Sport and Mental Health Young Ambassador
982. Luke Rees
Luke Rees, from Cardiff, is a young social activist drawing on his own experiences to inspire others to transform their lives through sport.
In 2012 Luke was a disengaged 16-year-old struggling with depression, he began volunteering, becoming a Young Ambassador for ‘Sport Wales’ and taking a seat on the ‘Welsh Rugby Union’ youth board. Six years on Luke is a completely different young man. He is an #iwill ambassador, a young trustee for ‘Step Up to Serve’ and works with ‘Public Health Wales’ to encourage more young people to boost their mental wellbeing through physical activity. He was part of the BBC Radio One ‘My Mind and Me’ campaign and is a ‘Time to Change’ champion, working to end stigma around mental health. Luke is a popular public speaker and has spoken at various conferences and events including the ‘Public Health Wales’ National Conference, and at the ‘Sport Leaders UK’ celebration in the House of Lords. He also speaks at schools and leads workshops on unlocking potential and building confidence.
In a personal letter to Luke, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“The work you do to inspire young people to get involved in sport and social action is supporting people to boost their mental health, discover new passions and make a difference. By drawing on your own experiences and speaking openly about tough times you are helping tackle the stigma that can too often surround discussions about mental health.”
“I’m deeply honoured and humbled to be receiving such an incredible award as the Points of Light from the Prime Minister. I am extremely grateful for the recognition I have received for my social action work but I’m thankful for the amazing opportunities organisations have given me that has allowed me to grow and develop far beyond my wildest expectations.
“As a young person growing up with depression I never fully believed in myself and my ability. In my work I hope to inspire a generation of young people to believe in themselves in order to unlock their full potential. I know in my life I have made mistakes, but I regret nothing; even if my past was full of hurt, I still look back and smile because it made me who I am today. Nothing in life worth having comes easy and although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
Pictured below: Luke with his Points of Light award