A BLACKBURN teenager will help to shape the work of child protection charity the NSPCC.

Muhammad Sahal, 13, said he was looking forward to helping vulnerable individuals as he took up a role on the charity’s Young People’s Board for Change.

The charity has recruited 15 people aged between 13 and 16 to represent the views of children and young people and this week the group met virtually.

Muhammad said: Being on the Board is a unique opportunity for me to help and influence the direction of an essential service. It offers me the chance to develop, learn more about the NSPCC close up and allows me to learn and forge relationships and bonds which I can take forward in the future to my community, all communities across the country and the world.

“I want to change things for the better and help vulnerable individuals, and I think there is scope to integrate this work into mosque and other faith curriculums taught in worship places like mosques and synagogues.”

Members are from across the UK and have a range of backgrounds, with many having active roles in their local communities and doing a range of work to help others. They will use the platform to raise awareness of what matters most to young people, take action and make change happen – while also having a key role advising staff and trustees.

Board member Elan, aged 16, added: “The past year has been tough for everyone, but for young people who have had to go from socialising everyday with hundreds of students a day to being alone all day every day for months and then back to school again recently, it’s been an especially turbulent time, so I think the most important thing young people need coming out of the pandemic is understanding, patience and to be listened to.”

Lucy Read, NSPCC Associate Head of Participation, said: “The last year has changed the lives of many young people across the UK but, as we now look to the future, the new members of our Young People’s Board for Change have a great opportunity to make their voices heard.

“We received over 300 applications from young people to join the board and during recruitment, I was impressed by the genuine passion young people had for the NSPCC’s work and a commitment to get involved and make a difference.

“We believe that a generation of young people should not be defined by the pandemic, so it has never been more important to listen to them and embed their views into everything we do. Children are the experts on their own lives, and there is so much that we can learn from their experiences.”