Meet the Team

Our Key Workers


Grace Boyd #Focus5 Keyworker for North Devon

I have over 4 years experience helping individuals, including vulnerable people get back on track. I have a passion for bringing out the best in people and strongly believe that anyone can achieve anything they put their mind to.  I embarked on this role to provide mentoring support during the often difficult transition between teen and adulthood, and to be a calming presence in a fast paced and confusing world. I have extensive knowledge of health and mental health issues, how to empower people to overcome such barriers through the use of lots of out-the-box thinking and creativity. Previously I worked with adults and young adults who needed support and inspiration to change their situation into something more positive -

Lisa May

Lisa May #Focus5 Keyworker for Plymouth

I have 22 years of experience of working with young people. For the past 7 years I have specialised with young people with Special Educational needs and disabilities (SEND). I’m really excited to have the opportunity to work more intensively with young people in Plymouth, enabling them move forwards -

Steve Hamzij

Steve Hamzij #Focus5 Keyworker for Torbay/South Devon

I hold an OCR Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance, NVQ3  in Advice and Guidance and NCFE CACHE Level 3 Award in Supporting Individuals with Learning Disabilities. With over 20 years experience delivering information, advice and guidance, understanding the barriers to education, employment and training and how to overcome them. I am able to develop and manage good working relationships with young people and other professionals. I am skilled at being able to engage and motivate people and have a passion for helping others to realise their potential through education and training -


Louise Barnes #Focus5 Keyworker for Somerset and Mid Devon

I am qualified  to Level 4 in Advice and Guidance and Level 3 Adult Education and Training and I am passionate about supporting disadvantaged people to reach their goals and ambitions by providing a holistic and individual approach.  I have experience working in recruitment, construction and probation supporting those with learning difficulties, mental health, addiction, homelessness and domestic abuse -


Paul Barnes #Focus5 Keyworker for Plymouth

I am a positive motivated professional with 27 years of work experience in various health/social/educational settings. Over 15 years of that time has been spent supporting, advocating advising and guiding young people from all areas of society in both educational and community settings. I have a BSc in Psychology and level 4 qualifications in Advice and Guidance. I am qualified to teach in the adult life long sector and have level 3 qualifications in coaching, mentoring, person centred counselling, advocacy and am a trained Forest School Leader. The #Focus5 project presents an ideal opportunity for me to combine my experience and qualifications and support young people to work towards improving their lives.  When I’m not at work I enjoy running, cycling, bodyboarding, watching films, reading books and trying to play the violin -


Jane Rowland #Focus5 Keyworker for Exeter

I have been working with young people and their families for 20 years.  This has been in a variety of environments from mainstream schools and colleges to a homeless charity and a family assessment centre.  I have lots of experience in providing personal support and careers advice for young people and this includes those with additional learning needs.  I am a very motivated and enthusiastic person and look forward to using my skills on the #Focus5 project -


Oliver Saunders #Focus5 Key Worker for Somerset (Mendip)

I am an optimistic and motivated individual who aims to make a positive difference in the lives of young people I work with. I understand the challenges young people face and I respect the fact that there are barriers to employment and education. I aim to empower the people I work with by highlighting the options available to them and by educating them about the impacts of their life choices. I have worked in the field of mental health since graduating as Social Worker from Bath University. I also have experience working with young carers, drug and alcohol users and service users who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. -


Kerren Smith #Focus5 Key Worker for Somerset (Yeovil) 

I am passionate about supporting and empowering people to recognise their potential and achieve positive goals. I have 17 years experience working with people with a range of difficulties including unemployment, Domestic Abuse, substance abuse, mental health, homelessness and offending behaviour. I’ve co-facilitated a dance project Every Body Matters, promoting inclusion and self-expression in an SEN school. I hold a BSc (Hons.) in Social Sciences, am PTTLs trained and am an accredited group work facilitator. I understand the complexities of disadvantage and strongly believe in equality and social inclusion. I’m excited to be part of the #Focus5 Project feel optimistic about supporting young people along their employment journey.


Julie Holder #Focus5 Key Worker for Somerset (Sedgemoor)

I believe in building relationships and as a strong negotiator I have the ability to aid the development, confidence and motivation in the lives of young people who require understanding and mentoring in order to build up resilience through education and employment.  Approachable, with energy and enthusiasm combined with a solution focused approach. I hold an NVQ 4 in Advice and Guidance and a Level 4 CPD in Counselling and Psychology. Having spent many years assisting those faced with challenges in health, disabilities, addiction, housing and criminality to break down barriers to education and employment with compassion, empathy and equality.


Mary Penning #Focus5 Key Worker for North Devon

I have spent the last 16 years working in schools and in the community as a Careers and Personal Adviser, and for the last several years, a lot of this has been with young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and their families.  I am qualified to Level 6 in Career Development and Guidance.  I’m calm and a good listener and I think everyone should have the chance to try new things.  I’m excited to be involved in #Focus5, and support young people to work towards the things they want to achieve. Outside of #Focus5, I like walking and music, and I’m learning to swim.


Nick Davies #Focus5 Key Worker for North Devon, West Somerset & Taunton

I have over 25 years of experience working with young people and hold qualifications in both teaching and youth work at degree level along with a level 6 guidance qualification.  I have worked as a youth worker and teacher specialising in young people with social, emotional and mental health needs. More recently I worked as a personal and careers adviser supporting young people to access opportunities within education and employment. Within this role I worked with young offenders, children in care, young people with mental health concerns and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. For me the common theme across my various roles has been the aspiration to help young people develop self-belief and maximise their potential.

Rhian Focus5 Key Worker

Rhian Hawthorne, #Focus5 Key Worker for Exeter and Surrounding Areas

Qualified to Level 4 in Advice and Guidance and Level 3 Adult Education and Training and I have ten years experience working with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people who are not in education, employment and training.  Offering support to young people across Devon helping them to identify and achieve their goals, I take a personal, holistic approach building positive relationships to help young people progress and gain confidence.   I have experience working in recruitment, careers guidance, delivering job search workshops and substance misuse services, supporting  those with mental health, addiction and homelessness issues.

Our Contract Manager


Nee Bedford

I have 17 years of experience working with young people, and have been managing people and projects within this area for 8 of those years. I hold a degree in Psychology, an NVQ Level 4 Advice, Guidance and Advocacy, and a Level 5 CMI Leadership and Management Diploma. The #Focus5 project provides an amazing opportunity to support young people across Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset. I am both excited and privileged to be leading this project and the dedicated members of the team who are all working hard to ensure that #Focus5 is a success and something that the young people in the area really benefit from -

Our Assistant Contract Manager


Larry Cole

I hold a degree in Social Sciences, am a qualified community & youth worker, have OCR Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development and over 10 years’ experience as a Personal  Adviser working  predominantly within the special educational needs and disability field.  I hold a Level 5 Diploma in Management & Leadership and have line managed teams of youth workers and project managed SFA contracts.  I have extensive experience of working with and supporting some of the most disengaged young people and a strong belief in equality, social justice and the potential of all individuals to achieve and succeed.-

Our Project Officers (Compliance)


Sam Colgate

Having spent my career in the health and wellbeing industry, working with corporate professionals in FTSE100 companies, I developed health and lifestyle programmes to enhance employee work performance, reversing lifestyle diseases and reducing absenteeism. Alongside this, I have worked on multiple projects and systems for health and fitness companies to enhance their product service delivery and business performance. Being part of the #Focus5 team is a rewarding opportunity as during my own personal development as a youth, similar projects to #Focus5 helped me to flourish and develop strong foundations to build a successful career. I look forward to assisting the #Focus5 team and our Partners in achieving project delivery excellence. -  


Sharon Healy

I am a positive and enthusiastic person with over 29 years’ experience in a finance and research environment.  I have spent the majority of my career working for Plymouth University and have financially managed research projects funded by the European Union, Research Councils UK, Marie Curie and Interreg.  I have a wealth of experience in compliance and audit and I am privileged to apply my skills and knowledge to the #Focus5 Project.   I also have extensive experience of supporting, guiding and developing Postgraduate Research Students in a vibrant, supportive and forward-thinking community taking them through their journey from initial enquiry and application processes through to the achievement of their Doctoral awards.   I relish the opportunity to be an integral part of the #Focus5 team and I am looking forward to assisting the #Focus5 Team and Project Partners in achieving project delivery excellence.

Our Administrator


Sandy Coggan

I have been an Administrator for the last 20 years, working in the commercial sector and hospitality industry in Zimbabwe.  I was brought in to assist with administrative support during the writing of the BBO bid last year, and I am now proud to be part of the #Focus5 team -