Board of Trustees

Youth Focus: North East works with a number of professionals who contribute to the effective development and governance of the organisation. The primary roles associated with our Board of Trustees include:

  • To develop and monitor the strategic direction of the organisation
  • To ensure the financial probity of the organisation
  • To support and monitor the operational functions of the organisation
  • To work in the best interests of the organisation and promote our work to the wider youth sector

Current Board Members

Pete Stout OBE, Chair

One of the founder members of the organisation in 1990 and has served on the Board ever since. Pete spent his career, commencing in 1970, in social work, juvenile justice work, youth work, community development, adult education and consultancy. He then retired from local government as Principal Community Education Officer in 2001 and formed a company specialising in youth development. Pete has extensive experience in working not only in local government but also the not for profit sector, the private sector and for national agencies both in the UK and internationally. Youth work and youth development has always been and continues to be his passion in life.

Marc Mason, Treasurer

Marc worked in the Children and Young People’s Departments in four Local Authorities from 1988 to 2017. He had lead responsibility for a variety of areas, including youth services, social care teams, health teams and prevention services. Marc has been the Honorary Treasurer of Youth Focus: North East for several years. 

Beth Farhat

Beth Farhat is Regional Secretary of the Northern TUC, representing 58 trade unions in the northern region, which covers the North East and Cumbria. Beth joined the TUC in 2003 and has had held a range of posts within union learn (the TUC’s learning and skills arm). She managed the region’s flagship Learning for All Fund, which was responsible for supporting over one million adults in the region back into learning via the union route. Under Beth’s leadership the Northern TUC coordinate the Better Health at Work Award on behalf of the North East and Cumbria, which currently has over 370 employers and their 230,000 employees engaged in the workplace health and wellbeing programme aimed to improve public health and tackle health inequality. She represents the Northern TUC on the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) Employment and Skills Board is also on the Board for Youth Focus: North East.

Tom Adams

A retired Charity Chief Executive and Social Work Manager who worked with young people all his working life, specialising in work with young offenders, young people in the care system and homeless young people. Tom’s early career was in local social services departments and latterly he worked in the charitable sector. He retired from the post of Chief Executive of Children North East in 2009.  He has been a member of the Youth Focus: North East Board since 2008.

David Hesselberth

Qualifying as a Solicitor in 1976, David’s entire legal career was spent at local law firm Ward Hadaway of which he was one of the founder members. Specialising in Employment Law in the mid 80s, he developed an Employment Unit with a national client base and remains as a Consultant.David was appointed as a part-time Employment Tribunal Judge in 1992 and assigned to the Leeds Region and for the last five years, Newcastle, retiring in 2016. David was also Chairman of the Management Board Wallsend Sea Cadets for 10 years, retiring at the end of 2017 but remaining as a Board member. His hobbies include golf and sailing.

Mark Bagnall

Previously a training and development officer with a large national Voluntary Organisation, Mark has worked with all ages, included managing full-time youth and community workers and setting up new community projects with a focus on young people. Now, he spends his time between running a coaching and training business and pursuing his leisure activities. He is a founder member of the original Youth Work unit.

Emily Vasey

A young person who has been involved with Youth Focus: North East for eight years, initially as a volunteer before joining the staff team. Whilst working at Youth Focus: North East, Emily studied Accountancy at Northumbria University, graduating in July 2015.  Since then, Emily has continued to advance her career as an accountant working in Proctor and Gamble’s finance department and Tait Walker LLP and continues to support the organisation as a Board member.

Norma Tullock 

As Head of Facilities for law firm Ward Hadaway, Norma’s role encompasses responsibility for all of the organisation’s buildings, property management, admin and reception staff, archiving, health & safety and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) including environment. As head of CSR for the firm she is involved in many aspects of volunteering and fundraising in the community, not least her contact with Youth Focus: North East. This association commenced in 2013 via employer engagement to conduct mock interviews with students, young people and carers. Norma personally found this very rewarding and hopes in some small way she and her colleagues encouraged and motivated the young people to gain good employment opportunities. She has been a member of the Youth Focus:North East Board since 2015 and was also a Governor at Monkseaton Community High School for 15 years and, until recently, also on the board of Wallsend Sea Cadets.

Rhiannon Bearne

Rhiannon has been a Trustee and Director of Youth Focus: North East since 2011/12 bringing communications, policy and income generation expertise to the Board. She is also Assistant Director at Changing Lives, a national homelessness and drug and alcohol charity, based in the North East. Prior to joining Changing Lives, she held posts at Business and Enterprise Group, the regional Business Link deliverer, and VONNE, the regional support body for voluntary and community groups in the North East. She is also a Trustee of the Millfield House Foundation, a regional grant-making body devoted to building a better society in the North East.