Our Team

Kevin Franks
Chief Executive

As a JNC-qualified youth and community worker with over 30 years experience, Kev is the leader of YFNE. Expertly guiding the team to provide a fun, transformational and high quality experience for every young person we work with.

David McCreedy
Director of Youth Programmes

Laura Bush
Director of Youth Work

As lead on the strategic vision of YFNE, her main area of focus is: youth voice, social action and community development. Laura both passionately leads the qualification delivery and works with partners to develop projects & programmes.

Heather Insull
Regional Youth Development Manager

After producing many successful youth groups in Middlesbrough, Heather has now broadened her reach to the whole North East; taking the challenge in stride, she continues to be a successful and dynamic manager.

Caroline Garrity
Operations Manager

Expertly providing senior operational management support, working closely with the Board of Trustees, and offering first-class administrative and HR support. Caroline skilfully works with the whole team to keep the organisation running smoothly.

Emma Abbott
Lead Youth Worker

With a background caring for adults with learning and physical disabilities, Emma is able to bring amazing experience to her role and giving her a helpful insight in supporting young people while they create their own opportunities and provisions.

Simone Banks
Lead Youth Worker

Working regionally and nationally, Simone's aim is to amplify the power of youth voice and centring youth work around young people. She also makes mental health & visual impairment training packets to be delivered nationally.

Zoe Jackson
Training and Development Officer

Zoe works with Laura Bush on developing and delivering the professional youth work qualifications training programme.

Rebecca Harrop
Programme Manager

Rebecca leads on the Youth Endowment Fund Peer Research and Social Action research project, in which young people from across the North East research youth violence and develop a range of social action projects to tackle this.

Hannah Potter
Lead Youth Worker
Great North Children's Hospital

With a background in Education, SEND and Youth Theatre, Hannah is able to use this knowledge and experience within her role. This includes; being an advocate for groups of under-represented patients, and overall bringing practical & emotional support to the children on the wards.

Mark Lowdon
Lead Youth Worker
Great North Children's Hospital

Tilly Stephenson
Lead Youth Worker

Tilly's role involves working with young people in the community, running youth sessions and one to one work.

Jodie-Leigh Foster
Lead Youth Worker

Liani Weston
Lead Youth Worker

Samantha Logan
Lead Youth Worker

Sam leads on Sage Free space, and on a Paul Hamlyn funded project aimed at enabling young people to access services that will have a positive impact on their life, with a positive transition to adulthood.

Megan Stratton
Lead Youth Worker

As a researcher Megan works with other researchers across the North East to find answers and possible solutions to reduce youth violence. In her role as a youth worker she supports young people in different projects.

Barry Flux
Administration Officer

A member of the administrative team, Barry ensures that records are kept up to date, and creates statistical reports of work done by the organisation.

Amy Randall
Office Manager

With over 10 years of youth work experience, Amy ensures the Middlesbrough office runs smoothly and efficiently as Office Manager; supporting the delivery team with the administration of their funded programmes.

Judith Bennett
Communications Support Worker

Bethany Risker
Sessional Youth Worker

Sue Todd
Sessional Youth Worker

Danny Trewin
Sessional Youth Worker

Amelia Bradley
Sessional Youth Worker

Caitlin Stephenson
Sessional Youth Worker

Adele Buttery
Sessional Youth Worker

Lindsay Wayman
Sessional Youth Worker

Ann Hanratty
Sessional Youth Worker

Bradley 'Chief' Matufa
Sessional Youth Worker

Marie Dorman
Sessional Youth Worker

Kelvin Hutton
Sessional Youth Worker

Katy Mann
Social Action Lead

Kendal Douglass
Peer Researcher

Jessica Elliott
Peer Researcher

Liana Crump
Peer Researcher

Yousaf Khan
Peer Researcher


Youth Focus North East is an independent charity, established in 1989, with the overall vision to improve the lives of young people through high quality youth work. We exist for the benefit of young people and the organisations which support them.

Our organisation is rooted in the values of good youth work.

Honesty Respect Equality Inclusion

We pride ourselves on being a caring and learning organisation. One in which people are encouraged to take risks, learn from mistakes and achievements, and where young people are central to all we do.

We operate as both an infrastructure support body and a direct deliverer of services to young people and communities.

Through our infrastructure support we enable organisations across our sector to come together to collaborate, share and learn from best practice and have their views heard. We support them to be well informed on the policy, practice and strategy developments that affect young people. We facilitate programmes to build skills and capacity and develop leadership and sustainability in the sector. We hold and deliver the function of the Regional Youth Work Unit https://www.regionalyouthunits.com/about-us and are proud co-founders of the North East Youth Alliance http://neya.org.uk/.

Our direct support to young people and communities is mainly delivered from our two operating centres in Gateshead and Middlesbrough compromising youth centre, outreach work and community based activities to increase wellbeing and improve community cohesion.

Co-production is at the heart of our practice as a youth work organisation. We understand there is no ‘one catch all’ approach and that young people have to be provided with a variety of opportunities suitable to their interests, abilities and needs. We see the purpose of co-production as providing young people with the opportunity to ‘be the change’, rather than the problem.

Having our foundations firmly rooted in youth work practice via our direct delivery ensures we remain connected to the young people and organisations we serve through our role as an infrastructure support organisation. The dual roles are mutually beneficial and are equally important to us in our overall aim of Improving the lives of young people through high quality youth work.

Our Board of Trustees

Thomas Adams, Chair

Marc Mason

Mark Bagnall

Norma Tullock

David Hesselberth

Karen Marshall