Young Citizens appoints new Chief Executive

Young Citizens appoints new CEO Ashley Hodges to lead the charity’s next phase of growth

Photo of Ashley Hodges

Young Citizens are pleased to announce the appointment of Ashley Hodges to the role of CEO to lead the charity into a new phase of growth – and continue its mission to put citizenship education at the heart of primary and secondary education in the UK.

The former CEO of Speakers for Schools and AccessEd leader has a proven track record for scaling charities and engaging schools and policy makers at a national level. Hodges will lead a team of twenty and oversee the strategic development of Young Citizen’s work.

Through a programme of education initiatives and participatory learning experiences, Young Citizens has engaged over a million children aged 5-18 years old this year through its network of over 5,000 schools, helping young people in the UK understand the law, their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and prepare them for civic life. Young Citizens ensures schools have access to quality lessons and online resources in addition to formative experiences through their hallmark programmes such as Go-Givers, Make a Difference Challenge, The Big Legal Lesson and the Mock Trials.

With a background in politics and community action, Hodges joins Young Citizens at a crucial juncture. Today’s younger citizens find themselves at the forefront of spearheading political and social change – shining a light on critical issues such as Climate Change, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ rights and the poverty, gender and racial disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The potential for the UK’s youth to imagine new and collective solutions for society and actively campaign for change both in and out of schools, has never been greater.

Ashley Hodges, Young Citizens CEO:

“Leading organisations with innovative education and social action programmes is my heartland and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the future strategy at Young Citizens and take us into our next phase of growth. Engaging with citizenship, democracy, community and participation in civil society has never been more important for young people. I am committed to mobilising the next generation and empowering young people to play an active role in the society we are shaping. I am looking forward to working with our partners and championing our work to increase our reach and impact for young people nationally.”

Dr Edge Watchorn, Chair of Young Citizen’s Board of Trustees, commented:

“I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Ashley as our new Chief Executive. As we emerge from the global pandemic, Young Citizens’ work has never been more vital, more urgent or more relevant. Ashley brings a wealth of passion, energy and expertise from her rich background across the education and community activism sector – and we look forward to increasing our reach and impact under her leadership.”

Prior to joining Young Citizens, Hodges served as transitional CEO at AccessEd, the global university access start-up serving under-represented young people (2019-2021) after helping launch and eventually lead the UK social mobility charity Speakers for Schools as their first CEO (2010 – 2019). Her previous work includes as a communications specialist and consultant on community engagement, as well as a Pennsylvania staff member on the successful Obama for America election campaign in 2008. She is also a trustee of Elizabeth House community centre and a governor of Welbourne Primary School.