Team

Noel

Deputy CEO/Director of Business Innovation

Business Innovation Directorate

What did you do before you worked for SOFEA?

My last job was for Newham council in East London. I was a placements manager – my job was to manage teams finding accommodation for young people in care and those leaving care. Prior to this role I had worked for multiple local authorities in London, my work was in and around the care system in different departments. I also ran projects for charities based around London, usually this was to increase social engagement or work opportunities for marginalised young people.

Why did you decide to work for SOFEA?

I visited SOFEA Thames Valley in 2018, I had heard of a charity with an interesting approach to working with young people. I walked into the site in Didcot and saw a fantastic space to engage young people in positive activity while supporting them with various challenges. The FareShare operation impressed with its efforts to tackle food waste. One year later, a few meetings and interviews later I took the job of Director and we set up the SOFEA South Midlands site and opened in October 2019 in Bletchley Milton Keynes.

What is the best thing about your job?

Watching young people develop through their own fortitude and an offer of support from SOFEA, the SOFEA model facilitates some truly amazing change in young people from complex backgrounds. On the same note seeing a staff team dedicated to improving young people lives and creating a positive environment for those that we serve.

What have you learnt since being Employed by SOFEA?

I have learnt to unlearn! At SOFEA we have people from diverse professional backgrounds. The first step at SOFEA I took was adapting to a different, less formal approach to working with young people. By getting young people to buy into the operation as a project they are part of rather than somewhere they have to be was key for me. Might be an overused term but SOFEA does feel unique in its approach.

In one sentence, say something about SOFEA.

Happy to be part of something different.

Tell us something about you that not many people would know?

I got into this area by volunteering for Sure Start as a teenager, where my mum worked.