Who we are
David Lett and John Evans founded New Meaning in 2006. Now, there are three separate sister enterprises helping people find meaning. New Meaning Training, New Meaning Construction and our Charity, New Meaning Foundation. Together, these enterprises are Building Strengths, Building Lives and Building Futures.
For the next 10 years they delivered numerous programmes across the country in schools, community enterprises and social housing providers, all focused on motivating, enabling and facilitating agency and social enterprise in young people and those without jobs.
Together they developed a number of People-Behaviour-Change methodologies including ProActive Life & Work Skills (for young people), ProActive Behaviour Change (for organisations), and ProActive Community Enterprise (for local communities).
I believe in supporting, facilitating and enabling lost souls to rediscover their self-confidence and improve self-esteem, with the desired outcome that everyone who goes through the process learns to be proficient, able and successful in a way that is genuinely meaningful to their individual lives.
Chief Executive Officer (and Co-Founder of New Meaning)
John comes from a background in agri-science followed by several years in mergers & acquisitions (people & process). Since co-founding New Meaning in 2006 he has focused on social enterprise charities, providing positive life-changing education, training and employment for the hardest to reach in society.
John sees his role at NMF as defining overall strategy with the Trustees, followed by orchestrating and implementing delivery (but in reality he does a lot more than that).
On a personal level, John used to be an average rugby player, founded the Herts Uni cross country club, and his claim to fame was undoubtedly leader of the 2nd violins in the Anglo-French Youth Orchestra in the late 70’s.
More recently he attends the gym 3-4 times a week and claims he can still bench press 100kg.
“I believe in supporting, facilitating and enabling lost souls to rediscover their self-confidence and improve self-esteem, with the desired outcome that everyone who goes through the process learns to be proficient, able and successful in a way that is genuinely meaningful to their individual lives.”
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From my perspective, New Meaning is one of the few charitable organisations for whom action, impact and results are the key metric. They put people at the heart of everything they do, and understand that all people have different experiences, mindsets, priorities and lived experience. I have never met two more empathetic individuals than John and David.
Lex has worked closely with John & David for the past decade so has witness the development of New Meaning and their various activities and course around the UK and abroad.
As a BAFTA-nominated filmmaker (yes, indeed), Lex is the Company and Creative Director of the wonderfully named Squashed Robot Films, who specialise in commercial and film production, broadcast, documentary, aerial filming and photography.
Although we don’t see Lex that often in Cambridge (he’s based in Cheltenham), he brings a valuable creative perspective to New Meaning, as well as a long-term interest in psychology which he feels aligns with the ethos of the Foundation.
When he’s not wielding a camera or a clip-board, Lex’s idea of fun is escaping the modern world, either camping or walking in the middle of nowhere.
“From my perspective, New Meaning is one of the few charitable organisations for whom action, impact and results are the key metric. They put people at the heart of everything they do, and understand that all people have different experiences, mindsets, priorities and lived experience. I have never met two more empathetic individuals than John and David.”
Rebecca has enjoyed an extremely varied career spanning several sectors (education, technology, event management and property) and spent over 20 years living and working in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central America.
Based in Cambridge since 2007, she has focused on the built environment, providing project management services for residential clients and the East Anglia region. Her particular interests are future-proofing homes for people approaching later life, and adapting homes for disabled people and their families.
She became a Trustee in early 2021, having heard about New Meaning from one of her trades, who has been involved in the electrical installations for the modular homes.
When she’s not busy trying to disrupt the housing sector, Rebecca loves travelling to Italy, waxing lyrical about the benefits of Japanese loos and early morning walks on Grantchester Meadows.
“When I saw the modular homes being constructed in Waterbeach Barracks and met John Evans for the first time, I immediately “got” the value and impact of New Meaning’s work. Tackling several issues whilst addressing an increasing social problem in this extremely unequal city. So it wasn’t a hard decision to get involved and help where I could”
When I saw the modular homes being constructed in Waterbeach Barracks and met John Evans for the first time, I immediately “got” the value and impact of New Meaning’s work. Tackling several issues whilst addressing an increasing social problem in this extremely unequal city. So it wasn’t a hard decision to get involved and help where I could
I want these trainees to know that there’s a point to what they’re doing. Being mostly self-taught, I have never stopped learning. My motto is JUST DO IT!
Site Manager & Technical Lead
Peter is a key member of the New Meaning team, overseeing the building of the modular homes and delivering valuable on-site training and supervision to the foundation’s trainees.
Having experience numerous challenges himself, including being homeless and living at a YMCA at 32 years of age. Peter keenly understands the value that this programme offers people, from learning practical transferrable skills to building up confidence and self worth.
Having spent four years learning his skills with New Meaning’s company, New Meaning Training, at their first centre in High Wycombe, Peter transferred to New Meaning Foundation to support John with the SPACE Micro-homes work in 2020.
“I want these trainees to know that there’s a point to what they’re doing. Being mostly self-taught, I have never stopped learning. My motto is JUST DO IT!”
Fiona has a career that spans from policing and security through to education, safeguarding and supporting vulnerable people. She finds working with those who need the most support, patience, help to find themselves and progress on their own individual pathways incredibly rewarding. Whether working with people in one-to-one situations, in small groups or whole classes and teams she has been a part of many journeys and success stories. From schools, Alternative Provisions, Voluntary Organisations and Community projects, Fiona has been able to provide specialist support to those with SEMH, SEN and needs unmet by standard, mainstream routes to progress in differentiated education. She has been able to secure life-changing transitions back into mainstream education or into employment. Fiona feels fortunate to be able to pass on this experience in a managerial role.
“A great Foundation that works towards a special goal: to help young persons with special education needs. “
A great charity that works towards worthwhile goals by helping young people find their employability and building homes for homeless people.
I was drawn to New Meaning because it is making a very real difference to people’s lives. I feel my time is very well spent working here!
Suzie brings a fresh approach to how New Meaning presents itself to the wider world. Working with all three of the New Meaning sister companies, Suzie is working to achieve visibility for all the great work we do. She has an impressive track record, having worked in both sales and marketing roles over the past 20 years. Notably, she also brings experience from a long-standing connection with the education sector in Cambridgeshire.
Suzie has a personal interest in neuroscience and psychology but she says this role also gives her the opportunity to tap into her degree in Sociology.
“I was drawn to New Meaning because it is making a very real difference to people’s lives. I feel my time is very well spent working here!”
Donna has focused her career on working with children and young people in a variety of different roles, including children’s social care, children’s mental health, SEND education and care sector work. Donna is passionate about supporting young people in need, particularly those who are most vulnerable and difficult to reach. She brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills to the NMF team. In the time Donna has been with NMF, she has made valuable contributions, including the development and launch of the Foundations for Future curriculum.
Donna enjoys being an advocate for mental health and special educational needs. In her spare time she likes to do arts and crafts, spend time with friends and family, support Wales in the rugby and watch all of the Disney films. Donna plays football for her local women’s team and in the past played netball for her university team.
Donna is thrilled to be part of the NMF team, doing something she loves by continuing to support and guide young people who are most in need.
“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”
Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars
I am proud to support NMF’s innovative work across a range of interlinked and pertinent projects
Fundraising & Sustainability Manager
Maryla has a background in public sector governance, project work and high level administration. She has also run a business, worked for an environmental pressure group and worked for charities supporting adults and children with Autism and a range of disabilities. Maryla is passionate about climate, environmental and social justice and is studying for an MSc in Sustainability. Maryla’s eclectic CV and life experience help her to bring a new perspective and ways of working to NMF.
In her spare time, Maryla loves to spend time outdoors including, including cycling, hiking and growing her own fruit and veg.
“I am proud to support NMF’s innovative work across a range of interlinked and pertinent projects”