ReachOut Leadership Update

ReachOut announces the appointment of Bejal Shah as its new Chief Executive.

Bejal started at the charity leading the delivery team in London in 2017, and then added oversight of our work in the North West to her portfolio. She led the development of ReachOut’s online mentoring programme which facilitated continued support for young people during the pandemic. From the end of the summer Bejal has been leading the organisation’s day to day activities whilst the board have been conducting the search for a new CEO.

Bejal has extensive frontline and leadership experience; she previously worked for Explore Learning for 7 years, managing education centres for young people, leading teams to provide high-quality support to children and their families

Ed Lehmann, Chair of Trustees:

I’m delighted to announce that ReachOut’s board of Trustees have appointed Bejal Shah as Chief Executive of ReachOut. The Trustees see the appointment of senior staff, and particularly the CEO, as one of the most important roles they have. We’ve been through a rigorous selection process, having received well over a hundred applications for the role. 

Since I started working with Bejal three and a half years ago, I’ve been constantly impressed with her calm and rational approach to management and problem solving, and her ability to rise to new challenges. She has an unwavering passion to support the young people that ReachOut serves and a deep commitment to ReachOut’s character strengths, which she personifies on a daily basis.

The board is very conscious that as a society, we must prioritise the recovery and healing process from the damage done by the Coronavirus pandemic. By supporting young people, we believe that ReachOut has an important role to play in that recovery and healing. Bejal has already begun a review of ReachOut’s operations and has some great ideas about where we can improve what we do, and beyond that, of how we can grow the charity to do more for young people who need the support we have proved year after year we are experts at delivering. The board look forward to working with Bejal, and we are confident that the charity will continue to strengthen under her leadership, and so be able to offer more of what we do best to the young people who need us most.

Bejal Shah:

I could not be happier to be appointed CEO of ReachOut. When I joined the team over 3 years ago, I knew immediately I was part of something pretty special –  an organisation that is all about its people – Real, impactful relationships, whether between young people and their mentors, or between staff and our supporting partners.

I see every day, that our mentoring works. That through creating these connections, we are helping everyone we support to develop a foundation of good character that helps them to overcome the barriers they face.

I am so excited to be taking the organisation forward, and to increase the reach and impact of our amazing and much needed work.

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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