Alex Fairweather is the Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Youth Network (GMYN), a charity working with some of the most disadvantaged young people in the region. This includes children in care, young carers, disabled young people, homeless young people and many others who face significant barriers. These young people are often socially excluded, lacking in confidence and aspiration or have little support from elsewhere. Alex helped form the charity in 2007 to develop new volunteering and development projects to support young people across Greater Manchester. Currently GMYN provides support to approximately 1500 young people each year.
Alex’s background of youthwork and volunteering comes from nearly twenty years of diverse experience in the voluntary/education youth sector as a Director, Manager, Consultant, Grant-maker, Trainer, Fundraiser, Volunteer, Staff member and Trustee.
Alex’s expertise and passion is enabling young people to become active citizens in their community. Alex has seen first-hand the difference taking part in activities such as volunteering and enterprise can make and actively promotes this as a route into further development opportunities. It is this passion that has helped Alex to ensure GMYN continues to develop and continues to deliver new and exciting opportunities for young people.
Alex has been involved in the development of Greater Manchester Talent Match from the start as he saw the amazing potential the programme could bring. Alex knew that the concept of supporting existing delivery providers to enhance their services , in order to be able to work with more vulnerable young adults for a much longer time period was crucial. There are already great services been delivered for young people and with Talent Match’s help, everyone can learn from them. This ensures Talent Match can provide an enhanced personalized service for those young adults that need it.
Alex’s own experiences from running GMYN meant he wanted to be involved in developing two key areas of Talent Match.
Youth Panel: This is very important to Alex as young people needed to be involved in Talent Match from the start and at all levels of the project. It was vital that young people took lead roles in decision making, evaluating and continual development of the programme to ensure the programme is driven by the needs of young people.
Volunteering: Alex also wanted volunteering to be included as a key strategic part of Talent Match. Alex sees the tremendous benefit volunteering can bring to young people’s development so wanted it to be included as a route to employment. It is great that Talent Match is now providing support to ensure organisations are able to see the potential of volunteering and the skills it brings to young people.