Sophia Badhan, 19, an award-winning mental health advocate from the West Midlands.
"I wanted to be the person I needed when I was ill."
"Since I was discharged in 2017, I’ve managed my mental health well enough to stay out of hospital and go to work. I wanted to be the person I needed when I was ill. My teachers supported me endlessly and gave me the confidence to speak about my illness in front of the rest of the school. For that 10 or 15 minutes I was scared and stressed but the response from my peers was worth it. They were phenomenal. I realised that I could help others reach out for support and see that they are cared for.
Amy Meek, 16, and Ella Meek, 14, from Nottingham, founders of Kids Against Plastic.
"It’s easy to convince yourself your little contribution doesn’t count, but it’s not true. We all count."
Sophie Billinghurst, 17, member of Welsh Youth Parliament and advocate for the deaf community.
"By listening to the deaf community and helping them get heard, I found my voice, too."
Kim Mamhende, 22, advocate for Swansea Youth Entrepreneurs’ Network, part of the Centre for African Entrepreneurship, which provides better support for people from ethnic minorities in business. Kim is also a recent graduate of medical biochemistry.
"Just a couple of years before, I’d moved to the UK from Zimbabwe to study medicine and find my place in the world. I came across the Centre for African Entrepreneurship and found it fascinating – despite so many of us having good ideas and passion, few people believe they can make it happen.
"We’re not taught to be leaders. I wanted to change that."
"Just like me, many of them were unconfident and unsure about what they had to say, what they had to give to the world. My own community – and self-belief – has transformed. Before you can advocate for anything else, you have to start with you, is what I’ve learned. You might even surprise yourself."
Dominique Palmer, 20, a climate change activist who works with UK Student Climate Network among others. She is also a politics and international relations student at Birmingham University.
"Every single one of us has personal power."
Victoria Kinkaid, a junior doctor, Girl Guiding Associate and founder of The Real People Project, an Instagram initiative encouraging women to share and overcome their insecurities.
"That was two and a half years ago. The same week, we set up a simple idea – to create the sort of body content we wanted to see. And that meant just people, as they are, unapologetically. Real people. Friends started to write their stories and conversation bubbled up. And what came out of it was perhaps not surprising but universal: we are all, in some way, insecure about our bodies.
"It’s okay to not feel 100% confident about your body all the time."
Sandy Ibrahim, 16, a member of Welsh Youth Parliament who utilises her knowledge of multiple languages to help facilitate mental health support for those who don’t speak English as a first language.
"I’m no longer afraid of saying what’s in my heart."
"I was so happy to be accepted. Since working with the other Youth Parliament members I’ve also started advocating for better access for mental health support. This is one of the biggest issues facing young people today – and if we can help this improve, so many other issues will benefit, too.
Molly Fenton, 18, activist and founder of @loveyourperiod, which encourages teens to fight against period poverty, stigma and plastic.
"People appreciate you when you speak up. Which helps you appreciate yourself."
"By the time we won the debate in March 2019, I was so perplexed by the disparity and misunderstanding around periods that I went straight home and set up an Instagram page called Love Your Period. I started campaigning for better access, better understanding and less stigma. As the page took off, I was sent products which claimed to be eco-friendly. I thought all tampons and pads were but, turns out, they’re full of plastic. In fact, one pack of sanitary towels contains the equivalent of five plastic bags. I realised the stigma surrounding periods is also harming the environment – so I started raising awareness of that, too.