Our story

Giving Young People a Voice

Passionate and driven about the current plight of young people’s mental health, Young Minds Matter was formed in 2017 by way of a charity concert, with the aim of not only showcasing the musical talents of some extraordinary young people, but also to bring the audience some inspirational speakers. Together with some moving video interviews with young people, we managed to raise a phenomenal total of £37,100, as well as raising awareness of the mental health challenges they were facing, in a positive and uplifting manner. 

With two successful fundraising events now under our belt, we are returning to Warwick Hall auditorium for our 2022 concert, which promises to be bigger and better than before!

Our mentoring service was originally launched in 2019, with experienced mentors and established contacts at local schools. Following a restructure and the recruitment and training of 6 new mentors in 2021, we have just started a brand new pilot programme in two local secondary schools. We offer free 1:1 mentoring for any young person, no matter what their needs are. We also work closely with local and national mental health professionals and charities to ensure that young people are supported in the way that’s right for them, signposting them to further support if necessary.

Our young people

An integral part of what Young Minds Matter does is to have young people at its core in everything we do, from the organisation and participation in events, to the future appointment of young people to our Trustee Board. Our mentors are always listening to and learning from the young people they work with to ensure our support is appropriate for their needs.

Our values

To ensure every young person receives the support they deserve
To instigate positive change in young people’s lives
To give a voice to young people
To collaborate with and champion others

Support Us

Meet the team

Sue Roberts – Founder and Trustee

Since becoming a parent, I have always had an active role in children’s welfare, from many years spent with schools PTA’s, initiating and organising events and supporting charitable causes, to supporting my two daughters and other young people through their schooling and university years. Whilst working at a school for many years and witnessing the diverse challenges our young people were facing, I realised that there was still a big stigma attached to anyone experiencing any form of mental health battles and that access to any form of support and treatment was dogged with setbacks, including long waiting lists and increased trauma for not only the young people who were suffering but also their families.  

I decided that I needed to do something to try and remove some of this taboo and to bring mental health out into the open, but in a positive and inspirational way.  I also wanted to showcase the amazing talent of young people and hence I organised a concert, with 70 local young musicians and some inspirational speakers.  The feedback from this was so positive and this spurred me on to continue what I had started.

With an entrepreneurial spirit, a naturally proactive nature and a huge desire to instigate positive change into young people’s lives, I hope that through what is now Young Minds Matter, the registered charity, we can continue to give many young people the support they need and deserve.

John Jackson – Trustee

I originally came to England from the U.S. to complete a doctorate at Oxford University and have lived here since 1996 with my wife of 41 years and my son and daughter. Judy, my wife, is a retired teacher. Kate, my daughter, is married to Ben, lives in London and works for the charity Save the Children. Chris, my son is a graduate of the Leeds College of Art and Design and works as a freelance gallery technician and lives in Bournville near Birmingham. Prior to moving to the U.K. I taught law at a law school in Columbus, Ohio and practiced law there as well.

I am honoured to be a new part of Young Minds Matter as a trustee, and am excited about the future of this organisation. I have worked closely with young people during my time as Chaplin at Tudor Hall School, a girl’s boarding and day school in Banbury, Oxfordshire. As part of my role, I spent many hours working with and counselling students and helping them as they struggled with mental health issues. I have learned that society seems to underestimate the depth and seriousness of the real and serious difficulties that young people face from day to day. I look forward to this role as Trustee to aid in some way, to reverse the stigma of mental health problems among the young and perhaps be a part of giving direction and hope. I love working with young people and have worked in other school settings, volunteering to help those who have difficulties in reading and with conditions such as dyslexia. I have recently retired from Tudor Hall School after 15 years of service. I continue to work with schools and am a governor at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School in Norwich and serve as the safeguarding officer in our local parish Church. I look forward with great anticipation to see the outcome of the worthwhile and needed work of Young Minds Matter.

Harriet Stevens – Trustee

My world has always been very much focused on people and I have had an endless fascination around what it means to be human and the struggles that entails. This was really brought into sharp focus when I became a parent myself and subsequently found myself bringing up four children entirely on my own. Prior to this massive challenge, I had had a rather extraordinary career; ranging from working for an iconic member of the Royal Family, to broking equities for a major financial services institution in both London and Tokyo. What brought me the greatest joy was building relationships with my clients; the shared experiences and the common humanity. And whilst there was clearly much to learn from my years working; nothing really could have prepared me for the ‘role’ of parent.

Of the many lessons that I have learned over the years, the most important is that we all need to be listened to and that in sharing our concerns, they diminish, both in reality and in our minds. I have been a Trustee for a Charity (Steps2Recovery) that works with alcoholics/addicts who have been released from prison. What I know from talking to the counsellors who worked with our clients is that had they had the support of a mentor in their early years, many would not have found their way into both addiction and crime.

As a life-long learner, I embarked upon a Degree in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins 10 years ago. I subsequently completed a Foundation Course in Counselling. However, I later discovered that my real passion lay in Coaching, which is more focused on solutions and taking the action necessary to move forward. What I have discovered over the years is that there still appears to be a stigma attached to the young accessing the support of a counsellor/therapist. However, a mentor is viewed very differently and can provide early intervention where issues might have been otherwise over-looked.
When I am not working, I can be found by the sea. 3 years ago I followed a life-long dream to sail across the Atlantic, and I also ran sailing courses at our local sailing club. From time to time I can be found in the mountains on skis, having pushed myself out of my comfort zone some years ago, deciding to learn to ski as an adult. I am passionate about my children, my friends, community and connection and last but by no means least, the planet.
I am extremely excited to be involved in the initiatives that YMM are proposing and am confident of the positive benefits that this approach will bring to the students that we support.

Natalie Dowsett – Trustee

As someone that has struggled with poor mental health at various points in my life, I want to make a difference to someone else that may find themselves struggling too. I am delighted to be a part of the Young Minds Matter team as I am passionate about the importance of good mental health and want to ensure the very best resources and support can be available for our young people.

I gained terrible A-Level results but with the right support, I graduated from university and subsequently spent several years at a large automotive manufacturer. More recently I have been enjoying a fantastic role with a social impact-driven automotive start-up with a vision to bring clean, affordable transport to emerging markets. I have loved my career to date which has spanned engineering, strategy, and communications, providing me with broad experience in business which I can bring to Young Minds Matter and support this brilliant initiative. Throughout my career I have provided mentoring, support, and guidance to colleagues and high-school and university students through volunteering and as a professional mentor.

My most important role, however, is being a mum to two little ones – I have learnt the most in this role by far! I live in Stratford-upon-Avon with my husband, son, and daughter and we love to go on adventures in “Betty” our beloved camper van, get out on a kayak or swim in the sea. On the rare occasions I have some time to myself, I will be found tending to my houseplants or with my nose in a book, recently I have taken a shine to paddleboarding too!

Suzie Winter – Training Consultant

As a Mental Health Professional and busy mum to 3 teenagers my passion for mental health awareness and recognition is constantly being challenged. I qualified as a Registered Mental Health Nurse in Warwick in 1988 and after having moved South and a little too close to Heathrow Airport, soon succumbed to the other of my great passions, travel! I was immensely proud to be recruited as a British Airways long-haul cabin crew member and began flying around the world in 80 days and several times spanning a 27-year career. I finally decided to hang up my wings as a Cabin Service Manager in 2016.

My passion will always be PEOPLE and in particular the smaller variety. Having worked in mental health I know how many challenges our youngsters face in a modern world and am a true believer that the younger we can teach children resilience and self-belief and nurture their free spirit and confidence, the stronger their mental health will be as they grow and blossom.

I have returned to clinical practice with renewed vigour and am also employed as a Training Consultant in Health and Social Care and as an Expert Witness in Mental Health.

I have recently qualified as a Youth Mindfulness trainer and as well as practicing myself, I now teach children to meditate and practice mindfulness.

In my spare time, I enjoy gardening, cooking, walking, playing tennis, cycling, and sailing and am currently working towards achieving my Day Skipper qualification. I have also recently joined The Samaritans as a listening volunteer and am enormously proud to be a part of this amazing organisation and family. My superpower is kindness and a little goes a long way. I live in Stratford upon Avon with my husband and our three teenagers, a black lab called Bella, 2 cats, 2 rabbits, 4 goldfish, and a corn snake!

Unsurprisingly our children have inherited a love of exploring, meeting new people, travel, and the sea. As a family we have recently been to Hong Kong, San Francisco, and The Maldives. We also very much LOVE and spend as much time as we can in Cornwall. Our shared dream and vision is to one day call it our home as that they say, is where the heart is.

Planning and Development

Chris Hoyle – Advisor

I’ve lived in the Stratford area for most of my adult life whilst working in the car industry as a Chartered Engineer, and more latterly on the business side of things leading strategy, governance and business development activities. During this time I often provided professional development mentoring for young engineers. I’m married with two daughters, one of whom is a passionate Young Ambassador for YMM.

I first met Sue when we were both volunteering on a committee to raise over half a million pounds for a local school building project, in order to gain full project funding from the authorities. That gave me an insight into the power of a small group of passionate volunteers and also the satisfaction of indirectly helping young people achieve their potential.

I am delighted to be supporting and advising YMM on strategic, organisational and governance matters as I see the great potential for Sue and the YMM team to provide important local mental health support for young people. The concerts have been tremendously inspiring events, demonstrating the importance of mental health for young people, particularly at this difficult time. Having a local organisation able to offer a mentoring service directly will be very beneficial to the young people of Warwickshire, and hopefully beyond.

Eliza Lindsay – Business Manager

I’ve had a long interest in mental health since experiencing my own struggles as a teenager at school. It was then that I met Sue Roberts, who worked at my school and who told me time and time again that she would one day organise a massive charity concert to raise funds and awareness of mental health issues in young people, and here we are three years later with a fully-fledged registered charity!

I have always tried my best to be open and raise awareness about mental health issues. I’ve been on BBC South Today and Radio Oxford discussing my challenges, and at university I became part of the committee for the Mental Health Society ‘Mind the Gap’. I now also work for the McLellan Practice, through which I give talks in schools about my experiences.

I was a speaker and performer at YMM’s inaugural 2017 concert, and have continued to support Young Minds Matter since then by running the social media whilst studying and working as a teacher up in Newcastle.

I now live in London and my role has expanded to overseeing the daily running of the charity alongside Sue. I run the social media channels, answer emails, work on the website, liaise with schools, mentors and partner organisations, and am actively involved with the strategic planning and development of YMM. I also support the trustees with their long term goals for Young Minds Matter. There is always something exciting happening with YMM, and I am really looking forward to everything that is in store for the charity and the young people that we support.

Our Young Ambassadors

We have recently launched our Young Ambassadors scheme and are very proud to now have a team of young people on board, all who have been involved with Young Minds Matter since 2017, flying the flag for improved mental health in young people and championing the cause in their schools and through participation in our events and other collaborations. Click here for more information.

Our supporters