Young Medway History and Governance


To strengthen Medway’s youth organisations and work with them to help deliver high-quality, effective, safe, and inclusive youth work practice that directly benefits Medway’s young people.


A youth sector in which funders and problem solvers can work together in quality assured, impact assessed youth work for the benefit of all.


Championing inclusivity and diversity
Collaborative rather than competitive
Working across the youth sector
Develop grassroots connections
Fostering long-term solutions
Supporting other organisations to deliver rather than through direct work


Improve the lives of Medway children and young people by supporting and connecting those from all sectors who share the same aim.


Improving relationships, collaboration and coordination between members & partners
Increasing funding and resources for members so they can deliver to young people
Providing high-quality information, training and research
Influencing decision-makers


  • Ben Cooper
    Ben Cooper

    Having started his professional life as a musician and latterly a writer (receiving an award from the Royal Society of Authors), Ben moved into special needs education some fifteen years ago. With experience of teaching Young Offenders, as well as young people with learning difficulties (especially those with autism), he has first-hand experience of the difficulties faced by the most vulnerable. Ben has a small boat which he likes to potter about in, and enjoys writing and recording music in his spare time, as well as carpentry.

  • Mark Jones
    Mark Jones

    As a Career Civil Servant from 1976 to 2010, Mark navigated diverse Government Departments, starting with Employment. During this time, he authored a report on enhancing diversity by bringing Disabled individuals, Ethnic Minorities, and Women onto Non-Departmental Public Body boards.

    His commitment extended to Trade Unions, where he rose through Branch and Departmental ranks for over thirty years, culminating as National TU Side Chair for the Children, Schools, and Families Department. A member of the Public and Commercial Services Union, Mark continues within the Southeast Association of Retired Members Branch's Executive.

    Mark served as a Kent County Council Member (1993-1998), where he chaired the Medway and Swale Social Services Area Forum and acted as Vice Chair for the Highways and Transportation Sub-Committee. He also chaired committees spanning Social Services, Environment, Planning & Transportation, and the Kent Police Authority's Complaints Committee from 1993 to 2000.

    Serving on Medway Council during various periods (1997-2000, 2003-2007, and is currently is elected for the term 2023-27), Mark has chaired the Education Committee and served as Group Planning Spokesperson, Children's issues lead spokesperson. He currently serves on the following committees: "Children and Young People" and "Business Support and Digital" Overview and Scrutiny Committees, "Planning" and the "Licensing and Safety" Regulatory Committees.

    Mark has held roles including Governor, Chair, and Committee Member for institutions like Balfour Junior School, Medway Community College, MHS Homeowners' Forum, and more. He is currently Communities Officer for the Medway Trades Union Council, Chair of the Rochester Film Society, and Hon Secretary of the Young Medway - Young People's Foundation Trust.

    Mark is a keen follower of County Cricket in his spare time.

  • Peter Martin
    Peter Martin

    With a background as a successful businessman and experience on several Boards of Trustees connected to youth work, Peter brings a wealth of experience to his role as Treasurer. Amongst other positions, he is currently chair of the Rochester Grammar School Trust and the Medway Youth Charity (which he helped form in 2007). He is also chair of the Medway Schools Forum and at Bradfields Special School. Peter has an interest in astronomy, gardening and has cruised most of the rivers in Europe. His ambition is to cruise the Amazon.

  • Karen Self
    Karen Self

    With over 30 years of experience in the youth sector, Karen has held various positions in both local authorities and the voluntary sector, demonstrating her extensive expertise. As a JNC professionally qualified youth worker, trainer, assessor and quality assurer, Karen brings invaluable knowledge to her role as trustee.

    Currently, she serves as the Learning and Development Manager at the National Youth Agency (NYA), as a trustee she combines her national perspectives on sector needs with her local insights from residing and working in Medway. This dual perspective provides her with a profound understanding of young people, youth work and its associated challenges. In her role at the NYA, Karen is dedicated to developing ongoing professional development opportunities and resources for the sector, including forums, webinars, toolkits, and training. Karen works closely with the NYA Safeguarding Hub in response to sector needs and was pivotal in the recent development of ‘A toolkit for local authorities’, aimed at supporting local authorities to fulfil their Statutory Duty.

    Karen is invested in Medway, with two grown up children and grandchildren, she places great value on the Youth Work sector and stives for the further development of quality services. When Karen is not championing young people and youth workers she enjoys spending time with her family, walking her two dogs, she is a little obsessive about music and loves to travel!

  • Esther Horner
    Esther Horner

    Having worked in the Youth Work sector for 20+ years in local authority, voluntary, private and charitable arenas, Esther now works for the National Youth Agency as the Deputy Director of Youth Work, where she strives to promote, develop and sustain youth services across England. Recent projects include the development of the National Youth Work Curriculum, a framework to support practitioners in delivering high-quality and meaningful youth work services, in addition to the development of the National Youth Work Practice Standards, due for publication imminently.

    Her passion is to create a world that is equitable, fair and empathetic, a world where young people are seen as assets in their communities and where their individual talents are celebrated and developed. When she is not championing the world of youth work, you will find her busy at home with her wife and two children, enjoying the outdoors in her campervan, particularly at the beach, and will take any opportunity to go paddle boarding or kayaking in the sea, along the river or at the local lakes.

  • Cllr Adam Price
    Cllr Adam Price
    Medway Council Nominated Trustee

History of Young Medway

With assistance from Medway Council, Young Medway was formed in 2021 following an amalgamation of four local youth charities. This amalgamation into a larger and more influential organisation has attracted a professional and pro-active management committee that is keen to develop cross-sector collaboration and practical development of youth work across the whole of Medway.

As a first step toward achieving these aims, the CIO joined the Young People’s Foundation Trust, a nationwide umbrella organisation supporting organisations with similar aims, who are all interested in making a positive difference in the lives of children and young people.

In London, several of our YPFT partners have become centres of excellence for their boroughs, acting as one-stop shops for the voluntary sector. They offer training, contacts, information and access to funding thanks to arrangements made with large funders such as John Lyon's Charity, who recognise the unique ability of these organisations to match funds with local needs, and local voluntary groups that make up the local membership.

Because of our relationship with Medway Council, and our links to voluntary groups and other youth-based organisations, both nationally and locally, we believe we are in a good position to emulate the success of these existing YPFT organisations and will benefit from their advice and experience.