Click on a face to find out more about our core team!
Michael is the chair of our NYA Board of Trustees. He is currently Corporate Director for People at Milton Keynes Council, a role which incorporates the statutory roles of Director of Children’s Services (DCS) and Director of Adult Social Services (DASS). Michael has extensive local authority experience and has previously worked within the voluntary sector, for NHS and Ofsted and spent time on secondment to government. Michael is a qualified youth worker and is currently International Lead at ADASS, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services in England.
Carol is Vice-Chair (Practice Development) of our NYA Board of Trustees. She started out as a Youth Worker in Sheffield and has since worked in youth and community work aswell as community/adult education in a number of local authorities, gaining many years’ experience in partnership working and management. She has also often been a contributor to the national agenda in terms of young people’s issues. In her role as early intervention service manager for Calderdale Council she was responsible for the youth service where she has had a key role in the development of Connexions and IYSS, and has been an Early Intervention Service Manager for Calderdale Council with responsibility for youth work and CYP voice including advocacy.
Barbara is Vice-Chair (Business Development) of our NYA Board of Trustees. Barbara is currently leading senior government sales and relations for Serco Central Government, after returning from a years’ secondment to the Home Office driving the departments’ Transformation agenda. Previous to that, she held the position of Managing Director for the Citizen Services business, spanning DWP, BIS, Defra, DH, FCO and the Cabinet Office and was the Director of Custodial and Occupational Health Services having operational responsibility for transforming primary health services into custodial settings across the country. Barbara joined Serco in 2010 as the Global IT Strategy Director responsible for M&A, technology partnerships and integrated technology across the Serco estate. Prior to joining Serco, Barbara held senior roles at IBM UK where she performed operational, account director and sales management roles for over 12 years.
Natalie is one of our Young Trustees. She has a background in Hospitality Business Management and is currently working within the third sector, gaining experience at a grassroots level in an area which suffers from high levels of deprivation.
Cllr Ken Meeson
Ken is a representative on our NYA Board of Trustees from the Local Government Association. He is currently the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skill at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and also Chairs its multi-agency Health and Wellbeing Board. He is a Lay Mental Health Act Manager and has a special interest in emotional wellbeing and mental health issues for children and young people. He also currently sits on a regional safeguarding body combating child sexual exploitation and is a safeguarding coordinator for the Scout Association. Ken has a long history of leadership roles within youth organisations and is currently chair of our NYA Audit Committee.
Charles is Managing Director of Flotilla, Charles founded Flotilla five years ago with a conviction that what marketing needs is more clear thinking and good stories. A highly experienced communicator, he made his name originally as Head of Marketing at the Victoria and Albert Museum (where he commissioned the iconic “Ace Caff” campaign) and the Royal Horticultural Society. He then spent ten years leading the digital and corporate communications division of the TV company Twofour where he worked with (among others) GSK, Audi, the British Heart Foundation and the Royal Navy. Along with his role on our Board, Charles also supports us as a member of our NYA Business Development Committee.
Helen was a Youth and Community worker for 13 years before moving into managing third sector organisations at local, regional and national levels within the UK and beyond. For the last 15 years she has held senior management roles in economic regeneration projects, particularly in the North of England. Helen managed multi-million pound contracts, but remained focused on the impact on individuals, young people and their communities. More recently Helen has been working to help businesses reduce their energy costs. Along with her role on our Board, Helen also supports us as a member of our NYA Audit Committee.
Gabriel (Gabby) is a qualified banker with more than 35 years international banking experience. His work involves advising and executing cross border trade and infrastructure projects, mostly in the developing world, to governments and state-owned enterprises. He regularly advises the government on international trade and how to make UK companies more successful overseas. He is chair of the British Bankers’ Association’s Export Finance Committee. Along with his role on our Board, Gabby also supports us as a member of our NYA Finance and Resources Committee.
Mark is a qualified solicitor and a partner in the law firm Sullivan & Worcester. His practice covers English law, finance and commercial matters. He regularly advises on public and administrative law issues. Mark was the first member of his family to attend University and studied at the London School of Economics (LSE). Since graduation, he has continued to support the LSE – in particular their Widening Participation Programme which encourages access to the LSE for students from non-traditional backgrounds. Mark has also previously been a school governor. Mark has lived and practised in the Czech Republic (Prague), England (London), Germany (Düsseldorf and Frankfurt) and Russia (Moscow). Along with his role on our Board, Mark also supports us as Chair of our NYA People Development Committee.
Gill Millar is Chair of NYA’s Education Training Standards Committee (ETS). Gill is a professionally qualified youth and community worker who has worked as a youth/community worker and manager in both local authorities and the voluntary sector, as well as training youth and community workers in universities and in their communities. Based in the South West, she led the Regional Youth Work Unit for many years and now supports youth sector organisations to demonstrate their impact with young people in challenging environments.
Leigh Middleton – Chief Executive Officer
Leigh joined the NYA in 2017, having worked with young people for over twenty years. During that time he’s been both a detached and open access youth worker, as well as working in schools and community settings. Leigh is a youth sector commissioning specialist and lead the way in developing new models of delivery for youth work in local communities in Surrey. This included exploring social investment models and public sector mutual opportunities.
Leigh is both JNC qualified, holds a PGCE and has nearly finished his Masters in Public Administration. Leigh’s started working with young people when he was 15 and has a huge passion for experiential learning and development of young people – he particularly champions authentic youth voice and participation and quality assurance of youth work practice. Outside of work Leigh enjoys travelling to explore different cultures.
Amanda Fearn – Development Director
Amanda has worked in the youth sector for 20 years. Originally a front line worker with a focus on guidance and support, she worked with and for young people with multiple life challenges. She joined the National Youth Agency in 2008 and has led a range of works relating to quality standards, workforce development, health, participation and corporate funded programmes.
Amanda is currently the Development Director for the NYA and works tirelessly to drive the growth and evolution of the organisation. When not in the office she is most likely to be found driving the growth and evolution of her family, or walking the dog!
Keith Ambrose – Finance and Operations Director
Keith, who has been with the NYA since 2016, is the Finance and Operations Director and as such is responsible for managing the charity’s accounts and providing strategic oversight for the programme delivery team. A qualified accountant, Keith worked in the commercial sector for thirty years in a variety of finance, operational and leadership roles in places as far afield as Chicago, Beijing and Peterborough! Following many years volunteering his finance skills in the education system, Keith followed his career plan when he moved in to the third sector and joined NYA.
Outside of work Keith can be found chasing a little white ball round a golf course or a little white dog around Rutland Water.
Lisa Putnam – Assistant Director for Development
Lisa is Assistant Director for Development at the NYA, with responsibility for developing solutions and establishing new partnerships in response to current and emerging trends that affect young people and youth workers. Lisa is an experienced Project Manager and played a pivotal role on the Barclays Money Skills Champions programme and Employability Support programme.
Prior to joining NYA, Lisa worked in marketing and buying, gaining a broad portfolio of skills that add value to teams and projects. Lisa thrives on challenges, particularly those that expand the NYA’s reach and ability to improve outcomes for young people.
Outside of work Lisa loves to travel, read and walking her dog.
Katy Fielding – Assistant Director of Operations
Katy has been working for the National Youth Agency in different capacities since 2002. Her original background was administration but over the years she has developed her skills and work areas and also graduated as a youth worker. Katy has had a variety of roles from Finance Administrator to Head of Operations.
Katy is currently the Assistant Director of Operations and is responsible for all of NYA’s programmes partnership including O2, Our Bright Future, Money Advise Service, Royal Astronomical Society. This role plays to her strengths of being able to deliver at a strategic level whilst focusing on operational outcomes, maintaining high quality standards and managing efficient and effective programmes.
Outside of work Katy loves to do practical projects at home such as decorating, landscaping and building flat pack. She loves all animals, particularly cats, and owns 2, ‘Denzel’ and ‘Donavon’.
Jaede Todner – Executive Assistant and Office Manager
Jaede has been an integral part of the NYA since she joined as an apprentice in 2009. She works tirelessly to support the Chief Executive Officer, Board of Trustees and Senior Management Team across the organisation. On top of this she mentors our newest apprentice Shannon, has become an IT guru and Youth Work expert!
She’s perhaps best known for keeping the organisation in gingerbread, and being one of the only people in England to drink their tea without milk!
Priya Patel – Programmes Operation Manager
Priya is the Programmes Operations Manager which involves being the gatekeeper for quality and governance within the NYA Programmes Team, as well as supporting the transition from contract award to programme set up. Priya draws upon her wealth of experience in planning, reporting, quality assurance, risk management and project communications to provide a flexible, pragmatic, efficient and proactive project support service.
Priya enjoys spending her spare time with family and friends and has a big love for elephants.
Jodie Lees – Programme Delivery Manager
Jodie Lees is our Programme Delivery Manager and joined NYA in April 2017. Jodie manages the delivery of a number of our programmes including My Money Now and Future Proof Parks. Jodie has over 10 years of experience managing young people led programmes and has a huge passion for participation and co-production. In her spare time you can usually find Jodie getting stuck into a good book or critiquing the latest films.
Please do contact JodieL@nya.org.uk if you have any questions or queries regarding programmes and how to get involved.
Lydia Allen – Partnerships and Sustainability Coordinator
Lydia is the Partnerships and Sustainability Coordinator for The Environment Now.
With an environmental academic background, Lydia has always wanted to work in roles that aim to help and protect our Natural World, and from working on The Environment Now Lydia has learnt so much from young people and have been inspired by their innovative digital solutions to environmental issues.
Lydia holds a strong belief that the current and next generation are fundamental in solving current pressing issues to both people and planet.
In her spare time, Lydia likes to go for long walks in the glorious British countryside and she will happily join in a local litter pick especially when the reward includes a good pub lunch with friends.
Lydia can be contacted on email@example.com
Heather Wildsmith – Young Person’s Coordinator
Heather Wildsmith is the young person’s coordinator working on The Environment Now programme.
The Environment Now programme is currently supporting 50 young people on their journey into entrepreneurship, Heather works with these young people to ensure they are on track with their projects.
Heather graduated from the University of Derby in 2015 where she completed her degree in Youth and Community work.
In her spare time Heather often travels back to her home city of Derby where she enjoys spending time with friends and family, and she can often be found in the peak district with a bag of duck food.
You can contact Heather on firstname.lastname@example.org
Veena Chauhan – Administrator
Veena supports the Development Team, primarily the practice development manager and Education Training Standards Committee (ETS), and takes responsibility for the day to day coordination of the youth work professional validation, NYA training and Quality standards work.
She has worked in the charity sector for nearly 10 years in supportive roles, loves tennis (particularly Nadal) and enjoys learning other languages.
You can contact Veena regarding qualifications on VeenaC@nya.org.uk
Shannon Smith – Business Administration Apprentice
Shannon Smith is a Business Administration Apprentice at the National Youth Agency. In her role, Shannon supports the core team in processing invoices and expenses and reconciling credit cards and debit cards.
Shannon also supports programmes in her role. She supports the My Money Now programme and The Environment Now programme offering admin support to the teams as required. Shannon also works as a Peer Associate for the My Money Now programme where she measures the engagement of young people during their money skills training sessions.
Outside of work Shannon loves to spend time with her two dogs and listening to music.
Alex Winterton – Digital Marketing Coordinator
Alex joined the NYA in 2016 as an Employee Engagement Coordinator on the Barclays programme, and has since worked supporting the Business Development and Communications managers before moving into Digital Marketing.
Alex maintains NYA’s digital platforms day to day, and coordinates strategic content to populate them, as well as managing and engaging in various social campaigns.
From his academic background in Philosophy, Alex has attained a passion for social justice and works to champion young people wherever possible.
When out of work, Alex enjoys discovering new music, films, authors, and can often be found out in the woods trying to take decent photos.
You can contact Alex on AlexW@nya.org.uk
Charlotte Little – Programme Coordinator
Charlotte Little is a Peer Facilitator for the My Money Now project, delivering sessions across the UK to young people around financial capability. Charlotte is relatively new to the youth sector, but enjoys the variety and challenges of being a trainer. The My Money Now project is great because it allows her to meet a variety of young people, whilst equipping them with vital money skills for adult life.
Charlotte is passionate about wellbeing and enjoys yoga, cycling and running in her spare time – however, you can also find her travelling to new cities, her favourites being Prague and Paris!
Charlotte Tidbury – Programme Coordinator
Charlotte is a Programme Coordinator, supporting all NYA programmes with administration and delivery. She is a JNC qualified Youth and Community Worker with experience working in schools, hostels and youth and community centres both in the UK and abroad. Her previous role was as a Peer Facilitator on the NYA’s My Money Now programme, which involved delivering financial capability training to young people across England.
Charlotte has a keen interest in improving the lives of young people, and ensuring that youth work is inclusive and accessible to all young people. Contact Charlotte on email@example.com for more information on any NYA programmes.
Adam Peel – Research Officer
Adam is NYA’s Research Officer and works to help us back up all the work we do with relevant evidence, and to also contribute to our continually evolving understanding of the sector. Coming to us from Citizens Advice, Adam has a welath of relevant experience, and with a Masters Degree that focused on social theory he also brings a passion for some of the more abstract elements of our work.
Outside of the workplace Adam is most happy on a cricket pitch, but also enjoys time in the kitchen or in nature; as a side he is attempting to play acoustic guitar well enough to mask his terrible singing!