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.

Mission

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.

Status Quo

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!

Conflict

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!

Resolution

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]

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!

charlotte@swanseamad.com

David Berry [he/him]

David Berry [he/him]

Digital

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]

Fikayo Ilori [she/her]

Policy and 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 Nations
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 and 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]

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 Treasurer of Melin Community Centre (MCT) as well as 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]

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]

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]

Saba Humayun [she/her]

Office Manager

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]

Sam Hobby [he/him]

Communications and 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]

Stuart Sumner-Smith [he/him]

Employability

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]

Anna Arrieta [she/her]

Trustee

I am a youth worker with experience of coordinating projects for young people and managing live events. I am currently a Project Manager at It’s My Shout, which provides training for people interested in gaining experience in Film and Television Production. I have previously specialised in creative arts projects, developing and delivering music sessions which aimed to empower young people to reach their potential through artistic expression.

I have coordinated projects in the areas of creative arts, well-being, financial capability, democracy, and equal rights. I also have experience developing resources for young people, as well as developing and facilitating training sessions for youth facing professionals in the sector.

Since leaving school, I have been lucky enough to work in the third sector building on my skills and experience, I am also a Trustee for National Theatre Wales. In my spare time I make music, and review local food spots on my @flavahoodwatch Instagram page.

Candice Lloyd [she/her]

Candice Lloyd [she/her]

Trustee

I am a proud mother of five from the Vale of Glamorgan. My career started in early years education where my team won the Pearson Award for Education. I have since worked across local Government, education and the 3rd Sector to become a highly experienced and solution focused trainer, advocate and programme author. I currently work as Service Manager for NYAS Cymru.

I’m a passionate advocate for peoples rights and working with and experimenting with creative methodologies that inspire real change. My focus over the last few years and during lockdown has been working to create systems and spaces to support young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

 

Chisomo Phiri [she/her]

Chisomo Phiri [she/her]

Trustee

My name is Chisomo, also known as Chizi, and I’m a Campaign Officer at Cowshed. I was previously Policy and Communications Partner at Chwarae Teg and a Campaign Executive at Seeker Digital.

I was previously Student Union President at Swansea University Students’ Union and Women’s Officer at NUS Wales where I ran a successful campaign to end period poverty in Wales. This led to me winning Chwarae Teg’s People’s Choice Womenspire award in 2019.

I have also been a Trustee of the British Youth Council and am currently a Trustee at the Bevan Foundation. I have a wealth of experience in governance, equality, PR and communications which I look forward to bringing to the Swansea MAD Board. 

Kirstie Edwards [she/her]

Kirstie Edwards [she/her]

Trustee

I am passionate about using the arts as a method to support us to manage behaviours, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, while increasing our self-esteem. Through this, art provides us with the opportunity to understand our identity and place within society. This passion led me to graduate from University of South Wales with a BA in Creative and Therapeutic Arts and a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling. Since then I have worked in the care, education and youth sectors using a person-centred approach to support others.

I currently work for the YMCA as Wellbeing Manager, where I support our wellbeing team and run our Y-Girls mentoring project.

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

Leigh Rowland [he/him]

Leigh Rowland [he/him]

Trustee

The majority of my career has been in Youth Work. I started as a Youth Worker in 1998, doing over 40 hours of face-to-face Youth Work per week. I became the Project Manager involved in developing Randomz, an award-winning Social Enterprise Academy which was recognised throughout Europe as a pioneer project. I also progressed through the London School of Social Entrepreneurs. I was then appointed Chief Executive Officer at the Cwmbran Centre for Young People and we were the first organisation throughout Wales to achieve the Gold Standard Quality Mark for Youth Work in Wales. At present I run my own business; I am involved in Property, Mortgages, Lettings and Insurances. Luckily, I still get job satisfaction from helping young people find their first homes. I just want young people to be happy – whatever it takes to make them happy, we as adults and professionals should do all we can to make this possible.
Leon Berry [he/him]

Leon Berry [he/him]

Chair of Trustees

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 a board member 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 of staff at Swansea MAD. The whole ethos behind Swansea MAD is to help the community, 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. I have 17 years’ experience in the Health and Well-being sector, 9 years’ experience in Senior Facilities Management and 3 years’ experience in the Training and Education sector, as well as being a multiple business owner.
Mymuna Soleman [she/her]

Mymuna Soleman [she/her]

Trustee

I’m of Somali origin and was born and bred in Cardiff, Wales. I have a huge passion for equality and diversity but most importantly equal representation for Muslim women of colour like myself. I studied Health and Social Care at the undergraduate level and my Master’s in Public Health; both obtained from Cardiff Metropolitan University.

During the Covid-19 lockdown,  I set up The Privilege Café as I was frustrated with the lack of diversity and couldn’t express myself as a woman of colour in spaces filled with privilege. I’ve 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 speaker’s insight knowledge and expertise have brought nothing but positivity to all those who have attended the sessions.

The Café is an open to all, it’s a safe space for all to engage, learn and to use their privilege for good: https://www.patreon.com/PrivilegeCafe

Rachel Newton-John [she/her]

Rachel Newton-John [she/her]

Trustee

I studied Music Technology in college from 2008-2011, and then began volunteering with Swansea MAD in September 2011. Since that time, I’ve designed, overseen the construction of and built the acoustic treatment for our recording facilities, I’ve managed the day to day workings of these facilities, and through our recording, rehearsal and engineering services developed working relationships with both local and international artists. I also designed and built a previous iteration of the company website and provided audio editing and mixing services internally where needed for other parts of the company, including the video editing staff and a podcast produced internally.
Stevie Thomas [she/her]

Stevie Thomas [she/her]

Trustee

I started training as a Doctor in Bristol University and continued on the scientific path,  graduating in Anatomical Sciences. I subsequently retrained in Law and ended up working in Clinical Negligence in a major London city firm. Eventually my love of music prevailed and I side-stepped into music law, hoping to combine work and my passion. Ever the explorer, I have travelled, lived and worked in many different cities and countries with a broad spectrum of individuals of all professions, ages and backgrounds. Being able to volunteer as a trustee at Swansea MAD is a privilege and I hope to bring a breadth of life experience and knowledge to my work within the charity sector.