Nottingham charity boss steps down after 25 years

Janet Lewis

The chief executive of Nottingham charity, Base 51, is stepping down from the role after 25 years of service.

Janet Lewis from Eastwood is retiring having led the independent charity, which supports young people in the city and county, since 1993.

Base 51 offers support to people between the ages of 11-25 years from the centre NGYmyplace on Castle Gate in Nottingham. The charity provides a safe space for people to meet, take part in activities and receive support and access to a free counselling service including crisis drop in sessions. Practical support, such as use of laundry services and showers is also available for visitors to the centre and workshops are frequently held to help increase knowledge of current issues and build self-confidence.

Outburst, which is currently the only group for LGBTQ+ young people in Nottingham, is also run by Base 51 alongside targeted programmes that tackle specific issues faced by young people in Nottingham such as homelessness and serious violence.

Having joined the charity as a student youth worker during her university placement, Lewis was initially appointed as senior support worker and has, in total, served 25 years at the charity.

During her time, Lewis has overseen the delivery of various projects to help young people in Nottingham. This includes supporting young people sleeping on the streets, runaways, coordinating teenage pregnancy services and mentoring teenage parents.

In 2012 she led the move from Glasshouse Street to NGY and a new chapter for Base 51. Recent projects include Thrive – an initiative set up in 2018 with funding from BBC Children in Need, to help children and young people living in temporary accommodation, ensuring that their mental and physical health is looked after, that they have access to a bespoke art therapy service to address any anxieties and to help them reach their full potential at school and college through a homework club.

“Base 51 has been part of my life for 25 years; from a charity which was just starting out when I joined, to now as a leading service provider in the city and county of Nottingham. I am proud to have been part of this journey and to see Base 51 continue to go from strength to strength under the leadership of Jo Jepson,” said Lewis.

Jo Jepson, who has been with Base 51 since May 2016 and is the current Deputy CEO, will be taking over from Janet as chief executive. Previous to her role at Base 51, she was head of contracts and finance at Manchester Youth Zone.

During the last four years Jepson has strengthened the funding model which has enabled the charity to deliver new projects including work which addresses serious violence and young people.

She said: “I wish Janet my very best wishes for the future and, together with the board, staff and volunteers, we will do our absolute best to build on her legacy so Base51 can increase the support we provide for young people in Nottinghamshire.”