Kevin is Chief Executive with Youth Focus: North East.
He is a JNC-qualified youth and community worker, having completed his Honours Degree in Informal & Community Education, through YMCA George Williams College. Kevin has over 30 years’ management and senior practitioner experience within both the statutory and voluntary youth sector. He is an experienced leader; proficient in organisational and strategic management, multi-agency delivery, participation practice, fundraising and the development of practitioner and management training.
Kevin constantly strives to provide a high quality service which builds from the needs of young people and believes passionately in the role of professional youth work as a transformational and fun learning experience for young people.
He is currently a Council Member with the Institute for Youth Work and Trustee for the Centre for Youth Impact.
When not at work Kevin enjoys riding his Vespa and Lambretta scooters, walking his two dogs on the beach, and collecting, and playing, vinyl records.
Laura is a Youth Strategy Manager at Youth Focus North East.
Her role is to lead on the strategic vision of YFNE and her main area of focus is youth voice/participation, social action, and youth and community development. Laura works with partners to develop projects and programmes for and with young people that improve their lives. Another element of her work is to develop proposals for funding applications to either grow existing delivery or propose new areas of work. She also leads the delivery and management of our qualification delivery to the youth sector.
She started at YFNE in Jan 2016 as a Programme Officer and over time has progressed into her current role as Youth Strategy Manager. Laura completed her Master’s in Youth and Community Development in 2007 and has since completed her PETALs, assessor qualification, and other themed training that supports her in her role.
Laura got into youth work because she didn’t have a youth club/opportunities as a young person and wished she had. She truly believes in supporting young people to become their own champions and have their voices not only heard but acted upon.
She loves how every day is different and that she gets to work alongside young people to create a safe space for them to thrive and have fun.
When she gets free time from her mischievous toddler, she likes to read and binge-watch a TV series.
Steve is a Youth Strategy Manager at Youth Focus North East.
Each week for Steve really is different. He has a role around developing ideas, creating opportunities and writing funding applications that lead to programmes of work – most notably in recent years around youth loneliness and isolation, and the North East Youth Alliance.
Steven has a 1st Class Honours Degree in English Literature with the Open University. He started employment at YFNE in May 2014 after he resigned from the Department for Education – to work for an organisation that shared the same ethos and values as his own. He also left to work with the much-missed Leon Mexter.
He learns from the young people he meets and the practitioners from across the sectors he works with. He feels that working at Youth Focus North East affords him the opportunity to work on a really varied agenda and the chance to meet all sorts of creative thinkers and people actually making a difference, which in turn influences his thinking and work.
He used to be involved with partnership work at Newcastle City Council; developing the first Sure Start programmes in the city and the Newcastle Children’s Fund programme, Youth Policy Lead at Government Office for the North East supporting the roll-out of government programmes and policy for children and young people, Schools Capital lead at Department for Education providing advice to ministers and special advisers.
At his coastal home he spends a lot of time on the beach, he cycles, visits the Tyneside Cinema regularly, and has a deep-seated love of cake. He sometimes tries writing plays and swears he will have one accepted for Live Theatre’s ‘Ten Minutes To’ strand, if it is the last thing he does.
Caroline is Operations Manager at Youth Focus North East.
She joined in August 2002 as a part-time administrator, then in 2005 became full time Office Manager, and from April 2021 became Operations Manager.
At Youth Focus North East Caroline provides senior operational management support and oversight to Youth Focus North East staff. She is responsible for the day-to-day services and contributes to the strategic development of existing and new programmes. She works closely with the Chief Executive, Senior Management Team and Board of Trustees providing professional administrative and human resource support. Overall her responsibility is to manage and maintain the Youth Focus North East offices to ensure an effective and efficient support service. Caroline oversees the financial day to day management of the organisation, being responsible for ensuring effective systems and procedures for financial management, reporting and monitoring, and producing and overseeing the organisation’s annual budget in consultation with the CEO. She ensures compliance with financial policies and procedures and producing annual statutory accounts and management of the annual independent examination. Last but not least, she manages Human Resources across the organisation, liaising with external services regularly to discuss policies and procedures.
Caroline joined us to get out of her comfort zone. She worked in one previous position (Newcastle University) straight from school and realised it was time to be brave and push herself and tackle a new challenge and gain new skills.
Some of the things she loves about the role include: that no one day is the same, our tight-knit team, and that she gets to learn every day.
Before joining us Caroline completed several qualifications in administration and management.
In her free time she enjoys walking in all weathers with her favourite little boy – her pooch Archie. She loves to be by the coast and spends her weekends in Northumberland as much as possible. In her spare time she seeks out decent pubs and restaurants with lovely food. During her time away from work she enjoys holidays in places in the UK with beautiful views, and spending time with family- which usually involves food. drink. and board games with a spattering of quizzes.
Heather is a Youth Manager at Youth Focus North East.
She manages the open access provision in East Middlesbrough.
Heather has been at the organisation 3 years but has been in this role since January 2020.
She loves meeting new people, seeing young people grow in confidence and reach their potential.
Before working with us, Heather worked in Middlesbrough for the previous five years delivering open access provision, 1-1 work with young people around ASB and themed interventions with young people in schools. She studied Youth and Community Work at Univeristy Cumbria.
In her free time she goes on road trips, meets up with friends and loves a good game of mini golf!
Simone is a Lead Youth Worker at Youth Focus North East.
She works on a number of programmes regionally and nationally which have a focus on key aspects that are important to and are impacting on young people. She also works with an aim to ensure that the youth voice is prominent throughout our work to encourage and create positive influence and change for young people. Simone was employed by Youth Focus North East in 2014 after undertaking her university work placement here with us and has been in her current role for the last two years. She’s always been interested in people; naturally inquisitive about the world around us, how experiences can impact on a number of factors, and what can be done to challenge and make things just that bit better.
Simone trained in teaching, and whilst studying for her degree a very inspirational young woman visited to talk about her own work placement with YFNE and youth work in general. This was a lightbulb moment and she realised this was the way she wanted to support and work with young people.
Simone loves how exciting and inspiring this role can be. She meets the most incredible young people who always bring a real perspective to what’s going on in people’s lives and the world around us. This role also allows her to meet other professionals and organisations doing incredible work. She says that to be in a position to work alongside people, help and support them to have a meaningful say and take action in things that matter to them is a wonderful position to be in.
Her education includes: CMI Level 5 Diploma. Management and Leadership. Completed with additional Chartered Manager status. Youth Work and Community Learning and Development – BA Hons .Children and Young People – FdA. BSL Level 1. Certificate in the Essential Knowledge of Key Stage Teaching. Support Teaching and Learning – Cache Level 3. She has a background in this line of work supporting the opening and running of a new playschool in Switzerland and running a mother and baby group and nannying for expat families. When she moved back over to England she then worked with young people undertaking college courses with SEN. She then moved into the charitable sector in which she has worked for the last 7 years.
The range of work has been extremely varied from delivering a range of programmes including the ‘Half a World Away’ project and ‘National Resources’ supporting the Co-Op funded isolation and loneliness initiative; Ladders Champions project creating opportunities for disadvantaged young people to enter into the creative sector and the Talent Match Champions volunteer project to support Big Lottery funded programme Talent Match: North East, tackling the barriers to youth unemployment.
Through projects such as Erasmus and the Young Commissioners programme she has liaised with local commissioners, policy makers and professionals from a numbers of fields to bring them together with young people to support and advocate youth voice and contribute to the impact, development and commissioning of services directly linked to young people.
She has also delivered a number of training packages to young people, employers, and practitioners locally and nationally. These included mental health awareness sessions and training to support people with visual impairments.
Emma is a Lead Youth Worker at Youth Focus North East.
She started working for YFNE in 2017 and hugely contributes to us by doing fantastic Youth voice work across the region.
Emma’s background into becoming a youth worker began with a role as a support worker at a charity for children and adults with learning and physical disabilities.
She enjoys getting to meet different people through her job, whether that be other professionals or young people. The role has a focus on the creation of more opportunities for young people, and in doing this she improves herself.
Emma has a degree in Youth Work and Youth Studies, although initially she began her degree studies in Occupational Therapy. Before this she was employed on cruise ships as youth staff, working with young people who were on board
She spends her free time with family and friends, and enjoys cooking.
Helen is a Lead Youth Worker at Youth Focus North East.
She works on a multi-generational project (ages 10-100 years) funded by the National Lottery Reaching Communities Fund. She leads on the project design and delivery, engaging with a small geographical area of residents who predominantly live in social housing, researching on behalf of the local housing provider the reasons why this area was deemed as not “thriving”. She holds twice weekly community gatherings to continue the engagement she has built up, and feeds back the residents’ concerns and voices to the housing provider. She supports and facilitates residents to come up with ideas and implement them, to help improve their area, community connections and personal levels of wellbeing and resilience. Her aim is to try to make a systemic change within the housing provider structures to use the person-centred (youth work way) to engage with all their tenants and to put young people at the heart of that delivery model.
Helen began working with us in November 2016. She was previously working as a self-employed children’s and young persons’ mental health school counsellor and was asked to support a collaborative piece of work with Time4You Psychological Services and YFNE with prison leavers around mental health awareness and peer support work. It was there she met Laura Bush who invited her to interview for a post for a new youth support worker in the Tees Valley area. Working with young people has always been a passion of hers. The opportunity to work with young people and to create a project or programmes they are involved in from the start right through to co-delivery was her motivation to move roles.
She loves the opportunity to use a person-centred approach that she thoroughly believes in, she loves being able to focus on elements of work topics she is passionate about and loves spending time with young people and being alongside them when they find their own way and make their own mark and start believing in themselves.
Helen left school with 8 GCSEs and went to college to study Psychology. She gained an A Level and a few extra GCSE’s but lacked goals. She started working in sales and customer service and it was not until the birth of her first child that she decided to focus on her own dreams in order to be a role model for her son. She retrained from Level 2 in counselling and went on to complete with Distinction a Foundation Degree in Counselling Social Sciences at Teesside University. Followed by quickly being employed as a school counsellor. Since then she has completed a level 3 in Youth Work, Safeguarding adults and YP Level 3, VEMT and Domestic Violence CPD programmes and have almost completed her Level 3 in Project Management and hopes to go onto to complete the Prince 2 qualification.
Helen is always thinking of creative ways to add different elements into her programmes but given half a chance she loves to read (philosophy), listen to music, go on walks in the woods with her puppy, and spend time watching movies and snuggling her two children.
Tilly is a Youth Support Worker with Youth Focus North East.
This involves working with young people in the community, running youth sessions and one to one work. She took on this role at YFNE in 2020, however before this worked with us as a sessional worker for two years.
Tilly has always volunteered to work with young people, feeling they need someone to stand up for them and give them a voice. She previously volunteered with Sure Start, working with younger children, and also has been employed with another youth sector organisation. What she loves about her job is the different young people she meets and the work she is involved with, helping them choose the right pathways in life.
She would love to develop some hobbies to enjoy in her free time, but can’t recall what free time actually is.
Bethany is a Sessional Youth Worker with Youth Focus North East
She helps in supporting young people in sessions in different areas of east Middlesbrough.
She joined us in November 2020 as she really enjoys working with young people and helping them realise their potential.
She says she loves how no session is the same and that it’s good how different each area can be.
She enjoys spending time with her son in her free time, and going on adventures with him.
Caitlin is a Sessional Youth Worker with Youth Focus North East
Her job entails planning, preparing and delivering youth work session across Middlesbrough.
She started as an apprentice in June 2018 after she fell in love volunteering at her local youth club. She has been working as a youth worker for over 3 years. She says she loves the young people she works with.
Caitlin is currently studying a BA Hons in Social Work at Sunderland University, and has worked as a youth worker for over 3 years across Tess Valley.
In her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and going to the gym.
Jodie is a Sessional Youth Worker at Youth Focus North East.
Her job role entails working to engage young people from East Middlesbrough in youth-led/based activities and provide them with a safe space to express their true self.
She started this role in November 2020 after previously working within another youth organisation for several years as a youth mentor. She wanted to be more hands on in the community in which she lives, and help young people realise their true potential through localised sessions. She loves that each session is different, and based off the needs, or wants, of the young people.
Jodie has BA (Hons) in Community and Youth Work Studies.
Lucy is a Sessional Youth Worker with Youth Focus North East.
Her job includes running youth club activities, going out on detached to get young people to engage in our activities, to be there to support young people, and try to give them something to do in their spare time
She started this role in January 2021 as she wanted to get out in the community more and to see what is going on in the community with in regards to young people. She works full time as a Support Worker for the Youth Offending Service, and she says this role as a sessional worker has helped her a lot with her full time job.
Lucy loves being able to support young people; gain a relationship with them and to try and give the young people something to look forward to when coming to the youth club she help runs.
She has a BSc Crime Scene Science degree and a MSc in Criminal Education.
Lucy is very sociable and likes to spend time with her friends and family.
Cara is a Trainee Youth Worker at Youth Focus North East
She helps in planning , preparing and delivering for sessions.
She started this role on the 28th of June 2021 because she is passionate about helping Young people and she’d like to try and help change their lives for the better.
Cara loves doing the sessions in Dormanstown, as she says the young people are so happy and smiley.
She is currently doing her kickstart programme with us, and my training courses.
In her free time she loves to walk her little dog Millie, who is her world, and she also enjoys cooking different cuisines from different cultures around the world. She also loves watching shows on Netflix in her down time.
Denise is an Administration Officer at Youth Focus North East
She is a part of the office-based team, here to support all the activities at YFNE. She joined in June 2017.
Denise has had a wide variety of work experience, although in fact her first professional qualification gained was as a Youth and Community Worker. Since then she’s had jobs in a variety of businesses, and also worked in the public sector.
She restarted her formal education as a full-time mature student in 2013, and gained a BA(Hons) in Sociology and then a post-grad degree in Sociology and Social Research from Newcastle University. After she finished Denise wanted to work in an area where she could foster her sociological imagination, and participate in civil society, and this job came up just at the right time.
Denise finds that working at Youth Focus North East is challenging – in a good way. In the time she has been here she has seen the organisation (and her own role) develop and change a lot. Every week – every day – brings her something new to learn, and she appreciates any chance to share what she’s learned with the team. It has also allowed her to gain valuable skills and knowledge that she can transfer into her volunteering and campaigning activities outside work.
In the last few years Denise has re-discovered an interest in crafts such as knitting, crochet, sewing. She’s a keen gardener, of the cottage garden type. She reads a lot. She also loves to bake, which she’s told her colleagues appreciate.
Barry is an Administration Officer at Youth Focus North East
He helps with the administration in the charity. Ensuring records are kept up to date, that session registers and impact measurement forms are recorded, that social media is updated and that general day to day tasks are completed. Barry joined us in June 2017
He has a background within office administration in particular with Salesforce, and the recording of information. He loves the chance to work for an organisation that make a genuine difference to the lives of young people in the North East. Barry has a BA(Hons) Politics and Economics from Northumbria University.
Barry enjoys keeping fit, healthy and active at a nearby gym. He is also a local councillor and Business Chair of a nearby local authority and a proud Watford FC supporter.
Judith is a Business Admin Support Worker at Youth Focus: North East.
She joined us mid-May 2021 through the Kickstart Programme; she helps us in social media management, website design, and creating educational and promotional materials.
Judith has an affinity for graphic design and creating, she wanted to use this ability to help others and make a difference to the local young people. Coming from a community with limited resources for young people, she wanted to help inspire them to take part in the access that YFNE can grant them. After Judith finished her A levels, she went to college to study Graphic Design.
She loves how passionate the team are, and how much she is able to learn and develop in this role, and she gets to work in a job that makes a real positive impact to the community around it.
When she isn’t working, Judith is an avid flora and curio collector, and spends most of her free time watering her 40+ plants. On an evening, she relaxes by playing games with her friends or creating art.
Cara is a Trainee Youth Worker at Youth Focus North East.
She helps us with planning, preparing and delivering for sessions.
Cara joined us on the 28th of June 2021. She started this role because she is passionate about helping Young people and she’d like to try and help change their lives for the better. She loves the sessions in Dormanstown; how the young people are so happy and smiley.
She is currently doing her kickstart programme and her training courses.
Cara loves to walk her little dog Millie who is her world and also enjoys different cuisines from different cultures around the world. She also loves watching TV series on in her down time.