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3 April, 2023

Members of the National Youth Voice Forum had the chance to have an in-person meeting at the YONEX All England Open last month.

Founded a year ago, the National Youth Voice Forum was set up to ensure that the thoughts of young people aged between 14-21 within the Badminton England community could be heard and addressed.

Led by Badminton England’s Clubs and Programmes Manager Sarah Darragh, nine members of the 13-strong committee were present in Birmingham for a planning meeting where the ongoing aims and ambitions of the forum were discussed.

It also gave the members a chance to watch the world’s best in action at the Utilita Arena – alongside some other special opportunities.

“We used the All England as a platform to get everybody together,” said Darragh.

“I took advantage of the fact that everybody was coming together to do a bit of a face-to-face planning session in terms of what they wanted to do in the future – having conversations about where they’d like to see the forum go.

“We had a two-hour session of planning and we had nine members of the group represented there. Following our planning session we then went down on court to play on Centre Court for half an hour.

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“We took them through the media and the mixed room and then they spent the rest of the afternoon watching badminton with their families.”

The opportunity to grace the same courts as some of badminton’s greatest champions was one highlight of the week, though off-court there were some invaluable discussions about the forum’s next steps.

Darragh added: “The feedback was that they were all really motivated, and it was a dream to be able to play on Centre Court!

“For the planning sessions, everyone came out thinking that they were working towards something. That enthusiasm for being able to have an impact really shone through.

“Since then, from the back of that meeting we’ve now pulled together a young persons’ survey, to ask the young people across the competitive world what they want the forum to do for them.“

The young persons’ survey will be conducted among players at the U18 Inter Counties Tournament 2023, which is taking place this week in Nottingham.

More information on the National Youth Voice Forum can be found here.

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