Our people

Our People

Who we are

David Lett and John Evans founded New Meaning in 2006.  Now, there are two separate sister enterprises helping people find meaning. New Meaning Training 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.

John Evans - New Meaning Foundation Trustee

John Evans

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.”

Rebecca Orde - New Meaning Foundation Trustee

Tracy Mann

Trustee

I first met John many years ago and like other trustees I have witnessed the growth and development of New Meaning Foundation over many years. I have always been passionate about helping people to live their best lives and do that through my work every single day. I have many years experience in the NHS, the Civil Service and third sector where I’ve worked on a number of programmes designed to help reduce inequalities, increase life chances and opportunities and widen participation and access to health and education.

I am really thrilled to be part of New Meaning Foundation and be able to share and apply some of my learning and also to learn from our customers and those we help so that we continue to grow and reach and support many more people.

“In my role as Trustee Safeguarding Lead, I work closely with our brilliant team of people to make sure we’re doing everything we should to keep everybody working / studying / training with us safe and well.”

“In my role as Trustee Safeguarding Lead, I work closely with our brilliant team of people to make sure we’re doing everything we should to keep everybody working / studying / training with us safe and well.”

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.

New Meaning Foundation Trustee - Lex Beckett

Lex Beckett

Trustee (Chair)

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 Foundation, as well as a long-term interest in psychology which he feels aligns with the ethos of the charity.

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 Orde - New Meaning Foundation Trustee

Rebecca Orde

Trustee

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 Foundation 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 Foundation’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

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Simon Pickering, Trustee at New Meaning Foundation

Simon Pickering

Trustee

Simon began his career working with young people in South London as a youth worker, in the area where he grew up. Simon’s 15-year youth sector career has included commissioning youth services for young people in two local authorities in Suffolk and working for BBC Children Need. In 2015 Simon founded Dot to Dot Training and Consulting a purpose drive business specialising in supporting charities and social enterprises with fundraising, impact communication and business development. Dot to Dot work UK wide and have supported over 300 organisations to thrive.

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Photo of NMF Trustee Peter Zipp

Peter Zipp

Trustee

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Photo of NMF Trustee Lorraine Canham

Lorraine Canham

Trustee

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Photo of NMF Trustee Andrew Aus

Andrew Aus

Trustee

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Denis Lucleavischii - New Meaning Foundation

Fiona Johnson

Operations Manager

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 Foundation because it is making a very real difference to people’s lives. I feel my time is very well spent working here!

Suzie Young

Suzie Young

Marketing Manager

Suzie brings a fresh approach to how New Meaning presents itself to the wider world. Working with both 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!”

Angela Howe

Bedford Area Manager

I’m Angela Howe, serving both as a SEN Tutor and Bedford Area Manager. Over the past 30 years, I’ve dedicated myself to working with children and young adults across a spectrum of roles, from nursery nurse to nanny, teaching assistant, and Domestic Abuse Trauma-Informed Practitioner.

My journey has been a quest for continuous learning, particularly in the realm of behaviour and developmental psychology and in children. I’m fascinated by the factors that shape children into resilient, positive role models, and I’ve dedicated myself to understanding their growth process.

Earning a BA in Childhood and Youth Studies has broadened my perspective, allowing me to comprehend young people on a deeper, more holistic level. This education has equipped me with insights into the cultural and age-related dynamics that often challenge our society.

Throughout my career, I’ve amassed a diverse skill set and cherished opportunities to work internationally, embracing the richness of various cultures. Outside of work, you’ll find me exploring live music venues and festivals, singing in a choir, enjoying leisurely walks, expressing myself through painting, and reading a range of books from non-fiction to classics to autobiographies, usually 3 or 4 simultaneously. However, above all, my heart lies in the precious moments spent with my family.

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Lacy Bridgeman

Construction Tutor

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“I am proud to support NMF’s innovative work across a range of interlinked and pertinent projects”

 

Mayomi  Wickramaratne

Administrator

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I am proud to support NMF’s innovative work across a range of interlinked and pertinent projects

Staff at NMF

Maryla Hart

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”

 

Steve Hodder

Tutor

I started work as a Ford Technical Apprentice from the age of 16, moved on to gain an Engineering Degree (sponsored by Ford), and then left Ford to become a freelance Automotive designer. My first contract was in Canada working as a design engineer for GM. I then ventured back to Europe (Germany – working with BMW, Porsche and Opel), then moved down to Italy (working with Pininfarina, Ferrari and Maserati), over to Japan (working with Nissan), and then back to the UK as European Business Executive for an Essex based Design House. I gained a senior position as Business Development Director for German company EDAG (setting up their UK business operations) but was then offered a long term move to the USA for six years as senior Business Development manager for Group Lotus.

I’ve had a colourful career, having worked as safeguarding Lead for the Essex Police cadets, and I also supported Essex Police’s MOSOVO unit for three years which was very challenging. During COVID, I worked full time for the East of England Ambulance service as a qualified call handler, so my public service experience is extensive.

However, with a burning creative streak, I gave up all engineering around 20 years ago, after being in awe of seeing West End Show “Blood Brothers”, to become a professional actor, where I trained at Trinity College London or three years, and have subsequently appeared in many big budget films, countless popular TV programs and stage shows. Nurturing my huge passion for the arts, I set up a Performing Arts School (The Pauline Quirke Academy), which I have been running now for 15 years, teaching youngsters from the ages of 6 to 18 how to act, make films, and perform and follow their own dreams.

Back in May 2024, I was asked by NMF Operations manager Fiona, |I f I would be interested in invigilating Entry Level exams. I was subsequently trained by NOCN, and undertake exam invigilation across Cambridge, for our NMF learners. This has progressed quite quickly, and I now teach Math’s and English on-site at Waterbeach three days a week, as well as assist Lacey in the workshop, and accompany Fiona on 2 to 1 Learner support in and around the county.

“Teaching students who haven’t had the best start to their schooling and education is very challenging but highly rewarding. It’s great to see them accomplish academic goals and challenges and be told they look forward to coming in to see us for classes.”

NMF Staff Member, Steve Hodder

“Teaching students who haven’t had the best start to their schooling and education is very challenging but highly rewarding. It’s great to see them accomplish academic goals and challenges and be told they look forward to coming in to see us for classes.”

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John Buckley

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Thomas Duffy

Construction

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Egiton Nyakuedzwa

Tutor

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Walter Smith

Construction

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Please donate to help BFIG at Busumbala school.

MoJo / NMF are proud to have helped BFIG build this much needed school.

Congratulations to @_Hopestead, @EmmausSuffolk & @newmeaningfound, for winning Best Use of an Emerging Technology in Housebuilding at the Housing Digital Innovation Awards 2024!

Read about our winners here: https://t.co/ejUXGRIC3C

#HousingDigitalAwards #HDIA2024 #ukhousing

Congratulations @EmmausSuffolk on winning the @hdawards_ for Best Use of an Emerging Technology in Housebuilding with @newmeaningfound and
@_Hopestead for their Hopestead Place accommodation.

The homes provide companions with more independence and their own front door. 💚

We're winners!🌟

Absolutely delighted to have won the @hdawards_ for Best Use of an Emerging Technology in Housebuilding alongside @newmeaningfound and @_Hopestead
for our Hopestead Place accommodation

Above all, we're thrilled to see the homes already ...transforming lives💚