A young swimmer from Sutton Coldfield will be the face of a national youth campaign launched by the Department for Children Schools & Families (DCSF) today.

Tom Buckroyd, aged 18, will appear in the campaign called 19 Under 19s, which aims to reveal the true image of today’s teens. Local authorities and community groups were invited to nominate young people aged 19 or under who are making an active contribution to their area and, crucially, a positive difference to their own lives.

Tom was selected by DCSF as one of the 19 most inspiring nominations in the country because it recognised his passion and commitment in helping children develop through swimming.

Tom has been a member of Birmingham’s Boldmere Swimming Club since he was six. It was there that 13-year-old double gold Paralympian, Ellie Simmonds trained until very recently.

Tom now swims with the senior team, competing at national level, and plays water polo. He also helps others enter the sport. Inspired by his younger brother, who has physical disabilities, he trains adults with learning difficulties and children with disabilities to swim and also volunteers at national Special Olympics events and local play schemes for children. He said: “One of the reasons why I enjoy the coaching side is that you can really see the difference it can make to an individual – not just physically but to their whole personality and outlook on life as their confidence grows. It shows that ordinary people really can make a difference.”

Shirley Wigley, Boldmere’s chief swimming instructor, said: “Without volunteers like Tom, who take no payment for their support, we would not be able to offer anything like the range of activities that we do.”

Tom was so moved from watching how physiotherapists helped his brother learn to walk that he is now studying physiotherapy at Cardiff University.

DCSF hopes 19 Under 19s will encourage more young people into positive leisure time activities. Through Aiming High for Young People and the work of the Youth Taskforce, the government is investing £679million. In Birmingham £14.879million has been invested until 2011. Visit direct.gov.uk/getinvolved.http://www.ineed2know.org.uk