Dorset Youth

At our headquarters in Lubbecke Way, and across the county of Dorset, our team is working tirelessly to bolster our local communities, highlight the work of local organisations and support our incredible young people.

Meet our wonderful staff and trustees below...

Meet The Team

  • Mike Bennett
    Mike Bennett

    I am very honoured to be the new CEO of DYA and be part of an organisation that supports young people, families and other Voluntary organisations within Dorset.
    Dorset has a strong history of volunteers and organisations that strive to improve the lives of others in their community and I am glad to be a small part of that working for DYA.
    I moved to Dorset in 2008 as the Area Youth Worker based in Sturminster Newton and ran clubs in the surrounding North Dorset area. We established open access provision, school and project based work within the local community. We established a strong DofE programme as well as working with young people on employability programmes as well as tackling local need for young people within North Dorset. Establishing provision such as a climbing wall, moped and off road motorbike projects, outdoor activities, first aid training, babysitting courses, holiday provision, peer mentoring and the senior member programme.
    All this was only possible through the partnership working with volunteers and the Voluntary Sector.
    In 2015 I left the Youth Service to run a CIC company running projects within schools and other Local Authorities in the UK. This then lead to designing and developing the Global Youth Ambassador Programme focusing on Global Citizenship and linking mainstream schools with international schools. A project that in 3 years provided training to 2000+ 8-18 year olds and opportunities for teachers and 750+ students, many of which were Pupil Premium to travel to another school in different country for free.
    I am very much looking forward to working with so many fantastic young people, families, volunteers and professionals again within Dorset.

  • Debbie Shaw
    Debbie Shaw
    Finance Manager

    I am the Finance Officer for Dorset Youth Association working full time from our Headquarters in Lubbecke Way, Dorchester. I started in 2001 on a part time basis and I manage the Associations finance and human resources together with ensuring the smooth running of the office and managing the venue hire.

    Leaving extended education with a BEC National Diploma (Distinction) in Business Studies my career has been finance based having spent the early 10 years with Nat West Bank, working through all the clerical grades and gaining ‘Institute of Bankers’ qualifications. I then decided to focus on accountancy and gained Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualification prior to my returning to the workplace after raising a family.

    I have supported the Associations financial journey as it moved from hand written ledgers to excel workbooks and through to the dedicated finance software programmes we currently use. As a mum of 4 children I have used my skills to support their activities through a variety of voluntary roles - committee member for local playgroup, treasurer for the school PTFA and as a Scout Leader.

    I believe young people are the key to the success and happiness of our local communities and am privileged to work for an organisation that endeavours to give young people the best opportunities in life.

  • Lynne Rockey
    Lynne Rockey
    0-25 VCS Forum Project Officer

    I have worked at DYA for over 14 years, starting as Administrator for the organisation and then facilitating the Strengthening Families Programme from 2012-2020. Having developed and delivered the Strengthening Families Programme, I have further developed my organisational and communication skills which helped to bring this project together and, through building excellent working relationships with other agencies, successfully delivered this project right across rural Dorset to many families. Sadly, due to a lack of continuation funding and then the pandemic, delivery of the programme was no longer possible.

    So, in March 2020, I took on the role of facilitating the 0-25 VCS Forum just days before lockdown hit…going from planning a face-to-face conference for over 100 people to moving everything online and into a virtual world. Quite some challenge, but it was achieved and we continue to offer both virtual and face to face events, training, and meetings, to work successfully in this changed world.

    Having worked with Dorset Youth now for over 14 years, I have built a good knowledge of the VCS sector and made many positive links with statutory and health partners which greatly helps support my current role.

    I recognise the power in organisations coming together and sharing information and resources to build a stronger VCS for those working with and for children, young people and families in Dorset. By working together we can only increase the positive changes we can make for those we work to support and each other.

  • Lilly Markwell
    Lilly Markwell
    Youth Development Manager

    I have been in post as the Youth Employment Team Leader at Dorset Youth since December 2021. My role is to help provide opportunities for young people to give them the skills and experience for the world of work. This includes helping young people in Youth Club settings and providing Young Leader training and looking at employability programmes or volunteering opportunities to help young people flourish. I also help run the Voice project, which is about capturing the voices of young people in Dorset and finding out how they would like services and activities improved in their local area.

    I have been working with young people for 8 years and have recently gained my L5 Diploma in Education & Teaching. My youth work journey started at a NCS leader for the summer programmes and progressed into a Prince’s Trust Team Leader before starting work at Dorset Youth. I have a lot of experience working with young people especially those who are NEET (not in education, employment or training). I also have a BA Hons degree in Sport, Health and Fitness and several Outdoor Adventure qualifications, and where possible I like to work with young people in the great outdoors as it has so many benefits.

    I have a strong passion for working in the youth industry and believe that every young person deserves the opportunities to thrive. I am enthusiastic about increasing these opportunities for young people especially in our more rural areas of Dorset.

  • Matt Hodgett
    Matt Hodgett

    I have worked at DYA since 2014. My role is the cleaning and maintenance of the Routes and Headquarter premises and grounds. As we hire out both the Main Hall and Seaton Room at the Headquarters I am aware of the need to keeping the building and grounds in good order, ensuring a safe and pleasant environment for everyone using our facilities. Through other similar roles I have experience and am appropriately qualified in food hygiene and health and safety

    My background is in engineering and having gained an Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Portsmouth University. I have worked as a Civil Engineer and in Facilities Management, and enjoy the practical work of rebuilding a car, giving me many skills which I have been able to apply at DYA.

    I enjoy working as part of such a friendly and passionate team and like the variety of jobs associated with the position.

  • Enya Piper
    Enya Piper
    The Reef Youth Worker in Charge

    I am the Lead Youth Worker in Charge at The Reef Youth Club and I am currently studying towards my youth work qualification. I enjoy working at The Reef because it does not feel like a job, it's great fun and you get to meet so many cool young people.

    During the day I work as a Youth Practitioner for Dorset Council at Hayeswood Bungalow. In this role I am supporting young people with autism and learning disabilities. Both of these job roles complement each other and it is great to support young people in helping them make positive changes to their lives.

  • Ali Freeman
    Ali Freeman
    Youth Worker

    I am a part time Youth Support Worker for The Reef Youth Club in Colehill and at Sturminster Marshall Youth Club. I really enjoy being a youth support worker, it is great spending time with the young people each week and getting involved in activities such as baking. It is a pleasure to see them grow in confidence and gain new skills whilst having fun.

    I also work at Pluss as an Employment Advisor for the Dorset Supported Employment Services. I love my work in supporting people with a learning or physical disabilities, autism or mental health needs, and help to build bespoke support to help them search for, secure and retain employment.

  • Jacob Strausa
    Jacob Strausa
    Youth Worker

    I am one of the Youth Support Workers for both The Reef Youth Club in Colehill and also at Sturminster Marshall Youth Club. This is a new venture for me that I am enjoying, I like helping to provide a positive and safe environment for young people. I enjoy helping and taking part in the activities at the Youth Clubs and engaging young people in fun activities such as sports, games nights and cooking. Alongside this job I am also studying, I am currently in my 3rd Year at Bournemouth University studying Criminology.

  • Danielle Aspey
    Danielle Aspey
    #Willdoes Bus Coordinator & Youth Worker

    I am the co-ordinator for the #Willdoes Bus, as well as a youth support worker. This is a new role for me after working in mental health for 11 years.

    The aim of the bus is to promote education, physical health, mental health and social inclusion by offering young people a safe space. On board, it provides not only a safe space to chat, but a room for confidential discussions as well as a bean bag area with a tv and sound system, and a small kitchen to provide drinks and snacks.

    My previous experience is in mental health and most recently in a crisis drop in service. I am excited to start this new role and look forward to offering this service to the young people of Dorset.

  • Clare Duran
    Clare Duran
    #Willdoes Bus Youth Support Worker
  • Zoe Pons
    Zoe Pons
    Project Worker

    I am doing an apprenticeship for Dorset Council and I will be working with Dorset Youth doing customer service and marketing. My goal is to be a social worker in future.

  • Mohammad Ishaq
    Mohammad Ishaq
    Project Worker

    I’m that person who’s crazy about sports specially football, boxing, and love always to learn new things. I am doing a Customer Service apprenticeship with Dorset Council and I will be working with Dorset Youth. This apprenticeship is a huge opportunity for me learn and develop myself , I’m so passionate about things like websites and Networking so happy to be members of Dorset Youth.