Blackburn Youth Zone, announced today its next Chairman will be Jack Straw after he stands down as an MP at the next general election.
The current Chairman, Andrew Graham – CEO of wallpaper giant Graham and Brown – made a statement at the Youth Zone this morning to announce the change in leadership.
Mr Graham, who has been Chairman for four years, has seen the project through from the completion of the £6m building, the recruitment of the private sector-led board and, by the time he stands down in May 2015, will have overseen the charity through its first three years of operation.
Mr Graham said: “I am delighted to confirm Jack has agreed to become Chair of the Youth Zone. From day one he has been an incredible supporter of the charity, immediately understanding what an impact on regeneration and youth development this world class project can deliver in the area. This is an incredible opportunity for the BYZ, with Jack’s connections locally, nationally and internationally, his wisdom and his incredible passion for helping the people of Blackburn, he will be able to help the Youth Zone continue to flourish and leave a lasting legacy within our community.”
He continued: “In the short time that Blackburn Youth Zone has existed, we have taken great strides towards the regeneration of our community, giving hope, aspiration and belief to our young people. We have only just started and in the next chapter, with Jack at the helm, we can look forward to continuing to build this incredible legacy in our own community.”
On accepting the role of Chairman, Mr Straw said: “It is an honour to be invited to Chair the Youth Zone board and I was delighted to accept Andrew Graham’s offer. The Youth Zone is the most important development in the Blackburn area for years, providing great opportunities for young people and bringing the community together. Andrew’s Herculean efforts have led to an excellent example of public and private sector partnership.”
Our Chief Executive, Kathryn Morley, was present at the official announcement today, she told us: “It is wonderful to see the Blackburn Youth Zone Charity, that we created only a few years ago, so quickly be able to attract such a fantastic high profile Chair who brings with him all of his experience and network of contacts for the benefit of the Youth Zone’s movement and more particularly to help change the lives of the young people of Blackburn. I would also like to join in the thanks to Andrew Graham who has done a brilliant job of establishing Blackburn on the map as a leader in youth provision. It is an exciting time for all involved.”
From May 2015, Andrew Graham will remain on the Youth Zone board where he will take the lead in private sector engagement and fundraising.