Meet the Team

Staff 

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Charlotte Clarke BSc (Hons)

charlotte.clarke@theskillmill.org

 

Charlotte grew up in South Yorkshire before moving to Newcastle for 3 years whilst studying Crime Science at Northumbria University. It was during this time Charlotte became a volunteer at Newcastle Youth Offending Team before helping to establish The Skill Mill on a voluntary basis. Charlotte now lives back in South Yorkshire and oversees all Skill Mill sites around the UK, travelling where she’s needed and heading to The Skill Mill Hub in Gateshead a number of times a week.

 

Kay Finlay BSc (Hons), MA

kay.finlay@theskillmill.org

 

Kay grew up in the North East of England where she has studied at Northumbria University. Kay has her BA (Hons) in Criminology and MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice. She volunteered at The Skill Mill whilst she was studying for her MA and then progressed into a full time role working at The Skill Mill Hub in Gateshead in 2018. Kay is currently overseeing a number of work projects across our sites.

Peter Cook

durham@theskillmill.org

 

Peter has worked with County Durham Youth Justice Service for 18 years. Peter has worked predominantly in Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programmes (ISSP), a community based initiative designed for young people who pose a high level of risk. Peter has been a Skill Mill supervisor since the launch of our Durham site in 2017. Prior to working with the Youth Justice Service, Peter was a leisure accessory store manager. 

 

Paul Hitchman

leeds@theskillmill.org

Paul grew up in Sheffield, and has lived in Leeds for over 20 years. He was a Foster Carer for over 12 years, caring for young people of all ages. Paul has also worked in Pastoral Education role, as well as Child Protection and Child Safeguarding posts. He has been a part-time police officer in Leeds for over 6 years, and is a district response trained officer. In addition, Paul has spent time within the Police Operational Support Unit covering the whole of West Yorkshire, the role involved responding to incidents involving major disorder. Paul is now Skill Mill Supervisor at our Leeds site. 

 

Roland O’Neil

birmingham@theskillmill.org

 

Roland has worked for Birmingham Youth Offending Service for over 20 years. He has had different roles and has worked on a variety of projects including life skills and positive activities. Roland has also supported young people with arts and crafts, woodwork, horticulture and cycling proficiency. Prior to working with the Youth Justice Service, Roland worked in the construction industry for several years. Roland is now Skill Mill supervisor of our Birmingham site.  

 

Matthew Jones

rochdale@theskillmill.org

 

Matthew has worked at Rochdale Youth Justice Service for 15 years and has experience in a number of roles. Matthew established a ‘Peer Mentoring Scheme’ at Rochdale Youth Justice Service where young people who have previously been involved with the Youth Justice Service provide support for children and young people who are currently involved with the Youth Justice Service. Prior to this Matthew has worked with young people experiencing homelessness and as a teaching assistant in a school. Matthew is now Skill Mill supervisor of our Rochdale/Bury site. 

 

Mel Comber

croydon@theskillmill.org

 

Mel has worked as a Fitness Tutor in the prison service for 8 years. He worked directly with offenders who were serving custodial sentences. Mel supported offenders in gaining qualifications and equipping them with the tools to transform their lives. Mel has also managed a local football team for a number of years, and enjoys all aspects of sport. Mel is now Skill Mill supervisor of our Croydon site.

David Edgar

david.edgar@theskillmill.org

 

David has over 20 years experience in a range of roles which involve working with young people. David has experience of detached youth work, and has worked within a local Youth Offending Service. David has held roles within The National Trust and the YMCA, working with disadvantaged young people from inner city areas. He also has experience working for Local Authorities, maintaining their parks, community centre gardens, and urban spaces; David even has experience in all aspects of landscaping! David has a passion for being outdoors, he has volunteered for a range of organisations including The National Trust and The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. David is also a qualified Mountain Biking instructor, and shared this with young people whilst making a course from recycled materials! David is currently working on a European Structural and Investment Funds project in Newcastle. See the project page for more information

Paul Kenny

nottingham@theskillmill.org

Paul grew up in the Nottingham area. He has over 25 years of experience working within the construction sector. Paul has also ran his own business which specialised in construction and design. Additionally, Paul has worked in partnership with the Canal and River Trust, supporting their apprenticeship programme. This role involved supporting young people to develop construction based skills, which they could transfer into longer-term employment elsewhere. Paul has also worked on English Heritage structures and environmental awareness projects across the canal systems in Nottinghamshire. He is passionate about architecture and heritage, and enjoys spending time with wildlife. He is now Skill Mill Supervisor at our Nottingham site.

Ross Carter

surrey@theskillmill.org

Ross has over 26 years of experience in construction, youth and family work. He has worked for the NHS and local authorities in case management, group work and mediation, supporting vulnerable young people at risk of being criminalised. In 2018 Ross developed his own projects creating awareness and support for young people and parents around knife crime, gangs and exploitation. Ross has worked in both Birmingham and Surrey, and is now Skill Mill Supervisor at our Surrey site.

Jake Kinsey BA

westsussex@theskillmill.org

Jake grew up in Brighton, where he has spent most of his time playing football, and completed his BA in Sport Coaching and Development in 2016. He has been involved in coaching a variety of sports, as well as teaching on the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Jake has been involved in the construction industry for 18 years. He also has experience in coaching communication and emotional regulation groups, and has experience working in secondary education with young people with complex needs. Jake enjoys working with young people to increase their life chances, and is now Skill Mill Supervisor at our West Sussex site. 

Jonathan McAlorum

info@theskillmill.org

Jonathan grew up in the North East of England, before moving to Bath where he studied Applied Computing. Jonathan really enjoys being outdoors, and decided to change his career path. He has spent time working at Kingswood College as an outdoor Activity Instructor. Jonathan has also spent time working with National Citizens Service, running a range of outdoor programmes for young people. Jonathan is now Skill Mill supervisor at our Northumberland site. 

Mark Cooper

leeds@theskillmill.org

Mark is a Youth Justice Worker from Leeds. He first joined the service in 1999 when it evolved as part of Probation and Social Services. He has fulfilled many roles within the service including running a national campaign against Knife Crime. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in working with young people and helping them achieve goals. Mark has also worked in the Construction Industry. He enjoys helping young people learn and develop life skills, moving them on to fulfil their potential and leave their offending behaviour behind them. Mark is currently Skill Mill Supervisor at our second Leeds site.  

Safir Rafiq

oldham@theskillmill.org

Saf grew up in Oldham, Greater Manchester. He began working with Oldham Youth Justice Service in 2005. During this time, Saf has worked on a large number of programmes and projects. He has acquired Level 3 Youth and Community Studies, and Youth Justice Effective Practice Certification. Saf is passionate about his local community, and really enjoys making a difference to the lives of young people. 

Lois Parsons 

lois.parsons@theskillmill.org

 

Lois grew up in South London and studied in Glasgow before making her home in Newcastle for 20 years and completing her teacher training there. In 2020, she moved down to Somerset with her family. During her time in Newcastle she first became involved with the Skill Mill on a voluntary basis and is now working remotely, supporting the teams across the UK. She has previously worked as a teacher in schools, FE colleges and with the family learning service. 

David Lebourn

norfolk@theskillmill.org

David grew up on the borders of Essex and East London. He has had a range of roles over the past 33 years from working with children in an amateur dramatics group which toured shows across the UK, as well as Australia. David has a strong construction background, specialising in timber framed buildings and groundworks. He has a total of 15 years experience in the security sector, where he developed excellent interpersonal skills, dealing with anti-social and sometimes life threatening situations. At the beginning of the Pandemic David stepped into the role of PPE officer for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Since the pandemic, David has looked to adapt his skillset and has undertaken qualifications in Covid testing and containment, Safeguarding, Mental Health and Wellbeing in both Adults and Children, and is continuing his education in these fields. David is currently Skill Mill supervisor at our Norfolk site. 

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