Laurie, Founder and Executive Director
Laurie founded Room for Change in 2019 and leads the organisation in a voluntary capacity. She is the National Head of Public Engagement in a government health body where she leads a large national team and portfolio of programmes and digital services that support participation in health research and promote equity of access amongst underserved communities.
Laurie previously worked for over a decade in the social impact sector, specialising in the civic participation of underserved communities and the participatory design of public services in a career working across social housing, health, women’s rights and LGBT rights. Laurie has designed and implemented participation models for national and local public bodies, including NHS England, as well as multiple local authorities and CCGs. Laurie established the first youth and community engagement programme for the LGBT rights charity, Stonewall, and has acted as an advisor on participation for bodies including the Big Lottery, Cabinet Office, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and the Department of Health and Social Care. Laurie continues her involvement with the social sector as an advisor for charities including Street Doctor and Gingerbread.
Laurie has a BA in English Literature from Warwick University and an Msc in Social Research from Birkbeck College, University of London. Laurie is a passionate advocate for adult education and all women's rights. Laurie is a fellow of the RSA.
Lucie Russell, Advisor and Ambassador
Lucie is currently CEO of Street Doctors, a charity teaching lifesaving skills to young people at risk of youth violence across the UK. This is facilitated through a movement of young healthcare volunteers who teach emergency first aid to 11-25 year olds, and create safe spaces for them to discuss attitudes to violence. Lucie is also a Trustee of Redthread Youth.
Lucie has an extensive track record of working at the cutting edge of social justice. Qualified as both a youth worker and social worker, Lucie began her career in the charity sector as one of the co-founders of the Big Issue and was a driving force in its development from a new venture into an international publishing success story, providing a hand up to many thousands of homeless people. Lucie also launched The Big Issue Foundation, the charitable arm of the organisation which provided a range of support services to homeless people across the country.
Other key achievements have included establishing SmartJustice, a national campaign based at the Prison Reform Trust which promoted community solutions to crime and in her role as Director of Campaigns and Media at YoungMinds, leading the national surge in media interest and public attention and action around the issue of children’s mental health. Lucie was previously Director of the Fair By Design campaign, tackling poverty, based at the Barrow Cadbury Trust. All Lucie's work has put lived experience front and centre in its content.
Lucy Davidson, Designer
Lucy is a multidisciplinary social designer with a BA in Graphic Design from Kingston School of Art. Lucy is passionate about designing for positive social change, with particular interests in class inequality, community and diversity. She is a Fellow of the RSA after winning one of their Student Design Awards in 2019 for designing an app to help boost political engagement amongst homeless people.
Lucy has a personal connection to Room for Change; being a recent graduate from a working-class background and striving to work in social design. She created Room for Change’s branding and website, alongside inputting research and ideas and is looking forward to continuing supporting Room for Change through design.
Paul-Taiwo Agboola, Partnership Lead
Paul, also known as Taiwo, is a young,black semi-professional football referee. Paul has taken football to the next level establishing himself as a well-respected, in-demand Referee amongst The FA where he has worked hard to secure his positive reputation as one of the very few Black referees. He has been honoured by The FA Centre of Refereeing Excellence.
Alongside his refereeing, Paul is also an FA football Coach, all of which has provided him with a strong mental character, physical strength and emotional resilience and places him in a strong position to be a role model for young people, who might be facing difficult circumstances.
Paul uses his experiences, both good and bad, to push him to create social change. He has a range of voluntary and charitable sector experiences, including: peer research for Partnership for Young London; running his own focus groups around racial equality; acting as a community engagement leader and helping to provide community aid through Foodbanks for the vulnerable during the first phase of COVID-19 pandemic.
Having survived serious physical trauma as teenager, Paul harnessed the physical and emotional pain and turned it into passion. Paul has undertaken a range of leadership training: Prince’s Trust Explore Enterprise Programme, Junior Sports Leadership Award, and OCR Employability Skills- Level 2 Community Sports Leaders Award. He currently studies Sports Science at University and will be going on to do his Masters in Sports Law which builds on a portfolio of learning.
Paul grew up in South London with the belief that he can strive to make change in his local community and beyond.
Lorraine Kay, Mentoring and Employability Lead
Lorraine is an accredited Senior Practitioner with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council and is also a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. She has extensive experience of personal and organisational development in a career spanning diverse organisations in the publishing, travel, financial services and public and social sectors. She has worked from entry to board level and her work has encompassed organisational and cultural change, leadership, empowerment and personal growth and career development.
Lorraine believes passionately in the power of continuous learning and reflective practice and their role in supporting growth in both an individual's personal and professional lives. She believes that the sooner a young person consciously engages with these concepts, the greater the benefit they can provide for their adult lives and careers.