A youth provider with a difference

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Staff Bios

Matthew Houghton – Chief Executive & Founder

I had one teacher in school that I got on with, he pushed me in his lessons and his lessons were enjoyable. I try to use the same style in my sessions with young people I get to know quickly. There was a really positive youth worker as well who worked with all my mates at the time and got the most out of us and got us involved in things other than football.

I bring a lot of experience having worked at HYPE since 2008 working in many different communities across the Wirral and Liverpool and have worked with literally thousands of young people.

As a teenager when hanging out with my mates, Police were constantly moving us from street corners and out of parks. Having park projects and youth clubs locally would have given me more options to get more involved in positive activities.

David Huyton – Head Youth Co-ordinator

Dave has worked as a teacher in secondary schools in Birkenhead since 1997. His background as PE Teacher and in Behavioural Management has enabled him to develop a range of extensive projects for young people within HYPE. As HYPE’s safeguarding officer he works closely with our dedicated team of staff, schools and partner organisations. 

Dave has experience working with young people in USA. China and South Africa. 

Dave is HYPE’s Youth Club Co-coordinator and overseas all delivery, staffing and administration at our youth clubs throughout the year. He provides our team of staff and volunteers mentoring in youth leadership, safeguarding and risk management. 

Lisa Littlewood –  Primary Schools Teacher

Growing up, I was an avid vinyl collector and aspiring DJ. I was inspired by DJs in the Scottish club scene, notably Glasgow DJs such as Slam who had started small, set up their own nights and festivals, then took that success and went on to producing music, their own record label and were playing around the world. 

After sending Matt my CV, he identified my role as a DJ and radio presenter which could help build confidence and hone the professional presenting skills of the staff on the team. I used my experience in staff development to help crystallise their goals and objectives as well as helping them play to their strengths within the company. As a primary teacher my knowledge of curriculum development would help the team devise relevant and stimulating enterprise projects and resources for our involvement with schools.

If HYPE had been around when I was growing up, it would have been brilliant to have opportunities to meet and work with young adults and peers who could help me recognise and develop skills I had that lay outside of the traditional educational setting.

Leonardo Magnani – Project Manager

Leonardo is Project Manager at HYPE. Leonardo has strong experience in managing international projects, including international mobilities. Leonardo has studied at the University of Padua, Italy, as well as in Brazil and Germany. 

“I started volunteering with HYPE because I was really interested in the changes that HYPE brings in young people’s lives by improving the community. Now I am happy to collaborate in the designing of local and international projects to support young people everywhere” Leonardo is project manager at HYPE. Leonardo has strong experience in managing international projects, including international mobilities. Leonardo has studied at the University of Padua, Italy, as well as in Brazil and Germany. 


Laura Martin – Life Coach and Secondary Schools Mentor

Mrs Murphy my primary school teacher, she showed great compassion towards every child in our class and made each and everyone of us feel special.

I bring health, fitness and well-being coaching to young people and the team at HYPE. HYPE helps massively by being part of an active local community, helping young people gain qualifications and find support to enhance their skills & experience, which of course helps improve the chances of getting a job.

Harry Deijnan – Volunteer

I first got involved with HYPE in October 2017 when I took part in a volunteering project in Cape Town, where we went into disadvantaged schools and taught and coached underprivileged children. That opportunity taught me a huge amount from fundraising for the trip, to the skills and knowledge I gained over there. The trip developed my teamwork and confidence and changed my outlook on life and made me more aware of the world around us and how much of an impact we can have. 

After returning from Cape Town I continued to work with HYPE to further develop and use the experience gained and also try to give some positive back into the local community via coaching & volunteer work. 

In April 2018 I was invited to be part of HYPE’s Vibrant Parks project in New York in collaboration with World Merit; this trip involved visiting several parks such as Central Park and Prospect Park to see how we can better utilise green spaces to benefit local communities as part of the UN Sustainable Goals. We also spent time New York Conservancy’s ROOTS Programme, learning about conservation and planting trees with them.  From this trip I have since been involved in similar activities in local parks such as Birkenhead Park to raise the same awareness in our immediate community.


Ross Mackin – Community Sports Coach

I’ve always admired my football coaches. From a young age I was always brought up to respect people and thank them for their time. As I got older, I started to appreciate this more and more. Coaches often are volunteers. A small number make a profession out of coaching. My coaches gave up a huge amount of time for me and my teammates and would do anything in the drop of a heartbeat. 

When I was 16, I started coaching voluntarily. I took my own under 9 football team. It wasn’t until then I understood the answer to my question. It is the most rewarding experience seeing someone admire you so much. As a coach you are some people’s role models, teacher, best friend and many more. As a coach we have a superpower to makes peoples lives better through sport and it is the most rewarding thing to have experienced. I thank my football coaches for being my role models and leading me on the pathway to getting into coaching.

Throughout my life sports has been my everything. It was a place you could truly express yourself. Growing up I was always out on the street and there was next to nothing to do to apart from play football. There were no opportunities like HYPE around at the time.