Meet the team

We are a team of passionate people working together to make Surrey a better place for all children, young people and their families.

Meet the team
Meet the team

Cate Newnes-Smith, Chief Executive Officer

Cate joined the team in 2014, following an unconventional journey into the sector. She has a degree in Electrical Engineering and started out working in IT, but quickly discovered that she much prefers working with people than technology. In her role, Cate loves building relationships with people and finding out what makes them tick, as well as talking about big ideas. When she’s not at work, Cate can be found coaching her daughter’s team at Guildford Hockey Club, cycling with family or listening to comedy on Radio 4.

David Halliwell, Finance Manager

David is the charity’s financial expert, supporting the team on all things finance and governance. After graduating with a mathematics degree from Oxford, he spent the first 30 years of his career working in the defence industry, where he was the founder of an engineering consultancy, followed by roles as an independent technical consultant and school bursar. Outside of work he is a regular runner, walker and kayaker, as well as being a treasurer for a number of local organisations.

Meet the team
Meet the team

Rebecca Kenyon, PA to CEO

Rebecca is PA to CEO Cate and is the first point of contact for her diary, meeting requests and general team queries. She also helps with arranging events, as well as keeping the team on track with her excellent organisational skills. Before joining the team in 2019, Rebecca worked at WWF-UK and as a wedding planner, and has a passion for helping children and young people and preserving the environment. When not at work she loves baking and walking in the Surrey Hills with her family.
Email: info@surreyyouthfocus.org.uk

Su Freeman, Collaboration Manager

Su is the dedicated problem solver of the team, identifying needs and opportunities to advance the charity’s work. Having lived in Surrey all her life, she has extensive knowledge of the organisations and people that make it a great place to live, and loves making new connections. Prior to joining SYF, Su worked at Surrey County Council as sport and education manager, and was also part of the ‘Surrey 500’ leadership programme. In her spare time, she enjoys long walks and spending time poolside and pitchside with her two children.

Meet the team
Meet the team

Jo Cookes, Collaboration Manager

Jo is passionate about bringing people together to solve problems and improve the lives of children, young people and families across Surrey. She previously worked in public sector roles for the Home Office and national government abroad. Before moving into the third sector where she was drawn to supporting young people to thrive, despite the challenges put in their way. Outside of work Jo enjoys walking in the picturesque Surrey countryside and spending time with her family.

Sally Stubbings, Project Developer

 Sally first joined the Surrey Youth Focus team as a volunteer, before becoming a fully-fledged team member working on project development. Prior to that, she had worked in operational and project management roles in industry, before moving into the third sector after a break to start a family. One of the things she loves most about working at SYF is the drive and passion of the entire team to make improvements for Surrey’s young people. In her spare time, you’ll find her exploring the great outdoors on a long walk with her dog Chester (pictured).

Meet the team

Karen Moore, Information Manager

Karen came to Surrey Youth Focus having previously worked in the TV industry on documentaries and a long stint on police drama ‘The Bill’.  In her role as Information Manager, she provides informative e-bulletins to the third sector and promotes the work of Surrey’s charitable organisations across social media. In her spare time, you’ll find Karen out and about walking and travelling to other countries.

Anika Wilson, Project Coordinator

Anika is the newest member of the Surrey Youth Focus team and supports the team on various projects. Her background is in primary teaching, including supporting children with SEND, and she has previously done voluntary youth work in the UK and abroad. Anika has a passion for seeing all children and young people thrive and develop their own skills and passions. In her spare time she enjoys walking in the countryside, travelling and practising her photography.

Trustees

Allister McGowan – Chair

Allister is the Chairman of Surrey Youth Focus. He has a strong interest in charities and supporting young people and before retiring, his extensive career background spanned the public, private and third sectors. Allister’s professional expertise centred on education, career guidance and vocational training, however he also provided consultancy services to government bodies in the UK and Europe.

Alec Sanderson

Alec joined Surrey Youth Focus as a Trustee because he believes a good start in life is vital to leading a happy and fulfilled life. After starting out as an apprentice avionics engineer during the 70s era of prog and punk rock, he moved into the tech sector and started his first tech business in 1986. Alec now runs a software consultancy, as well as teaching MSc students about entrepreneurship at UCL, and enjoys oil painting and playing the keyboard in his spare time.

Chris Carson

Chris is a professional kayak athlete who has represented Great Britain in international competitions, and is training to reach the top his sport in time for the 2024 Olympic Games. Alongside his sporting career, he is also studying a degree in psychology. Chris joined Surrey Youth Focus as Trustee because he is passionate about improving opportunities for children and young people, especially those with special needs, due to his lived experience of the special needs schooling system.

Hannah Roberts

Hannah joined the Surrey Youth Focus board in 2019 because she wants to improve experiences for young people. By day she teaches Sociology at Godalming College, but outside of work she volunteers as a Brownie leader and is the County Commissioner for Girlguiding Surrey West, looking after the strategic direction of the county and supporting volunteers to provide a great experience for girls and young women.  As if she wasn’t busy enough, Hannah also completed a PhD in 2016.

James Burge

Having spent his formative years in the Scout movement learning essential life skills, James was driven to volunteer his time to help others as an active Scout Leader and Chairman of Surrey Scouts, as well as a Trustee of Surrey Youth Focus. He has a real passion for supporting young people to develop into the very best they can be. In his day job, James heads up a counter fraud unit for a global insurance company, and uses the business acumen he has gained in his Trustee role.

Lawrence Santcross

Lawrence joined the Board of SYF in May 2021. He is currently the CEO of Transform Housing and Support – a homelessness and supported housing provider operating across Surrey and neighbouring areas. Lawrence has more than 30 years’ experience of working in housing and social care sectors where he has led a range of strategic and operational functions. In his spare time, Lawrence can be found in the mountains or, when he gets a chance, scuba diving. He is a keen amateur chef, avid bookworm and a very poor but enthusiastic tennis player and musician.

President

Michael More-Molyneux,
Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey 

Michael More-Molyneux is the Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey and proprietor of Loseley Park, where his family have lived for five generations. Michael offers active support to a number of local voluntary causes, including Surrey Youth Focus. He is committed to encouraging and supporting the voluntary, charitable and faith sectors, benevolent organisations and the industrial, business and social life of the county, and has a particular interest in work supporting children and young people.

Vice Presidents

David Hypher OBE DL

David Hypher is a former charity Chairman, High Sheriff and Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, and is a great supporter of the voluntary sector in Surrey. He became Vice President of Surrey Youth Focus in YEAR because of his passion to improve the lives of children and families.  In 2012, David received an OBE for his services to charities and the local community.

Lesley Myles MBE JP DL

Lesley Myles has been a magistrate in adult and youth courts for over 30 years, and has had a lifelong interest in the rehabilitation of offenders and supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Surrey. She is a former chairman of a number of organisations such as Surrey Probation Service, Surrey Magistrates’ Association, and Surrey Care Trust.

Patrons

Dr Julie Llewellyn

High Sheriff of Surrey 2021/22 

Dr Julie Llewellyn joined Surrey Youth Focus as a Patron in 2021. As an NHS diabetes physician, she has first-hand experience of the very real impact of social deprivation on health in Surrey. Through her work as High Sheriff of Surrey, Julie aims to help keep the county’s children, young people and the wider community happy and healthy.

Professor Max Lu

Vice-Chancellor, University of Surrey

Professor G Q Max Lu is the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey, Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, and an active supporter of many local charitable and community organisations. He has over 30 years of teaching and research experience in chemical engineering and nanotechnology, and is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology. He became a Patron of Surrey Youth Focus as he is passionate about improving outcomes from children and young people in Surrey. 

Helyn Clack

Chair, Surrey County Council

The Rt Rev Bishop Andrew Watson

Bishop of Guildford

Andrew Watson is the Bishop of Guildford in the Church of England and a Patron of Surrey Youth Focus, representing Surrey’s different faith communities. One of his biggest joys as Bishop is seeing the Living God at work, transforming the lives of individuals and communities, and harnessing the extraordinary potential of adults, young people and children alike.