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Our Staff

Meet the staff at Youth Access who are supporting young people to lead change.

Make Our Rights Reality is a project coordinated by Youth Access. We have a small staff team and an even smaller team working on Make Our Rights Reality and the Our Minds Our Future campaign.

Youth Access staff support the Our Minds Our Future Steering Group and Rights Advocates to develop and deliver an impactful campaign strategy that has a big national voice and also has a real impact on young people’s access to local mental health services.

They also develop and deliver training to young people about their rights and how to make sure they’re met, as well as providing support to keep young people safe during campaigning.

Here’s a short video introducing you to members of the Youth Access team you might meet if you get involved with the campaign. You can read more about them below.

Safiyyah, Campaigns and Engagement Assistant

Safiyyah supports our network of young people involved in Our Minds Our Future.

Passionate about working within the community to empower young people, she is also Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator at RevolYOUtion London –  a social enterprise that provides a platform for young people to engage in socio-political conversations.

Zoë, Senior Youth Participation Officer

Zoë is passionate about young people being able to receive the support and care they deserve, and she’ll be working to make sure that young people influence the direction of our organisation and are actively involved in designing and delivering our projects and campaigns. Zoë has a background in mental health and youth programmes and, alongside her work at Youth Access, is currently studying to become a dramatherapist. When Zoë isn’t working or studying, she enjoys cooking, dancing, going to the theatre and arts and crafts.  

Ruby, Policy and Campaigns Officer

Ruby’s an Oxford grad dedicated to improving the rights and treatment of society’s most vulnerable members.

Her desire to effect change is inspired by her own experience of being injured in a fire in 2011, in which she sustained extensive injuries and burns scarring. Since then, she has worked for an organisation for survivors of acid attacks, a journalistic project fighting NHS privatisation, as Parliamentary Assistant to two Labour members of the European Parliament and as Head of Communications, Campaigns and Youth policy at the European Federation of Public Service Unions.

She is passionate about putting the voice of young people at the heart of decision-making processes – both at Youth Access and in society as a whole. She likes seeing live music and comedy, yoga and cooking. Her special talent is remembering song lyrics and singing them, badly.

Jonathan, Communications and Digital Officer

With several years experience working in communications and campaigns in the youth and human rights spheres, Jonathan is looking forward to helping to amplify the stories of young people standing up for their rights in the mental health system and beyond. When he’s not at the office, Jonathan enjoys cycling, films and – when he has the energy – creative writing.

Kahra, Policy and Campaigns Manager

Kahra leads on policy and public affairs activities at Youth Access, ensuring that the needs, rights and experiences of young people are central to our influencing work.

With a background spanning youth work, digital campaigning and policy, Kahra is passionate about bringing her skills together to support young people to lead their own change.

Outside of progressive politics and youth-led change, Kahra is passionate about cooking, dining and all things food! Her favourite time each month is a regular supper club for young women of colour to come together, share food and nourish the soul.

James, Chief Executive

James took over from Barbara Rayment as our Chief Executive in September 2017. James was previously Youth Access’ Head of Policy & Development. James has a background in the advice sector. He is an expert in young people’s legal advice needs and advice-seeking behaviour, authoring numerous reports and articles on the subject.

James founded JustRights (the campaign for fair access to advice, advocacy and legal representation for children and young people) and remains a trustee of the Advice Services Alliance.

James has been advocating for YIACS across the youth, advice and mental health sectors for the past decade. He is committed to driving continuous improvement through challenging services to be more accountable directly to young people, whilst his long-standing interest in the links between social welfare and mental health issues has helped drive our current focus on spreading an integrated, rights-based approach to youth mental health provision.

Martha, Office Manager

Martha is our Office Manager and is responsible for office management, membership administration and providing additional project support. She joined Youth Access in July 2017 after several years spent working in volunteer recruitment at a national charity. Martha comes from a social care background where she analysed safeguarding legislation, passionate about young people’s rights she is committed to campaigning for improved access to services.