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Naomi Hulston Q&A

This week we’re delighted to welcome Naomi Hulston, Chief Operating Officer at Catch22, to the Youth Endowment Fund’s governing Committee. As a member of our Committee, she joins a passionate and experienced team responsible for shaping how our ten-year, £200m endowment from the Home Office is spent.  We catch up with her to find out more about her work and motivations for joining…

You have extensive experience in youth work and early intervention and prevention services – what drives you to do this work?

“I have been driven to work at the preventative end of services as I believe people should not have to reach crisis point before receiving support. I’ve worked with many families, who have shared stories of their experiences of needing to be in crisis before any help or support is given. Children and young people are growing up with multiple pressures and need opportunities to make sense of their experiences.

Through youth work, early intervention and preventative services we can provide safe opportunities for children and young people to explore issues and concerns before they become problematic. We can equip children and young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to make positive choices. And we can help them speak up about their experiences and offer them reassurance that there’s support available to them if needed in the future.”

Why did you want to join the YEF Committee? What excites you most about the Fund’s work?

“I wanted to join the YEF Committee as I want to make a contribution to identifying ways to reduce the violence children and young people experience, and then perpetuate as a result. Far too many young lives are lost to violence that is preventable. Children and young people often see violence all around them in the form of domestic abuse, community and institutional tension and in the media. We need to have genuine conversations about why this is happening and identify tangible solutions. The YEF’s commitment to identifying what works and building a movement to address this is a great step in the right direction. But this cannot be done in isolation, we need to engage the people it impacts the most – I’m keen to support the YEF to do this.”

What does success for the Youth Endowment Fund look like for you?

“Success looks like a movement of individuals, organisations, institutions and the community coming together to change the way we support children and young people at risk of or experiencing violence.

This includes changing the narrative around young people being perpetrators of violence to victims. The Youth Endowment Fund shouldn’t only identify long-term activities and interventions capable of addressing violence. It must also push for changes at a local, national and policy level to breakdown the systemic behaviours and structures that perpetuate it.”

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