We are delighted to announce that Joel Lewis has been appointed as the Chief Executive of the Foyer Federation. Joel will already be very familiar to our members and friends as the leader of the charity following his 18 months in an interim position, and we hope you will join the team in congratulating him on this official confirmation of his role.
Foyers and Advantaged Thinking are very close to Joel’s heart, as he started work as a support worker in a local project in 2004. “I remember seeing the banners hanging up outside the building at YMCA Crewe and not really knowing what a Foyer was,” he recalls from that time.
Over 14 years, he saw firsthand the challenges that young people who experience homelessness face day in, day out. He drew on his architectural background to help in the redesign and development of YMCA Crewe into an Advantaged Thinking service for young people. “It became a test bed for innovation and how to provide the best deal possible for young people,” he said.
His relationship with the Foyer Federation began during his time as service manager, engaging in cutting-edge Advantaged Thinking programmes like Open Talent and Healthy Conversations. Inspired by the work of Foyer Federation at that time, he became the North West regional chair. “Getting to know the network of Foyers, I became a strong advocate for Advantaged Thinking in the early years of the movement.” He even appeared in the ‘21 Stories’ video series to celebrate 21 years of the Foyer Federation.
Joel joined the Foyer Federation as the Director of Network in 2018, then in July 2019 took on leadership responsibility when the charity entered a difficult phase in its history. In recent years, both the Foyer Federation and local services have weathered difficult times due to funding cuts and staff turnover. Under Joel’s leadership, we have spent time listening and reflecting on our core values and as a result, we have rebuilt and redesigned our offer, laid a stable foundation, brought new funders on board, and secured a high-quality network of committed members.
Joel said, “An Advantaged Thinking approach was invaluable during this time, drawing on strengths of friends of the Foyer Federation, as well as key supporters in the network. Staying focused on our strengths and viewing the organisation through an Advantaged Thinking lens enabled us to reprioritise and regroup around our positive belief in young people.”
Now, with the charity in a stable and positive place, Joel’s vision for the future of the Foyer Federation is clear. “I am excited and enthusiastic about the future of Foyers and Advantaged Thinking services working with young people to realise their power and purpose. This year, I have been consistently taken aback by the resilience and tenacity of young people affected by the pandemic. I’ve felt invigorated by their inherent energy and drive to spark change, motivate and support others, and speak up for what matters.
“Conversations with young people, our members and our friends in the youth sector have made it clear to me that there is a strong need to unite as a movement for Advantaged Thinking – a steadfast community that builds a brighter future, with young people leading the way. Our ambitious new strategy, the Home for Advantaged Thinking, describes our vision for that future and how we’re going to take action. I hope you’ll be part of the journey with us.”
We hope our members, friends and peers in the sector will continue forward with us under our new strategy – the Home for Advantaged Thinking. Get in touch with Joel at [email protected] for a conversation.