Kerry O'Brien is an award-winning artists and entrepreneur who founded and leads an award-winning charity Young Urban Arts Foundation. She has thirteen years experience of working in the youth and voluntary sector, establishing powerful engagement programmes from grassroots to national recognition.
Being self-made and having experienced many learning curves, Kerry brings the practical tools to Forward Ever to enable them to thrive and grow.
I have worked in young people’s services as a youth practitioner and service manager in both the voluntary and local authority sector for the last 40 years. My last post was manager of Integrated Youth Support Services in Medway in Northwest Kent. In this role, I had responsibility for the Youth Service, Youth Offending Service and the commissioned Connexions, Information Advice and Guidance Service for young people. All of my practitioner work was in the inner city boroughs of Wandsworth, Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, and Greenwich. where I led and managed both open youth work and targeted programmes with young people 13-21 years.
In 2019 I was asked to take up a trustee role at Forward Ever Inclusive Education (FEIE) CIC. I agreed to this request due to my previous work experiences with David Williams and my knowledge of his wide range of positive work with challenging young people
On retiring in 2017 I wanted to keep an involvement with grass roots young people’s services and the opportunity of involvement with FEIE CIC was one that I had no hesitation in accepting.
Young people’s services are required more than ever today and targeted work with at risk and challenging young people is essential to ensure that these young people have opportunities in society and a future in education, training and employment.
Successive Governments need to reinvest in young people’s services so as to provide safe spaces for young people to socialise with the opportunity of receiving informal advice, guidance and the provision of targeted support to vulnerable young people 8-19 years, who are particularly at risk due to a challenging community environment, peer pressure or family dysfunction.