After 17 years at the helm, Dave Thompson has finally passed the role on as he moves into his well-earned retirement.

Anyone working in the sector in Dorset will have been involved in the work Dave has done, either through youth clubs and groups, the 0-25 VCS Forum or Dorset Strategic Alliance (previously Children’s Trust Board).

Dave’s experience working with children and young people has held DYA in great esteem amongst our VCS and statutory partners, and this has been used to support others to improve the quality of life for children and young people in Dorset – DYA’s overarching aim.

To commemorate Dave’s time at DYA he was presented with an engraved tankard and gift voucher from the Board of Trustees, and a Triumph clock and cream tea from the Staff.

Dave’s work at DYA can be seen here where he has attracted funding to bring resource and opportunities to Dorset for children and young people. Working in partnership was a key success and this has been shown in the Face Forward, the Mentoring Service at Wey Valley School and delivering the Strengthening Families Programme alongside Oxford Brookes University.

During Dave’s tenure DYA hit it’s 70th Birthday. To commemorate, Dave was instrumental in organising a highly successful and high-profile event in Dorset with HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Wessex, meeting the young people we work with and who attended our affiliated Clubs & Groups, our staff, and Trustees to celebrate 70 successful years.

With Dave’s retirement brings changes, and we are delighted to announce the appointment of Mike Bennett as CEO.  With Mike’s background in youth work we can be sure that DYA will continue moving forward with children, young people and families at it’s heart - here is his message for you all:

I am very honoured to be the new CEO of DYA and be part of an organisation that supports young people, families and other Voluntary organisations within Dorset. Dorset has a strong history of volunteers and organisations that strive to improve the lives of others in their community and I am glad to be a small part of that working for DYA.

I moved to Dorset in 2008 as the Area Youth Worker based in Sturminster Newton and ran clubs in the surrounding North Dorset area. We established open access provision, school and project based work within the local community. We established a strong DofE programme as well as working with young people on employability programmes as well as tackling local need for young people within North Dorset. Establishing provision such as a climbing wall, moped and off road motorbike projects, outdoor activities, first aid training, babysitting courses, holiday provision, peer mentoring and the senior member programme.

All this was only possible through the partnership working with volunteers and the Voluntary Sector.

In 2015 I left the Youth Service to run a CIC company running projects within schools and other Local Authorities in the UK. This then lead to designing and developing the Global Youth Ambassador Programme focusing on Global Citizenship and linking mainstream schools with international schools. A project that in 3 years provided training to 2000+ 8-18 year olds and opportunities for teachers and 750+ students, many of which were PP to travel to another school in different country for free.

I am very much looking forward to working with so many fantastic young people, families, volunteers and professionals again within Dorset.