Our non-executive board set our overall strategic direction and contribute expert skills and knowledge to Youth Futures Foundation.

Our Founding Chair is Joe Montgomery. Joe has extensive experience in the public and community sectors, with a focus on ensuring services benefit the most disadvantaged people.

We are in the process of appointing three more board members.

Joe Montgomery

Joe brings extensive experience from the public and community sectors, with a focus on ensuring services benefit the most disadvantaged. He has served as the government's Director General for Places and Communities and previously led the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit under the same title. He holds several other non-executive roles and has been a Civil Service Commissioner since June 2017. As Chair, Joe leads our non-executive board and is responsible for setting the strategy and governing of YFF's social purpose.

Jenny North

Non-executive Director
Jenny North is currently the Deputy CEO at Dartington Service Design Lab. Previously Director of Policy and Strategy at Impetus, she has also held positions at Relate, the Maternity Alliance, New Policy Insititute and the Home Office.

Julia Cleverdon

Non-executive Director
Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE is a lifetime campaigner who has worked tirelessly to promote opportunities for disadvantaged young people. As  Co-founder of the #iwill campaign, Vice Patron of Teach First and Vice President of Business in the Community, she encourages collaboration among senior leaders from business, government, education and the most disadvantaged communities to build a more robust and sustainable civil society.

Laura-Jane Rawlings

Non-executive Director
Laura-Jane Rawlings is the CEO of Youth Employment UK, the leading voice and expert on youth employment issues in the UK. Laura-Jane is recognised as a champion for youth employment and ensuring the voices of young people are heard, providing insight and expertise to many groups such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Youth Employment, she sits on two ESF National Sub-Committees; Employment, Skills and Social Inclusion and Equality and Diversity and has led a number of inquiries and research projects on the subject.

Simon Woolley

Non-executive Director
Lord Simon Woolley is a political and equalities activist. He is the Founder and Director of Operation Black Vote, the Chair of the Advisory Group to the Race Disparity Audit and is a former Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Simon was knighted in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to race equality. He was made a life peer in October 2019.

Tony Hawkhead

Non-executive Director
Sir Tony Hawkhead is currently Lay Vice-Chair of the new NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and a former Non-executive Director at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). He has held several high-profile charity positions including CEO at Groundwork UK and Action for Children. He is soon to take up his position as Chair of trustees at Cruse Bereavement Care.


Anna Smee

Anna began her career in asset management and financial services, before joining the Young Foundation as Director of Ventures. Her recent work at UK Youth has seen her emerge as one of the leading voices for youth opportunities and employment in the UK. She is a powerful advocate both in Whitehall and with employers and has developed an extensive knowledge of youth provision across the country

James Endean

Interim COO

James is leading the creation of Youth Futures Foundation’s governance, operational systems and policies required to take on the £90m of dormant assets funds we have been awarded and to become a fully operational  organisation. As Interim COO, James was one of the initial team working with our Chair, Joe Montgomery, creating the organisation and is now responsible for Finance, IT, Legal, HR and Comms functions. James has a background in company and business unit start-ups, building on his general management and finance experience in Unilever.

Felix Adenaike

Head of Finance and Operations
Felix has worked in a variety of roles in the further education sector. He has been responsible for financial management, planning, audit and the wider corporate services. Felix has been involved in new business start-ups in the education and commercial sectors. He is passionate about lifelong learning.

Eleanor Stringer

Head of Strategy & Policy
Eleanor has been overseeing the strategy and policy work of Youth Futures Foundation during the set up phase and is now leading on ensuring our approach is evidence-informed. Eleanor joins us as a secondee from Education Endowment Foundation and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience of using evidence to improve outcomes for disadvantaged young people. At Education Endowment Foundation, her work included managing large grants that were robustly evaluated to assess their impact on students' learning and producing evidence-based guidance reports for schools. Before that she worked at Social Finance and New Philanthropy Capital. Having experienced long-term unemployment in her family when growing up, she is aware of the damage this can cause. She is keen to make sure that we find out what works, in order to insulate young people against the chances of spending long periods out of the labour market.

Matthew Poole

Interim Director of Programmes
Matthew is leading the development and delivery of programmes for the Youth Futures Foundation, ensuring grantmaking excellence to all our partners to enable young people to build successful futures. Matthew joins us as a secondee from the National Lottery Community Fund, where he most recently established and led the regional grant-making team across the Midlands, and previously was responsible for Talent Match a significant investment aimed at support young people find work. His career has been built on working with people and communities to transform systems and services to help people and communities become less dependent, more self-reliant and ultimately vibrant. Outside of the office, he’s committed to supporting and coaching young people and is heavily involved with local youth work in the West Midlands.

Gina Osbourne

Interim Grant Programmes & Finance Support
Gina started her career working in financial services in Programme Management Office for capital projects in construction, demolition, refurbishment, rebranding, finance and governance.  With her passion for the community Gina has supported BAME non profit organisations in fundraising, capacity building and has previously been a committee member for Black Fundraisers UK and Trustee for Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal.

Anna Darnell

Policy and Partnerships Manager
As Policy & Partnerships Manager, Anna is helping to shape and deliver our organisational strategy by leading our stakeholder management and ensuring that YFF has strong relationships with relevant youth/youth employment organisations, as well as public bodies and Government departments. She is also driving forward the vital role of Youth Voice within YFF. Anna joins us as a secondee from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), where she was a Policy Advisor in the Youth and Social Action Team, leading on a number of different youth funding streams, supporting youth services policy development and was closely involved in the early policy work that supported YFF’s creation. Prior to this, Anna worked in the charity sector in a mixture of policy, research and frontline information services at Relate and Gingerbread.

Caroline O’Dwyer

Communications and content consultant
Caroline has over 20 years’ experience working on communications and campaigns. She has worked in senior roles in the private, public and charity sector. As co-director of communications and campaigns for a youth legal charity she worked on many high profile campaigns which influenced national policy, including success at the Supreme Court. She has corporate communications management experience as well as working on grassroots campaigns. She has extensive experience of both proactive and reactive media relations. She has many years’ experience of press management; branding; writing, commissioning and editing content. As head of communications for a national public body with over 1,200 staff, Caroline was responsible for all press, PR, publications, website, and public information content. As the first person in her family to go to university, she is passionate about education and social mobility.

Jane Colechin

Head of Evidence and Evaluation
Dr Jane Colechin is a social researcher with a decade of experience working on high profile labour market, education and welfare reform evaluations and studies. Jane began her career in academia, where she researched the growth of evidence-based policy making in early years education and care policy.  Wanting to have more impact on policy, she moved to the charity sector, working for a national parenting charity on parental working rights and lobbying for shared parental leave. Jane joins us from the Learning and Work institute, where for the last six years she has led a number of large scale impact evaluations of employment, in work progression and welfare reform programmes for national and local governments.  Jane has particular expertise in theory-led evaluations and ensuring co-design is part of evaluation and programme delivery and will seek to ensure that rigorous and youth-informed principles are used in all of YFF’s evaluation and evidence processes. Out of work, Jane is a parent of twin pre-schoolers and is on the committee for her local twins trust club.  When she gets any spare time, she loves to go for long cycle rides or go for country walks via a decent pub or two!

Deuvaunn Darroux

Office Assistant & Executive Assistant to the CEO (Interim)
Deuvaunn started his career in the Montserrat Legislative Assembly, where he helped facilitate programs to support and empower young people entering secondary school. Hearing their thoughts on employment opportunities sparked his passion for ensuring that young people have access to meaningful employment regardless of their circumstances. After moving to the UK in 2018, Deuvaunn volunteered as an Ambassador for Youth Employment UK. He was appointed policy officer to their Ambassador Board in January 2019.  He is responsible for ensuring that ambassadors around the country are supported in sharing their views and experiences so that Youth Employment UK makes policy recommendations with strong youth voice representation. Before working for Youth Futures Foundation in a full-time role, he worked as a consultant helping to develop their youth voice strategy. Youth advocacy is Deuvaunn’s entire being! In addition to his work on employment, he is keen to ensure young people, particularly those that might be overlooked, have a voice on other issues that affect them.  He is a member of Lambeth Youth Council and leads on their youth engagement and helps coordinate their equality and diversity and awareness campaigns. He also served as the London Youth Assembly Member for Lambeth and in this capacity sat on various statutory boards which allowed him to ensure that young people were considered in the implementation of decisions across the Borough.



We welcome the announcement by the Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, of the release of £150m dormant assets funding in response to Covid-19.  The Youth Futures Foundation will deploy £10 million to launch…


Who are the young people struggling to access the labour market? And what do we know about supporting them into jobs? The Youth Futures Foundation has co-produced a new report looking at these timely questions.


What works when it comes to getting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into employment? The Youth Futures Foundation has commissioned research to help inform practice and policy making at this crucial time for young people