Our Team

Who We Are

Meet the people who make up the UFA team…

CEO - National Team

Paul Evans

About Me

I joined UFA from a role as Director at Street League, the UK’s leading Sport for Employability Charity, joining when the charity was in three cities in 2012 and expanding to fourteen in 2016. I have also worked in youth services, homelessness and mental health services, as well as corporate roles in the private sector. I am proud to be Chair of Trustees at an award winning sexual assault and abuse charity, ISAS, based in Nottinghamshire. Outside of work I am a keen guitarist and drummer and enjoy writing music. I have a First Class Honours Degree in Business & Management and a diploma in Psychotherapy. In 2009 I was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

You can connect with me on LinkedIn here and Twitter here.

My role at UFA

As CEO, my role is focused on working with trustees and colleagues to set the strategic direction for UFA, ensuring that the work we do has the maximum possible impact and that we capture and measure that impact. I love the continuous challenge of running the organisation with the heart of a charity and the mind of a business.

Leading an organisation is a privilege and I am fortunate to learn something from everyone I work with.

What’s the best thing about what you do?

We see a young person in terms of what they can become, not where they are now. The potential that all people have has always excited me. I have been fortunate to work with organisations like UFA who help unlock that potential and empower people to achieve great things. When you work with UFA as a young person or practitioner, you will finish at a completely different place to where you started, and that’s exciting.

National Manager - National Team

Lula Garner

About me
After completing a psychology degree I led home-educating groups at local, regional and national level when home-educating my two daughters through primary education.
I was a National Co-ordinator for an attachment parenting support network.
My role as Out of School Hours Learning Development Officer for Derbyshire Local Authority included training as a UFA Fellow, which immediately led onto being one of the LA’s Lead UFA Trainers as well as collaborating to develop the UFA Partnership across the authority.
I love to garden and grow lots of flowers, fruit and veg. I’m a great crocheter and knitter and I practice daily yoga and meditation and am a trained Dru Yoga teacher. I love to dance.
My role at UFA
My role is to develop demand for our work and support clients from initial contact through to consultancy/critical friending to delivery and evaluation. I’ve project managed some larger grants which gave me the chance to follow young people through a longer journey of personal and leadership development which I absolutely relish because I get to see them transform and grow into people who know who they are and believe in themselves.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
My favourite part of the job – whether it be developing young people or adults – is seeing the transformation in self-belief and skillset for learning, for work and for life. I also love working with parents especially those who are under-confident in themselves and their educational and parenting experience

NCS Call Center Manager - Office Team

Jade Durrant

About me
I have worked for the UFA for five years and have focused on NCS in the last 12 months. Outside of work I enjoy going to the gym and other physical activities (as I do have a wedding to prepare for) and I enjoy going out for meals to high end restaurants, when my budget allows.
My role at UFA
I work with the NCS teams to support all our programmes and I love being able to communicate with all the areas in one way or another to help and support in whatever they need.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
Being able to use my attention to detail to spot differences a mile off and make sure we stay consistently on brand.

HR co-ordinator - Office Team

Ravinder Bilkhu

About Me
I worked in third party pensions administration as a PMI qualified senior pensions administrator for 15 years before making a complete career change and joining UFA in March 2014 as an administrator and moved to a HR administrator role in November 2014. Outside of work I enjoy reading and listening to music.
My role at UFA
To provide efficient HR administration support to the UFA and our NCS contracts, maintaining a high level of confidentiality and accuracy.
What’s the best part of the job?
It is satisfying to see a whole recruitment process from advertising to employment for permanent staff in the central office and regional offices, as well as when recruiting NCS temporary staff for our programmes which empower young people to make a difference.

UFA Administrator - Office Team

Alex Stoenciu

About Me
I grew up on the (sometimes) sunny shores of the Romanian coastline and came to the UK in 2008 for my university studies. I’ve completed an undergraduate course in International Relations and Politics at Coventry University, and am currently doing my MA in Politics and Research Methods at the University of Birmingham. Although all my spare time is currently dedicated to the last length of my studies, there’s nothing I like more than a good story (be it a book, film or just a nice chat) to occupy my time. My very first volunteering role with the UFA was in August 2010 on one of their Summer Challenges. Three years later, I was excited to receive a position with Top Tutors which grew and paved the way to my current role as the UFA administrator.
My role at UFA
I interact with all the departments such as Top Tutors and NCS. It’s a varied role, with a very long list of attributes that span from ordering stationary to preparing training evaluation reports and tracking the progress of young people on different programmes.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
The best thing about what I do is the great comments the young people write down in the post training evaluations. The confidence, optimism and determination they show at the end of it all truly makes the job worth it.

NCS Administrator - Office Team

Grace Miller

About me

Almost 10 years ago I signed up as a delegate on a UFA Summer scheme, which is where my journey began. I met Jan who encouraged me to get involved and apply to become a Peer Tutor the following year.  I quickly realised that I wanted to be a part of an organisation that inspired young people like myself to be creative, enjoy learning and better themselves…so I kept coming back!

I have worked in quite a few roles for UFA over the years, during the Summer of 2015 I was a Team assistant on our UFA NCS programme, which was an amazing experience…despite the late nights and early mornings, I would gladly get involved again this year!!

Role at UFA

In December 2015, I graduated from Newman University…finally!! I also became the new NCS Administrator, it is great to officially be a part of such a supportive team.

What’s the best thing about what you do?

I love that NCS enables young people to realise their own potential, encourages them to create their own opportunities and meet others from different backgrounds. It’s great to be apart of making this happen!

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