THE YUF TEAM
Anna has a background in charity management having worked in leadership positions in the sector for over fifteen years. Formerly CEO of Coaching Inside and Out, Anna is passionate about creating a world that is more just for everyone.
Outside of work, Anna volunteers as Secretary for her local Scout and Guide Group, as well as being Chair of the Board for a local perinatal mental health charity.
Sarah has been working with young people in formal and informal education for nearly 20 years, combined with a background in the events industry. Before joining YUF, Sarah was the Event Manager for Girlguiding where she was responsible for the development and delivery of innovative youth events to members aged 4-25 across the UK.
That aside, Sarah loves dogs, running, reading, dogs, sport, dogs, and dogs. Sadly, Sarah does not own a dog.
Network Liaison Officer
Flora started her career in music and music education funding, at PRS Foundation and Youth Music, and enjoyed volunteering with her local Brownies unit and South London Cares. Having taken some time out to explore, swim, surf and hike around South America and South Asia, she followed her passion for supporting children and their mental health by retraining to become a primary school teacher. She has now decided to return to charity-based working – here with us at YUF.
Alex Peace-Gadsby OBE
Acting Chair of Trustees
Alex is a Network Trustee who has over a decade of experience of volunteering with Scouts, as a leader and as Chief Commissioner of England. She uses this to support the board with direct experience of volunteering within the sector.
Outside of Youth United Foundation, Alex is an entrepreneur, often entering businesses during their most challenging periods. Here she uses her extensive experience of business strategy and change management, as well as demonstrating a team-orientated attitude to leadership to ensure their success.
Always busy, Alex is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Chairs the charity Parentkind and is a school governor at St Giles School in Retford. Here she uses her extensive knowledge of charity governance to support them.
Dan is the Corporate Director of Community Safety & Resilience at the London Borough of Waltham Forest, where he leads the borough’s work with partners to reduce crime, anti-social behaviour and drugs. Prior to this Dan held a range of senior Civil Service roles in central government working closely with senior Ministers to transform the Government’s approach to a wide range of complex social policy issues.
Dan was appointed Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2021 for Services to Law and Order.
Dan has been an explorer Scout leader in Essex for over 20 years and has been awarded the Chief Scout’s Long Service Award and Chief Scout’s Commendation for Good Service.
Ian is the Chief Resource Officer and University Secretary at the University of East Anglia; a university that was founded on social inclusion and continues to hold this mission close to its heart.
Ian is also a long-standing volunteer with St John Ambulance, with over thirty years of experience working with young people and their leaders. He currently delivers youth leader training for adults and leadership training to young people. Ian is Chair of Norfolk County Scout Council and sits on the board of a Scout and Guide Activity Centre.
Ian is passionate about the impact of deprivation on young people, especially those that live in rural communities.
Ali is the Chief Executive at the Youth Sport Trust, an independent charity devoted to building a brighter future for young people through the power of sport.
Ali joined the Youth Sport Trust in 2004 as a member of the senior leadership team and became the CEO in 2015. Prior to this Ali was the Deputy Director of Sport at the University of Bath having joined as the course leader for the Physical Education Initial Teacher Training programme. Before this Ali was Head of PE at Millfield School, having started her career as a teacher in Essex.
In 2019 Ali received an honorary doctorate of the University of Bath, she was recognized as the Best Leader (not for profit category) in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies in 2020, and in the same year was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Andy is a consulting Director at PwC where he supports central government departments in the delivery of major transformation programmes. Prior to this Andy spent time in the Civil Service in the Cabinet Office after a successful 30 career in the Royal Navy as an Aircraft Engineer in the Fleet Air Arm.
Andy is passionate about making a difference with uniformed youth organisations – this is born out of being a member of The Scouts while growing up and spending the majority of his working career in the military.
Ed is a Network Trustee who pioneered an innovative approach to the Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC) in central London. This initiative aimed to make the scheme more accessible to young people from diverse backgrounds and led to its expansion across all 32 London boroughs. After leading this successful rollout, Ed was appointed Strategic Director for the National VPC. In this role, Ed shaped the nationally agreed VPC aims and principles and secured over £5m to support a 200% increase in cadet numbers, with VPC now operating across all the Police Forces in England in Wales.
In 2016, Ed was awarded an OBE for services to young people and policing in the New Year’s Honour List.
Ed volunteered with the Scout Association and Duke of Edinburgh scheme for many years and is currently a volunteer leader with the Metropolitan Police Cadets in Harrow, North London.
Taff brings experience of leading Governance and Corporate Affairs functions at Executive level; most recently in the NHS. He has cross sector experience having previously held roles in accountancy, financial services, housing and higher education.
He is a Fellow of the Chartered Governance Institute. He holds a Master of Laws degree and a BA(Hons) Accounting and Finance. Taff is a qualified Executive Coach, having studied the Henley Professional Certificate in Executive Coaching. He is currently completing an MSc in Coaching & Behavioural Change at Henley Business School.
Taff has a long history with Scouts, both as a Scout and a Scout Leader.
YOUTH ADVOCATES: CASE STUDIES
St John Ambulance
Royal Air Force Cadets
Luke Stevenson, St John Ambulance
Luke is a dedicated volunteer with St John Ambulance Cadets in Leicestershire and Rutland. He tells us more about his experiences as a Cadet and volunteer, serving as St John’s National Cadet of the Year, and going on to work for St John Ambulance in Training Development.
I joined St John Ambulance Cadets when I was 10 - I’ve been a member for 9 years. I joined because I had recently moved to a new area and wanted to make friends. I also had a passion for healthcare with a goal of becoming a paramedic. I was very nervous, initially, when I joined, however I found a group of other young people like me who welcomed me and became my second family.
Being a St John Cadet has given me a safe space to learn, develop, make mistakes and find out who I am. It challenges me to be the best version of myself. I want to shout out "Aunty" Jean Mardon, a leader of our group, who has been a constant rock of kindness and support throughout my journey and the journey of many, many others.
I was incredibly proud to serve as St John's National Cadet of the Year where I advocated for and represented young people in the charity whilst also taking part in a whole host of ceremonial duties.
I'm extremely proud to now volunteer as the District Youth Lead for Leicestershire and Rutland, being responsible for youth provision across both counties. It is my way of ensuring young people have the amazing opportunities I experienced. I am also happy to say I work for St John Ambulance who have provided me with an incredible first career in Training Development.
Being part of a Uniformed Youth Group is a key part of my identity and it has a special place in my heart. I shall forever be grateful for the day 10-year-old me walked through the doors of my local unit and found my second family.
Megan Newbury, Sea Cadets
Megan is a longstanding member of, and volunteer for, the Sea Cadets. She tells us about the enabling environment that her group leaders created each week, for her and her mum, and about how her confidence grew and how being a Sea Cadet made her stand out against other applicants to secure professional roles.
“I joined T.S Explorer in Evesham at the age of 10. I stayed as a Cadet until the age of 18, having worked to the rank of Leading Cadet. At 18, I moved away to university and had a year between ageing out of Cadets and returning as a volunteer. At 19, I re-joined T.S Explorer and commuted from university to cadets twice a week. I have since moved units due to moving house, to T.S Otter in Tewkesbury.
I joined Cadets because both of my siblings were Cadets, and I grew up at the Cadet Unit, getting to know most of the instructors, who later taught me. When I started, I was very shy and had no confidence in myself. Through the cadet experience, I have become more outgoing and willing to give new things a try.
At home, I come from a single parent household, and I was a young carer for my mum. This made things, such as school, very challenging, however I found that going to Sea Cadets was always something I could look forward to. My mum became Stores Officer, and the unit was made wheelchair accessible for her to be able to attend with me, so I didn’t need to worry about her being at home. Having a disability myself, it was always a worry that I wouldn’t be able to participate in activities in Cadets, however it was always made possible that I could join in and get the best out of the experiences provided.
As a Cadet, my highlight was becoming the Chairman of Wychavon’s Councils Cadet. Through this, I attended all of the Chair’s functions across Wychavon and was able to work with local councillors and MPs and voice young people’s opinions of current events and the youth uniformed sector. Another highlight was going offshore in one of the power vessels. I was able to attend a week’s long voyage on T.S. Jack Petchey. This was made possible through bursaries available through the organisation.
As a volunteer, a highlight was becoming qualified as a Drill Instructor. At 20, I attended a week course at HMS Excellent to qualify as a DI, scoring top of the class and being invited to join the national instructional team for the course. Since becoming qualified in November 2022, I have instructed on a Cadet Drill Instructor Course and 2 Adult Drill Instructor courses, with another coming up.
My time as a Cadet has helped me stand out in interviews. At the age of 19, I was able to gain employment with the Marine Society and Sea Cadets, working on an outreach programme aimed at delivering boating opportunities to diverse young people. I worked on this project for 2 consecutive years.
Currently, I work for West Mercia Police in the Volunteering team. Since succeeding in the interview, I have been informed that when I mentioned my volunteering and time as a Cadet, this made me stand out from other candidates. Currently, I am aiding the restructuring of the West Mercia Volunteer Police Cadet scheme, with my experience as a Cadet helping immensely. I hope to work further in the volunteer and charity sector and know that my time as a Cadet and as a current volunteer will help with future career aspirations.
I plan to continue to volunteer with Cadets, and am looking forward to gaining instructor qualifications, such as my Slide Seat Rowing and Safety Boat qualifications in the next year. I hope to work towards a promotion to Chief Petty Officer, after having completed the minimum time served as a Petty Officer and meeting the requirements.
Ivar Morganti, Royal Air Force Cadets
Ivar tells us about how the exciting activities and values of Royal Air Force Air Cadets (RAF Air Cadets; RAFAC) inspired him as a child and how his regular attendance at his squadron gave him a sense of belonging and allowed him to hone his communication skills. Now a volunteer with RAFAC, and previous Best Male Cadet in the UK, Ivar explains how his experiences with RAFAC shaped who he is and contributed to him securing his first professional role.
My Cadet Career started at 1159 (Edmonton) Squadron, a high-performing unit within Middlesex Wing, but I am currently a Regional Project Officer for London and the South East of the UK. I visit different units and deliver training nationally, in contrast to being stationed at a single unit.
I joined in August 2014 at 12 years old and am still involved at 21; so, 9 years altogether!
My decision to join the RAFAC was deeply influenced at a young age by my nanny, Sarah, a dedicated volunteer who has devoted nearly three decades to the organisation! Throughout my childhood, Sarah would bring first aid equipment and badges for me and my brother to play with after school, and tell us stories of the exciting activities we could take part in. I joined the RAFAC because I was excited by the stories told to me, but I was also drawn to the values of teamwork and community service that are promoted in the organisation. I wanted to learn important life skills and contribute to my community, which I could immediately do. Over time, my experiences within the organisation only solidified my belief that it was the right choice for me.
There was a mix of excitement, curiosity, and a touch of nervousness when I joined the RAFAC. 1159 Squadron was initially quite small in size, but it was still daunting to be joining a new organisation by myself. However, I was immediately welcomed into the group and swiftly began to engage in activities which transformed my nervousness into a deep sense of belonging and enthusiasm. This continued to develop and kept me motivated and eager to contribute my best. I still remember my initial feelings upon joining, but a trusting atmosphere is instinctively fostered in all units due to the nature of the organisation.
I've been fortunate to experience a multitude of remarkable activities within the RAFAC. Notable moments include completing a solo parachuting course, competing in international shooting competitions and completing my Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. One of the most profound highlights was the opportunity to work with the London Fire Brigade and Food Bank with my fellow Cadets to collect food and create hampers for the homeless at Christmas. Witnessing the collective efforts of our team to support the local community was immensely rewarding and influenced future community efforts. I am also proud to have been recognized as the best male Cadet in the UK in 2020, which highlights the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and a commitment to embodying the organisation's values.
Being a member of the RAFAC has been an incredibly enriching and transformative experience which I am incredibly proud of. The organisation instilled in me a strong sense of responsibility where I learned the value of commitment and dedication. These skills have proven invaluable in my academic and professional life. One significant benefit of being in the RAFAC was my exposure to liaising and communicating with adults from a young age. Through interactions with adult volunteers, I quickly learned how to engage in meaningful conversations, express ideas, and collaborate on projects. This was a critical skillset of mine that was favourably identified by companies when I was applying for pre-university and undergraduate internships. I also think it's important to highlight that I had fun as a Cadet! I was provided the platform to be a productive member of society early on whilst making new friends and trying new experiences.
I am incredibly grateful to all of the adult volunteers that have supported me throughout my time as a Cadet. They played an instrumental role in supporting my development as a young adult and have inspired me to become an adult volunteer myself. I am particularly grateful to (Dr) Cameron Braddy-Green and (Dr) Aaron Brady-Green who held my Squadron’s ‘Commanding Officer’ roles. It would be unjust to outline my appreciation in only a few sentences, but I can confirm that they truly shaped my life’s trajectory and are beyond upstanding members of society.
I am fortunate to continue my time in the RAFAC, and currently fill the Training and Delivery Support Officer (TDSO) role for Military Skills activities. However, being a Cadet provided me with defence exposure that has directly influenced my early professional career. I am currently working within IBM Consulting on the Ministry of Defence account, working directly with clients and partner organisations across the world.