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Meet the team – Alice Young

6 November 2023

A photo of Alice Young - a woman with dark hair wearing a black blazer, smiling at the camera

We’re delighted to welcome Alice to our team as our new (and first ever) Chief Executive Officer.

Tell us a bit about yourself 

I’m a proud mother to my son who celebrated his first birthday the week I joined Shaping Our Lives. I live on our beautiful boat with my partner and our beloved sausage dog Ernie and mischievous cat Beans. We spend most of our time travelling the canals and rivers in the Southwest of England, but we’re excited to explore new places whilst our little boy is young.

I’ve spent most of my career working in the voluntary sector, in roles involved broadly under the umbrella of societal inequality. I have been privileged to work alongside incredible talent and inspiring leaders, but too frequently experienced, well-meaning organisations ‘doing to’ rather than ‘with’. That’s why a user-led organisation appeals far more to me than a traditional charity structure with its inherent hierarchy and frequent tokenistic service user engagement. Authenticity is at the heart of Shaping Our Lives and I am proud to be joining at such an exciting period in its history.

How did you get involved with Shaping Our Lives and what do you do? 

In Autumn 2023, I was newly appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer at Shaping Our Lives. Having just had my little boy and enjoying maternity leave, I wasn’t looking to embark on a new role. However, a friend sent me the link to the recruitment pack and suggested I took some time out from changing nappies to apply and I’m so glad I did! My role reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the strategic and business planning of the organisation to ensure Shaping Our Lives continues to be successful, impactful, and sustainable.

Why did you want to get involved with Shaping Our Lives? 

I wanted to be on the ‘right side of history.’ The importance of valuing lived experience in the current economic and political climate cannot be underestimated. I want to be involved with an organisation with a strong commitment to systemic change and who positively enables voices from marginalised, oppressed and discriminated against communities to be heard.

Why is inclusive involvement important to you? 

Living an itinerant (a person who moves from place to place) way of life with no fixed address is often perceived as ‘unconventional’ by society.

My son is the 3rd generation of ‘live-aboard boaters’ in my family who will undoubtedly encounter discrimination and will have to navigate systemic barriers that exist for people like us. Often, the first question asked of anyone accessing a public service such as health or social care is ‘what’s your address?’ Well, when you do not have one, that can make things challenging and is one of the most commonly cited factors leading to health inequalities. For me, my passion for inclusive involvement stems from both my lived and professional experience of witnessing the impact of empowering and involving seldom-heard voices to influence change.

To find out more about Shaping Our Lives, please visit the About us page