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Our people

The Senior Team

Neil Wragg MBE Chief Executive

Ellie Garraway Chief Operating Officer

Mark Charley Training & Curriculum Director

Clare Kanakides Director of Development

Amira Asantewa Director of Communities

Pete Morris Finance Director

Operations Team

Anna Barradell, Anthony Olanipekun, Mohamed Mohamed and Sarah Harris.

With skills from industry, teaching and spoken word poetry, it’s the ops team that makes our programmes happen. The team works up and down the country with young people, volunteers, our training team, project partners and funders. They also offer a wealth of opinion about motorway services and catering on trains.

Support Team

Maggie Emson, Ashley Johnston, Andy Harris and Lauren Phipps.

The bedrock of Grit, the support team carries out all those essential core activities. Maggie and Andy look after our day-to-day finances and Lauren is Personal Assistant to our CEO, covering whilst Ashley is on maternity leave.

Our Trustees

Tony Morgan

Chairman and Co-founder of Grit. Former Governor of the BBC 1972-1977 and Chief Executive of the Industrial Society (now the Work Foundation) 1994-2000.

Ben Rose

Co-founder of Grit and Founding Partner at Hickman & Rose Solicitors, a leading human rights and criminal defence practice. He specialises in representing businesses, professionals, high profile individuals and victims of miscarriages of justice. He frequently writes and speaks about legal affairs and is a member of the Times Law Panel.

Professor Michael Wolff RDI

A founder of Wolff Olins - among the world’s most iconic design companies. Now, as Michael Wolff and Company he works with clients around the world both as a designer and creative advisor. He’s a visiting Professor at Central St Martins (The University of the Arts in London) and at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (Cape Town, South Africa). He’s a Senior Fellow at the RCA (The Royal College of Art), a member of the UK’s faculty of Royal Designers for Industry, and is the ‘Inclusive design champion’ for the UK Government.

Roy Ackerman

Managing Director of Films of Record and Director of International Strategy at Zinc Media, and former Managing Director of Fresh One, Jamie Oliver’s independent film production company. An innovative and highly acclaimed TV producer who has specialised in high profile documentaries and documentary series, many of which chronicle social deprivation and/or celebrate the remarkable achievements of ‘ordinary’ people when enabled to rise to the challenges in their lives.

Sue Cook

Joined Suffolk County Council in 2013 as Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services and is now Director of Health, Wellbeing and Children’s Services. Sue previously worked for Southend on Sea Borough Council for 7 years as the Assistant Director for Specialist Services and then as the Director for Children & Learning. Her prior career includes working at Essex County Council where she held a range of senior posts before becoming Head of Service for Looked After Children.

Judith Firman

A UKCP recognised Psychotherapist, Judith is an experienced executive business coach who has worked with numerous senior individuals and teams in both the private and public sectors. She is a UKCP registered psychotherapist and an accredited coaching supervisor of business coaches. She has had considerable experience developing and running training organisations both here in the UK and abroad. She is currently senior associate at The Centre for Teams where she works with leadership teams. She is an associate at The Performance Coach working mainly in the public sector, training coaches.

Our Trainers

Our training team is a highly experienced, diverse and committed group of individuals. They are based across the UK and overseas and have dedicated many years to the organisation. Backgrounds include social work, psychosynthesis, executive coaching, youth work and teaching, with many of the trainers highly experienced in working within the corporate world. All of our trainers spend many nights away from home and have the opportunity to work with varying teams, partnerships and clients. Getting them all together is always a joy, not only are they an integral part of the family, they are also the noisiest group of people in Grit.

Cara Rule, Head of Curriculum

Cara worked for Newham Social Services before becoming a volunteer for Grit’s Essex programme in 1999, shortly afterwards she became the Project Manager. She trained to become one of our trainers from 2003 onwards. Cara has delivered too many training workshops to count, literally thousands of young people and adults across the UK. Cara also leads on curriculum development in the UK. She has a very loud laugh and loves to travel.

Advisory Board

Grit have the good fortune to be supported by a committed and active Advisory Board, led by Tony Morgan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees that provides continuing advice on the activities of the Charity.

Sir Michael Barber,Chair for Office of Students Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the USA Neil Basu, Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police John Cox, Theatre and Opera Director Sir Les Ebdon, CBE, DL, former Director of the Office of Fair Access Felicity Gillespie, Independent Education Consultant Sir David Henshaw, Chairman, Alder Hey NHS Foundation Trust Dr. Tony Kaplan, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist James Kenny-Levick, Chief Inspector, Metropolitan Police
Guy Morton, former Senior Partner, Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer Lord Neuberger, former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Ron Odunaiya, Director of Community Services, Liverpool City Council Mike Parton, Chairman, Arqiva Group Lord Phillips, former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Lord Ramsbotham, GCB, CBE, former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Simon Rogerson, Chief Executive, Octopus plc Brigadier Simon Waddington, Director Global Plans, HQ Joint Operations Command, Australian Defence Force, Canberra.

Neil Wragg MBE Dip SW (CQSW)

Chief Executive Officer

Neil was a senior manager in Enfield Council when he first met Grit. He was so impressed that he joined as Chief Executive in 1994. Neil was a member of the government’s Crime Reduction Task Force from 2000-01 and Social Work Taskforce from 2006-8. He was the Non-Executive Director of the Camelot Foundation 2004-2008, was a member of the National Enquiry into Self Harm 2008-2010 and an ambassador for Make Justice Work. Neil was awarded an MBE for his services to young people in 2008 and likes fast cars.

Ellie Garraway

Chief Operating Officer

Ellie started out in the theatrical world before arriving at Grit in 2000. Originally a practitioner, she quickly turned her hand to creating our work in schools, and has been designing and developing projects ever since. Made Head of Operations in 2008 and Chief Operating Officer in 2013. Ellie has recently gained an MSc in Positive Psychology and runs long distances for fun

Mark Charley

Training and Curriculum Director

A Youth Advocate for the Roxbury Court Services in Boston, Massachusetts, Mark recognised the value of transformational work as opposed to incarceration and deterrence (methods typically employed by the justice system). With 29 years of experience, Mark is now the driving force behind the continuous improvement of our curricula and training team. He is an internationally recognised consultant in personal development.

Clare Kanakides

Director of Development

After an assortment of jobs including bar management and human rights research, Clare joined Grit in 2007. She’s worked her way around most roles in the organisation and has now settled in business development, grappling with word counts in bids, tenders and funding applications to bring in money. Clare also manages HR, evaluation and loves Scandi noir dramas.

Amira Asantewa

Director of Communities

Amira was first involved with Grit in 1998 as a volunteer life coach on one of our community programmes. Her talent and potential were quickly spotted and she joined the staff team as a Project Co-ordinator. Since then, Amira has managed a wide range of programmes in various settings and is our ‘community specialist’. Amira brings passion, determination and commitment to the delivery of our most intensive and highest impact programmes.

Pete Morris

Finance Director

A qualified accountant with over 40 years commercial experience, Pete is an integral part of the Grit team

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