Meet Ben Hilton, ReachOut’s new CEO

We’re excited to announce that Ben Hilton has been appointed as ReachOut’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Ben joins ReachOut from Dame Kelly Holmes Trust where he’s worked for 9 and a half years, most recently as their CEO and before that as Director of Programmes and Head of Young People Programmes. Alongside this, Ben has volunteered mentoring young offenders and worked in youth services supporting employers to recruit young people into careers.

Take a look below to find out more about Ben including what mentoring means to him, and why he wanted to join ReachOut. 

On Ben’s appointment, Professor Simon Hepburn, ReachOut’s Chair of Trustees said: 

“We’re very excited to have Ben join ReachOut as our new CEO. Ben brings with him extensive experience supporting young people from under-resourced communities to grow in character, confidence and self-belief. It’s clear he has a life-long passion for making sure young people get the chances and opportunities they deserve and we’re thrilled that he’ll be bringing that drive and determination to our next chapter at ReachOut. I’d also like to offer my thanks to Alice Memminger for her service as ReachOut’s interim CEO since February.”

Ben will be starting at ReachOut on 09th October.

Find out more about Ben

Can you tell us a bit about your background, and what led to where you are in your career today?

“I grew up in a single-parent household in what is now known as the poverty triangle in Redruth, Cornwall. I struggled in school as I was a hyperactive child, and the formal structures of the classroom and teaching model didn’t support my learning style, so I grew up with little aspirations of what I could achieve. Acting and Drama was the one subject that grabbed me though, and that is the route I took through college and University via Manchester and London.

For the past 9 and a half years (over 5 and a half as CEO) I’ve been working for the youth development charity Dame Kelly Holmes Trust which puts world-class athletes shoulder to shoulder with young people, equipping them with a winning mindset and shaping their futures. Before that I worked for Business in the Community as the Head of Community Impact in the South West, before taking on a national role under the Work Inclusion campaign, supporting people who were homeless or at risk of homelessness into work. Alongside this, I have volunteered as a needle exchange worker, mentoring young offenders and in youth services supporting employers to recruit young people into careers, not just jobs.”

Have you ever had a mentor? 

“I’ve had a number of mentors throughout my life but the one who always comes to mind was my college lecturer in Manchester. At that time, I was living on my own and struggling with aspects of my life outside of college and he went above and beyond to support me and ensured that I remained on track to get to University. His ability to inspire, communicate authentically and bring the best out of people is something that I still reflect and learn from 25+ years later.”

What attracted you to the role of CEO at ReachOut?

“The model, the impact and the potential. ReachOut is working in communities where young people don’t have the same opportunities as their peers who live in more affluent postcodes, to develop their character, achieve their aspirations and build relationships with positive role models. The fact that a young person is experiencing this on a weekly basis, and they are able to be supported year-on-year from primary to post-16, is really inspiring and something that I knew I had to be part of.”

What are you looking forward to in your role as CEO?

“Seeing the impact first-hand and working with the amazing young people, team, Board and volunteers that make ReachOut what it is. It is such a privilege to be joining an organisation that has made a positive difference to so many lives over the past twenty years and I look forward to leading the charity through its next chapter.”

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“At first, I was really hesitant to take on the Project Leader role, despite having mentored with ReachOut. However, with the support of the team I’ve really developed my skills. For example, at the Mentee Graduation, I stood up in front of 200 people and presented an award which is something I would never ever have been able to have done before, and isn’t an opportunity I could gain in my other situations.”

Amy McCutcheon, Project Leader at ReachOut Academy, Dean Trust Ardwick, Manchester.


“Being able to spend the summer working at Rede Partners, was an amazing experience. Whether it was working in HR or Finance, I learned so much about the world of private equity, made great connections with fantastic people and I got to learn first-hand what it would be like to work there! I really believe that I can go onto build the career I want now I’ve been a part for a workplace for real”

Victor Adekunle, 18 years old, ReachOut Ambassador, London


“When I first my mentee, she was very reluctant to participate in the sessions. Now, I see a completely different person! Her confidence has grown and she is happy to join in! She still has some self-doubt when it comes to academic work, but that’s what I hope to help her overcome, because she is a very bright person!

Through mentoring, I’ve learnt I’m a lot more patient than I realised. There will be days where she refuses to participate and those are the days that I really see the importance of the character strengths, for both the mentees and the mentors. It also makes it easier for the mentee to understand the character strengths, when I use them myself”

Myrtle, ReachOut Club mentor at Tufnell Primary School, London


“There are more distractions than ever outside of school, and the commitment of our students to attend ReachOut sessions is testament to the value they place on the relationships they foster there, and the challenge and enjoyment they provide.

ReachOut’s focus on communication skills and character development has become an important aspect of our provision of support for these students. The opportunity to relate to a positive role- model other than their usual teachers is key to the programme’s impact, and the evidence of this has been seen in the students’ attendance, resilience and to their overall progress across all the subjects in the school.”

Thomas Janvrin, Assistant Vice Principal at the Petchey Academy London