Swansea MAD was founded in 2009, with a mission to share skills, knowledge and resources and support people to be creative. We are passionate about Swansea and our communities and also work with partners locally, nationally and internationally. We are a youth and community charity driven by digital inclusion, the arts, social justice, heritage and the environment. We create a wide range of digital content and media with people who share our values. We have a flexible, co-productive relationship with young people, the community and partners. Please contact us- we’d love to hear from you.
Swansea has always been a hub of creativity, whether this be in the arts, science or technology. Swansea MAD was founded in 2009, driven by a mission to help the creative community in Swansea, by providing access to resources and support. We have partnered with many organisations since then and worked on a wide range of projects. These include:
2013 – 2016 I Am News was a 3-year Community Journalism Project, funded by the Big Lottery. The project worked with over 100 volunteers and provided self-development and accredited training in Journalism, Photography and Video Production. The project acted as a springboard for people, with few or no qualifications, who wanted to enter the media industry.
2014 Our second open access community studio was built, providing low-cost recording and rehearsal facilities for hundreds of musicians.
2015 We provided mentoring in musical performance to 14 participants referred from the Police, Probation and Prison Services, as part of the IOIS (Integrated Offender Interventions Service).
2017 – 2018 Young Welsh Filmmakers, an after school club for aspiring young filmmakers aged 11-18. The project taught children the basics of filmmaking including videography, special and visual effects, editing and scriptwriting.
2018 – 2019 GenU. Funded by the European Social Fund, the project supported young people aged 18-24 in Swansea who were unemployed. Participants took part in skill-building, mentoring and volunteering in Theatre Management, Event Coordination, Theatrical Lighting, Video production / Visual FX, Web Design, Sound Engineering, Music Production and App Development.
2018 – 2019 The Curiosity Project. Funded by the Wellcome Trust and BBC Children in Need, the project introduced children to the science of growing using technology.
2018 – 2019 Swansea Scenes. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project documented the oral history of Swansea’s former bands, singers and venues from the 1970’s to the mid 1990’s. We created an archive with over 100 hours of oral history footage, as well as a documentary, exploring the life and times of Swansea’s local live music scene.
2019 – 2021 Clicking Good. Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, the project provides free tech for good support for local third sector organisations, as well as providing free blended learning training sessions in technology based subjects.
Meet the team
Stuart Sumner-Smith [he/him]
I have over 10 years experience of using digital technology and strategic digital development supporting the local community in Swansea to grow and flourish. I love being part of the team at Swansea MAD that works in a co-creative and solutions focused approach; developing digital equity and transforming organisational process and performance through creativity and digital technology.
Charlotte Davies [she/her]
Chief Executive Officer
I have 25 years experience working with children, young people and communities, including being a Youth Worker, Lecturer, Foster Carer, Mentor, Counsellor and Youth and Community Manager.
Ever since I was a child, social justice and fighting for equality has been my driving mission. My early experiences of marching for the miners in Wales as a child has helped shape me as a person and my commitment to fighting for human rights. I have lived and worked in Swansea, South Wales for most of my life and am passionate about both the city and the people.
Please get in touch if you would like a chat!
Geraint Turner [he/him]
I entered youth work at the age of 15, having been engaged in activities for years with Swansea Youth Service. At 16, I left school and set up my own youth club with a small grant of £10,000. This led to me getting my first youth work job running 3 youth clubs over 5 nights in 3 different areas. While completing my Youth Work qualifications, working at Liberty Stadium and completing Business Studies at College, I was offered a maternity cover role as Activities Coordinator with Crossroads Young Carers Service which then became a permanent role and eventually became Service Manager. Through the last 5 years I have developed my skills and training to complete an ILM Level 5, AET Level 3 and Young Worker of the Year (2018). I joined Swansea MAD so that I could use my skills working with the community in new and innovative approaches, utilising digital technology to improve opportunities. The future of employment is going to be utilising digital skills and I feel I can help people improve their skills for their future employment.
David Berry [he/him]
During my childhood, so that I could realise my obsession with music, I built my first computer which would allow me to start producing music. While studying, I found myself teaching classes in Music Technology and various Adobe web applications which helped me to find my passion for teaching. Around this time, I started ghost producing music for various artists online and started a computer repair company. Later I decided to return to academia to study Computer Networks where I became qualified as a Cisco network engineer.
I joined Swansea MAD so that I could make use of the broad range of technologies I’ve learnt over the years and to support those who do not currently use technology and develop those already on their journey.
Rachel Benson [she/her]
Fundraising and Sustainability
I have 10 years’ experience in the Youth and Community Work sector in Wales, as a Support Worker, Equality Manager, Trustee and HE Tutor. I am driven by social justice, inclusion and young people having access to safe spaces where they feel like they belong.
I originally studied English Literature at university and am passionate about arts being accessible and inclusive for everyone. During my career, I have been lucky to work in partnership with artists, supporting young people to create theatre and film to develop confidence, share their stories and aspirations and advocate for change.
Anna Arrieta [she/her]
Digital Media & Communications Officer/InTune Project Coordinator
I am a youth worker with experience of coordinating projects for young people and managing live events. I have previously specialised in creative arts projects, developing and delivering music sessions which aimed to empower young people to reach their potential through artistic expression.
I have coordinated projects in the areas of creative arts, well-being, financial capability, democracy, and equal rights. I also have experience developing resources for young people, as well as developing and facilitating training sessions for youth facing professionals in the sector.
Since leaving school, I have been lucky enough to work in the third sector building on my skills and experience, I am also a Trustee for National Theatre Wales. In my spare time I make music, and review local food spots on my @flavahoodwatch Instagram page.
Jack Hoskins [he/him]
Finance & Projects Support Officer
I was first introduced to Swansea MAD in 2018 as a learning participant within their music, theatre, and photography workshops. Swansea MAD has taught me valuable lessons, pushed my boundaries and provided support where I needed it. I have now joined the Swansea MAD team to embed my experiences within the finance sector, and as a tutoring drummer/percussionist. I hope to help others build the confidence and support that Swansea MAD have provided for me.
Candice Lloyd [she/her]
I am a proud mother of five from the Vale of Glamorgan. My career started in early years education where my team won the Pearson Award for Education. I have since worked across local Government, education and the 3rd Sector to become a highly experienced and solution focused trainer, advocate and programme author. I currently work as Service Manager for NYAS Cymru.
I’m a passionate advocate for peoples rights and working with and experimenting with creative methodologies that inspire real change. My focus over the last few years and during lockdown has been working to create systems and spaces to support young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Taylor Roberts [he/him]
I joined Swansea MAD because I was looking for a passionate organisation that deeply cares for the communities that it works with. Then I found MAD, with all the skills and expertise that the team of staff and volunteers have. I joined MAD because I am passionate about bringing a change to the community and industry. And I know that, as a team, we can do it. I am a recent business graduate, focusing on leadership, change, CSR and sustainability. My main experience is in the third sector, having been a Trustee and Non-Executive Director for over four years. My academic experience is focused on change management, quality standards and corporate responsibility.
Robyn Griffiths MBA [he/him]
Living in a city so rich and diverse in culture and the arts, it seemed as though there was a real opportunity to support the people of Swansea through joining the Board at Swansea MAD. I started my first management role at the age of 18; looking after a team of 15 in a well-known mobile network provider. From here I gained an interest in effective people management, moving between multiple disciplines and environments including running a local bar. I completed a Master’s in Business and Administration with UWTSD and am currently a Manager at a ‘Grass Roots’, an independently run, Swansea-based research organisation.
Rachel Newton-John [she/her]
I studied Music Technology in college from 2008-2011, and then began volunteering with Swansea MAD in September 2011. Since that time, I’ve designed, overseen the construction of and built the acoustic treatment for our recording facilities, I’ve managed the day to day workings of these facilities, and through our recording, rehearsal and engineering services developed working relationships with both local and international artists. I also designed and built a previous iteration of the company website and provided audio editing and mixing services internally where needed for other parts of the company, including the video editing staff and a podcast produced internally.
Leon Berry [he/him]
Chair of Trustees
Swansea MAD are a dynamic organisation in an innovative sector, who are making and having a significant and positive impact on the local and wider community and on people’s lives. Volunteering as a board member is a privilege that allows me to not only support a thriving organisation and sector but also allows me to support the vibrant and inspirational team of staff at Swansea MAD. The whole ethos behind Swansea MAD is to help the community, to fight for social justice, to support those who need it and to allow underrepresented individuals and groups a voice and a safe space. The small part I play in this hopefully helps the incredible team at Swansea MAD be in a position to provide this community support. I have 17 years’ experience in the Health and Well-being sector, 9 years’ experience in Senior Facilities Management and 3 years’ experience in the Training and Education sector, as well as being a multiple business owner.
Leigh Rowland [he/him]
The majority of my career has been in Youth Work. I started as a Youth Worker in 1998, doing over 40 hours of face-to-face Youth Work per week. I became the Project Manager involved in developing Randomz, an award-winning Social Enterprise Academy which was recognised throughout Europe as a pioneer project. I also progressed through the London School of Social Entrepreneurs. I was then appointed Chief Executive Officer at the Cwmbran Centre for Young People and we were the first organisation throughout Wales to achieve the Gold Standard Quality Mark for Youth Work in Wales. At present I run my own business; I am involved in Property, Mortgages, Lettings and Insurances. Luckily, I still get job satisfaction from helping young people find their first homes. I just want young people to be happy – whatever it takes to make them happy, we as adults and professionals should do all we can to make this possible.
Mymuna Soleman [she/her]
I’m of Somali origin and was born and bred in Cardiff, Wales. I have a huge passion for equality and diversity but most importantly equal representation for Muslim women of colour like myself. I studied Health and Social Care at the undergraduate level and my Master’s in Public Health; both obtained from Cardiff Metropolitan University.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, I set up The Privilege Café as I was frustrated with the lack of diversity and couldn’t express myself as a woman of colour in spaces filled with privilege. I’ve facilitated weekly sessions on Zoom covering various themes including mental health, ‘unconscious’ bias and privilege in the recruitment process. The level of engagement has been incredible and the speaker’s insight knowledge and expertise have brought nothing but positivity to all those who have attended the sessions.
The Café is an open to all, it’s a safe space for all to engage, learn and to use their privilege for good: https://www.patreon.com/PrivilegeCafe
Sophie Picton [she/her]
I became a trustee for Swansea MAD because I felt a strong connection with its founding principles and a deep admiration for the day-to-day work of its energetic and hardworking staff. I am an English Coordinator at a local college and I also hold a teaching post at Swansea University’s Centre for Academic Success. I began my working life with brief stints in fashion and sales before gaining a PGCE from Greenwich University in 2004. I had the privilege of starting my lecturing career at New City College, Tower Hamlets, where I witnessed inclusion policies successfully put into practice, creating a learning environment where young people felt safe, listened to, and able to meet their full potential. This has inspired me throughout my career. I have had the opportunity to work with individuals from all over the world through my work which has been a great source of joy and inspiration to me.
Andrew Griffiths [he/him]
I was born in Swansea and involved in local music the majority of my life since the early 1970s, helping to form the seminal Swansea punk band The Autonomes. Since then I have been involved in countless local bands in different styles and genres, writing and arranging songs, playing guitar and drums (not at the same time). I have written hit songs for bands such as the Poo Sticks and mentored countless bands along the way. What gets me up in the morning is knowing the wealth of talent that exists in Swansea and wanting to share that with the world
Stevie Thomas [she/her]
I started training as a Doctor in Bristol University and continued on the scientific path, graduating in Anatomical Sciences. I subsequently retrained in Law and ended up working in Clinical Negligence in a major London city firm. Eventually my love of music prevailed and I side-stepped into music law, hoping to combine work and my passion. Ever the explorer, I have travelled, lived and worked in many different cities and countries with a broad spectrum of individuals of all professions, ages and backgrounds. Being able to volunteer as a trustee at Swansea MAD is a privilege and I hope to bring a breadth of life experience and knowledge to my work within the charity sector.
Kirstie Edwards [she/her]
I am passionate about using the arts as a method to support us to manage behaviours, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, while increasing our self-esteem. Through this, art provides us with the opportunity to understand our identity and place within society. This passion led me to graduate from University of South Wales with a BA in Creative and Therapeutic Arts and a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling. Since then I have worked in the care, education and youth sectors using a person-centred approach to support others.
I currently work for the YMCA as Wellbeing Manager, where I support our wellbeing team and run our Y-Girls mentoring project.
I’m so excited to be part of Swansea MAD’s trustee board, as I truly believe in the work they are doing and am proud to mirror and support the organisation’s values
Chisomo Phiri [she/her]
My name is Chisomo, also known as Chizi, and I’m a Campaign Officer at Cowshed. I was previously Policy and Communications Partner at Chwarae Teg and a Campaign Executive at Seeker Digital.
I was previously Student Union President at Swansea University Students’ Union and Women’s Officer at NUS Wales where I ran a successful campaign to end period poverty in Wales. This led to me winning Chwarae Teg’s People’s Choice Womenspire award in 2019.
I have also been a Trustee of the British Youth Council and am currently a Trustee at the Bevan Foundation. I have a wealth of experience in governance, equality, PR and communications which I look forward to bringing to the Swansea MAD Board.