Who we are
Swansea MAD is a grassroots, anti-poverty, anti-racist, pro-equality, inclusive youth and community charity intolerant of discrimination and injustice. Driven by the advancement of social justice and equity, we work with young people and communities who are marginalised by systemic oppression to dismantle structures which support discrimination.
Swansea MAD is a value-driven charity located in an area of high deprivation. Activities at Swansea MAD take place for the prevention of poverty, advancement of social justice and equity; addressing barriers which communities tell us they face. We seek to sustain and grow the organisation’s impact, by continuing to develop inclusive safe spaces for people to access advocacy, creative arts, education, digital access, employability support, training, campaigning activities and projects to bring fairness and belonging and to influence change for the better.
Swansea MAD was originally started up in 2009 by a group of local artists and musicians in Swansea with a music studio, with an aim of helping young bands to access free studio space and instruments, record demos and have an avenue into the music business.
Music is an essential part of the human experience. Without it, life just isn’t as colourful and exciting. In an industry where enormous advertising budgets, state-of-the-art facilities and high-tech machines can churn out as much product as they want (all of which young people in Swansea did not have access to) why did we choose to not conform? We thought that this was unfair!
Over time the music industry has changed; technology has become more important and having an online presence is now essential. The skills needed to be involved in the industry have changed and MAD has changed. What has stayed the same is that not all young people have access to industries that they could flourish in. We want fairness for young people and for things to change!
For MAD, people come first; meaning we prioritise people. We have created a community of passionate artists, musicians, youth and community workers, digital specialists and good people to help people thrive!
Meet the team
Charlotte Davies [she/her]
Chief Executive Officer
I have 25 years experience working with children, young people and communities, including being a Youth Worker, Lecturer, Foster Carer, Mentor, Counsellor and Youth and Community Manager.
Ever since I was a child, social justice and fighting for equality has been my driving mission. My early experiences of marching for the miners in Wales as a child has helped shape me as a person and my commitment to fighting for human rights. I have lived and worked in Swansea, South Wales for most of my life and am passionate about both the city and the people.
Please get in touch if you would like a chat!
Beth Turner [she/her]
I have worked with young people in different settings for 6 years which has led me to get an understanding of different roles and expertise. I have most recently worked closely with young people with additional learning needs, supporting their learning and development, and providing enrichment activities to their daily routines.
I originally studied Hairdressing in college and qualified with a Level 3 before moving to Childcare Learning and Development Level 3. Through working in schools, I have been fortunate enough to undertake an array of training opportunities including; Safeguarding, Paediatric First Aid, Health and Safety, Autism Awareness and Essential Skills.
I have joined Swansea MAD as Office Manager because I truly believe in the importance of safe spaces where people can learn new skills, be encouraged to develop their passions and get the support they want, which Swansea MAD value and demonstrate everyday.
David Berry [he/him]
During my childhood, so that I could realise my obsession with music, I built my first computer which would allow me to start producing music. While studying, I found myself teaching classes in Music Technology and various Adobe web applications which helped me to find my passion for teaching. Around this time, I started ghost producing music for various artists online and started a computer repair company. Later I decided to return to academia to study Computer Networks where I became qualified as a Cisco network engineer.
I joined Swansea MAD so that I could make use of the broad range of technologies I’ve learnt over the years and to support those who do not currently use technology and develop those already on their journey.
Fikayo Ilori [she/her]
Quality Assurance Manager
I have over ten years of experience working with young people and I am very passionate about social justice and development. This is evident through my early participation in a number of Model United Nation projects for young people, to discuss and proffer solutions to the issues affecting women and children globally. From the age of 14, I participated in a nation-wide protest against the law endorsing child marriage in Northern Nigeria.
My passion to fight against social injustice, inequality nd oppression is
not new and has been sustained through my experience as a lawyer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and recently a master’s degree holder in Public Policy from Swansea University. I am very excited to work in an environment like Swansea MAD, that provides the opportunity to develop necessary skills and to be part of conversations that affect positive changes in the lives of people.
Geraint Turner [he/him]
Finance and Operations
As a young person, I was able to experience the benefits of being involved in Youth Services which empowered me to make positive changes in my community. At 16, I was the recipient of a £10,000 grant to set up and run a local, grassroots youth club in the small rural village I call home. From this, my passion for community engagement and participation developed
which led me onto a variety of roles and responsibilities and 14 years’ experience in Youth and Community Work. I joined Swansea MAD so that I could use my skills working with the community in new and innovative approaches, utilising digital technology to improve opportunities and reduce barriers.
I am a Trustee of the Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services (CWVYS) and a Lead Assessor for the Education Workforce Council (EWC) Youth Work Quality Mark. I was Young Worker of the Year 2017 (YMCA England and Wales) and am an active member of Digital Alliance Wales, Digital Leaders, the Digital Youth Work Advisory Group and a Digital Leaders Week Facilitator.
Phoebe Lacey-Freeman [she/her]
Social Media and Campaigns Officer
My background and studies are rooted in theatre and drama, and I am a massive advocate for protecting the arts and heritage sectors to promote their value to wider communities. Since graduating in 2020, I have been trying to expand my skill set and have been lucky to work on multiple projects across the arts, education, and heritage sectors. Recently, I have enjoyed supporting exhibitions and youth projects with the National Museum of Wales and hope to support the wellbeing of young people through this. I first worked with Swansea MAD through their Raise Your Voice project, where I wrote a spoken word piece about elevating the arts and recognising that they are viable as a career; something particularly close to my heart. I am excited to be part of the Swansea MAD team to help engage further with the wider community; to help signpost new opportunities and support people in developing skills to carry forward. I hope to be part of the preservation of Welsh culture, arts, and heritage for future generations to enjoy.
Rachel Benson [she/her]
Fundraising and Sustainability
I have 10 years’ experience in the Youth and Community Work sector in Wales, as a Support Worker, Equality Manager, Trustee and HE Tutor. I am driven by social justice, inclusion and young people having access to safe spaces where they feel like they belong.
I originally studied English Literature at university and am passionate about arts being accessible and inclusive for everyone. During my career, I have been lucky to work in partnership with artists, supporting young people to create theatre and film to develop confidence, share their stories and aspirations and advocate for change.
Saba Humayun [she/her]
I have over 7 years’ of experience working with the community by volunteering with over 25 organisations since 2016. My roles in community work have included being a trustee with UID asylum seeker community support group, receptionist and Youth Worker with EYST Ethnic Youth Support Team in Swansea, Case Worker with Refugee Council, Young Ambassador with Prince’s Trust and Voice Ambassador with British Red Cross, helping with young carers in YMCA, a women’s group organiser, visual activism and Chair with PCSO South Wales Police Swansea and many more! I have also helped to interpret in various other languages as I am fluent in over 4 languages. I have received many awards over the years including the High Sheriff Award in 2017 for recognition of great and valuable service to the Swansea City of Sanctuary, supporting asylum seekers and refugees. I am also the multi-award holder and winner for the bilingual photography competition from Swansea University, the high 5 achievement award and the International Diana Award for the appreciation of my volunteer work early in 2020’s very passionate and determined to help people and support their needs. I also like to learn new things and gain new experiences. My passion for learning has led me to complete a few things, including a diploma in hairdressing and I hope to open a hair salon one day in Swansea. I am also currently studying to achieve a BA degree in Documentary Media Photography and Visual Activism and will be graduating in 2024.
As a BME young muslim woman, I believe in equality and diversity and always feeling welcome in the community and now I am very excited to work with Swansea MAD as it will give me the opportunity to put my past work experience to good use and gain more experiences in youth and community work.
Sam Hobby [he/him]
Project Support Officer
I graduated from Swansea University in 2021 with a BA in media and communication and am passionate about representation in the media. Film and television are my main areas of interest with my dissertation being centred around the depictions of physically disabled people in Hollywood cinema. It is a subject I feel very close to being disabled myself. I have played wheelchair basketball for a number of years and help to manage the club’s social media channels. The reason I wanted to join Swansea MAD was to be involved in something worthwhile to the city of Swansea, while also developing skills within myself. I have lived in Swansea for all of my relatively short life, so it is a privilege to be working with people who have Swansea’s artistic interests at heart.
Stuart Sumner-Smith [he/him]
I have over 10 years experience of using digital technology and strategic digital development supporting the local community in Swansea to grow and flourish. I love being part of the team at Swansea MAD that works in a co-creative and solutions focused approach; developing digital equity and transforming organisational process and performance through creativity and digital technology.
Anna Arrieta [she/her]
She has designed and coordinated projects in the areas of creative arts, well-being, financial capability, democracy and equal rights. She has experience developing resources for young people, as well as developing and facilitating training sessions for youth-facing professionals in the Youth and Community sector. Since leaving school, she has committed her professional life to the Third Sector. Building on her skills and experience, she is also a Trustee for the National Theatre Wales. In her spare time she sings and performs and reviews local food spots on her @flavahoodwatch Instagram page.
Quote: “I’m on the Swansea MAD Board because I love the ethos of the organisation. The work they do for people and the community of Swansea is person-centred and led by staff who are not only experts in their fields, but are also committed to changing people’s lives. I feel this purpose aligns with my morals and values and I love being part of the Board of such an inclusive and open organisation. Swansea MAD’s approach and way of working is different to anything I’ve seen in the sector, they set standards and working practices that I think other organisations should follow. Swansea MAD are not ‘gatekeepers’, they collaborate and work with others in the sector for the benefit of community members. I am proud to be on the Board where my opinions and voice is heard and valued”.
Skills: Change, Sustainability, Community Engagement, Equality and Diversity, Equal opportunities, Fighting Ageism, Youth Work, Music, Film and TV, Event, Location and Stage Management, Casting, Sound and Audio, Project Management, Communications and Marketing, Media
Candice Lloyd [she/her]
Trustee / Safeguarding Lead for the Board
A proud mother of five from the Vale of Glamorgan, Candice’s career started in Early Years Education where her team won the Pearson Award for Education. She has since worked across Local Government, Education and the Third Sector to become a highly experienced and solution-focused Trainer, Advocate and Programme Author. She currently works as Service Manager for NYAS Cymru (working with Care-experienced young people) and is the Director and Founder of Folk Training. Candice is a Safeguarding Trainer for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and lead for Camerados Community Connection Volunteering group in Barry.
Candice is a passionate advocate for people’s rights and working with and experimenting with creative methodologies that inspire real change. Her focus over the last few years has been working to create systems and spaces to support young people’s mental health and wellbeing. She is the co-founder of Do Idea Co., a social design company.
Quote: “Swansea MAD are brilliant! I am so proud to be part of such a wonderful group of individuals, who really reach out and make huge changes in the community and wider areas. Innovation and compassion lie at the heart of all the work they do and they really are changing the landscape of the charity sector.”
Skills: Youth Work and Education, Volunteer Management, Wellbeing, Facilitation, Creation of Educational Resources, Co-production, Evaluation, Inspirational Speaker, Advocacy, Training, Design, Safeguarding, Train the Trainer, Makaton
Jeff Phillips [he/him]
Quote: “I think what Swansea MAD offers to young people is so important. Teaching, training and a sense of belonging to the community is so important in today’s modern society and ever-changing world. As well as providing learning opportunities, they also build confidence in young people and give them a good foundation to face life experiences, the challenges of work, and finding a place in today’s society.”
Skills: Heritage, Creative Arts, Painting, Illustration, Education, Intergenerational Mentoring, Environmentalism and Sustainability, Local Historian, Public Speaking, Storyteller, Community Engagement, Arts Festivals and Exhibitions, Creative Collaboration, Published Author and Children’s Stories Illustrator, Album Cover Illustrator
Kirstie Edwards [she/her]
Kirstie currently works for YMCA Cardiff as their Community Services Manager and was previously their Wellbeing Manager, where she supported their Wellbeing team and ran the Y-Girls mentoring project.
She is also the Director of Ffair Jobs CIC, which works to address poverty wages and discriminatory employment practices and make local people visible in workplaces in Cardiff Bay and Cardiff City Centre.
Quote: “I’m so excited to be part of Swansea MAD’s Trustee Board, as I truly believe in the work they are doing and am proud to mirror and support the organisation’s values.”
Skills: Creative Arts, Youth Work, Mental Health, Wellbeing, Counselling, Participation, Young people’s Rights, Inclusive Recruitment and Employment Practice, Project and Event Management, Training and Facilitation, Campaigning
Leigh Rowland [he/him]
Trustee / Finance and Audit Sub-Committee
Quote: “It is a great honour for me to be involved with a Charity such as Swansea MAD. When I was approached to be on the Board, it was very flattering knowing that I would be surrounded by such talented and visionary people, both on the Board and within the charity as a whole. I am literally overwhelmed by the development of the Charity and the quality of the service which it provides. I have learnt so much from my fellow Board members and the Senior Management Team at Swansea MAD which has helped my personal development which I can then migrate into my personal life and my business. I can’t thank the whole of Swansea MAD enough for the opportunity to be involved.”
Skills: Critical Leadership, Project Management, Recruitment Liaison, Consultancy, Human Resources, Budget Forecasting, Active Listening, Management, Finance, Social Enterprise, Training, Youth Work, Communications and Marketing, Fundraising, Partnership Management, Safeguarding, Data Protection
Leon Berry [he/him]
Chair of Trustees / Finance and Audit Sub-Committee
Quote: “Swansea MAD are a dynamic organisation in an innovative sector, who are making and having a significant and positive impact on the local and wider community and on people’s lives. Volunteering as Chair of the Board is a privilege that allows me to not only support a thriving organisation and sector but also allows me to support the vibrant and inspirational team at Swansea MAD. I am passionate about my local community and the whole ethos behind Swansea MAD is to fight for social justice, to support those who need it and to allow underrepresented individuals and groups a voice and a safe space. The small part I play in this hopefully helps the incredible team at Swansea MAD be in a position to provide this community support.”
Skills: Health and Wellbeing, Facilities Management (Hard and Soft Services, Total Facilities Management), Operations Management, Training and Education, Business Management, Youth Work, Assessment, Quality Assurance, Health and Safety, Human Resources and Relations, Finance Management, Charity Governance, Financial Reporting
Mymuna Soleman [she/her]
Vice-Chair / Finance and Audit Sub-Committee
During the COVID-19 lockdown, she set up The Privilege Café as she was frustrated with the lack of diversity and couldn’t express herself as a woman of colour in spaces filled with privilege. She facilitated weekly sessions on Zoom covering various themes including mental health, ‘unconscious’ bias and privilege in the recruitment process. The level of engagement has been incredible and the guest speaker’s insight, knowledge and expertise have brought nothing but positivity to all those who have attended the sessions. The Café is open to all, it’s a safe space for all to engage, learn and to use their privilege for good.
Quote: “I am delighted to be part of the wonderfully diverse Board at Swansea MAD. I am SO happy to be appointed as Vice-Chair! Swansea MAD heads up great work, works compassionately with people within communities from all backgrounds without any judgement, stereotype or biases. Swansea MAD’s values, driven by the advancement of Social Justice and Equity, align with my values which are woven by enthusiasm of unpicking structural systems that create barriers for so many within society. I truly believe in the ethos of being an anti-poverty, anti-racist and pro-equality organisation, as a charity, as people and as individuals which always aim to increase the impact their work has within communities.”
Skills: Facilitation, Anti-racism, Community Consultation, Activism, Public Health, Equality and Diversity and Representation, Public Speaking, Campaigning, Education and Training, Change Management, Inclusive Practice, Welsh Language, Public Policy
Rachel Newton-John [she/her]
Quote: “I love being included in the Swansea MAD Board surrounded by thoughtful, determined people who collectively put the work in to make a meaningful, substantial difference in the world around us. Their dedication and drive is humbling and a little terrifying.”
Skills: Audio Engineering, including Recording and Acoustic Design, Music Production, Film and Digital Technology, Building Recording Studios, Website development, Video Editing, Podcasting, Live-Streaming, Computer Programming, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation
Stevie Thomas [she/her]
Treasurer / Audit and Finance Sub-Committee
Quote: “Being able to volunteer as a Trustee at Swansea MAD is a privilege and I hope I bring a breadth of life experience and knowledge to my work within the charity sector. It is an absolute honour to be appointed as the Treasurer. I am so grateful to be part of the team that works to support some great work in Swansea and across Wales with such a talented and innovative group of people. We are seeing the charity flourish, making a real difference in the lives of so many people. I feel humbled to be working towards supporting opportunities for young people and community members who need them.”
Skills: Change Management, Sustainability, Medicine, Legal Services, Management, Finance Auditing, Accounts Preparation, Music Law, Strategic Planning, Public Relations, Risk Management.