Sharon Lovell is Chair of the Youth Work Strategy Implementation Board.
She was first introduced to youth work as a young person herself whilst attending a youth centre. She became actively involved in Youthlink Wales; a peer-led youth organisation that focused on educating and informing young people on drugs, alcohol, HIV/AIDS. This enabled her to work throughout Wales with voluntary and statutory youth services. In 1994 she graduated with a diploma in youth and community studies from Glyndwr University, Wrexham and went on to study for a degree in Birmingham University.
After graduating, she started working in a homeless hostel for young people. It was during this time that she realised that many of the young people she was working with had been in the care system. The interconnection between homelessness and the care system became apparent. She felt passionate about the injustices young people in care faced. This led her to move into the field of advocacy and children’s rights when she became an advocate for The Children’s Society; her role was to develop advocacy services for children and young people in local authorities.
Sharon also has experience of working as a CEO for Cardiff Youth Service, establishing the Caerphilly Youth Information Centre and worked as a volunteer in her local youth centre and Wrexham Women’s Aid. More currently, Sharon has helped shape the advocacy agenda and landscape for Wales; she has been instrumental in ensuring that advocacy became a statutory entitlement for all children and young people in Wales, developed advocacy services across Wales and has worked in partnership with Welsh Government, ADSS and WLGA to secure a national advocacy approach for statutory advocacy provision; thus ensuring all children and young people who come into care are given an active offer of advocacy. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of NYAS Cymru (NYAS). Sharon was awarded an MBE in 2020 for services to children and young people and also holds the following positions:
- Chair: National Steering Group to reduce criminalisation of care experience children/young people
- Member Welsh Government’s Programme for radical transformation for children in care