Partnership is key to everything we do. We recognise that in order to provide young people with the best possible service and best possible future, collaboration is key. We work with many and varied individuals and organisations to break down the artificial barriers that restrict collaborative work, so that young people have the chance to be as healthy, safe and happy as possible.
We believe in the potential of young people to make positive changes – in their lives, in the lives of their family and friends and in the society in which they live. We aim to support young people in increasing their ability, willingness and confidence to access high quality, appropriate youth work, health care and education, so that theses changes can become reality.
We aim to always innovate in delivery, and integrate youth work provision and health services. We know that the problems young people face evolve and change, and our priority is to constantly consult young people about these issues and, along with our skilled partners, come up with innovative and effective ways to address them that are youth-focused, sustainable and scalable.
Redthread started in 1995 as a group set up by parishioners from a number of local churches in Dulwich. These individuals felt that local children and young people could be more involved in the local community, if given the facilities and activities to be so. We are no longer formally linked with the churches but Redthread is still grounded in the Christian ethos – a belief in the value of each and every human being, together with a recognition of the fundamental importance of building a community where people take responsibility for each other.
One of our first projects was the Redthread Youth Club, based at the Sea Scout Hut in Green Dales. The club formed a central part of the local community and saw over a hundred young people a week gather to take part in a range of games and activities and to socialise with friends.
It was in 2002 that Redthread ventured into the world of health for the first time, by running the country’s first ever Young People’s Clinic in partnership with Paxton Green Group Practice. The after school Tuesday drop-in gave all 13-19-year-olds, whether registered or not, access to a doctor, nurse, counsellor or youth worker. After this success, the model was replicated at Herne Hill Group Practice in 2005.
In 2011 the concept behind these initiatives was given a permanent home – at the Well Centre in Streatham. You can read more about the project here.
In 2015 our hospital-based Youth Violence Intervention Programme celebrated 10 years of delivery. Find out more about the programme here.
In Greek mythology there is a labyrinth, infamous for being unsolvable, and guarded by the minotaur – a creature half bull and half man. Every year, seven young men and seven young women were sacrificed to the maze. When it was Thesus’s turn to face the minotaur, Ariadne came to his assistance. She gave him a ball of red thread. Thesus entered the labyrinth, defeated the minoutaur and, thanks to Aridane’s help, used the red thread that trailed behind him to find his way back out.
We love the essence of this myth: of someone helping someone else to face and solve their challenges. The core aim of all our work is to support young people to overcome their challenges and obstacles, and be healthy, safe and happy.
Meet The Team
Senior Management Team (SMT)
As Chief Executive John Poyton leads on overall direction and development, long-term vision and strategy, external partnerships and relationships, and press and publicity.
John arrived at Redthread in January 2002, coming from a youth work career spanning the youth service, school, social services and education welfare. In 2002 he co-founded the first Young People’s Clinic in South London in partnership with Paxton Green Group Practice. In 2006 he co-founded the UK’s first hospital-based violence intervention programme in partnership with King’s College Hospital. Based on the principle of relational youth work and in response to the needs of vulnerable young people, John co-founded the Well Centre in 2011 as a youth health hub to support young people to be healthy, safe, and happy.
John took over as Chief Executive in 2008 to continue developing his vision for supporting more young people in the ‘teachable moment’, and in the vulnerable transition of adolescence. He is as passionate today about the interface of youth work and health as he was after first stepping in to the previously unknown world of health in 2002.
When at home John can be found enthusing about sport of the swim, bike, run, adventure or extreme variety or trampolining and building dens with his seven-year-old twins.
Eleanor joined Redthread in 2014, where she leads on operational activities including organisational and people management, resources, fundraising, contracts, and policies and procedures. She works with all our connections and partnerships with multiple organisations and individuals to strengthen the services we can offer young people.
Prior to becoming part of the team Eleanor was director of an education project working with disadvantaged children across the country, and has also worked as a consultant at Deloitte. Eleanor has a History BA from the University of York and a Voluntary Sector Management MSc from Cass Business School.
Away from work Eleanor can be found trying to keep up with her three-year-old son!
Eleanor says: “Every day at Redthread is different – I love meeting inspirational people and being involved in so many aspects of Redthread’s development.”
Jenny joined Redthread in February 2017 as the Interim Chief Operating Officer, where she leads on the organisation’s operational activities – enabling others to do their job well and trusting them to get on with it! Jenny has worked in the charity sector for many years, most recently as the Director of Development at the Church Urban Fund. She has an MSc in Voluntary Sector Management from Cass Business School and is the chair of trustees for Amos Trust, a creative human rights charity.
Outside of work Jenny is a keen runner and has signed up to three marathons this year! She has also written a couple of books – one about running.
Jenny says: “I love the fact that everyone at Redthread is so committed to the wellbeing of young people and passionate about their work.”
Jenny works as Redthread’s Finance Manager, after joining in 2009 as Administrator. She also works part-time as National Contracts Manager at Refugee Action. A Somerset farmer’s daughter, Jenny escaped to the city in the early 80s, and has worked primarily in the charity sector ever since. She first spent 10 years in the operations department at the Barbican Arts Centre before moving on to an international arts festival, and then an educational charity.
As well as her love of a good spreadsheet, in her free time Jenny takes advantage of everything London has to offer – galleries, theatres, and pubs alike, spends time in her allotment or at a pottery wheel, and even has an advanced PADI Open Water Scuba diving qualification.
Jenny says: “Most of all I like working with a crowd of incredibly dedicated people (many of whom are about 3 decades younger than me) who work hard to make a difference to each young person we engage with.”
Hannah is Redthread’s Business Development Manager – a new role for the charity. She is responsible for helping Redthread to expand its work. Hannah studied English, French and German at the University of St Andrews, before joining the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme as a General Manager.
She completed a Masters in Healthcare Leadership with the University of Birmingham and then worked as a Health and Justice Commissioner for NHS England, commissioning healthcare in prisons, young offenders’ institutes, sexual assault referral centres and liaison and diversion services. Hannah is a cellist and plays regularly with the Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra.
Hannah says: “The Redthread team is made up of really dynamic, passionate and creative people who really care about what we do; there is a real energy about the organisation which I find exciting.”
Jacqui is a qualified Social Worker and graduated from Kingston University with a First Class BA (hons) in Criminal Justice. Jacqui has worked within Youth Justice since 2001 in a variety of roles and specialised in the area of Serious Youth Violence since 2009 working within YOS and the Community Safety Team (gangs exit programme).
Jacqui loves to travel, uses every opportunity to be out and about with friends and family and is a bit of a ‘thrill-seeker’ loving rollercoasters (anything that goes fast) and has twice abseiled off high buildings and completed a wing walk!
Jacqui says “Joining such an energetic and committed team makes coming into work a daily pleasure and I’m proud to part of a service that is passionate about reducing harm to young people affected by violence”.
Rachel is Redthread’s Fundraising Manager and is based at the head office. She has worked as a fundraiser for four years, most recently for breast cancer and mental health charities and has also worked with small grassroots NGOs in Myanmar, Nicaragua and Morocco, giving fundraising, communications and operational support. In her free time Rachel confesses to a love-hate relationship with running that often leads to her lamenting a snap decision to sign up for a very inconvenient race, before absolutely loving it and signing up for the next one!
Rachel says: “What I like most about my job is having the opportunity to spread the word about Redthread’s incredible and important work, and raising the vital funding that enables that work to continue.”
Annie graduated from Manchester with a BA in Philosophy and Politics and after a stint in the world of PR, she moved to London to use her communications skills in the third sector. Her passion for working with young people began with volunteering in young offender prisons and her time spent volunteering in townships in South Africa.
In Annie’s free time she loves spending time walking and eating her way around London. Annie is a keen festival and live music goer and has recently taken up the saxophone.
Annie says: “It’s amazing to work somewhere where you know the team make a real impact. My job is great because I get to help promote the incredible work that Redthread do to support young people.”
Alex studied Business Management at the University of Surrey before working in the banking sector. He has spent time volunteering in South Africa which sparked his passion for supporting young people. Alex’s role as the Head Office Administrator sees him supporting the other Redthread staff to work as effectively as possible and therefore to provide the best possible care for young people.
A self-confessed ‘nerd’, Alex knows everything there is to know about Star Wars and Star Trek and will help anyone out with explaining the difference between the two. When he’s not watching TV, stand-up comedy, reading about space exploration, running and politics keep him busy in his free time.
Alex says: “I am in awe of our staff that work on the front-line, you can see a real passion in them for the work they do and the young people they are helping. That passion inspires me every day to do the best I can to support those guys and help them run their work smoothly.”
The Well Centre and Education
Andrew is the Well Centre Service Manager. He manages the day-to-day operations of the Well Centre as well as the business development of the project. Andrew has over 20 years youth work experience in various settings including supported housing, delivering Prince’s Trust courses and working with the deaf community.
Andrew says: “What I like most about Redthread is how it brings youth workers and health professionals together, giving new significance to the role of the youth worker.”
Jhnique studied Youth and Community Studies at Greenwich University and has accumulated over 13 years of practical experience working with young people in a wide variety of settings. She prides herself on her wealth of knowledge regarding issues that affect young people, socially and politically.
One day, Jhnique aspires to be the ‘Steve Jobs of the social sector’ and feels very much an advocate for young people. She’s got a lot she’s aiming for and even has a bucket list to tick off, before she plans to retire to the beach in Jamaica!
Jhnique says: “The core of what we do at Redthread is such a simple, caring, common sense idea that will continue to progress and save the lives of our young people.”
Ian has over 10 year’s experience working in the community both internationally, nationally and across London. A big sports fan, Ian has a background in media and sport and feels this has enabled him to work with people from all different walks of life.
You probably won’t know that Ian was once in a reality documentary which was based in a prison! His TV days might be over for a while though as he’s joined team Redthread to truly help young people be the best they can be.
Ian says: “There is real togetherness at Redthread, I can see that comes from a shared desire to work for the young people in our care.”
Makiya joined the team in October 2016 as a youth worker at the Well Centre. She organises Redthread’s education work in schools and leads on our youth participation. Makiya is a qualified teacher and has experience working with young people in a variety of settings. She studied media production and loves to be creative and aims to bring this aspect of her life into her work with young people. In her free time, Makiya likes to stay active and is a keen roller skater.
Makiya says: “I thrive off being able to have a positive affect on the lives of young people.”
Youth Violence Intervention Programme (YVIP)
Becky is based at St George’s Hospital where she has been Team Leader since April 2015. A qualified social worker, she has experience working for charities and local authorities in crime and violence, homelessness, mental health and offending, across services in the UK and Czech Republic. Becky is very active and loves sports and travel – she goes everywhere on her bike.
Becky says: “Working alongside hugely talented medical staff means being able to offer support to young people in a collaborative way at the most meaningful moments of their experience of crisis.”
Lucy is the Team Leader at King’s College Hospital. She has worked with vulnerable and socially excluded young people since leaving university in 2010 in custodial settings, Youth Offending Teams, community youth centres, and Pupil Referral Units. Before joining Redthread, Lucy worked as a Child Sexual Exploitation and Gangs worker.
In her spare time Lucy enjoys live music and spoken word and also has a keen interest in classic cars. Having grown up near the sea, Lucy enjoys spending as much time as she can outside of London exploring seaside towns.
Lucy says: “I was drawn to Redthread after witnessing first hand the positive effect the programmes have on young people”
John is Team Leader at St Mary’s Hospital. A lifelong Evertonian, he has been working towards full registration and qualification as a Psychological Therapist with children, adolescents and families for the past five years. Before that he lived and worked in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires running a small grass roots NGO.
John says: “Redthread continue to find ways to be innovative and unique within the sector, making the services we offer so invaluable to the young people that benefit from them.”
Josh is the Programme Coordinator based at St George’s Hospital. Before joining Redthread, he studied History at the University of Oxford and has also worked as a freelance researcher for an MP. Part of Josh’s role involves connecting young people with youth workers once a referral has been made. Josh loves reading about the French Revolution, ambling through the National Gallery, and pulling his hair out watching his beloved West Brom.
Josh says: “It’s great that Redthread can work so closely with hospital staff so that vulnerable young people can get the help they need as soon as possible.”
Steph is based at St Mary’s Hospital where she is the Programme Coordinator. Part of Steph’s role involves looking after the evaluation reports and follow ups at St Mary’s.
Steph recently graduated with a Master’s in Criminology, Criminal Justice and Social Research at the University of Surrey, travelling over 550 miles a week for 18 months from the North East – Surrey! A rival to Mary Berry, Steph is a keen baker and is mostly found pottering around the kitchen.
Steph says: “What I like most about working at Redthread is everyone’s positivity. Everyone is really dedicated to making a difference by supporting young people through difficult experiences.”
Eva is an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate who is seconded from Solace Women’s Aid to work for Redthread at King’s College Hospital. Originally from the Czech Republic, Eva moved to the UK five years ago where she has worked for various programmes including women’s refuges, care homes, nursing homes and projects for children and young people and homeless people. In her free time, Eva loves music and adrenaline experiences like sky diving and bungee jumping.
Eva says: “Working for Redthread means seeing opportunities rather than problems and believing that all young people can make positive changes.”
Henna is the Independent Domestic Violence Advocate at St George’s Hospital and is seconded from Solace Women’s Aid to work for Redthread. She studied a criminology degree and has worked with women and children fleeing domestic violence for the past three years. The nature of Henna’s role means every single day is different but she enjoys the challenge of her work.
In her own time, Henna loves cats and studying horoscope astrology.
Henna says: “I love how individual Redthread is as a service and provides support when service users least expect it. We are very unique!”
Bezawit says “I love the fact that Redthread is providing that specialist support for young people and acting as the missing link between young people and the right path. Empowering them and helping them to go back to the community with better sense of belonging and entitlement”
Alex is a Youth Worker at King’s College Hospital. Welsh and proud, Alex studied Social Policy and Sociology, but has also lived in California where he worked towards a masters in Social Documentation. He likes to challenge perceptions through video and has been involved in multiple film projects, focusing on the victims of gun violence.
Alex says: “Being able to work for an organisation that challenges common perceptions of youth violence as a purely criminal issue. It is exciting, inspiring, and allows room for innovative.”
Julia is a Youth Worker at St Mary’s Hospital and joined the team in January 2016. She studied Social Policy and Criminology at university, and has spent the last 8 years working with young people in a number of different roles. Julia’s passion in work is to always offer young people a non-judgmental space for them to explore the issues that are most relevant to them, and she think the YVIP offers a unique opportunity to do that.
Julia says: “At Redthread I have witnessed work with young people in the ‘teachable moment’ when they are vulnerable and in a difficult situation, and seen the positive impact that this work can have.”
George studied a Sociology degree before spending a lot of time volunteering for a variety of different charities. George has a wealth of experience in delivering employability, personal development and volunteer coordination.
His favourite aspect of his role is gaining an understanding of each individual case to offer immediate practical assistance to young people in crisis.
A Greek speaking food lover, George has even set up his own olive oil business. He’s a big football fan and supports Liverpool and Dulwich Hamlet.
George says: “The friendly and adaptable nature of the Redthread team means that young people respond to the impartial support we provide”.
Becca Stanbury is a youth worker at St George’s Hospital. Since graduating from the University of Leeds in 2012, she has worked in a number of youth justice settings as part of the Youth Justice Board. Most recently, Becca has worked at Newham Children’s Services supporting young people, adults and families who have diverse needs. She is now studying towards an MSc in Psychology at UCL, and in her free time is a netball player and coach.
Becca says: “At Redthread I have the opportunity to meet young people in the ‘Teachable Moment’ where you can build meaningful relationships.”
Leon says: “Being able to intervene and support young people in their time of need is one of the greatest feelings in the world!”
Ruhena is a Youth Worker at St Mary’s Hospital. She has seven years experience working with young people and has had a particular focus on supporting young people to access education, employment and training opportunities. In her free time Ruhena has lots of hobbies – that change as quickly as the British weather!
Ruhena says: “I’m honoured to be part of a team and service that cares so much about vulnerable young people.”
Franklyn is a Youth Worker at St. Mary’s Hospital. Having always lived in Hackney, his own experiences of the crime that arises from social exclusion and inequality is what led him to study Sociology at the LSE, before completing an MA in Cultural Studies. Apart from youth work, he also engages in social commentary via music and multimedia. Examples include speaking on BBCRadio4 and producing a short BBC3 documentary about his experiences of trauma, and writing for The Guardian about a range of social issues.
Franklyn says: ‘My unwavering commitment to preventing violence and improving outcomes for young people more generally is what lead me to work for Redthread. “
Becky is the lead youth worker in Redthread’s Education Programme, and also works at the Well Centre. She has been a qualified youth worker for five years, and has been working with young people in various contexts for ten years. She works alongside doctors, counsellors and other youth workers, and with young people in a variety of settings – from one-to-one, to teaching classes of 30. In the evening Becky has taken up jogging to counteract her other new love – baking!
Becky says: “I feel privileged that I’m often in a position where young people turn to me for a listening ear, or support with an issue that they’ve struggled to tell others about.”
Nick studied Youth Work at the University of Birmingham and a masters in Sexual Health and Therapeutic Studies with Young People. Nick has over a decade of youth work experience, starting off as a detached youth worker in Birmingham in 2000, and went on to run a youth centre in Pershore (Worcestershire) delivering a number of programs to support and develop young people.
Nick says “I enjoy working within a youth organisation that has staff from the top down who always prioritise young people needs first in an ever challenging financial climate”.
Jess studied English Literature at University and specialised in Post-Colonial Caribbean Literature. After completing her studies she moved to France and then travelled all over the world.
It was on her travels that Jess realised her passion for working with young people. When she returned to the UK, Jess worked with homeless and missing people, and in various roles helping children who had experienced sexual exploitation. In her new role, Jess is really excited to be able to create a project that is specific for the young women that they are going to be working with.
The once self-confessed ‘ex-pat Peggy Mitchell’, these days Jess can be found reading a book and planning her next trip to eat her way round the world.
Jess says “I am passionate about the idea of solution based intervention and I love that Redthread model themselves on this. To be part of an organisation that is not only passionate about supporting young people to make positive changes but is actually achieving this aim as well is awesome!”
Amy studied Politics and Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. Whilst in Sheffield she worked in a refuge for trafficked women and volunteered at Sheffield Rape Crisis on their helpline. Amy has worked in London teaching Sex and Relationships Education and doing 1:1 interventions with at risk young people and supporting young women who were working in the sex industry and/or at risk of exploitation.
Amy enjoys working in the hospital environment with young women at their time of need and ensuring they understand everything that is happening around them. She’s no stranger to a hospital – Amy has delivered 12 babies during her time as a training mid-wife! She’s also a keen cyclist and you’ll probably see her cycling around London.
Amy says “I love working for an innovative youth work charity with highly skilled staff who really care about the needs of young people.”
London Gang Exit
Holly is the Mental Health Specialist working as part of the London Gang Exit programme. She received a BSc in Psychology before travelling for 11 months and returning to gain an MSc in Forensic Psychology. Holly went on to work in the criminal justice field, initially as a drugs and alcohol work, then a probation officer working with prolific offenders, and in the mental health and learning disabilities team. Holly enjoys going to the gym, cycling and exploring new parts of London.
Holly says: “What I like about my role is that I am able to assist individuals on their journey towards improved mental health and well-being, positively impacting their future and changing their quality of life.”
Cimone is Redthread’s support worker working as part of the partnership programme London Gang Exit. Her role involves engaging and supporting young people that are affiliated to, affected by or associated with gangs. A big part of Cimone’s role is working with young people to identify the positive aspects of their lives and focusing on these positives to create long-term change. In her spare time Cimone is an avid photographer and enjoys capturing images of street art across the UK and abroad.
Cimone Says: “I love that Redthread youth workers are able to engage with young people at a point in their life when they are vulnerable, and so by virtue most open to change.”
Redthread are funded by a number of charities, organisations and public bodies. Without their generous support, the work we do with young people across London simply wouldn’t be possible. If you would like to know more about how we can work together, please get in touch.