National Body for Youth Work in England
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.
Chief Operating Officer
Amanda works as the Chief Operations Officer, working to optimise NYA operating capabilities to help us achieve excellence throughout our work. This includes making sure we have the right systems, processes, policies, Governance, finances, talent base and partnerships to enable NYA to deliver great services and support.
When she isn’t knee deep in documents and numbers, Amanda is usually knee deep in mud and grass walking the dog.
Director of Youth Work
Abbee is the Director of Youth Work for the National Youth Agency (NYA) in England. She is a JNC-qualified youth and community worker and holds a post-graduate diploma in education. Abbee has worked within the field of youth work, training and development for over 20 years.
She is an experienced leader who strives for quality and professionalism in youth work, applying this passion to her role at the NYA, nationally and the international consultancy she provides to the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Abbee has led and developed small charities as a board member, trustee and advisor. Currently, she is supporting the Refugee Youth Service as a youth and policy advisor with a specific focus on workforce wellbeing. She is also developing an educational grant-giving charity for a global marketing agency.
With experience in a range of settings and sectors, from alternative education to social care, Abbee is a passionate believer in the power of informal education to change lives and communities.
Director of Growth
Matt has nearly twenty years’ experience of senior leadership and fundraising roles in the voluntary sector, with extensive experience of sustainability planning, and of securing high value tenders, grant applications, corporate sponsorships, community fundraising, legacy and
voluntary income. Matt has worked with national and local charities and social enterprises delivering across a broad range of sectors and activities.
Matt is committed to the voluntary sector, supporting many organisations as a trustee and volunteer supporter and is passionate about bringing commercial awareness to the sector in order to deliver high quality support services for vulnerable people.
Director for Policy and Strategy
Jonathan is a long-standing national adviser on youth policy, working with NYA and across the youth sector for 20 years before joining the NYA leadership team, and as founder/director of Citadel Policy and Communications from 2005. He is responsible for policy insight and strategic communications. Jonathan has well-established networks specialist in youth work and education, and across government greatly experienced in public affairs and campaigns.
A former Director of leading PR agencies (1995-05), he was previously a political and parliamentary aide; he is a member of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations and Fellow of the RSA. He holds a Masters in Politics and Administration (MSc), is an experienced trustee of youth charities and most recently helped establish a multi academy trust as its Chair widening learning opportunities in local communities. His leisure time is one of cinema and literature and an enduring passion as an overly optimistic football fan.
Head of Operations
Barry works with the operational leadership team to develop and maintain the systems, processes and infrastructure that enable a culture of autonomy and accountability. The role plays to Barry’s natural collaborative style, and he loves nothing more than when he is working alongside colleagues to overcome challenges, particularly when the outcome supports productivity and efficiency.
Barry has worked in young people’s services for over 20 years, and he is driven by the desire to provide the best possible support for those working directly with young people, so they are enabled to provide the best possible outcomes for young people. Outside of work Barry is a football coach with an under-16 football team, with an overwhelming but unrealistic desire to still play.
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.
Priya can be contacted on PriyaP@nya.org.uk
Head of Workforce & Professional Practice
Kevin is JNC Qualified and has been a practicing Youth and Community worker for over 25 years. He has been a leader in both the statutory and voluntary sectors, and has a passion for street work and infrastructure projects. He’s based in Manchester.
Business Development Manager
Rose has worked in Business Development in not-for-profit organisations for over seven years; identifying opportunities, working with colleagues and external partners to develop proposals, writing and securing successful bids for contracts and income generation.
Rose also works for a local domestic abuse charity, delivering health relationships and domestic abuse workshops to children and young people in primary and secondary schools in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
Rose spends a lot of her spare time dancing lindy hop, running a local dance school and attending workshops and competitions across the UK. She also gets involved with local environmental and gender equality campaigning and tries to get out for a walk in the Peak District whenever she gets the chance.
Quality Practice Manager
Laura is Quality Practice Manager for the NYA
Laura is a JNC Youth and Community qualified practitioner with over 20 years youth work experience and has worked in a variety of settings including centre based, detached and mobile provision, managing and delivering universal services, specialist programmes and targeted work to young people.
Throughout her career she has trained youth workers both formally and informally and is passionate about sharing her experience to develop the skills and knowledge of others. Her most recent role with young people has been in sexual health focussing on CSE and HSB.
Deputy Director of Youth Work
Esther has worked in the youth work sector for almost 20 years, across a range of settings and contexts. Esther started her career as a part time youth worker at the London Borough of Bexley, gaining her JNC qualification and progressing to Youth Development Officer. Working in the voluntary sector, private sectors and local authority Esther has a wealth of experience in building productive, effective, and positive relationships with colleagues and young people. For over 10 years Esther led a national social enterprise Kinetic Youth Ltd, developing, delivering, and evaluating service delivery against measurable contractual outcomes.
Esther is never too far away from front line delivery, a youth worker at heart, she remains driven by wanting a fairer, more equitable and progressive society for all young people.
Research and Learning Manager
Adam is NYA’s Research and Learning Manager 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 wealth 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!
Adam can be contacted on AdamP@nya.org.uk
Learning and Development Manager
Karen joined the NYA in late 2020 as a Youth Work Specialist. She is a JNC professionally qualified youth and community worker and qualified trainer. Karen has worked in the youth and community field for over 25 years, including managing and leading activity across a range of sectors and environments.
Karen leads on the development of projects, products, and materials for the youth sector workforce. This includes the development of high-quality skills, knowledge, and contemporary learning opportunities for work with young people, both accredited and no accredited in nature, with a focus on the development of digital CPD, distance learning and face to face learning opportunities.
Communications and Marketing Manager
Laura is an experienced Communications and Marketing Manager. She has worked in the not-for-profit and education sectors for over six years, with a specialism in digital marketing. Laura completed her Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma in Digital Marketing in 2017.
In her free time, Laura also volunteers for a local charity, providing support and advice with their marketing and social media.
Laura can be contacted on LauraB@nya.org.uk
Senior Practice Lead
Policy & Advocacy Manager
Lydia is Policy & Advocacy Manager
Having worked at NYA for over 5 years, Lydia has a passion for youth environmental programmes and has built up experience across a number of different projects working directly with young people. Using skills from her previous roles at NYA, Lydia hopes to bring young people on the journey with her in creating policy and change on a larger scale for the benefit of young people, youth workers and the youth sector.
In her spare time, Lydia enjoys getting outdoors, exploring local green spaces and those further afield.
Learning Management System Coordinator
Steven is Learning Management System Coordinator at NYA. Formerly he worked as a technical manager in the digital signage industry and before that worked in primary education specialising in working with and supporting children with special educational needs and teaching I.T.
In his free time he enjoys hobbies that involve working with his hands, playing around with computers and reading.
Digital Marketing Coordinator
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.
As Executive Assistant, Lisa provides administrative support to Leigh and the wider Senior Leadership Team. When not juggling calendars, Lisa loves nothing more than hiking with her dog, swimming in the sea or taking on a challenge – wing walking was the latest item to be struck off her ‘bucket list’.
Finance and Growth Officer
Kimberley (Billie) has been working with the NYA Academy team since she joined in January 2019. She has been an integral part of the Academy’s pilot phase and now works to support the network of Youth Work Specialists at the NYA.
In her free time Billie spends her time rewatching the Disney back catalogue and playing Pokemon.
Programme Manager (amplifi)
Bex is the Young People’s Opportunity and Development Platform Programme Manager for the National Youth Agency and is working to develop our brand-new platform- amplifi.
Bex is a JNC qualified youth and community worker and holds a Level 6 careers advice and guidance qualification. She is a passionate and experienced Youth Work professional and manager who has worked with young people since she was a young person herself and thrives from supporting and witnessing young people achieve their goals.
Outside of work Bex enjoys spending time with her family, friends and puppy. She also loves music and being creative- bringing this into her work wherever possible.
Youth Work Specialist
Rob is a JNC qualified Youth and Community Development worker with over 20 years worth of full time experience. He’s volunteered and been employed in both voluntary organisations and local authorities across the North of England, from ground level to more strategic positions but is still very enthusiastic about working ‘face to face’.
He has a particular interest in supporting young people with learning difficulties and those who are out of formal education and the skill and enthusiasm to teach others to do the same. In his spare time he likes playing guitar, fell running and reading and is a full time dad.
Alia is JNC Qualified with over 25 years of Youth Work experience in the statutory, community, and faith sectors and currently volunteers with her local church and for a girls’ mentoring charity. Alia’s NYA role is the Education and Training Standards Officer with the core focus of supporting Higher Education Institutions to create and deliver youth work degrees. Alia is passionate about ensuring high quality education and training for youth workers so they can offer the best possible support to young people.
When not working Alia loves to run (in her toe-shoes) and has completed 25 marathons including two 40 mile ultra marathons.
Xyna is NYA’s Safeguarding Hub Manager working towards evolving the hub into an exceptional safeguarding platform for youth workers. She is a qualified and registered Social Worker who has worked across three local authorities in various settings.
Her experience has included engaging with a wide range of activities such as responding to high-risk child protection situations, court work, safeguarding children and young people with additional needs, working with young people in care, etc.
She is also the proud owner of a shoe thieving goldendoodle.
Ellie is a JNC Qualified Youth Worker with a BA Youth and Community Studies. Ellie started her youth work journey volunteering in a youth café and has since worked in a variety of settings such as several years within young persons substance misuse service and managing projects for young people whose parents are serving in the military.
Ellie is passionate about young people having the ability to truly participate and that youth workers come from all walks of life. In her spare time she can be found in the outdoors, kayaking and studying for a MPA in Social and Public policy.
For over 25 years Nicola has been working with young people and communities to create lasting behaviour change. She is an experienced Youth Work Practitioner, Intergenerational Worker & Community Development Specialist with an interest in discovering the most effective ways for communities to become more caring and compassionate.
Nicola facilitates unique Well Being events using Creativity, Mindfulness, Change Work and Sound Therapy. She holds a BA (hons) in Arts and Education from Bretton Hall and a Postgraduate Certificate in Youth and Community Work from Brunel University.
Heather is an experienced administrator and joined the NYA in March 2021, she provides administration support to both the Learners and the Assessors in the NYA Academy.
Heather comes from a background of Early Years support for children with special educational needs.
In her space time she loves to craft, with sewing, glass fusion and felting.
Youth Participation Officer
Lasharne is a JNC Qualified Youth and Community Development worker with various experience in both formal and informal education with young people. She has also worked in both local authority and charity organisations helping young people grow holistically and creating personal development sessions for both staff and young people. Lasharne has a passion for promoting Youth voice and supporting organisations to develop their youth participation to produce meaningful outcomes. She is very passionate about cultural competence, diversity and inclusion and wants to break the glass ceiling that has been created for disadvantaged groups within society to ensure they flourish.
Lasharne can be contacted on email@example.com
With nearly 20 years in the voluntary and local authority sectors, Fran is an experienced youth work practitioner and manager and has developed and delivered youth work in centre-based, detached, mobile and outdoor education settings.
She is skilled in working with young people affected by multiple complex disadvantage, including homelessness. She is passionate about ensuring marginalised young people have access to youth services.
She is committed to promoting youth work in government, trade unions and political parties.
Youth Participation Worker
Beth has been working as a youth worker for around 9 years. Having started her youth work journey as a young person. At the age of 16, she started volunteering on other youth projects within a charity in Central London. Until now, Beth has mainly been working in the charity and faith youth work sectors where she completed her BA (Hons) in Theology, Mission and Ministry specialising in youth work at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.
Beth has a passion for being out and about meeting with young people and supporting them to use their voices and be heard, using participation to its full advantages. Beth also has a passion for inclusion and ensuring that every young person has access to programmes, support, and guidance no matter their background or circumstances.
In her spare time, you can find Beth enjoying; Women’s football (Forgive her, she’s an Arsenal fan!), time with her friends and family, playing the drums or doing something music related!
Junior Content Producer
Bee is our Junior content producer for amplifi. Bee is passionate about helping young people to develop their skills and knowledge to create a better future for themselves. In her role Bee works alongside young people, sharing her experience, knowledge and skills with them to co-create engaging content across our social media platforms. Bee is dedicated to supporting the NYA achieve its mission of putting young people first and finding solutions to provide youth work support to those that need it the most.
Bee is a radio presenter, radio producer, music producer and content creator. She has worked alongside companies such as the BBC, Bauer Media Group, Lyca Media Group, KISS FM, Asian FX, VIBE FM and Demon Media where she developed a passion for broadcasting, learning the ins and the outs of all thing’s media.
Youth Forum Lead
Sherese is a young individual who desires to professionalise in the area of youth work, advocating for young people to have the opportunity to engage in meaningful opportunities.
Her professional background is from the criminal justice system, working with many different disadvantaged groups.
Sherese’s hobbies include enjoying recreational activities such as walking and playing sports. Sherese also volunteers as a independent visitor with her local council.
Aaron is a Youth forum Lead, Model & creative. Being new to the Youth sector, he has a desires and goals to reach his full potential in the industry and translate those skills into other ventures in life. Previously working alongside Equal equity he’s taken part in hosting online events, public speaking & moderating.
Coming from a football background, Aaron takes part in regular 5k park runs, gym 5 days times a week and swimming on the weekend. When he’s not being such a busy body, Aaron loves to kick back and watch iconic interviews in his past time, along with capturing pictures of himself, scenery & other interesting things he spots.
Barbara is Chair 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.
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.
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.
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
Toby believes that all young people should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential – whatever their background.
Working as an Insurance Executive, Toby helps companies with strategy, operations and transformational change.
Toby lives near London with his wife, children and a growing menagerie of animals.
Toby is Vice-Chair of the Board and the Chair of our Finance and Governance Committee.
Lynne is Chair of our NYA Growth Committee and is currently the Finance Director for Serco’s UK Defence business having been with Serco since 2008. During her time at Serco she has worked in various finance and commercial positions across the Group, working across a wide range Government departments including Cabinet Office, DWP, MoD and NHS.
Lynne is married with two sons and lives in Andover. In addition to spending time with her family, her interests are renovating her new home and travelling.
Please note, Tony is not an NYA Trustee, but is Chair of the National Advisory Board for Youth Services.
Tony Gallagher is a former Her Majesty’s Inspector and currently carries out occasional inspection work for Ofsted and HM Probation. He managed Ofsted’s national programme of inspections of local authority youth services and was Ofsted’s policy lead for youth matters. In this role he also reported to Government on the then national voluntary youth organisation grant scheme.
Tony has published various national Ofsted reports related to youth work, volunteering and social action. His inspection activity covered the ‘secure estate’ – secure training centres, secure children’s homes, YOIs and adult prison education.
He has experience in the inspection of FE, adult and community education, citizenship education, PSHE and independent learning providers (ILPs). Tony worked on the Single Inspection Framework inspections (SIF) covering education of children in care and provision for care leavers.
Daniel has over 28 years of experience in youth work and management. His experience ranges from local authority, further education, enrichment, targeted youth work, working with those looked after and in care (LAC), those at risk of exclusion, crime prevention, and youth offending. He also works with SEND young people and those with emerging and mild to moderate mental health needs.
Sally Carr MBE has worked in Manchester’s LGBT+ Communities for over 30 years. Born, bred and buttered in Greater Manchester, she has dedicated her life to bettering the lives of young people, particularly marginalised LGBT+ people and women in the City.
Sally was awarded a MBE in 2012 for services supporting vulnerable and isolated LGBT+ young people across the U.K. She is currently a trustee on our NYA Board and an advisor to the LGBT Consortium. She also sits on the LGBT Advisory Group for the Mayor of Greater Manchester (Andy Burnham).
Alexandra is a trustee for the NYA
Cllr Mark Cory is a trustee for the NYA
Amma is committed to investing in young people’s transition into adulthood and heads up the youth services at an Ofsted Outstanding apprenticeship provider.
Throughout her career within the field of youth work and as a school and college governor, her work has focused on mentoring and wellbeing, education and training, international engagement, and SEND support.
Amma also sits as a trustee for two charitable foundations: one empowering and supporting those experiencing homelessness into employment, and the other working to improve and diversify the education curriculum in the UK.
Ali Pickering has over 20 years of marketing and brand building experience. She is currently Marketing Director and has worked internationally in the global brand team.
Ali Lives in Staffordshire with her husband and two teenage sons, and has a real love of being out in the great outdoors with them.
Mervyn Kaye is a northerner now residing in London. He has over 20 years’ experience in the children and young people’s sector including frontline youth work, strategy and policy management, commissioning, head of youth services for a local authority and is currently Youth First CIO’s founding CEO.
Mervyn believes in ensuring young people get equality of outcomes regardless of their backgrounds and that youth work and play, especially the relationships with youth and play workers can support young people and communities to increase the chance of this being the case.
History of NYA
** From 27th January 2022 we can confirm that the youth sector moves to GREEN in the readiness framework**