CYZ Welcomes new CEO

Carlisle Youth Zone (CYZ) are delighted to announce the appointment of Caroline Taylor-Beswick as their new Chief Executive.

Caroline Headshot

Caroline Taylor-Beswick – Carlisle Youth Zone’s CEO

Caroline, who holds professional qualifications in youth work and social work, joins the charity from UNICEF UK, where she held the role of Programme Manager, with responsibility for supporting cities and communities across the north of England and Scotland to achieve ‘Child Friendly City’ status. Caroline is passionate about Children’s Rights and in particular working with and for young people to increase youth participation and leadership opportunities, something which has been a strong thread in her career to date, including through co-leading the Resilience Revolution being piloted in Blackpool, a research programme focused on improving youth mental health; managing a Children’s Rights service at The Children’s Society; and running Young Leader and participation programmes across youth services.

Caroline takes up the role of Chief Executive at a time when the Trustees have just endorsed five new strategic priorities to take the charity forwards over the next 3-5 years. Whilst the vision remains consistent since first opening in 2011, which is ‘to provide a safe and fun place where the potential of young people is developed and fulfilled’, the five priorities will see the team of youth workers, volunteers and members strengthen the Youth Zone’s core, open-access, centre-based offer; provide greater support to the growing number of young people living in poverty; ensure CYZ has a fully inclusive culture where all communities of young people feel welcome; cement youth voice at the heart of decision making; and support young people’s emotional wellbeing.

Caroline comments, “I am delighted to be joining CYZ and especially at a time when the Board have, in partnership with our members, endorsed such a clear and bold focus for our development in the coming years. I started my career delivering youth and community work, so have a deep understanding and value for the role youth workers and access to high-quality youth provision can have. Alongside the dedicated staff team I have already met, and those we hope to welcome through current recruitment, I look forward to playing my part in taking action towards achieving our priorities so more young people get the opportunity to experience and benefit from our offer. I also greatly value meaningful partnerships, and look forward to strengthening existing relationships as well as making new ones in order to respond to the needs and hopes of young people in the city”

Chris Holmes, Chair of the Board of Trustees says “we are thrilled to welcome Caroline to the team at CYZ. Caroline’s background and experience clearly bring something unique, and further strengthens the skills, knowledge and expertise within our incredible team. Ultimately, we know Caroline’s appointment will benefit tremendously the opportunities we can offer for young people of Carlisle and surrounding areas.”

CYZ is open 6 days and evenings a week for young people aged 7 – 18yrs (and up to 25yrs for those with an additional need), offering a wide ranging programme including Youth Clubs that facilitate activities focused on arts, music, dance and sports alongside a safe space to meet up with friends; a project night with a Book Club, Baking Club, Football Club, Harry Potter Club and Climbing Club; and after-school access to a fully equipped gym, all for just 50p per visit. Through this offer, young people have opportunities to make friends, develop new skills, unlock their potential and have fun. We can offer this thanks to the Youth Zone being an incredible purpose-built space that has astro-turf pitches, 4-court sports hall, climbing wall, dance / drama studio, fully equipped gym, music room, and training kitchen. Beyond the amazing building, the greatest strength is the team of dedicated youth workers and volunteers who whether through a conversation, a project, a game or targeted support, provide life-changing support that helps local young people to thrive.