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.
Valeria Tavares (she/her)
Valeria joined Blagrave as Head of Operations in June 2023 and leads on HR, safeguarding and general operations, with a focus on putting processes and systems in place to support Blagrave in achieving its mission.
Originally from Brazil, Valeria has had a varied career spanning three continents in areas ranging from video production to innovation consultancy, but for the past 10 years her focus has been on operational and HR roles in the not-for-profit sector, particularly in organisations that work with children and young people.
Valeria is passionate about supporting young people to use their voices to influence and bring lasting change on issues that matter to them.
Callum Pethick (he/they)
Callum joined Blagrave in April 2021 and co-leads our second strategic objective: investing in young people to create change. This includes managing the Pathways Fund and having strategic oversight for all of our work related to investing in youth organising.
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.
Edd Fry (he/him)
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.
Eli Manderson Evans (he/him)
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.
Emine Arabaci (she/her)
Emine joined Blagrave Trust in early 2022. As a proficient EA she supports the CEO with logistical and administrational tasks and with a stroke of creativity she leads on Blagrave's communications.
Emine's background includes working in the media and TV Industry as a Production Secretary. From a young age she has been a young carer and received a lot of support from charities and wanted to give back to the community that helped support her.
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.
Geraldine Warren (she/her)
Geraldine joined Blagrave in October 2020, she leads on our finance and provides governance support to the CEO 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.
Rochell Rowe (she/her)
Rochell joined Blagrave in March 2021 and co-leads our second strategic objective: investing in young people directly. She also leads on our youth development work, reviewing how we work with young people outside of grant relationships. Rochell is the Trust’s Designated Safeguarding Officer.
Rochell has 10 years of experience as a youth worker, working in a range of roles in grassroots youth organisations to larger youth facing charities and is based at our London offices. She 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 Hibbert (she/her)
Tessa joined Blagrave in 2016 and is our Head of Grants. She oversees all our funding and has a particular responsibility for our first strategic objective: investing in youth organisations. She manages all our regional funding partnerships with organisations in the South East region.
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.
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, Head of Parliamentary and Public Engagement and presently the Head of Workforce – Charging Reform Implementation. 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.
Boudicca joined our Board in March 2020. She recently graduated with a degree in music, started a live band and is a Songwriter for independent music company Good Soldier. Her previous roles include Music Programmer at International Youth Arts Festival, hosted by Creative Youth and Creative Director at Brighton Youth Fest in 2019. Boudicca also campaigned to protect youth services in her teens and 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. She also continues to make music for social change, performing her own songs and poems, and supporting grassroots organisations to bring other like-minded artists to the frontline.
Clare is Head of Grants at the Henry Smith Charity; she was previously Head of Grants at NHS Charities Together. In the past Clare has been the CEO of the Isle of Wight Youth Trust and 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.
Daze is a 21-year-old climate change activist and works as a freelance consultant on environment, climate, intersectionality and youth engagement and was previously the Regenerative Cultures Coordinator at Extinction Rebellion Youth UK. Previously Daze was the Creative Director at Earthrise Studios, a digital media company dedicated to communicating the climate crisis through research, design and filmmaking. Daze also 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.
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.
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.
Segun is a qualified management accountant and currently works for the Children’s Society as their Finance Director. Previously he worked for the youth charity Restless Development as Finance Director and 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.
Victor works in Business Development for Figment, one of the world’s leading providers of blockchain infrastructure. He was previously 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.
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.
Lab is an author and autistic advocate and is excited to have a career in this sector to impact the future of young people. They have achieved an A level in Health and Social Care and Level 2 in Counselling. Having their voice heard, being involved in change, and participating in the decision-making process are what really drive their passion. Lab wants to make a genuine impact on mental health and LGBTQ+ services.
Luan is a Disabled, Neurodivergent, LGBTQ+ young person who has been a recipient of various youth services and is excited to use his positive and negative experiences to make improvements by highlighting the importance of accessible youth-led projects. He became an adviser for the Blagrave Trust to advocate for those currently excluded from vital services by lack of access. Luan strongly believes all young people no matter their race, religion, gender identity, sexuality, or disability should all have equal access to services.
Tyrese wants to use his life experience to help others by becoming a youth worker and influencing others and helping young people in communities. He is currently volunteering with Yellow Brick Road Projects to learn how to mentor other young people and has been enrolled on NYA Youth Work Level 2 programme which is supporting his dream to be a full-time youth worker.
Victoria is currently a student at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College and a volunteer at No Limits as a Youth Ambassador. She became an adviser for the Blagrave Trust to be part of the positive change within her community. She believes in providing better support for young people by making youth services as accessible as possible so that those who need them can get the help they need with ease and with as little stigma as possible. She is also excited to have the opportunity for her voice to be heard.
Montaser is currently at university and recently started his first job in the UK. He loves playing football, he can speak 3 languages and currently has a part-time job at Harbour Project where he works with young asylum seekers and refugees. He is passionate about supporting young people who have been through the asylum process and supporting newly arrived young people. He has been recognised by Wiltshire Council and was given a Star Award.
Harrison works for the music charity Readipop with at-risk youth in and around Reading, where he has lived all his life. Harrison understands where the young people are coming from and wants to help give them many opportunities and avenues that were not available to him.
Osama is a Syrian refugee who arrived in the UK in 2018 and lives in Kent and works as a youth Ambassador for Kent Refugee Action Network. He is doing Computer Science at Christ Church University. Watching movies, doing sports, and swimming is what he enjoys the most. Osama applied for this role as he wants to make an influential change in our community and help in giving opportunities for the young change makers to draw their future and spread their passion.
Katie is the Founder of Avocados Advocacy, a legal advocacy service and independent community for anyone with care experience. She became a young advisor for the Blagrave Trust as they were the first organisation that ever funded Avocados Advocacy - giving her organisation a chance to start up and grow. Katie wanted to be a part of giving this opportunity to other young people with new, innovative ideas. She feels very privileged to be a part of such a special team.
Jordan is a Business Analyst from London. He founded Crossroads In 2020, a campaign focused on educating people and helping them reach out to their politicians and demand change. His interest in working with the Challenge and Change fund stems from his passion for empowering people to enact radical change in their communities. He is keen to align himself with programmes that will lead to a long-term positive shift in the conditions for young people.
Tom currently studies Natural Sciences at Durham University whilst also working with the UK Youth Climate Coalition where he campaigns for climate justice and works to make our leaders more accountable to young people. He has previously worked on multiple campaigns to empower and inspire his generation and is passionate about creating meaningful societal changes which are necessary in order for young people to thrive. This is what has led Tom to The Listening Fund which he believes is the perfect opportunity to do just that.
Sophie is a history student and disability activist from Norwich, who will be heading to university in York. She is passionate about raising awareness for disabilities and chronic illnesses, particularly her own, Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder, and writes a blog on the subject. Sophie applied for The Listening Fund Advisory Panel as she wanted to develop skills she had learned during her time as a member of her local Youth Advisory Board. Outside of this, she reads a lot of books and volunteers for charities.
Samuel is a student at King’s College London. He manages a small production collective led and for young people called ‘Creation Foundation’. He is also working on an anthology of stories of young people who have had challenges accessing higher education due to the UK’s exploitative immigration policies. The anthology will be prefaced with policy suggestions. He was attracted to the listening fund because of its desire to try new radical ideas and share its findings with the rest of the sector. He says he shares the same zeal for impact as The Listening Fund.
Nicole is a musician from the North of England and enjoys playing multiple instruments, as well as writing and producing her own music. She also performs fire dancing, plays table tennis and loves to watch ice hockey. Nicole applied for this role as she wants to actively make a difference to local communities and give young people the best opportunities possible in order to prepare them for the future.
Neha recently completed a geography degree and is now working as an environmental data analyst at Thames Water. Her interest in working for The Listening Fund stems from her passion and experience in youth volunteering projects, from environmental conservation projects to creative arts festivals.
Natasha has been working in the youth sector as a fundraiser for the last 3 years and has recently joined the board of Trustees at The British Youth Council. She is passionate about social change and strongly advocates for more to be done to move young people into positions of power and influence. Natasha believes being an advisory panel member at The Listening Fund is the perfect opportunity for her to harness her existing skills and experience, to help philanthropy better respond to the needs of young people.
Liddy is 23 and lives in Newcastle. She is passionate about youth participation and has been involved in national youth voice projects with Girlguiding and the Methodist Church. She has also worked and volunteered with young people in a variety of settings and countries. She is very excited to be working with The Listening Fund and is looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of charity funding in this role.
Lauren has volunteered with education charities based in Nottingham which support children and young people and has previously worked in various social media roles. She is currently Fundraising & Communications Officer for Birmingham Settlement, a charity helping people facing socioeconomic disadvantage. Lauren is excited to be working with The Listening Fund, their values align with hers as she is passionate about challenging power dynamics that exist within philanthropy and supporting young people’s experience to be heard and valued.
Jaiden Corfield is an award-winning activist, campaigner and change leader from North Manchester. Jaiden has worked with multiple organisations on trying to create more spaces for them to lead alongside young people and this is something that attracted him to The Listening Fund. He was attracted by the Fund's clear commitment to be built by young people for young people and after his work co-designing Rekindle school and co-leading at Ashoka he realises the importance of youth leadership and is excited to be a valued member of the advisory panel.
Antonia is reading Human Social & Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge from October 2021. She believes this would have been impossible without the help of university access organisations such as Leading Routes, IntoUniversity, Zero Gravity, Target Oxbridge, & Project Access. She participated on the Advocacy Academy Social Justice 2019-20 Fellowship. This led to her co-founding ‘Fill In The Blanks’ to mandate the teaching of colonialism on the national curriculum. She is keen to support initiatives that have transformative potential which put the individuals they are trying to serve at the forefront.