Meet the Team

The Youth Work Team

Ruth Hodgson: Community Support Manager

Ruth has been part of the Community Support team at Horsham Matters since 2013, and is delighted that this now includes Community Youth Work. She has a background in Citizens Advice and has also worked with young people in the Positive Placements project at the Y Centre.

Ruth lives in Horsham with her teenage son, and has an adult daughter at University. She is a member of Horsham Quaker Meeting and having walked 505 for the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path is determined to complete the distance before the end of 2018.

Dan Fairchild: Team Leader and Lead Youth Worker for Horsham, Broadbridge Heath, Slinfold and Warnham

Dan has been working for Horsham Matters since 2013, having been part of the commencement of the Community Youth Work project. With a background in supporting young people with autism and children’s work Dan has a great passion for working with all young people, getting to know them and hearing their story.
Dan can be quite competitive and enjoys all games from rugby and basketball to board games and giant hungry hippos. Please note Dan can always be bought with a bar of chocolate!

Ben Sheldon: Community Youth Worker for Pulborough and Billingshurst

Ben started with the CYW team in 2013 while studying for a degree in youth work and has since joined the team full time in Billingshurst and Pulborough working for both Horsham Matters and also for St Mary’s Church, Billingshurst. He loves making a noise (musically,…. mostly), and having a laugh.
He is passionate about young people feeling as though they belong, and are part of the community.


Maria Colenso: Community Youth Worker for Horsham, Steyning, Upper Beeding, Bramber and Ashurst 

Maria has many talents, these do not include singing or making good strong tea! However, Maria loves to support others and get stuck in with a variety of tasks. As well as being a Youth Worker Maria is a qualified Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor and is always on hand for motivational dance moves to fire up Monday mornings!!  Maria joined Horsham Matters in 2014 and continues to thrive within the local community offering detached and outreach support to local schools & youth clubs.

Maria Raccagni: Sessional Youth Worker for Billingshurst

Maria has lived in Billingshurst since 2015 moving from Kent and previously London. She is married with teenage twins and has two dogs.  Maria has worked most her career in the City for International Banks.  Then once she had her children started working locally in Kent for the Council.  She is sincere, friendly, supportive, helpful and usually positive.  A sun and Snow sports lover who hates being bored!


Donna Dywer: Sessional Youth Worker for Broadbridge Heath 

Mother of a teenager and pre-teen, with years of experience of working with young people of various ages.  Over the last 4 years, Donna has been working with SEND children particularly those with Autism.   Having been that young person growing up in a small village, Donna understands how it feels to be isolated from friends. Leading her passion of giving young people of today the opportunity to spread their wings in a safe environment with all the support they need to become responsible and confident adults of the future.  And of course, having fun along the journey too!

Bilge Kinas-Clarke: Assistant Youth Worker for Steyning 

Bil was born in Turkey and studied tourism at University.  She came to the UK to improve her English in 1998.  She worked for several years as accounts manager before leaving work to have children.  In addition to being a housewife she works as Team Leader in Thakeham school kitchen and has studied barbering, and has a mobile barber business.  She is married with 2 children. She Joined the team team in 2017 and is expanding her creative skills through various youth club craft activities!

Matt Lee: Assistant Youth Worker for Pulborough

Matt came to Horsham in September 2015 as a student youth worker for St Mary’s Church. Matt began volunteering with Horsham Matters as part of his university placement and now works 4 hours per week as a youth support worker in Pulborough. Matt believes that every young person has the ability the achieve even in the face of adversity. Matts enjoys the beach, juggling and a good book!

Kath Smith: Assistant Youth Worker for Horsham 

Kath joined Horsham Matters in 2017, to help run Horsham Youth Club.  She also works in primary education and has 2 teenage children of her own.  Kath loves music, enjoys singing and dancing and is partial to a mug of strong tea and a bowl of spicy curry.

Allan Taylor: Community Youth Worker

Allan has been involved in youth work in various shapes and forms for the past 18 years and joined the Community Youth Work team in 2016. In recent years he has built up a specialism in the field of young carers and in international volunteering opportunities for young people. What he enjoys most about working with young people is giving them the opportunities they may not have in everyday lives. He is also a firm believer in the powers of a good cup of tea.



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Ruth Hodgson – Community Support Manager

[email protected]  03001240204

Dan Fairchild – Team Leader & Youth Worker for Horsham, Broadbridge Heath, Warnham & Slinfold

[email protected]  07702 492841

Ben Sheldon – Youth Worker for Pulborough & Billingshurst

[email protected]  07763 302456

Maria Colenso – Youth Worker for Horsham, Steyning, Upper Beeding, Bramber & Ashurst

[email protected]  07432 568383