It was only a week ago that we held our Staff Conference at the Change Academy. The day's theme was Conenctivity and it was filled with chances to meet with colleagues, come up with new ideas and ask questions.
We were also delighted that our new CEO, Andy Moreman, could take time out of his diary and join us for part of the day. For those of you that weren't able to be there we grabbed a few minutes of Andy's time to find out a bit more about what makes him tick.
I have a passion for working alongside young people and creating opportunities for them to develop and grow. YD obviously does this in many different ways and that was always going to be something of massive interest to me.
Can you tell us a little about your previous role?
I currently run a CPO, a charity which focuses on communications for churches and other charities. It had seen quite a long period of gentle decline so we’ve spent the past two years here investing in strategic relationships, the staff team and creating a ‘yes culture’ which has brought real growth and huge opportunity for the future. I’m a little bit sad to leave just as it’s getting really exciting!
What is it you enjoy about working in the Charity/Non-profit sector?
I started my Youth Work 25 years ago with a charity and have spent about half my working life with either charities or non-profit organisations, including the last four years. Volunteering, charity work and community work was hard-wired into me at an early age and so it’s always just felt like a natural place to be.
My work in Local Authority Youth Services (the other half!) has, for obvious reasons, involved partnering with dozens of different charities so I have never felt far from this kind of work.
What would you say your greatest achievement has been in your career?
I’d like to think there is still room for that and I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing teams and bring about real change in both large and small organisations.
The real moments I remember though, are the details where we’ve managed to create opportunities for young people and their families that have been life-changing in the best possible ways. Different ones come to the front of my mind so ask me when you see me. To be honest getting this job feels like a pretty big achievement to me.
Tell us a bit about how you have helped change the odds in favour of young people.
Here’s one example – when we set up the Young Lambeth Co-op it started as just a great idea. Six months in and we’d trained 60 young commissioners who took the money the council was going to spend on Youth Services, created a whole new commissioning framework, invited groups to apply and created a programme of delivery which the council hadn’t managed in several years of trying. It was a co-op and those young people were some of the several thousand local shareholders. It was taking participation into co-production and ownership. Those young people were my bosses (legally not figuratively), they loved it and so did I.
What do you see as your main priority for Young Devon in your first 12 months?
I have a huge list of questions and queries but wouldn’t presume to answer that before I’ve even got through the door and spoken to people. I can’t claim to be passionate about co-production with young people and not model that with colleagues.
Young Devon’s staff are passionate and committed to helping young people thrive: what do you think is the most important thing that we can do to have a bigger impact on young people’s lives?
With massive political change happening all around, and none of us completely clear on what the implications of that might be for young people. I cannot imagine a more important time to be determined to work with young people so that they can be more in control of their own outcomes.
Where are you planning on being based?
No idea yet. I haven’t visited the offices. I am not convinced it’s important, if I get stuck behind one desk and in one building then I’m probably not doing my job!
Give us three words that describe you best.
I would like to say swashbuckling, debonair and sophisticated. But that wouldn’t be true.
What are you and your family most looking forward to about moving to Devon?
New places, new friends, finding a place to live. All except for our youngest son who when we told him we were looking for a new house said “Is the old one broken?”
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
I once cycled from Maidstone to Brussels for charity (on an actual bike with no engine) all under my own steam. Admittedly there was a boat involved at one stage.
When you’re not at work how do you fill your time?
I have three sons who help with that.