elected at the NSPCC’s Annual Council Meeting. She brings vast knowledge of the education sector in Northern Ireland, with over 30 years of teaching experience.