We have a small but committed core staff team dedicated to our mission who manage our portfolio of funding and support our partners on a day-to-day basis.
Eli Manderson Evans
Eli joined Blagrave as CEO in 2022. Eli has overall oversight over all funding partnerships and sets our strategic direction, ensuring we are true to our mission and living our values.
He joined us from the philanthropy advisory and social change organisation Ten Years’ Time where he served as the Head of Social Justice and led on several powerful research reports focused on the need for the British funding landscape to be honest, ambitious, and authentic in their commitments to address racial injustice and the climate crisis among many other publications. He also worked to connect a new generation of philanthropists to ambitious changemakers transforming the world.
Eli has over 10 years’ experience in policy, research and strategy roles covering connecting issue areas such as the empowerment of young campaigners, LGBTQIA+ rights, climate justice, racial justice and much more. A running commitment in all of Eli’s work is to listen deeply to people with experience of an issue and enable them to lead when it comes to decisions on how to address an issue.
He is deeply passionate about disrupting traditional power dynamics between funders and the communities they wish to serve as well as seeking to transform the relationship between charitable giving and the investment practices behind the scenes. Eli is also extremely passionate about how we develop working cultures of care and centre joy in work that can often be hard to sustain ourselves through.
Eli now makes London his home but wants everyone to know he is a very proud Northerner and is not afraid to say that he thinks Manchester is (one of) the best cities in the world.
Edd joined Blagrave in January 2018. He leads the The Listening Fund: a collaboration between Blagrave, Children in Need, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Tudor Trust and The National Lottery Community Fund - to improve organisations’ accountability to young people. Edd is also one of the Trust’s Designated Safeguarding Officers.
Edd has worked and volunteered across the youth sector for many years and is a Trustee of his local Citizens Advice Bureau. He works at our London office.
Edd is motivated both by the boldness of some young people’s visions for an equitable society, and also by the simplicity of some of their demands: for good education, secure housing and rewarding work.
Rochell joined Blagrave in March 2021 and co-leads our second strategic objective: investing in young people directly. This includes overseeing all funding partnerships in relation to Challenge and Change and the Opportunity Fund. Rochell is also one of the Trust’s Dedicated Safeguarding Officers.
Rochell has 8 years of experience as a youth worker, working in a range of roles in grass roots youth organisations to larger youth facing charities. Rochell is based at our London offices and grew up in East London.
Rochell is inspired by youth empowerment and feels passionate about supporting young people to use their voices to create change on issues that directly affect them.
Tessa joined Blagrave in 2016 and oversees all our regional funding partnerships in the South East leading on our first strategic objective: investing in youth organisations.
Tessa has a career of 20 years working in the voluntary youth sector, including spells at the National Youth Agency, the Young Foundation and the Regional Youth Work Unit in the South West. She is home based, and lives in Frome. She works alongside Blagrave partners to learn from their work with young people and support successful grants. Tessa is a trustee of Off the Record, a youth counselling charity in Bath.
Tessa has worked in the voluntary sector for her whole career and is motivated and moved by the opportunity to bring lasting change to young people’s lives.
Philippa Knott Kos
Philippa joined Blagrave in September 2018 and oversees all funding partnerships in relation to our third strategic objective: investing in better youth policy.
Philippa previously worked at the Centre for Youth Impact and in the Cabinet Office’s Youth Policy team, leading their work on evidence and impact measurement in youth services, including the set-up of the Centre. She has a background in government, public policy and research, and holds degrees from the University of Oxford and London School of Economics. Philippa grew up in Devon and is currently based in Exeter where she works from home.
Philippa is interested in the interaction between inequality, power dynamics and service provision, and is passionate about getting services working so that people – particularly young people – have the resources and the freedom they need to create the lives they want.
Geraldine joined Blagrave in October 2020, she leads on our finance and provides governance support to the Director and Board of Trustees.
Geraldine has spent twelve years working in the non-profit sector. Most recently as the Coordinator of the Forest Team at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), before which she worked in finance and coordination roles for UK charities. Geraldine was previously a Trustee for the St Albans and District Foodbank and is now a Governor at her local primary school. Geraldine is currently based between our London offices and her home in Bedfordshire.
Geraldine is passionate about addressing and tackling barriers to social inclusion and access to education.
Callum joined Blagrave in April 2021 and co-leads our second strategic objective: investing in young people directly. This includes collaborating and convening with others in this space and managing all funding partnerships linked to youth-led change community building and infrastructure. He also leads on our internal youth accountability work as well as our overall comms.
Callum has worked for a variety of civic youth organisations across the UK and is a qualified facilitator. He grew up in the East Midlands and Aberdeenshire and is based at our London offices.
Callum is passionate about changing the power dynamics and systems that currently exist in society to ensure young people, especially those facing injustice, are given the tools, resources and power to lead transformative change.
Emine is the newest member of the team who just joined in February 2022. As a proficient team assistant her objective is to support with logistical and administrational tasks, coordinating is her middle name.
Emine has worked in various sectors from retail to media and TV. Throughout her life she has received a lot of support from various charities and wanted to give back to the community that helped shape who is she is today.
Emine wants to raise awareness about young people who have a substantial caring role which impact on their educational, emotional, physical and/or social development. She wants to inspire young people to realise their value and give them hope that change is possible.
We are governed by our Board of Trustees who have a diverse breadth of professional knowledge and lived experience committed to ensuring we are living our values and achieving our mission.
Peter is Head of Evidence at the Youth Endowment Fund that exists to prevent youth violence, and a local councillor in Southwark. Peter has spent over a decade in the social sector and has worked with a range of foundations, government departments and charities to help them better understand the impact of their work and how it might be improved. Young people are a major focus of Peter’s work.
Segun is a qualified management accountant and currently works for the youth charity Restless Development as their Finance Director. Previously he worked for Comic Relief as a Senior Finance Business Partner working closely with the grants team. Segun’s passionate about helping to make finance fun and easy to understand. He spent over 5 years working for Humentum as a financial management specialist training over a thousand NGO professionals in good practice financial management, strategic financial management and grant management. Outside of his professional work he is also a social entrepreneur and mentor. Passionate about inspiring young people, he is the author of a motivational book called, You Might As Well.
Clare is Head of Grants at NHS Charities Together and was previously the CEO of the Isle of Wight Youth Trust. Clare was formerly the Regional Head, South and West for BBC Children in Need where she was responsible for a multi-million pound grant portfolio as well providing leadership to a team of staff and volunteers, strategically inputting into the charities policies and objectives to find, fund and collaborate to make a difference to children and young people’s lives.
Clare worked in Dance for 15 years before moving into the Charity sector holding posts including Fundraising Manager for the Jubilee Sailing Trust and Cancer Research UK. She is currently Vice Chair of Swindon Dance National Dance Agency. Clare joined the Blagrave Trustee board in 2016.
Boudicca joined our Board in March 2020. She campaigned to protect youth services in her teens: took on a role as creative Director at Brighton Youth Fest in 2019; raised awareness and funds for Audio Active – a youth charity in Brighton for their first all female production workshops to encourage other young women to study technology in music. Now she is music programmer at International Youth Arts Festival, hosted by Creative Youth. She also makes music for social change, performing her own songs and poems, and supporting grassroots organisations to bring other like-minded artists to the frontline.
Daze is a 21 year old climate change activist and the Creative Director at Earthrise Studios, a digital media company dedicated to communicating the climate crisis through research, design and filmmaking. Daze also works as a freelance consultant on environment, climate, intersectionality and youth engagement and was previously the Regenerative Cultures Coordinator at Extinction Rebellion Youth UK. She has a degree in History and Politics from Goldsmiths University. In 2019, Daze became a political candidate and stood as an independent MEP candidate under the Climate and Ecological Emergency banner. She joined our Board in March 2020.
Victor is an Associate at J.P. Morgan Chase working in the Platform Sales division. He has also dedicated his time to supporting philanthropic causes including mental health, improving educational attainment of children from working class backgrounds and youth justice. In his final year of university, he partnered with DebateMate, and taught an after-school debating club in a Birmingham inner-city primary school. As a result of this experience, he co-founded My Brothers Keepers’ Bookclub. A series of book clubs with the aim of turning boys from low socioeconomic backgrounds into the most active readership group in the U.K. He is also passionate about reforming the youth justice system and expanding the conversation about mental health to young people. In April 2018, Victor travelled as part of the British delegation to Strasbourg to report to the Council of Europe on the state of Children’s Mental Health and Child-Friendly Justice. He hopes to continue to contribute to these issues in the future.
Naomi is currently CEO of The Talent Tap, a social mobility charity supporting aspiring students from 18-24 to gain equal access to the workplace. Prior to this Naomi spent 20 years in Corporate Communications and Event Production working as a Director at Fisher Productions and at mcm Creative Group. Naomi is a director of Dust Architecture which she set up with her husband in 2010, and is no stranger to running SMEs and small charity management which will help in her role as trustee. Naomi is also an Enterprise Advisor for the Careers Enterprise Company / Solent LEP. Naomi is passionate about tackling social inequality with a focus on young people. Naomi is based in Hampshire.
Barbara Ojei Agwaziam
Barbara joined the Civil Service Fast Stream with hopes of making a difference in people’s lives. She has been able to do so in a range of roles, including working as a policy advisor at BEIS, Private Secretary to the Chief Medical Officer, Head of Incident Management working on COVID-19 and presently as the Head of Parliamentary and Public Engagement. Barbara’s passion for diversity and inclusion lead to the founding of A Touch of Colour (ATOC) an organisation which seeks to drive racial equality in the workplace for which she has been selected as a Laureate of the Future by the PeaceJam Foundation. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys travelling, photography and videography – the latter of which she developed as a Barbican Young Reviewer.
A Research Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Welcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, Eddie is also a PhD student at the Department of Psychiatry, where he previously supported the Young People’s Advisory Group, a team of adolescents that co-produce research on mental health issues that matter to them. In March 2020 he co-founded Help Your High Street, an initiative to support independent shops during the COVID-19 lockdown. Having been homeless during his school years, he deeply appreciates the importance of supporting young people in the transition to adulthood.
We work with young people as paid advisers to centre the views of young people and people with lived experience of the issues we are trying to address. The input and role of our advisers differs depending on their respective programmes. We currently have 19 paid advisers that sit across three different funding programmes.