News Update: Meet YCC’s Senior Leadership Team…

Do you know the people behind the faces of YCC’s Senior Leadership Team?

We caught up with them to find out exactly what they do for the charity, and how they divide their management of all of the small pieces that make up the big Fresh Futures picture… Oh, and we asked them a few silly questions, too – just for fun!

Mark Farmer – Chief Executive Officer

I came to Fresh Futures in November 2020, just as we went into lockdown – an interesting way to start a new role in a new organisation in a new area!

As Chief Executive, I am responsible to the Board of Trustees for driving the charity forwards with a clear strategic vision, to maximise the impact we have. In practice, this means managing the leadership team and working with them and external partners and funders to develop our services and promote Fresh Futures.

I believe in being open and available, and try to be visible and accessible to all the teams and sites across Fresh Futures. Although the majority of my time on site is at Brian Jackson House, I do enjoy being out and about, particularly if good coffee is on offer 😊 

For those of you who don’t me, my background is in senor charity leadership across a range of sectors – hospitality, outdoor education; travel, healthcare, and events  – and I try to bring this range of experience to my role to benefit Fresh Futures.

What’s your signature dish that you cook at home? Paella on a Spanish paella ring in the garden with a few beers.

If you won an all-expenses paid trip around the world, where would you visit? I’d take a train coast to coast across Canada then head to New Zealand and walk Te Araroa (google it!!)

What does your perfect weekend look like? In the fells in clear weather soaking up the views – ideally of snow-covered mountains

Catherine McKenzie – Head of Children & Family Services

Based at Brian Jackson House, I oversee a highly passionate team in delivering services to support the wellbeing of children and their families. We focus our support on healthy relationships, loneliness & isolation, and health & wellbeing.

Under the Children & Family Services umbrella we have 5 different teams who work towards different objectives and strive to support different members of the family: Thriving Kirklees, Community Connections, Hopeful Families (Employability), Child Contact, and DAPP (Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programme).

The main focus and aim of all the support we offer is empowering people, by providing and educating in the skills, tools, and resources required to ensure and encourage the desire to make positive changes, which in turn, improves their lives. In my role, every day is different and every day provides a new challenge, which is why I find my role so enjoyable.  

If you could have one superpower what would it be? I would really love to have the ability to turn back time.

If you could go back 10 years and tell yourself something, what would you say? I would remind my younger self that anything is possible, so dream big!

What is your favourite movie of all time? Without a doubt… Dirty Dancing!

Jacqui Green – Headteacher at Brian Jackson College

I am the Head Teacher of Brian Jackson College which has two sites (Wellington House, Huddersfield & Vision House, Heckmondwike), although I have been working at Fresh Futures since 2013 across various roles.  

You can usually find me at either provision working operationally; researching and improving both schools which are forever evolving. I currently lead on the school curriculum which I continue to develop ensuring that it is broad and balanced providing our pupils with the same entitlement for education as they would receive in a mainstream setting.

It’s difficult to explain a typical day within either provision as one day is never the same as the next. Supporting pupils with SEMH has taught me about empathy, patience and an understanding of trauma and how that can impact a young persons life. I’m extremely proud of the work we do and to be part of something that makes a difference in a young persons life.

What’s the most spontaneous thing you have done in your life? When I was 18 years old, on a whim, I decided to give up my job and take a tent with £50 in my pocket;  jump on a ferry from hull to Hoek van Holland and go tulip bulb picking.

What does your perfect weekend look like? A perfect weekend would involve; sitting outside a caravan in the sunshine with the sight and sound of the sea whispering against shore.

What’s your signature dish that you cook at home? I love to cook Indian and Pakistani food especially curries. Never from a packet! My signature dish is a Dhansak and involves lentils. Its sweet and full of goodness just like me!

Sara Eltman – Head of Income & Partnerships

My role is a based at Brian Jackson House two to three days a week, with some remote work from home. I joined the team in June 2021 as Head of Income & Partnerships, which was a newly created role for the charity.

The Income & Partnerships team includes our Fundraising & Communications Co-ordinator and Pass It On charity shop employees and volunteers. The goals of our team are to raise awareness of the work of YCC, and ultimately to raise additional funds so the charity can continue to run and develop its services.

Our team manages the charities social media platforms and website content, and shares news and updates on fundraising and activities of the different services across Fresh Futures. The Income & Partnerships team work together with supporters from across our communities, businesses, groups and organisations, and external funders to generate income through a range of income streams.

If you could go back 10 years and tell yourself something, what would you say? I’d tell myself that you only live once, and you should do what makes you happy!

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done? Been crammed in a bus travelling up a narrow track then jumping off the side of a very high mountain in Turkey paragliding.

Tell us about your favourite holiday? My favourite holiday is to the Greek island of Kos to a little place called Kefalos.

Rob Edden – Head of Finance & Support Services

Based at Brian Jackson House, my role is predominantly finance based, although I do also work a lot with the management of the charity’s 4 buildings; Brian Jackson House, Jo Cox House, Vision House and Wellington House.

On the finance side of things, I am responsible for everything to do with budgets. I work with each department to set realistic budgets that meet the needs of the teams, and then ensure that budgets are adhered to and that the charity runs in the most financially efficient way possible. I report to the Finance Committee and the Board of Trustees, who I provide reports for on a monthly basis. 

Under the ‘Support Services’ umbrella falls everything to do with property. From the day-to-day running to one-off refurbishment and rental negotiations. This means I have two teams, the finance team, based at BJH, and the front of house team who are based across BJH and JCH. 

Tell us about your favourite holiday? Zambia, a working holiday! bit of finance in the day, with Safari, Victoria Falls, white water rafting and being chased by elephant on horse back the rest of the time.

What is your favourite movie of all time? Can’t have one 😊. Highlander – retro fantasy. Blindside – feel good, rooting for underdog, It’s a Wonderful Life, there is no other way to start Christmas and get a bit of perspective on your life.

If you were deserted on an island, what three things would you take with you? Spotify, my golf clubs….my wife 😊