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Who we are

The Centre was established in 2014 as a partnership of three organisations (NCVYS, Project Oracle and the Dartington Social Research Unit). In 2017, it became an independent organisation in its own right.

Our core team supports increasing numbers of regional and thematic networks across the UK. We work with a range of partners to test, pilot and learn from new approaches to impact measurement and evaluation in youth work and services for young people. 


Bethia McNeil, Director

Bethia has held the role of Director of the Centre for Youth Impact since its launch in September 2014.

Prior to joining the team to set up the Centre, Bethia worked at the Dartington Social Research Unit, the Young Foundation, the National Youth Agency and NIACE (now the Learning and Work Institute), in a variety of policy and research roles. She has also worked in further and higher education as a teacher and trainer. Bethia is a Clore Fellow and a Senior Visiting Fellow at Nottingham Trent University.


Pippa Knott, Head of Networks

Pippa leads the design and delivery of the Centre’s network strategy, which includes establishing networks across the country to change how individuals and organisations engage with impact measurement, and coordinating the support that the Centre offers them.

Pippa previously worked in the Cabinet Office’s Youth Policy team, where she led on evidence and impact measurement in youth services.  She has a background in social policy and research, and holds degrees from the University of Oxford and London School of Economics.


Jamila Damani, Networks Assistant

Jamila works with the Director and Head of Networks to manage the everyday activities at the Centre, supporting the networks of youth organisations with whom the Centre work with and ensuring they are effective and well run.

She graduated with a BA Joint Hons in Anthropology and International Development at the University of Sussex, where she was  an Ambassador with the Widening Participation team , supporting primary and secondary school children from under representative backgrounds into higher education. Jamila is also coach to young people on the McGuire Programme, a speech recovery course for people who stammer.



Dr Matthew Hill, Head of Research and Learning

Matt leads the Centre’s work evaluating open access youth services. His work develops the latest practice in impact measurement including digital collection of footfall data, systematic user feedback loops, peer-to-peer observations of quality delivery and developing a shared framework for open access provision. Matt also leads the Centre’s partnership with Ambition to co-develop their strategy and approach to embedding meaningful impact measurement, both within Ambition itself and across its membership.

Matt joined the Centre in June 2017 having previously worked within NCVO’s Institute for Volunteering Research specialising in evaluations of youth volunteering programmes including vinvolved, City Year, National Citizen Service and International Citizen Service. He also has a PhD in Social Policy and guest lectures on UCL’s MSc in Public Policy.



Sara Fernandez, Research Fellow

Sara Fernandez joined the centre in summer 2016, and she currently supports the Centre’s work in areas relating to collective impact and evaluation. She has a particular interest in how organisations can become more effective by learning from their own practice, and working collaboratively with others. 

Sara's background is in the youth social action sector, where she was CEO of Student Hubs. She currently works in Oxford, testing the feasibility of collective impact initiatives in the children and young people sector locally. She graduated from Oxford University in 2009, and completed her Executive MBA at Cranfield University during 2014-15 on the Cranfield Trust scholarship for third sector leaders. 



Find out more about our regional and thematic networks

South West:

Space, lead contact: Gill Millar


London Youth, lead contact: Laura Blazey

West Midlands:

Youth Focus West Midlands, lead contact: Ruth Rickman-Williams


MAP, lead contact: Paul Webb

Yorkshire and Humber:

Y&H Regional Youth Work Unit, lead contact: Charlee Bewsher

North East:

Youth Focus: North East, lead contact: Kevin Franks

North West:

Brathay Trust, lead contact: Lucy Maynard 

We are also supporting the following thematic networks of practitioners:

Foyer Federation – impact measurement in asset-based work with young people

Oasis - impact measurement in faith and community-based work with young people

Business Launchpad – impact measurement when supporting young people to develop enterprise and leadership-related skills

Generation Change – impact measurement in social action

Please contact Pippa Knott with any queries about the networks, or to be put in touch with the relevant network lead.