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I Have A Voice (IHAV), the not-for-profit on a mission to diversify the world of politics, has appointed five new board members. The new members bring years of experience and leadership in communications, public affairs, finance and education to IHAV’s team.

IHAV launched in 2020 to equip young people from all walks of life with the tools to speak up and take action on the issues that matter to them and their communities. Since its inception IHAV has extended its work beyond the classroom and supports a number of youth-led social action projects, and works with the policy and public affairs sector to get young people into paid employment.

Last year, IHAV delivered political education to over 2,500 students preparing them to engage with politicians and elections. IHAV also provided careers support to 100 young people through the launch of its formal training and internship scheme and a mentoring scheme, both in partnership with a number of leading public affairs agencies and in-house teams.

The new Board members are:

  • Angela Dickinson – Teacher, Parliamentary Teaching Ambassador and Councillor

  • Ben Stetson – Associate Director, Weber Shandwick

  • Eric Hampel – CFO, Tribe Technology Group

  • Rachael Clamp – Founder and Director, Ardesey Ltd and Board Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

  • Robin Grainger – Executive Chair, GK Strategy

They join IHAV during an exciting period as it extends the reach of its industry-wide mentoring scheme, launches a new research project into political literacy with the European think tank 89 initiative and recruits over 20 young people from across the country to deliver a nationwide voter registration drive.

Rebecca Deegan, Chief Executive and Founder: “I can’t quite believe how much IHAV has grown over the last couple of years. The appointment of such high calibre Board members is testament to the importance of IHAV’s mission - to make sure people with a breadth of lived experiences are involved in political decision-making and policy formation. I can’t wait to work alongside and learn from each of them in the coming months and hopefully years.”

Robin Grainger: "GK and I have always felt passionately about diversifying the pool from which we in public affairs recruit. It is this diversity that makes a difference and strengthens politics and our democracy. We are proud to have supported IHAV from the start, and I am excited to continue working with Rebecca ad her team as a member of the Board.”

Rachael Clamp: “Where I grew up most people didn’t get involved in politics. Those who did had gone to grammar school or university. It was an aspect of society that wasn’t for the likes of us. We must redress this imbalance. When I first heard of IHAV a couple of years ago, I was instantly drawn to the vision, and I could see the potential benefits to individuals, communities and society as a whole.”

Angela Dickenson:I am a teacher of law and sociology in a large comprehensive school. This role involves teaching about the nature of law, law making and institutional powers across key stages 4 and 5. I am also an independent local councillor. In this role I am spearheading a project to involve young people in local democracy, through the creation of a Youth Council. I am also the Chair of Trustees for the charity The Parenting Circle, which works with School Heads to offer parent peer mentoring groups. I have recently graduated from my public policy masters, where one of my focus areas was the rise of e-citizenship and the use of digital platforms to engender political engagement and activism among the young.”

Ben Stetson: “I have had the opportunity to see IHAV in action after encouraging my agency to host a training day and sponsor an internship through IHAV’s programmes. Increasing diversity in public affairs remains a complex challenge and IHAV is breaking down barriers between education and a formal entrance to the workplace.”

Eric Hampel: "From being involved in politics and public affairs at a young age I've seen the positive impacts it can have on someone's life, from career opportunities to lifelong friends. IHAV gives the next generation a chance at those opportunities irrespective of background while also positively contributing to public discourse in the UK. I'm excited to help IHAV with their next phase of growth."

About I have a voice (IHAV)

I have a voice (IHAV) is a social enterprise that empowers young people to engage with politics. Our aim is to increase participation in politics by sharing professional public affairs experience. We are passionate about equipping people with the knowledge, tools and enthusiasm needed to be informed and active citizens. We delve into what's happening in Parliament and how the UK's democratic processes work so that young people can understand what mechanisms they can use to get their voices heard; and importantly understand what politicians are, or are not doing, to tackle the issues that matter to them. Many students who had taken our programme kept in touch because they wanted to keep raising their voices; and so we set-up a Youth Ambassador programme. These young people are diverse on every metric of diversity and highly motivated. Now we’re partnering with the public policy and public affairs industry to challenge them to diversify their recruitment of entry level talent by making public affairs more accessible to people from all walks of life.

Our visions a future where young people from all backgrounds engage with politics and become active citizens.

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