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Our Team

Wendy Dawson CEO

Wendy Dawson CEO




Wendy Dawson has worked in health and social care and education with children, young people and adults for many years and has a wealth and depth of experience from practitioner to Chief Executive level. She has personal experience of drug use and homelessness and this is what drove her to work in the health and social care sector.

She has always challenged inequality and discrimination giving a Voice to young people and adults on the margins of society, raising awareness of issues and developing services to support and enable communities and individuals to prosper. A strategist, financially and politically astute, educated to Master degree level and has informed and influenced social policy for many years.

Her experience includes; setting organisations up from scratch and building the whole infrastructure, speaking at local, national and international conferences and eventsSpecialist in addictions and recovery and in the Therapeutic Community philosophy. Wendy was a pioneer in detached youth work; developed Newcastle Upon Tyne YMCA first non-building-based provision in economically deprived area’s supporting the most vulnerable young people; homeless, care leavers, sex workers, substance misusers. She wrote the first training manual in detached youth work methodology and delivered training courses across the UK and Ireland.

Previous roles include; drugs worker with Barnardos North East, Phoenix House South Tyneside. Team Leader with Newcastle Upon Tyne YMCA. Training Officer with Bradford Local authority. Director of Services for YWCA GB. Chief Executive of Connexions North London pilot. National Director Youth Advocates Programmes London; Developer and lead lecturer of Ruskin College Oxford, Foundation Degree in Youth and Community work and taught on the Social Work Degree and MA Women’s Studies course. Chief Executive of the Ley Community a 58 bed adult Therapeutic Community residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Oxford. Consultant, business coach, executive mentor, facilitator of training and learning.
Wendy also has experience of working within services supporting people with learning and physical disabilities.

She is A Fellow Royal Society Arts, a Trustee of Gig-Art Charity, Chair Witney Family and Children First and interested in complimentary therapy she trained to Reiki Master Level in 2000.

Afshan Ahmad

Afshan Ahmad

Project Development Manager

Afshan has over 25 years’ experience in social work in the areas of residential childcare, preparation for independence, counselling, fostering services and support services for sexually abused young women.

Previously, Afshan was a Project Development Manager and Life Story Work Consultant She has presented international workshops, produced training for carers, professionals and young people, co-authored articles on life story work and direct work with children and has also co-produced films and training tools.

Shel Chawner

Shel Chawner

National Fundraising Manager

Shel has worked for 10 years within a fostering environment having been involved with the recruitment, assessment and approval of foster carers.  She has worked within the administrative role and also from the Marketing and Recruitment Role.  Shel is now undertaking the role of National Fundraising Manager working closely with Trust and Foundations to acquire more funding to enable the foundation to continue to achieve its Aims and Objectives in supporting all care leavers.

Binta Bah

Binta Bah

Senior Project Worker

Binta previously worked full time for FCA/CoreAssets for 5 years as a participation officer then changed roles to project worker. Before that she worked as a Care Experienced Consultant, doing projects with other FCA care leavers.

She participated in the Belonging Tour, sat on interview panels for social workers, developed Steps to Independence training for FCA care leavers and joined in an annual trip to Wales. She attended and presented at IFCO conferences in Canada, Bulgaria, and Estonia. She ran a 6 months group for care leavers who wanted to stay in contact with FCA, the group was a safe space where care leavers could meet each other share their experiences, eat and watch movies.

She graduated with a 2:1 in Law with Criminology, and has been working with Rees, The Care Leavers Foundation since June 2016.

She has a lifelong dream of becoming a Lawyer

Living With Strangers

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