The YLF Team

YLF makes a difference to young people through its dynamic staff team, offering various levels of experience, expertise and specialisms. Our flexible approach alongside a dedication and willingness to go over and above exists for one common purpose…
…to make a difference to as many children and young people as we can.

Introducing The YLF Team

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Stephen Gray | CEO

Stephen_Gray_Young_Lives_FoundationStephen has spent all his professional life in the education and social care sector. Following his graduation from Kingston University in 2001 gaining a BSc Hons in Psychology and Sociology, he worked as an advocate for Kent looked after young people. Gaining a post-graduate Diploma in Management Studies with the University of Kent, he took on more senior management responsibilities and co-founded YLF in 2007.

After founding the South East Regional Independent Visitors Service Network and leading the charity in achieving successful external accreditation’s, such as Investing in Volunteers, Stephen stepped up as CEO with overall responsibility for the charity in November 2012. Since then Stephen has led the charity through a period of continuous development and improvement, managed the successful re commissioning of local authority contracts, gained new contracts and launched new services whilst ensuring the charity was able to make a difference to children and young people by delivering effective and measurable outcomes. Stephen is also an acting Trustee of the National Appropriate Adult Network.

Stephen led the charity in achieving The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest accolade a voluntary organisation can receive.


Kristy Tidey | Advocacy Manager
Lucy Newsome | Appropriate & Accompanying Adult Coordinator
Lara Burns |
Andrew Burleigh |
Irene MacGregor | Advocate
Debbie Rose | Advocate
Dianne Smith | Advocate
David Thirlaway | Advocate
Coral Ingleton | Advocate

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Neil Vickery | Mentoring & Befriending Manager
Nicky Gorman | Independent Visitor Manager
Chris Brooks | Community & School Mentoring Coordinator
Matthew Johnson | Mentoring Coordinator

Sara Nash | East Kent Mentoring Coordinator
Shelley Taylor | Befriending Officer
Sonia Rose | Sessional Mentor


Boy with ball editMarian Edgeworth | Independent Services Manager
Lucy Wheatley | Positive Activities Coordinator
Sandro Murphy | Positive Activities Officer
Jamie Hughes |
Activities Support Worker
Kay Ingle | Activities Support Worker
Denise Ramadan | Activities Support Worker
Paddy Powell | Activities Support Worker
Rebecca Beardon | Activities Support Worker


Janine Batt | Communications Manager
Karen Knight | Communications Coordinator
Sarah Murphy | Participation Coordinator
Jenny Stout | Admin Support Officer
Kathryn Phillips | Admin Support Officer

Lucy Kelly | YLF Administration Apprentice
Karleigh Prescott | YLF Participation Apprentice

“Working for YLF as an Advocate is an absolute joy and I know I’m lucky to get up and do this every day.” David Thirlaway

“My apprenticeship means that I will achieve a qualification that I never thought I would. I have so many people that are proud of me and everything I am doing. YLF has given me hope and boosted my confidence 100%. I wouldn’t be who I am today without YLF.” Lucy Kelly

“I have been volunteering with the YLF for 4 years, and it has been the most amazing and rewarding experience. I now have the incredible opportunity to work with the YLF team and make positive contributions to the lives of young people all over Kent.” Shelley Taylor

Equality and Diversity

The Young Lives Foundation is fully committed to promoting equality of opportunity and valuing diversity, both as an employer and as a provider of services for others.

The Young Lives Foundation recognises and accepts the moral and legal obligations to treat everyone equally and fairly and will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the charity does not unlawfully discriminate against anyone on the grounds of a Protected Characteristic – gender, pregnancy, age, disability, marital status, race, nationality or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, caste, political or religious beliefs.

Current Opportunities

YLF is recruiting for an Advocacy Officer.  Read here for more details about the role. Please complete the application form. All applications must be submitted by 26th August.

YLF is also recruiting for Sessional Advocates across Kent and Medway to support children and young people in care, in need and leaving care to get their Voices heard. If you have experience working with children and young people in a professional capacity, delivering advocacy and empowering young people, we would love to hear from you. Please read here for the job description.

We particularly welcome applications from Care Leavers and those with knowledge and a good understanding of the care system. For more information about being a Sessional Advocate or to request an application pack please contact Kristy Tidey 01622 683815.

If you would like to volunteer with YLF, please look at our Volunteers page!