The Team

Meet the team behind Youth Unity. Our staff are fully professional and can deliver all workshops and trainings in a safe and professional manner. Staff are also experienced in safeguarding and proficient risk assessing etc. We are experienced in delivering our projects and trainings to people of all ages and abilities.

James Hensman

Head of Strategic Planning & Operations for Youth Unity CIC delivering front line training, support and intervention services to combat Gangs, County-lines and Organised Crime. 
He has worked for over 16 years  with broad ranging experience in community, integrated teams, commissioning ; and within partnership with Metropolitan and County police forces. 
His passion is enabling quality improvement and supporting vulnerable cohorts at risk of gang related activity.  James enjoys working across diverse communities, creating purposeful multi- agency partnerships in order to improve outcomes for vulnerable cohorts. Previous to his role he was a serving officer responsible for co-ordinating knife crime prevention based operations in partnership with other statutory services. Experience in strategic planning for gang and serious organised crime.

Shirley Jackson

Founder - Director

Shirley, Head of Operations and facilitates all aspects of the operation of Youth Unity and project manages a large majority of our projects.

Alongside that she is integral in the running of the company. Through her many years of experience, Shirley has developed a specific set of strategies that ensure that the valuable workshops, and creative events reach the young people that are at risk.

Shirley has over twenty five years of marketing and branding experience and has worked with some of the worlds biggest artist, agencies and non-profit organisations, Shirley has also led on a variety of event management, she now brings all of that knowledge and experience to the company and to the young people that she interacts with.

Her main focus is helping young people maintain a happy and for filled life by offering her many years of experience to them via her work.  

Paul McKenzie


Youth Professional, Videographer and Public Speaker

Paul has enjoyed changing the lives of hundreds of people over the last twenty five years. 

Through his commitment to working with young people, from all different cultures, he has developed a series of workshops and talks that address man of the challenges that young people face in todays society.

He has also influenced thousands of young people, parents and professional through his short films and informational videos, that are often available on social media and other platforms. His video content is also used in schools, colleges and statutory organisations to help find solutions to topics such as serious youth violence, grooming and drugs awareness.

More recently, Paul has been working with the Metropolitan Police to produce a series of short videos that can be viewed by the young people that are detained in custody suites etc.
Paul remains proud to have contributed to some major changes in the way we address specific issues that challenge communities, especially the issues that affect our youth.

His overall intention is to create more spaces for young people to realise their potential through creative projects that inspire greater change in all.

Paul Robinson

SYV Project Manager

Paul brings a significant knowledge and passion in Intervention, Sport and crime reduction management specialism innovation to lead teams and organisations through rapid change in strategy, culture and execution. 

Following a successful coaching career both in the UK and the US. I returned to the UK to embark on a complete change of direction to utilize sport/arts to engage with hard-to-reach young people to help to raise their aspirations and to steer them away from criminality.

His most recent senior role was at Charlton Athletic football trust (CACT) as the Crime Reduction Manager with experience of leading, project managing the addvance and innovation of Criminal Exploitation across Kent and South East London.

Paul is the Youth Unity Essex SYV Coordinator with the responsibility for leading 

Paul has been involved in a range of London based advisory boards connected to community safety and SYV.  

Wayne Hill

Gang Crisis Intervention Mentor

Julian Philips

I have worked in the Criminal justice system for 23 years, this involved working in the prison system and probation. I also have experience in the Mental health sector where I held a managerial position. 
My motivation in life is to be the best role model I can be to those in my personal life aswell as my professional life. 
My passion is to be an advocate for those less fortunate and provide equality for all. Through my many years of experience I have gained vast knowledge of young people and have the tools to tackle the most difficult of situations. This enables me to connect productively with a diverse range of people from all backgrounds.
I thrive on inspiring others to reach their goals and aspirations. 

Chay Connolly

Sports Coach / Mentor

Grace Moore

Clinical Supervisor

Yasmin Hacib

Youth worker
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