Meet our new Deputy Heads of services: Rachel Leslie and Mandy Brown

Children North East are pleased to share the appointment of two new leadership roles.

Our new Deputy Heads of Service Rachel Leslie and Mandy Brown

Meet our new Deputy Heads of services

Rachel Leslie has been appointed as Deputy Head of Youth Services and Poverty Proofing and Mandy Brown as Deputy Head of Families and Parenting. The two join our newly appointed Heads of services, and will help take our 2021 strategy forward, in collaboration of the Operations Director and Senior Leadership Team.

Rachel Leslie comes into post from her role as Youth Counselling Team Manager, in which she led our provision of counselling for young people aged 9 to 25 through a range of specialist programmes, such as NHS mental health provision, support for victims of crime and an innovative project utilising Minecraft. Mandy has spent nearly a decade leading services for families in North East communities, working in areas including child safeguarding, therapeutic support, domestic violence and help for families in crisis.


A new landscape of need for young people

As we enter 2022, we enter a new landscape of need for babies, children, young people and their families. The Youth Services and Poverty Proofing Team is faced with a context in which young people are facing significant difficulties. 37% of North East children live in poverty ¹, whilst one in six report a diagnosable health condition ² (two years ago this was one in eight). Bringing to life the scope of need for the team’s services, ‘in an average classroom, ten children will have witnessed their parents separate, eight will have experienced severe physical violence, sexual abuse or neglect, one will have experienced the death of a parent and seven will have been bullied’ ³.

Rachel Leslie comments, “I am thrilled to have been appointed as Deputy Head of Youth Services and Poverty Proofing. For the last 15 years, I have been privileged to witness the excellent work all of our teams at Children North East deliver to make a real difference in babies, children, young people and families’ lives.

“Working within Young Peoples Service, and in particular the counselling team, has allowed me to understand the growing complexity and needs children and young people face. This is an exciting time for Young Peoples Service and Poverty Proofing. I am passionate about the work we do and I am determined to strengthen and support the commitment Children North East have made to enable our vital work to continue.”


A helping hand for families in times of need

Whilst the Youth Services team supports young people to deal the impact of negative experiences and create new, positive ones, the Families and Parenting team are focused on giving babies and children the best possible start in life. In the year before the pandemic, there were 643,000 child social care referrals in the UK and almost 390,000 children were on CPPs at the beginning of 2021⁴.

These statistics cover a range of challenges that families may face and which can often be reduced with the right support. For example, 15% of babies do not have an emotional connection with a supportive and nurturing adult⁵, something our Little Minds in Mind therapeutic service can help new parents and carers to develop. Another example is the potential for new parents with a disability to be seen as a risk to their child. In this instance our can work closely with the family and CSC to ensure all possible pathways of support have been explored to keep them together.

Mandy shares, “Working within the Families and Parenting team at Children North East for nearly 9 years as a Team Manager, I have seen first-hand the incredible impact our services and support has on the lives babies, children and families in the North East.

“In my new role as Deputy Head of Families and Parenting, I will continue to work with such a passionate and dedicated team who continue to provide high quality support to babies, children and their families. I look forward to seeing the service grow and reach more people across our region with the helping hand they need to overcome what are often the most difficult moments in their lives or relationships.”