Meet our Board of Trustees
Russ Dacre MBE
As a founding Trustee of the OPEN Youth Trust from 2004, Russ has a broad experience of working with young people, charities and automotive retail businesses.
Brought up in Norfolk he is passionate about seeing the lives of the most vulnerable children and young in norfolk improved through the Trust and other like minded service providers. Russ is married to Alethea, and father to RB and Raffi, he is also partial to a game of golf or two, and is a bit of a foodie!
One of the founding trustees of the OPEN Youth Trust since 2004. As a Chartered Town Planner Les has been involved with many significant developments in Norwich including OPEN and other youth orientated community projects.
He has always been an advocate for the strategic provision of exciting and appropriate facilities for young people where they can be offered sound activities and support which generates a sense of belonging. Married to Alison with two adult sons, Les has a keen interest in photography, DIY and travel.
Emily is the founder of Indigo Swan, an energy consultancy business, established in 2010.
Indigo Swan has gone from strength to strength winning numerous awards including Energy Consultancy of the Year in 2016 and also seeing Emily named as the Institute of Directors’ Young Director of the Year for the East of England in 2015.
Rachele Kelsall is currently a Director for insurance broker Hugh J Boswell.
She grew up in Bradford and started her insurance career with Royal Insurance in 1986, moving to Norwich to join Marsh in 2000, before joining Hugh J Boswell in 2012. Rachel joined the Board of Trustees in 2018.
Michael, first stepped through the doors of OPEN as a Year 9 pupil at Norwich School. Soon after joining OPEN, Michael quickly became involved in it’s Youth Forum.
This Forum aims to give young people a voice, ensuring that the charity meets the current and future needs of young people in Norfolk. He believes that through this Forum, OPEN has given him the confidence and inspiration to follow his dream of becoming a doctor, but also picking up an entrepreneurial flair along the way with business interests in social enterprises, IT and innovation. Michael is now going on to study medicine in London.
Alex Marsden, grew up in Sprowston, comes with a wealth of experience at senior board level within the financial services sector and is currently working for HSBC Global Bank as Senior Call Centre Transformation Manager (EMEA).
She is also Company Director for Leximars Consulting Ltd, an Interim Management Consultancy, offering expertise in Leadership/Contact Centre Transformation and Customer Experience. Alex joined the Board of Trustees in 2018.
Ed became a Trustee in 2013 and as a qualified solicitor is responsible for providing legal support to the Board of the OPEN Youth Trust.
Ed spent the early part of his career working in London before returning home to Norfolk in 2011 practising as a corporate / commercial lawyer with a niche specialism in franchising. In 2014 Ed organised a Christmas music video featuring members of his firm, which was filmed and produced at OPEN. He is a keen sportsman and has a deluded view of himself as a flamboyant chef - for example, his Jamaican jerk partridge (which received very mixed reviews). Ed is married to Vix and they have two young children, Wolf and Coco.
Associated with the OPEN Youth Trust since 2013 and came on board as a Trustee in January 2014. Worked in Banking for nearly 40 years through to 2009,
the last 13 of which was based in Norwich where he became aware of the aims and good work of OPEN. The past 6 years has seen Donald work with a number of organisations providing a commercial focus and direction to various groups. Married to Lorraine with three grown up children he is keen to see OPEN progress and spread its resources to the wider Norfolk community.
Karl spent 26 years at a senior level with a major clearing bank before joining TaxAssist on 1st January 2000 as Operations Director – taking on the role of Chief Executive in 2002 and Group Chief Executive in 2014 on the back of International expansion.
A 'fellow' of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, a ‘Honorary Fellow’ of The Association of International Accountants and a Governor of Wymondham College, Karl oversees the running of the TaxAssist Group, covering the UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada, on a day to day basis and ensures the company continues to expand rapidly.
Karl is recognised by the British Franchise Association as a QFP (Qualified Franchise Professional) and is a trustee of the bfa's charitable trust helping disadvantaged individuals benefit from franchising.
Meet our Senior Management Team
As Chief Executive John is responsible for the development of the Trust and is keen to tell its compelling story to a wider audience. John joined OPEN in August 2015, returning to Norfolk after more than 30 years away.
John comes from an event and marketing background and previously ran WPP’s brand communication agency and business media division of World Productions, the independent broadcast production company set up by Tony Garnett and Chris Blackwell.
Head of Finance
Claire joined OPEN’s finance team in May 2015 and was promoted to Finance Manager in May 2016. She is CIMA qualified and has over 10 years commercial accounting experience.
Claire's responsibilities are to oversee the day to day finance activities and reports the monthly management accounts to the Board of Trustees. In her spare time Claire plays the piano and has a love of elephants.
Head of Hospitality
Andrew starting working for OPEN in June 2017, however through his previous job he has been working in our kitchen and providing catering for our conference clients for over 12 months prior to joining the team.
Prior to working with us Andy was the Hospitality Catering Coach delivering The Flourish programme for The Feed, a project of LEAP East CIC. He also taught at City College, Norwich Hotel School. He trained as a chef whilst working for his family run restaurant The Cromer Grill. Under his fathers guidance and attending City College he gained his City & Guilds and NVQs and Assessor qualifications. Now he and his team provide an extensive range of menus for OPEN's diverse range of clients and events.
Head of Marketing
Hayley joined OPEN as Marketing Manager in 2014, having spent 12 years working as a Communications Officer in the Press Office at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and before that five years as Public Relations Officer at the University of East Anglia.
As OPEN’s Marketing Manager, Hayley’s responsibilities include: raising the profile of OPEN's unique range of facilities in its venue hire and secure storage. Promoting live music, conferences and events and the activities provided for young people. Identifying and maximising PR opportunities. Media relations both proactive and reactive. Design and production of marketing materials.
Head of Youth Services
Charlene joined open in as Performance Arts Instructor 2012 and was promoted to Youth Programme Manager in August 2015. Charlene has been working with children and young people for over 10 years, and she played a significant part in securing the recent lottery funding.
Her previous experience was as a dance assistant, a youth worker and a dance instructor in the USA, and a learning support assistant at a local high school. Charlene is very passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people each and every day.
Meet our Management Team
Kate started at OPEN in November 2018, continuing her a long varied career in hospitality...
...spanning over ten years, ranging from running a small hotel in the Lake District to working in celebrity chef restaurants. Kate has travelled widely and has worked in several bars and restaurants in Australia. Kate has a degree in hospitality management from Kendal College, and is keen to bring her experience to OPEN and ensure everything runs brilliantly.
Angela joined OPEN in October 2018 as Development Manager.
Angela comes from a background of direct sales, account management and business development. Mainly with prestige automotive, where excellence in customer experience and service is paramount.
Angela’s role is to work collaboratively with the local business community, to develop creative ways how to engage, connect and entertain new audiences into using our fantastic city centre venue and in turn supporting the work of the youth charity.
Live Event Manager
Sarah joined OPEN in November 2018 as Live Event Manager.
Responsible for leading and overseeing the production of eclectic live events, sourcing established and amateur artists worldwide, whilst championing diversity and local talent within the Norfolk and Suffolk area.
Sarah is an experienced Event Producer with a demonstrated history of delivering and managing a variety of events. Providing true brand representation, an extraordinary team of versatile and diverse performers for established brands in the alcohol industry and expressive arts. Hosting queer cabaret nights at another venue in Norwich, she is an advocate for partnering with local business in our fine city and to honor the LGBT + movement. Skilled in digital marketing, public relations, relationship and contract management with experimental and creative methods.
Karl joined the Open Youth Trust in October 2017.
Karl overseas the whole programme of activities for children and young people and Drop In Social Hub at OPEN.
He has many years of experience previously teaching in schools within the West Norfolk area as the Activities Resource Leader.
Karl is passionate about getting young people active and providing opportunities for young people in Norfolk. Karl’s ethos is "Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork".
Lara has been involved with the OPEN Youth Trust since 2014 and joined OPEN as Outreach Manager in August 2017.
She leads a team who are highly skilled in delivering positive youth activities.
Lara has experience in working with children and young adults in various capacities including Schools, Events as well as in Youth Support Projects. With a background in the Arts, Lara regularly gets involved in creative projects.
Jimmy joined the venue in January 2018.
Prior to that he was the landlord at the Prince of Denmark public house in Norwich for 2 and a half years. Before running a pub Jimmy was Warehouse Manager for a pharmaceutical company in charge of a team of 35 who were responsible for distributing in excess of £25 million worth of stock across hospitals in East Anglia and London.
Conference and Event Manager
Kirstie joined the Trust as Events Administrator in January 2017 having previously worked for Marriott Hotels for 10 years.
With a background of hospitality and events, as well as Marriott, Kirstie has worked for a selection of groups including York Hilton, and York Principal Hotel.
She has experience in working on annual award celebrations, corporate dinners, large delegate conferences, Christmas parties as well as weddings, fine dining and business meetings.
Kirstie was promoted to Conference and Events Manager in November 2018.
Luke joined the Trust in 2016 as AV Technician.
Previously Luke had worked at The Brickmakers and other venues around Norwich as tech for live music events. Luke was promoted to Technical Manager in November 2018 and is responsible for a team of technicians and overseeing the sound and lighting requirements of all events that take place within the venue.