Top team changes at The Young Foundation

Date: 1 June 2016


The Young Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Chair of the Board, Julie Mellor, who will take up the position at the Trustee Board meeting on 23 June 2016.  Julie’s appointment coincides with a new programme of work at The Young Foundation building on research published in the last few months.

Julie Mellor said, “It will be a real privilege to Chair The Young Foundation as it builds on the heritage of Michael Young who founded the Open University 50 years ago and many other organisations since. The organisation makes a unique contribution to the social fabric of the UK. I look forward to working with Trustees, the CEO Glenys Thornton and the talented team at The Young Foundation as it continues to conduct ethnographic research to understand people and communities, challenge inequalities and develop the next generation of social innovation.”

The Young Foundation is working on a number of new projects including:

  • A roundtable discussion to explore the potential for innovation in London’s private rented sector pulling together a wealth of knowledge and understanding of housing and innovation. Representatives of City Hall and some of London’s leading experts will be attending.
  • Bringing The Young Foundation’s ground breaking “Places” programme to London.  We will be holding a seminar to present the exciting work we have been running in our Places Programme in Northern Ireland – Belfast, Enniskillen, Derry/ Londonderry; Wales – Port Talbot, Aberystwyth, and Connah’s Quay; England – Leeds and Sheffield.
  • Our recent report “The Sky is the Limit” has opened up a fresh discussion about the potential for exploring the impact of social finance on tackling gender inequality and reaching women social entrepreneurs. Over the coming months we will be working with the sector to use social finance as a way of transforming gender inequality.
  • The Young Foundation will be publishing ethnographic research in Leeds conducted on behalf of Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Leeds City Council. This research will tell the story of inequality and resourcefulness in some of Leeds’ communities.
  • An event to discuss the most recent research into high cost lending, “Credit where credit’s due?” recently launched in Cardiff and Westminster. We will be using the learning of our in depth research in how and why people find themselves in many forms of debt, and what changes need to be made.

Tim Allan, Chair, The Young Foundation, who is standing down, has been in the position since December 2012. Tim is Managing Director of Portland, and said “It has been a great pleasure to lead the Board of Trustees of The Young Foundation for the last four years. The Young Foundation is a very important contributor to social innovation and in depth research challenging inequality in the UK. I am proud to leave the organisation in good health and great form, financially and intellectually, and in the more than capable hands of Julie Mellor.”

Glenys Thornton, CEO, The Young Foundation said “I am delighted that the Board has appointed Julie Mellor to take over the post of Chair and I know we will work together well to move the organisation forward. Julie brings great experience of equalities, innovation and governance which will be invaluable for us.”


Notes for Editors

The Young Foundation

The Young Foundation believes that inequality undermines the economy and corrodes wellbeing of people and their lives. We conduct in-depth research to understand issues, we invest and grow organisations and businesses to tackle inequalities, we tread softly and listen deeply in all our work.

The Young Foundation is named in honour of Michael Young, sociologist and innovator who researched and wrote “Family and Kinship in East London” now a classic academic text, and the “Rise of the Meritocracy”. The Young Foundation was established in 2005, through a merger of the Institute for Community Studies and the Mutual Aid Centre. Over the years these organisations set up the Open University, Which? Magazine and many other organisations.

Julie Mellor

Dame Julie Mellor is Chair of the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman. Since she joined in 2012, the Ombudsman service has embarked on a radical programme of modernisation to ensure it has ‘more impact for more people’ – increasing the number of investigations, working to improve the quality and consistency of its service, and using insight from cases to help others improve public services and complaint handling.

Julie is also a Trustee at Nesta, and was previously a partner in PwC’s London health practice. Following a 20 year career working in HR she became Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, and was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2006 for services to equal opportunities.

Glenys Thornton

In June 2015 Glenys Thornton was appointed as Chief Executive of The Young Foundation. Glenys has had a career in the voluntary, co-operative and private sectors for over 30 years, starting at Gingerbread, the Citizens Advice Bureau and then became Michael Young’s Project Director at the Institute for Community Studies and Mutual Aid Centre 1978 – 1981. She worked for The Co-op for 11 years as Political Secretary. Glenys founded Social Enterprise UK in 2001 and chaired the organisation until January 2008.  She became a Life Peer in 1998, and was Health Minister in the House of Lords 2008 – 2010 and also had responsibility for Women and Equalities.


Young Foundation Contacts:

Amanda Mercer, PA to the CEO – 020 8821 2842

Glenys Thornton, CEO – 07961 844165