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Saturday, 16 October 2021
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Young Citizens appoints new CEO

THE education charity Young Citizens has announced the appointment of Ashley Hodges to the role of CEO to lead the charity into a new phase of growth – and continue its mission to put citizenship education at the heart of primary and secondary education in the UK.

The former Speakers for Schools and AccessEd leader with a proven track record for scaling charities and engaging schools and policymakers at a national level, Hodges will lead a team of twenty and oversee the strategic development of Young Citizen’s work.

Young Citizens has engaged over a million children aged 5-18 years old this year through its network of 5,000 schools, helping young people in the UK understand the law, their rights and responsibilities as citizens and prepare them for civic life. Through its programmes, Young Citizens ensures schools have access to quality lessons and online resources and provides participatory learning experiences through hallmark programmes such as Go-Givers, the Make a Difference Challenge, The Big Legal Lesson and the Bar Mock Trials.

With a background in politics and community action, Hodges joins Young Citizens at a crucial juncture. Today’s younger citizens find themselves at the forefront of spearheading political and social change – shining a light on critical issues such as Climate Change, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ rights and the poverty, gender and racial disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The potential for the UK’s youth to imagine new and collective solutions for society and actively campaign for change has never been greater.

Ashley Hodges, Young Citizens CEO:

“Leading organisations with innovative education and social action programmes is my heartland, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the future strategy at Young Citizens and take us into our next phase of growth. Engaging with citizenship, democracy, community and participation in civil society has never been more important for young people. I am committed to mobilising the next generation and empowering young people to play an active role in shaping our society. I am looking forward to working with our partners and championing our work to increase our reach and impact for young people nationally.”

Dr Edge Watchorn, Chair of Young Citizen’s Board of Trustees, commented:

“Ashley is an exceptionally talented and passionate leader; I know her energy, deep expertise and the community, cross-sector approach she has in her DNA will help us build a stronger and more effective organisation. Our schools and corporate partners need fresh ideas and dynamic programmes of activity that offer even more meaningful ways of engaging with young people, improving our impact in a post-pandemic world – work that has never been more vital. This is exactly what Ashley will bring to Young Citizens.”

Prior to joining Young Citizens, Hodges served as transitional CEO at AccessEd, the global university access start-up serving under-represented young people (2019-2021), after helping launch and eventually lead the UK social mobility charity Speakers for Schools as their first CEO (2010-2019). Her previous work includes roles in communications and community engagement consultancy, as well as serving as a Pennsylvania staff member on the successful Obama for America election campaign in 2008. Hodges is also a trustee of Elizabeth House community centre and a governor of Welbourne Primary School.

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