A day in the life of a Hyde Projects and Partnerships Manager

Posted on 18 March 2024

To help celebrate Hyde Charitable Trust’s (HCT) 40th birthday, we wanted to find out more about the incredible work that our community partners do. What better way to do this, than to spend the day with Hyde Projects and Partnerships Manager, Mads, in Islington, visiting youth charities, a local community centre, and attending the opening of a social supermarket that we’re supporting.

Introducing Mads

Mads has worked for Hyde for over six years. His first role was as a Community Regeneration Office for Oldham Council. Other roles then included a Community Regeneration Manager for Orbit, and organising events and training for Family Mosaic.

He said: “I was originally studying accountancy at university, but I quickly learned that it wasn’t for me and changed to studying marketing. I now enjoy working in the housing sector as I love helping people. I love my job as it’s so varied, and each day really is different. One day I could be working with a food bank that we support, another day I could be helping a partner with a funding application. There are so many different parts to community working – not just working with partners and residents, but lobbying for change.”

Mads is a mobile worker, and his patch is huge – covering Islington, Lewisham, Kent and Southwark:

“Each location is very different – Kent is very different to Islington. For example, I get to everywhere on foot in Islington, whereas I have to drive to our different partners in Kent as it’s so spread out.”


First stop is Prospex on the Ringcross Estate. Prospex is an award-winning youth charity, for 8 to 19 year olds (280 are currently registered with the charity). It provides vital support and outreach work – even including one to one mental health support by specialist therapists.

The CEO is Richard Frankland, or ‘Beef’, and there is also a core team of six full time workers, as well as part time workers.

We meet in their large, bright and airy community centre and the first thing to notice is the large kitchen. Last year the centre served over 3,000 meals to young people. It looks like it will be even more this year as the centre has recently started to be open seven days a week. The aim is not just serving meals, but also teaching young people to cook healthy food. Produce is donated by The Felix Project and local bakeries.

The centre also has a high tech music studio made possible through £30,000 of funding from the council and the Big Alliance. Young people have been using the studio to make music, produce a Prospex podcast and practice IT animation. The centre even has an area just for board games – as a lot of the young people simply want a quiet space to play a game.

Beef explained that it hasn’t always been like this: “Prospex is going to be 22 years old this year, and we started literally in a room that looked like a broom cupboard.

“Now we’ve even got our own music studio. Young people love it and feel so comfortable there – doing everything from their media studies sixth form work, to learning how to be a music producer.”

Prospex’s work also includes outreach work – and ‘street teams’ go out five nights a week onto the Ringcross Estate and surrounding areas. He explains: “Knives are a real issue – and sadly, a lot of young people that come here don’t feel safe at home or on the streets.”

We also met Alan, the Senior Youth Worker, who proudly spoke about the outdoor work that Prospex does with the young people – taking them to residential adventure camps (thanks to funding, for example from the Islington Fund, infrastructure grants and the Islington and Hertfordshire Programme). Prospex organised 12 residential camps last year, and there will be more this year. This summer they are even taking young people to Nepal for three weeks, to volunteer in a village.

The majority of the members are from low-income families, but not all – as Beef said: “Some children come from the affluent areas of Islington – but they can still be ‘neglected’, leading to mental health issues. We’re accessible to all.”

Before we leave, Mads has a conversation with Richard and Alan about how he can connect Prospex with other organisations and community partners – so that they can gain even more support, for example, working with partners to get more physical space.

Ringcross Community Centre

Next stop was Ringcross Community Centre, so Mads could have a catch up with Savvas, the Community Centre Manager.

The centre supports 300 to 400 families a week, with everything from a food bank to stay and play sessions. It even managed to stay open during lockdown. Savvas explained:

“The stay and play sessions are even more important now as other sessions in the area have shut down. Not only does it offer a proper pre-school education programme, but parents can leave their toddlers here which can offer enormous support to them – whether it’s to have a much-needed hour to themselves, or to go to an English class to help with their language skills.”

Next, we found out more about the food bank, which Hyde supports. The food bank was open every day during the pandemic – HCT funding helped turn the community centre car park into a food bank. It serves local communities including Holloway, Caledonian Road and Laycock.

It’s run by volunteer Jenni, who is currently in temporary accommodation outside Islington. She was made homeless from her home in Islington, where her son is still at school. So, she often helps out at the community centre between dropping her son off and picking him up. The good news is that she’s been told by the council that she should be in a new home in a couple of months.

Again, Mads speaks to Savvas to find out if he needs any more support. Saavas said that he could do with some support around paperwork and office work. Mads said he would get back to him with suggestions and ideas.

Before the next stop, Mads told us more about working with community partners:

“Community partners are our eyes and ears – letting us know if any particular parts of the community or our customers need extra support. It’s then about listening, finding solutions and signposting.”

Launch of new social supermarket

Last stop for the day was the launch of a new social supermarket, on North Road near Hyde Village. Mads had noticed that there simply isn’t much access to affordable food in the area, so worked his counterpart at Southern Housing, to come up with the idea of a social supermarket.

The ‘supermarket’ is being co-funded by Hyde, thanks to funding from Hyde Charitable Trust, and will be run by St Giles Trust. The supermarket will offer local residents who may be struggling financially, with high quality food, along with personal face to face support. 

Membership costs £3.50 a week, in return for a minimum of £15 of groceries. Shoppers will also be greeted by experts, who will help them with advice and signposting on issues such as support around mental health.

It’s open three days a week (most social supermarkets are only open one day a week) - Tuesday to Thursday. On referral, shoppers are entitled to one visit a week.

The opening was another example of how Mads always has to expect the unexpected in this role. He gave an impromptu speech to a big audience, as part of the launch.

The Mayor of Islington (Cllr Gary Heather) opened the new supermarket, alongside local Councillors Claire Zammit and Diarmaid Ward.

Mads said: “We wanted local residents to have easy access to affordable, fresh food in a non-judgemental and dignified way – so they can enjoy choosing their own shopping and then putting a healthy meal together.”

After lots of photos at the launch, the day finally came to an end. We were exhausted after so much walking, but Mads seemed fine – saying that he’s used to it: ‘I’m off to Kent tomorrow – where I know the day will look very different.”

Thanks again Mads for such an engaging and interesting day and happy 40th birthday HCT – it was great to see first-hand the difference Hyde is making in our communities.