Our People

Our People

Meet the people who ensure the day to day smooth running of our charity

Senior Leadership

Our Leadership Team at Manchester Young Lives leads staff so that we meet our goals; efficiently and cost effectively. They all play an essential role to ensure our strategic vision is put into practice and meets the needs of the young people that we support

  • Elaine Young
    Elaine Young
    Chief Executive Officer
  • Elaine Vickers
    Elaine Vickers
    Play and Youth Manager (South)
  • Samantha Parsons
    Samantha Parsons
    Post 16 SEND Lead
  • Beth Aze
    Beth Aze
    Head of Operations
  • Nozir Uddin
    Nozir Uddin
    Play and Youth Manager (Central & North)
  • Lucy Cook
    Lucy Cook
    Employability Programme Manager (Wythenshawe Learning Hub)
  • Zola Lkhasuren
    Zola Lkhasuren
    Business Support Manager
  • Jane Pickford
    Jane Pickford
    Engagement and Outreach Manager
  • Chantelle Slater
    Chantelle Slater
    Employability Programme Manager (Ardwick Learning Hub)

Trustees

Our Trustees work together to develop a clear strategy for the future of Manchester Young Lives and ensure that the work we do and goals of the organisation are in line with our vision. We have a very supportive Board who passionately believe in the services we provide to young people, they each play a key role, providing professionalism and expertise to Manchester Young Lives.

  • Ryan Miemczyk
    Ryan Miemczyk
    Chair of Trustees
  • Qaisra Shahraz
    Qaisra Shahraz
    Trustee
  • Kimoni Bell
    Kimoni Bell
    Trustee
  • Daniele Atkinson
    Daniele Atkinson
    Trustee
  • Fiona Elliot
    Fiona Elliot
    Trustee
  • Hojol Uddin
    Hojol Uddin
    Trustee
  • Greg Holmes
    Greg Holmes
    Trustee
  • Rosemary Knox
    Rosemary Knox
    Trustee
  • Michael Harte
    Michael Harte
    Trustee
Elaine Young
Chief Executive Officer

Elaine began her career with a Hons Degree in Criminology and Social Policy from the University Manchester in 2000. Since graduating she has gone on to gain substantial experience leading and managing play and youth work over 20 years.

She joined Manchester Youth Offending Service in 2001 where she worked in Restorative Justice supervising young people on Referral Orders. Elaine moved to Catch 22 in 2007 to manage the North Manchester Youth Inclusion Project where she led the introduction of Parenting Orders to support young offenders and parents work together with intensive support packages.

In 2012 Elaine joined Manchester Young Lives to head up MYL’s rapidly expanding city-wide play and youth provision. In this role Elaine had overseen the recruitment, training and development of 11 play locations in the city, introduced a quality framework for play, managed a series of successful Ofsted inspections and secured further investment in playground structures.

Elaine has been the Strategic lead for Play in Manchester for 8 years offering support, guidance and to play and youth providers across the city.  Elaine led on a city-wide play satisfaction consultation in 2021, a large-scale National Play Day event for Our Year 2022 and supported MCC with drafting the updated Manchester Play Strategy.

In October 2022 Elaine was appointed CEO, continuing her passion to make a difference to the lives of children and young people across the City of Manchester.

Elaine Vickers
Play and Youth Manager (South)

I first became connected to Manchester Young Lives in 2000 when I registered my children to the play provision at the Adventure Playground in Benchill. It wasn’t long after I expressed an interest in the role of parent volunteer. The role involved supporting the play team on holiday playschemes, community open days and afterschool clubs.

A year later the opportunity for a playworker position became available on the outreach play team. I was successful in my application and 22 years later I am the Play and Youth Manager at The Addy Young People’s Centre.

I have worked across several MYL centres, built up a portfolio of training and acquired relevant qualifications including L4 in Leadership and Management and L2 in playwork. I have led on the delivery of play in MYL centres, the outreach Parktastic project and delivered training to the Manchester Play Network.

When I first started volunteering at MYL, I never thought I would be here 22 years later. I have seen lots of changes in the organisation over the years, however children and young people have always been at the heart of everything we do, which is why I love working at MYL.

Samantha Parsons
Post 16 SEND Lead

I have 36 years’ experience working within the Educational Sector with Young people. During this time, I have had various roles including Deputy CAM, Internal Quality Assurer, Foundation Learning Manager, Teacher, Placement Coordinator and Post 16 SEND Lead.

I have been working for Manchester Young Lives for almost 7 years now and have thoroughly been inspired by the young people and staff that I have worked alongside and have been able to provide a fresh take, and an extraordinary approach to every project that I have had the opportunity to work on.

My current role as Post 16 SEND lead involves supporting the development of Post 16 education provision, specifically for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). I have naturally progressed into this role; it’s a very rewarding job and I feel I make a real difference.

I enjoy new challenges and gaining constructive feedback. I consider myself open-minded and learn new things quickly. I am dedicated to the role and have the drive and passion to allow others to achieve their full potential.

Beth Aze
Head of Operations

Beth joined Manchester Young Lives in January 2023, having spent 20 years managing children and young people’s services in a range of voluntary and public sector organisations. Beth is a professionally qualified youth worker, holding a Post Graduate Diploma in Youth and Community Work. Beth also has an undergraduate Degree in Psychology and a Post Graduate Certificate in Voluntary Sector Management.

Prior to her role at Manchester Young Lives, Beth worked for Coram Voice managing Manchester’s Children’s Rights Service for Cared for Children. Beth managed targeted youth support services in Trafford, including sexual and mental health, child sexual exploitation and missing from home, and young parents. She established a new detached youth work team and was the Chair of the multi-agency Complex Safeguarding Quality Assurance Group.

Beth worked for The Children’s Society for 7 years, initially coordinating an education inclusion programme for young refugees, later becoming responsible for volunteering nationwide, and culminating in being the national strategic lead for Quality and Practice Improvement. Earlier in her career Beth worked in community regeneration managing youth participation, play development, and alternative education, for the Children’s Fund on prevention and early intervention, and in lifelong learning.

Beth is passionate about supporting children and young people to achieve their potential, whatever the challenges in their lives. Beth advocates for children’s rights and believes in listening to children and young people and involving them in decisions about their lives and services. As a parent to children with additional needs she understands personally as well as professionally the difference the right support at the right time can make.

Nozir Uddin
Play and Youth Manager (Central & North)

My name is Nozir Uddin, I am the Manager for our afterschool play and Youth provision in Ardwick, Moss Side and Higher Blackley. My role is to ensure we are offering quality play and youth activities which are fun, interactive, and child-led.

I’ve been working for MYL since the Summer of 2015. My journey into youth work started off by volunteering for a family support project in my local area, whilst studying at university and working part time in retail. Post-graduation I worked in several youth work roles, obtaining various qualifications and training. Being a youth worker has allowed me to meet children, young people and families from a range of backgrounds and communities, bringing them together in a safe space where they feel ownership. Whilst the job has its challenges, it is also very rewarding, I love being part of a strong team, sharing our skills and knowledge to make a difference.

I’m a very sporty and active person and regularly go to the gym. I enjoy the great outdoors and tend to go hiking with friends and family. Over the years I’ve picked up many different skills and hobbies including gardening and DIY. I also support the greatest football team in the world, Manchester United.

Lucy Cook
Employability Programme Manager (Wythenshawe Learning Hub)

I began my career in 2017 with an undergraduate degree in History from York St John University. Following this, I became a Teaching Assistant within a behavioural unit at a Special Educational Needs School in Leeds. This inspired me to go back to university to gain my Postgraduate Certificate in Education and become a secondary History Teacher, during this time I realised I did not want to pursue within mainstream education and thus continued my journey working with vulnerable young people with additional needs.

I joined Manchester Young Lives as a Teacher in September 2020 for the Alternative Education and quickly progressed to Curriculum Lead in 2021. With the development of the Post 16 employability programmes for young people aged 16 to 24 years, I was appointed Employability Programme Manager for the PEP programme in August 2022, a role which I am thoroughly enjoying.

Zola Lkhasuren
Business Support Manager

During her master’s degree in Msc Management and Information Systems: Change and Development at the University of Manchester in 2016, Zola started working part-time at her local charity – Didsbury Good Neighbours and subsequently went on to secure a full-time position as Project Coordinator with the charity after acquiring her degree. Zola has a wide range of experience working closely with the Board of Trustees in expanding the work of the charity and managing its business functions and was further promoted to Business Manager after successful development and implementation of the community centre and the community café to further diversify income streams.

Zola joined Manchester Young Lives as Business Support Manager in April 2022 to further develop her knowledge and expertise in a larger charity, while progressing in her career within the sector.

Jane Pickford
Engagement and Outreach Manager

I started my working life in various sales roles, working with a wide range of businesses, from small to medium sized companies, public sector organisations, and blue-chip companies. This eventually led me to a Directorship with a multinational company working in the security industry, before leaving to have my son.

I became a governor at a local secondary school, a position I held for 8 years, and allowed me to see the difficulties some students in education can face. This ignited my interest in helping students with SEND. Prior to working for Manchester Young Lives, I was a work experience and employment officer for a Local Charity helping young people with SEND experience the World of work.

My current role as Engagement and Outreach Manager with Manchester Young Lives gives me the opportunity to further my involvement in the support of Young People with SEND and to help make a positive difference to our students’ lives. I am enthusiastic, driven, and passionate about the young people I work with. I enjoy eating out and spending time with my family and friends.

Chantelle Slater
Employability Programme Manager (Ardwick Learning Hub)

My name is Chantelle Slater and I am the Programme Manager for our Ardwick Learning Hub. My role is to manage the delivery of the PEP, that caters for individuals aged 16-25 with an EHCP. Throughout my career so far, my passion for teaching has been rooted with the belief that every person is blessed with skills and qualities that enable them to achieve short and long-term goals. With the formation of positive relationships, I have supported many young people with additional needs to reach their full potential.

Since joining Manchester Young Lives in 2021, I have combined my teaching experience with the content of my Masters Degree in SEN and Inclusive Education to provide high quality teaching and learning in a range of innovative ways. At MYL we have recognised a need for a programme that supports young people with EHCPs to prepare for adulthood through a curriculum that embeds functional skills, PSHE, independent life skills, travel training and employability. I thoroughly enjoy working closely with my colleagues and the young people to maximise learning opportunities through a broad range of centre-based and off-site activities, that support the achievement of realistic outcomes.

Ryan Miemczyk
Chair of Trustees

Ryan has worked within the Health and Social Care sector for over 17 years and has a proven track record of delivering outcomes at both strategic and operational levels in complex political and multi- stakeholder environments. Ryan’s experience has been gained across the public, private and charity sectors, with his most recent role having been with the NSPCC, where he led projects for the prevention of sexual abuse from service development through to implementation and evaluation. Since the completion of his MSc in Forensic Psychology in 2009, Ryan has held positions as a Research Manager for the Scottish Government, before moving into psychological assessment and service development. During Ryan’s career, he has also gained qualifications in project management, operational excellence, forensic risk assessment, and psychometric testing.

Qaisra Shahraz
Trustee

Qaisra Shahraz MBE JP FRSA is an educationist, a former Ofsted inspector, quality manager, teacher trainer and has worked in schools, colleges and Manchester Adult Education. She is also a critically-acclaimed novelist, a prize winning gender, peace and interfaith activist and a magistrate

Qaisra is the winner of the National Diversity ‘Lifetime Achiever Award.’(2016). She gained an MBE for ‘Services to Gender Equality and Cultural Learning. She is a former alumni of Manchester and University of Salford gaining two Masters degrees in English Literature and in Scriptwriting for TV and Radio in 2002. She is the patron of Manchester Literature and Philosophical Society, and serves on several boards as an adviser and trustee, including We Stand Together.

Qaisra is the founder, curator and Executive Director of MACFEST (Muslim Arts and Culture Festival) and Muslim Women’s Arts Foundation. As part of MACFEST youth festival she works nationally across the education sector in schools and colleges celebrating arts, culture, promoting diversity and connecting communities.

Kimoni Bell
Trustee

I currently manage the outreach activities at UCEN Manchester on behalf of Greater Manchester Higher, a government funded project. I work in collaboration with all of the HEI’s across Manchester to primarily provide impartial information, advice, and guidance to Y9-Y13 learners with the intention to close the gaps for disadvantaged students. Secondary to this, I provide CPD to teachers and parents to equip them with the knowledge to support learners when making informed choices about their education pathways and career choices. I have 5 years’ experience on the largest education and skills group board in the UK and intend to use the experience and knowledge I have gained to give back to the local community. 

Daniele Atkinson
Trustee

Daniele joined the Board of Trustees in February 2022, bringing a wealth of experience and skills through a number of roles including a previous School Governor as well as her ‘day job’ at the University of Manchester as Social Responsibility Manager encompassing a remit of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and engagement with young people and the local community.

 

Fiona Elliot
Trustee

Fiona Elliot joined the Board of Trustees for Manchester Young Lives in May 2023. She works in Human Resources and although generalist, she is passionate about supporting colleagues within the workplace. She has been involved in many projects to encourage opportunities and development, as well as promote understanding and communication in regards to health and wellbeing.

Hojol Uddin
Trustee

Hojol Uddin has been an MYL Trustee since April 2017. Hojol is a practicing Solicitor and Partner at one of the largest firms in the North West. Hojol has an established reputation around England and Wales for Crime and Regulatory matters involving individuals and companies.

Hojol was Co-Founder and previous Director of an innovative and successful Motor Prosecution Defence (MPD) product, which is currently distributed by some of the biggest insurance companies in the UK.

Greg Holmes
Trustee

Greg is a Chartered Accountant and joined the Board of Trustees in 2022, bringing over 10 years of experience from working within the financial services sector. Greg currently works for an Impact Private Equity Fund, investing in and partnering with management teams to scale companies that create a positive social and/or environmental impact.

Rosemary Knox
Trustee

Rosemary Knox is a retired Deputy Head of Youth Service, Manchester City Council, with 30 years’ experience managing play & youth work, community education and adult education programmes in Manchester. She was committed to, and has contributed to the development and management of projects, in partnership with other organisations, both in statutory and voluntary sector, that offer opportunities for disadvantaged and disengaged young people including those not engaged in full time education.

Rosemary’s previous career encompasses social work in rural Co Down N.Ireland, community development officer N. Ireland community Relations Commissions in the early 70’s, Belfast lecturer and senior lecturer Youth and Community Course Manchester Polytechnic ( now MMU).
Since her retirement from Manchester Youth Service she has served as chair of N.W. Children in Need, as an advisor to Stockport CAB and volunteers with Oxfam. Rosemary has been a MYL Trustee for 16 years.

Michael Harte
Trustee

Michael joined the Board of Trustees in March 2023. He has worked in academia and research for over 20 years.  He joined the University of Manchester in 2013 where part of his role is focused on outreach, public engagement & Widening Participation. He has over 10 years experience as a Nuffield Summer Placement Research Supervisor, offering summer research placements for sixth form students and opportunities for hands-on experience of a professional research environment. He previously worked as a volunteer with the Local Authority on the CORAM VOICE Independent Visitor Scheme supporting children and their carers/foster parents to promote the child’s developmental, social, emotional, educational, religious and cultural needs. He also works as an academic tutor for The Manchester Access Programme, the University’s central widening participation scheme for local Year 12 students in Greater Manchester.

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