Young Manchester is a charity that strives to improve opportunities for all children and young people across Manchester.

About Young Manchester

Manchester is a young, vibrant city. Over 40% of the population is under 35. Manchester is booming and yet 1 in 3 children live in poverty and austerity measures have impacted heavily on Youth and Play provision across the city. In an era of cutbacks, Young Manchester aims to provide children and young people in communities across the city with increased opportunities in all aspects of their life by commissioning projects that respond to their ever-changing needs.


The work of the charity is linked strategically to the ‘Our Manchester’ strategy and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the charity recognises the vital role it will play in ensuring Manchester as a city is the best it can be.

We are committed to working collaboratively with partners across the city to building on the vital and innovative work of the Voluntary Sector Community and raising the profile of Youth and Play across the city. Local business and corporates , trusts and other funders will be key to our success, supporting Young Manchester with pro-bono support to help grow the charity and in generating income so we can continue to fund projects that deliver service to children and young people.

Social Action at the Heart of What We Do

Young Manchester is here to kick-start a new era of social action across Manchester. We want to change the way youth and play services run to embed social action at the heart of the youth and play strategy. With our match funding support from the #iwill fund, we will enable more young people than ever to engage in positive and meaningful social action across Manchester. Take a look here to see our pledge to #iwill.


Social action provides an opportunity for young people to engage and give back to their communities whilst improving employability skills and supporting the enhancement of well-being among young people. Take a look here to find out more about the six principles of quality youth social action.

#iwill, DCMS, Community Fund, MCC Lock-up

Income Generation

To maximise access primarily to corporate investment and other new and additional funding sources for youth and play services.

Capacity Building

To support the infrastructure and sustainability of Manchester’s Voluntary Community Sector and Youth and Play Sector.


To promote the importance of young people to the city’s current and future wellbeing and celebrate the success and contribution they bring.


To actively provide financial support for new youth and play provision to meet identified and emerging priorities.

Download a copy of Young Manchester’s 2018-2019 Annual Review

“Over 30% of the population in Manchester is under 30. Making it one of the youngest cities in Europe.”

Quality & Assurance

Young Manchester is committed to ensuring that all services delivered through Youth and Play in the city are of a high standard, supported by a robust quality assurance framework that includes strong governance and safeguarding. To support this we expect that all our delivery partners already have or are working towards, and will achieve in less than a year, the Ambition Quality Standard.


Young Manchester is committed to working closely with the Manchester Safeguarding Board and Manchester City Council to ensure that all our commissioning processes and funded provisions are in line with the Manchester Safeguarding Standard and national best practice.

Our Board

Simone Spray

Simone is the Chief Executive of 42nd Street, a respected and inspiring young people’s mental health charity based in Manchester. The charity promotes young person centred support and creativity to 1000’s of young people from across Greater Manchester each year who need some help with their emotional wellbeing and mental health. Having worked with children, young people, families and communities for over 20 years, she previously held roles at Save the Children and Keep Britain Tidy.

Tom Russell, Deputy Chair

Tom has worked in urban regeneration in Manchester, London and Oldham for most of his career. As Deputy Chief Executive of Manchester City Council he was involved in Hulme City Challenge, the redevelopment of the city centre following the 1996 bomb, and in European Structural Fund programmes across the region. He was Chief Executive of New East Manchester urban regeneration company for 8 years, building on the successful staging of the Commonwealth Games in the area in 2002 to lead its comprehensive renaissance. As a result of this, he then spent 18 months in London, managing the master planning process for the regeneration of East London following the 2012 Olympics. Since completing this assignment in July 2009, Tom has been involved in a range of consultancy projects and pro-bono work across the North West, including Board level involvement with the Factory Youth Zone in North Manchester, the Lowry Arts Centre and Salford University.

George Whalley, Treasurer

Treasurer George is Director of Finance at HOME, Manchester’s centre for international contemporary Theatre, Film and Visual Art. HOME is a charity that works in close partnership with Manchester City Council to provide cultural services to the City of Manchester and the Greater Manchester region. George is also a trustee of Quarantine, an innovative Theatre Company working in Manchester. Prior to his current role, George worked in a variety of roles at The University of Manchester culminating in being Head of Finance at Alliance Manchester Business School. George qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte LLP in 2008.

Angela Harrington

Angela is Head of Work & Skills at Manchester City Council and provides leadership and coordination for the work that Manchester City Council does to support business and connect local residents to the employment opportunities created by the City’s growth. Previously, Angela was Head of Regeneration and held a number of regeneration positions at both area and citywide.

Sarah Klueter

Sarah is part of the leadership team at Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, a social landlord committed to place-based regeneration.  As Assistant Director of Community Investment and Regeneration, Sarah leads community centre, youth, employment and enterprise teams investing £3.5million each year in South Manchester. 

Sarah began her career in Corporate Banking, moving on to become Senior Community Investment Manager at the Co-op, where she developed and led award-winning investment programmes.  Previous directorships have included Chair of The Co-operative Loan Fund and a Director of Industrial Common Ownership Finance.  

In 2018, Sarah was seconded as Interim Chief Executive Officer for Young Manchester for six months to support the set-up of the charity. 

Chris Oglesby

Chris joined Bruntwood in 1991 and was appointed CEO in 1999. Chris also plays an active role in many public and private sector partnerships, including CityCo, Manchester Oxford Road Corridor, the Business Leadership Council and Manchester Climate Change Forum. Chris is a Trustee of The Oglesby Charitable Trust, which works with more than 40 community based charities a year. He is also a school governor and was a founding board member of the charity Onside.

Cllr Luthfur Rahman OBE

Luthfur Rahman is the Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure since 2016 and a Labour Councillor representing the Longsight Ward, one of the most diverse communities in the North West. Previously he served as the Assistant Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Neighbourhoods, Environment, Finance and HR and was also Lead Member for Race.

Luthfur works very closely with the community supporting various voluntary organisations and charities; he is particularly passionate about empowering young people and women.  To further these goals, he is a board member of the Young Foundations Uprising programme, Manchester International Festival, HOME, Young Manchester, OnnSide and the National Football Museum.

Luthfur was awarded the Community Champion of the Year at the LGIU Councillor Awards for 2011 and is an Entrepreneur and qualified Financial Advisor.

Our Team

Justin Watson, Director 

Justin has worked in the third sector since 2002, primarily in youth and community development, focusing on participation, engagement and campaigning. He spent 7 years at Save the Children, leading their youth engagement and campaigning work, supporting a network of young campaigners across the UK to influence at local and national levels, before moving to Oxfam to head up the development of their domestic programme in 2014, focusing on women’s economic empowerment, food insecurity and inequality.

Before this Justin ran a number of youth engagement, campaigns and outreach projects at community level, supporting the direct provision of youth and play services as well as supporting children and young people to have meaningful involvement in issues that affect them and society more broadly, including climate change, education and rights for asylum seekers and refugees. He has an MA in Youth and Community Work from Brunel University.

Justin has lived in Manchester for 12 years, and also volunteers for Reform Radio and runs a record label.

Faye Turner, Head of Finance

Faye started her accountancy career in BDO Stoy Hayward as an auditor where she qualified as an ACA accountant in 2008. Following a 10 month career break travelling the world, Faye joined City West Housing Trust, a not for profit organisation based in Salford. Here she worked as Investment Management Accountant, ensuring correct accounting for the investment into a substantial number of council transferred properties in the West Salford Area. Faye’s most recent position was Group Financial and Compliance Accountant at ENER-G Holdings PLC, a renewable energy group with whom she worked for 7 years. Faye studied Chemistry at the University of Bristol and then went on to complete a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Manchester before embarking on an accountancy career.

Imogen Gregg-Auriac, Head of Partnerships

Imogen has 17 years’ third sector experience of developing and delivering transformative work in the UK, China and regional Australia and is passionate about the role of community development and education in supporting individual and community resilience. 

Most recently with the British Red Cross, she has been leading strategic development projects in first aid and humanitarian education. Prior to that Imogen worked for Australian Red Cross where she managed large scale services for children, young people and families and those experiencing deep social exclusion. Earlier in her career she held project and programme development roles at the Children’s Workforce Development Council and Save the Children UK.

Imogen has an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development from SOAS and spends her spare time running (slowly) and volunteering with her local Scout group.

Nicola Furness, Business Operations Manager

Having recently relocated from London, Nicola joins us from Wikimedia UK, a charity that supports Wikipedia and its sister projects and works to keep information and knowledge free and available to all. Here Nicola had the role of Membership, Fundraising and Operations Assistant where she worked closely with the Board and subcommittees as well as helping to implement their Individual Giving and Major Donor strategy. Prior to moving into the third sector, she worked in children’s publishing for four years. Nicola studied English Literature and French at the University of Leicester.

Leigh Hunter Dodsworth,  Grants Officer

Leigh completed an MA in Arts Management, Policy and Practice in 2016 following 5 years in the Film sector creating online video content for a range of businesses and charitable organisations.

She joins Young Manchester from Contact Theatre where she supported the Development team to deliver Contact’s fundraising strategy including a major capital refurbishment project.

Leigh has extensive voluntary sector experience working with a number of different charitable organisations in London and Manchester and is currently a volunteer mentor at Refugees and Mentors whose aim is to enable refugees to improve their employment prospects.

Leigh loves cycling, traveling to exciting new places and experiencing what Manchester has to offer in Arts and Culture! 

Henry Ngawoofah, Grants Officer

Henry has been involved with Voluntary Community Social sector for the past 10 years developing a range of community led initiatives supporting young people to achieve their goals and leadership skills.   Henry has extensive experience in capacity building, project development and fundraising, specifically within small and niche organisations that support young people to get involved in making a difference in their community as active citizens.   Henry is very keen with current affairs and politics and understands the importance of giving young people a voice to make impacting change through social action.  Henry enjoys a range of sports including football and cricket.

Olivia Lee, Project Coordinator

Olivia finished college in June 2017 after completing her A-levels. Then in November 2017 was appointed The Agency Project Assistant at Contact Theatre. Over the past year Olivia has taken young people to London, hosted at a number of eclectic and exciting events, sat on a few panels at various conferences and events, and put on her own personal events aimed at empowering young talented people.

Olivia was appointed her role as Project Assistant at Young Manchester at the start of November 2018 and has now progressed to Project Coordinator focusing on ensuring that young people’s voices are at the heart of what we do at Young Manchester. 

Jack Gregson, Project Coordinator

Jack has recently completed a degree in Psychology and is now studying MSc Forensic Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University. The majority of Jack’s background is in the mental health sector; he has had various roles for numerous charities, mainly being a mentor for young people. He has developed a passion for helping young people, saying; “young people have incredible creativity and innovation when it comes to the issues they value most, which is why it is essential that their voices are heard”.


This is Jack’s first job in the third sector and is keen to make an impact on the things that truly matter.

Samuel Remi-Akinwale, Project Coordinator (Partnerships)

Samuel is a young person that’s eager to help and support everyone he can. He is studying Politics at King’s College London and is very interested in policy-making.

He currently manages a small production collective called Creation Foundation, dedicated to hosting honest conversations and authentic content.

Samuel is also working on an anthology of stories of young people who have had challenges accessing higher education due to the UK’s immigration policies, prefaced with policy analysis and suggestions.

Rachel Garbutt, Social Action Coordinator

Rachel has worked in the third sector for the past 5 years, joining us most recently from a role with Save the Children UK. Here she supported the Children’s Communities project, a local systems change initiative that aimed to improve outcomes for children, young people and families through capacity building and collaboration. Prior to this Rachel was Volunteer Coordinator for Manchester International Festival 2019.

Rachel first gained experience working with young people through volunteer roles with ReachOut and the British Red Cross, and later as programme manager of the HeadStart programme at The Challenge where she supported young people to gain access to social action opportunities.

Our Ambassadors

Mo Hafeez

Mo is a very vocal person who likes to get his opinions across very wisely. Mo is a big boxing fan and also has boxed in the past. Mos’s dream is to become a professional boxer and become world champion in the future.

“Manchester is one of the most diverse cities in England. Being born in Manchester I hope to continue to see the city develop.”

Harry Rapinett

Harry is a Science and Music student from Greater Manchester. He chose to become an ambassador mainly because he recognised Manchester’s need for a youth voice and presence, as a large majority of decisions about young people were being made by people who were a lot older.

“Young people should not be underestimated, and we have a lot more to offer than you might think.”

Shiloh Hart

One of the main reasons Shiloh chose to become part of the Young Ambassadors programme was because he recognised the support it would provide in helping achieve his goals and further his development.

Khizar Ali

Khizar is from Manchester and he’s interested in getting into the creative industry and enjoys spending his time working on writing, filming, acting and other creative things. He’s also passionate about volunteering and helping out in his community. He joined the Ambassador Programme to support and represent young people in Manchester and provide further opportunities for them whilst also developing his own skills.

Bounty Vegah

Growing up in Manchester, Bounty feels he was very fortunate to be able to attend various youth activities that opened his eyes to many opportunities around his community, through arts and sports activities, he was not only able to express himself but build useful skills for the future. He became a young ambassador to ensure young people are not only empowered with experiences but also given opportunities to develop useful skills for the future.