Headliners (UK) is governed by a Board of Trustees who come from different walks of life including former participants in the Headliners programme. 

Jon Hudson, Chair of Trustees

Jon is the Chair of Headliners (UK). Jon was a member of Children’s Express, the precursor of Headliners, between 1998 and 2005. As a member, he published a number of media features and was also involved with Children’s Express’ partnership with Sky News, interviewing a number of politicians and championing the voice of young people.

Now, Jon specialises in stakeholder engagement and communications and currently works for the UK Government. Previously, Jon has worked as a consultant, in a number of communications roles at the Prince of Wales’ responsible business charity Business in the Community, and as Political Advisor for the Labour Party.

Jon is a Spanish speaker and has spent time living and working in Latin America, Spain and Scandinavia. Jon has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics in Global History and a first-class degree in International Business and Globalisation from De Montfort University.

Throughout his college and university years, volunteered with a number of NGOs to advocate for youth participation, the organisations included UNICEF UK and Save the Children. With Save the Children, he worked with other young people to produce ‘On the Right Track’ which surveyed young people on what mattered to them to inform policy makers. In 2001, he also interviewed UK Chancellor at the time Gordon Brown, as part of their ‘take children seriously’ challenge.

With UNICEF UK, Jon was one of their first UK Youth Representatives and advocated for the involvement of young people to decision makers. One of the highlights involved facilitating the ‘C8’ summit, a youth summit to coincide with the UK’s hosting of the G8 summit in 2005 in Scotland.


Dr David Baines - Trustee

Dr David Baines is currently a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Newcastle University. He researches and lectures in journalism and prior to that he spent 30 years working in local and regional daily newspapers. While he was working in journalism, he was also very much involved with journalism education and training. David chaired the North East Advisory Committee of the National Council for the Training of Journalists, the industry training body; he was involved with community journalism courses from the Open College Network; delivered career development courses to working journalists and for 10 years was an associate lecturer on undergraduate and postgraduate journalism programmes at Sunderland University. For the past four years David has chaired the National Union of Journalists’ Professional Training Committee.
When he joined Newcastle University, David helped to launch the first postgraduate degrees in journalism – and shortly afterwards he was delighted to be invited to join the Steering Committee for Headliners in Newcastle. That was the start of a long and enduring relationship with this charity which does such wonderful work with young people by helping them to use the skill sets and tool kits of journalists to benefit their lives and their communities.
Newcastle University’s journalism programmes – now at undergraduate as well as postgraduate level – are now very highly regarded and draw many hundreds of students from around Britain, and around the world. David's research is in local and community journalism. In particular, he explores the ways in which journalism is developing different roles in - and ways of serving and strengthening - our communities. Especially those communities which are often disadvantaged, marginalised and ignored.

David Seymour - Trustee

David Seymour has worked as a journalist on regional papers in the Highlands, Aberdeen, Reading, Luton and Hemel Hempstead but spent most of his career on nationals – the Daly Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror, Sunday People and Today, mainly as a political journalist and leader writer. He was political editor of the Mirror Group for ten years. He was a regular broadcaster on radio and television. He ran the annual student journalism awards with the National Union of Students and established and edited Student Mirror, a termly newspaper for university students.

Maggie Taggart - Trustee

Maggie Taggart is a well-known broadcast journalist, mostly based in BBC Northern Ireland.  She has been a journalist for over forty years, having started in the first commercial radio station, Downtown.

She has covered a wide range of stories and presented many radio and television news and current affairs programmes.   She has also worked on Sky News and BBC network programmes such as Woman’s Hour and Business Breakfast.  Maggie has been associated with Children’s Express which later became Headliners (UK) for about twenty years.  She is currently a Trustee and represents the Belfast and Derry/Londonderry bureau. She regularly attends Trustee meetings in London, either in person or online.  She is a keen supporter of the beneficial effects of the training and experience offered to young people with Headliners.

She has been a media trainer for businesses and has taught broadcast journalism in the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast.  Maggie currently shares her journalist experience with colleagues in BBC NI. She was the Arts and Education correspondent for almost twenty years and still works part time as a staff senior broadcast journalist.

Past Board experience includes with a juvenile justice detention centre and the Nexus Centre for Survivors of Sexual Abuse.

Vicky Gashe - Trustee - profile pending

Headliners is managed by the Chief Executive supported by a dedicated staff team. Our journalists and project workers deliver the projects with young people across the UK

Senior Management Team

Ali Talbot

Role: Chief Executive

Ali has worked in the public, private and third sectors at senior management level for the past 25 years. She specialised in strategic, operational, marketing and communications, project and resource management of sports, leisure and cultural services including sport, leisure, tourism, visual and performing arts services.

In her career, Ali was previously Chief Executive of Cerebral Palsy Sport, a national disability sports charity. Prior to that she was RNIB's National Leisure Services Manager and lead manager of RNIB's National Leisure Services team, who specialised in improving access to all aspects of culture, leisure, arts and sport for blind and partially sighted people. 

Ali has also held varied leisure senior management posts in the public sector and private sector leisure facilities and sport development services management and hotel management. Ali had the pleasure of chairing LOCOG's London 2012 Disability Community Engagement Forum, and represented RNIB on Glasgow 2014's Advisory group, led on RNIB's London 2012 project and sat on a number of cultural advisory bodies including the government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport Accessible Tourism Stakeholders Forum. Ali was the Event Director for the Nottingham 2015 CPISRA World Games and is a current member of Scope's National Assembly.

When not working, Ali enjoys spending time with her family in Lincolnshire and found on a side of an athletics track supporting her sons. Ali has two sons who love sport and a husband who isn’t a great fan of sport. Her eldest son has cerebral palsy and is a national and international RaceRunner. Her favourite food is Italian food, loves reading, cooking and is a closet 80’s music fan.

Katie Thiselton

Role: Head of Delivery

Katie has been working in the charity sector for the past 20 years both overseas and in the UK with a background in training, youth participation and community engagement. She has worked with Headliners since 2005 in a variety of roles and is currently our Head of Delivery overseeing our people, projects and contracts.


Lucy Martin

Role: Journalist

I'm Lucy and I run the #Unfiltered project across East London. I'm originally from Middlesbrough (Smoggie not a Geordie) and have lived in London for nearly seven years. I began my career in journalism in the fashion industry whilst also working full time in a pub (unpaid internships are not the one) and volunteering for organisations working to end hostile environment policy, supporting undocumented families and making art and journalism accessible to more people. I believe to create an equal society we must give the power to young people to shape their own futures, they have the ideas just not the tools and access and that's what I now get to do through these projects. 

Zahrah Vawda

Role: Journalist

I’ve worked with media, community and youth projects to explore connections with everyday life and nature. At Headliners, I work on the Keeping It Wild project – it’s been incredible supporting young people to be confident of their experiences in nature. When I’m not working at Headliners, I’m walking, writing or trying to grow plants!


Sam Laing

Role: Project Manager

I am a project manager for Headliners in the North East looking after our NCS and Digital Transitions contracts and managing the delivery staff. It is a privilege to hear about the daily impact Headliners has on young people in the North East. I have 10 years’ experience working in the charitable sector delivering a range of successful engagement projects. I am a proud father and live in the Land of the Prince Bishops (Stanley, County Durham) and enjoy exploring the wonderful countryside and heritage that is on my doorstep.

Clara Shield

Role: Project Manager - Tynesiders Project

I have been a Youth and Community Arts worker for over 20 years, working primarily with young people with challenging circumstances. Following my first degree in Theatre where my interests in educating children and young people through storytelling and creativity first began, I pursued a Post Graduate Diploma in Youth and Community Arts and practiced as a youth worker in both the voluntary and statutory youth sectors, specialising in gender and culture, leading to a Masters degree in this discipline. My interests in culture and heritage have led me to further deepen my knowledge in the power of collective learning from individuals’ stories, using digital story gathering as a platform to share experiences and give a voice to marginalised groups in society.

Nooshin Shabani

Role: Lead Journalist and NCS Co-ordinator 

Hello, My name is Nooshin and I am based in the North East office. I have been working for Headliners since 2012. Most of the groups I have worked with have been LAC, developing short films and photography projects to get their voices heard, which I have a passion for. I have also previously been the NCS lead for South Tyneside, alongside piloting projects such as Digital Transitions. I am currently working on the Tynesider's project.

My degree is in Journalism, but I have a lot of experience managing young people and volunteers overseas for NGOS. I lived and worked in Ghana for 4 years, New Zealand for 1 year, and India for 4 months. I have also spent a lot of time Volunteering and backpacking in several parts of the world, including Nepal, South America, Vietnam etc.

Outside of work I love to spend all day every day at the beach, rain or shine. 

Mikey Sinclair

Role: NCS Co-ordinator

Hi! I’m Mikey, I am the NCS Coordinator at Headliners and I am based in the North East Office. I have been involved in Youth projects as a young person from the age of 16, then a volunteer delivering youth projects and finally in to paid work from the age of 19. I have been with Headliners delivering the NCS programme since 2013 supporting the development, planning, training and delivery of the programme for up to 400 young people per season. I have an eclectic taste in music, although some is not too popular in the office! My favourite thing about working for Headliners is that we get to see and support the development of so many young people by giving them a voice on subjects that they are passionate about while learning some amazing skills along the way!

David Kidger

Role: Project Worker - Digital Transitions Project

Hi, my name is David and I’m the project worker for Digital Transitions and one of the Wave Leads on the National Citizen Service (NCS) project. I’ve worked with Headliners for over 5 years now and have loved every minute of it. I’ve learnt so many new things from the help of colleagues and young people I have worked alongside with and watch them grow. In my spare time I’m quite the movie buff and do enjoy spending time with family.

Northern Ireland:

Gareth Doherty

Role: Project Manager

My name is Gareth and I am the Project Manager for Headliners in Northern Ireland, I am responsible for staff management and the day to day running of the National Lottery Community Fund "Together We Can, Together We Will" programme aimed at working with young people who are socially isolated, on the autistic spectrum, or are leaving care or living in supported housing.

I graduated from Nottingham University with a degree in European Politics where I was also editor of the student newspaper. I have extensive experience working in the community sector where I gained experience working with young people on different funded projects including the 2013 City of Culture year which was great to work on and good for the city. In my spare time I am a keen photographer, enjoy watching football and listening to music. 

Aidan Campbell

Role: Journalist/Project Worker

I started my career working in the TV industry as a Studio Floor Manager. I worked in London for QVC and then went on to work in Chicago at televised sport events. When I was 15, I was a volunteer at Headliners – 10 years down the line I’m now working here! I feel that the organisation helped me a lot when I was younger and certainly kept me on the right path growing up. My hobbies include hiking, flying drones, learning new language’s and anything to do with filmmaking or outdoor pursuits!

Pádraig Ó Meiscill

Role: Journalist/Project Worker

Pádraig ó Meiscill is a journalist and writer based in Belfast. He has worked for various newspapers since he left school at 18.

Pádraig has also been involved in numerous community and youth projects over the years, including the making of the Waiting on a Childhood documentary, focusing on the plight of children and young people living in conditions of housing stress in 2018.

Marie Sauvé

Role: Journalist/Project Worker

My name is Marie, I am the foreign addition to the team and bring the exoticness all the way from Northern France. I am a media junkie, committed to the film industry and the world of broadcast journalism, with a slight obsession for writing. I like to play with expensive toys to make people heard and seen, and I also present on the radio in my spare time. Physical exercise, food and all forms of art are some of the things that fill me with joy.