Why we exist

We want to create a world where young people believe in their own ideas and can take responsibility for living them.

Believing in potential

We believe life is much more rewarding when you are in control of the things that really matter and when you can experience life on your own terms.

We know young people have amazing potential. That’s why we work our socks off to provide them with a framework to discover what they’re capable of and to generate the drive and determination to do something meaningful with it.

Why believe in us

From the past three years, here are just a handful of reasons why you should get involved and believe in what we do.



Young people have participated in The Key Framework, and built the 12 Key Skills over the past three years.


projects have been designed by young people


other members of the community have benefitted from participating in the young people's projects


successful steps into employment, education, training or volunteering were made by young people.

Where we work

The Key provides the spark to ignite the passions of young people aged 11-25, across the North East, Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

Each red flag represents a fantastic Key project planned entirely by our young people over the past 3 years.


The Key Framework began life back in the late 70’s as the brainchild of a determined group of youth workers and academics based in the North East. Since then, we’ve built a charity around it to enable hundreds of other youth and community organisations to deliver it too.

As an organisation, The Key has cleverly evolved and adapted over the years to the ever-changing environment for charities and young people. But we’ve always stuck to our roots and are very proud to have kept The Key Framework at the core of everything we do. What’s more, we’re continually finding ways to maximize its impact on young people.

We are looking forward to a bright future ahead with big ideas as we inspire belief in more and more young people.

Meet the team

Hannah Underwood

0191 731 7838

Hannah has been running The Key since 2005. She’s played, and continues to play, a huge role in shaping and leading The Key, helping us to become the focussed, savvy and forward thinking organisation that we are today. Hannah is currently off on maternity so Victoria Dunn is taking The Key reigns whilst she's away.

Victoria Dunn

Interim CEO
0191 731 7837

Whilst Hannah is on maternity leave, Victoria is acting as our Interim CEO.  She's currently overseeing the overall running of The Key, playing a major role in building partnerships with like-minded organisations & ensuring we're reaching as many young people as possible.

Richard Fergie

Director of Impact
0191 731 7839

Richard is in charge of all things data at The Key, helping to integrate the vast amount of data we collect to prove and improve our fantastic work.


Erin Embleton

Operations Director
0191 731 7836

Erin oversees The Key’s administrative and back offices services whilst monitoring the organisation’s finances and operations.

Christine Dodds

0191 731 7830

Christine oversees the day to day running of all things administration at The Key, helping to manage the network and answer any questions our Key Facilitators have.

Abbie Foster

Fundraising and Marketing Manager
0191 731 7831

Abbie supports The Key’s fundraising efforts by making sure we have the funds we need to continue to inspire belief in as many young people as possible. Abbie is also responsible for ensuring the organisation meets our marketing goals.

Rebecca Baty

Project Co-ordinator
0191 731 7833

Rebecca helps to deliver The Key's programmes. She's also takes a lead role in managing our Key Network and offering a helping hand to our lovely Key Facilitators.

Callum Rutherford

Partnerships Executive
0191 731 7834

Whilst studying for his degree, Callum works with The Key’s fundraising team, helping to write funding applications, dream up innovative fundraising ideas and working with our CEO to build strong, long-term business partnerships.

Greg Newbrook

Partnerships Executive
0191 731 7835

Like Callum, Greg works for The Key whilst studying for his degree with Northumbria University. He is responsible for writing funding applications, coming up with new fundraising ideas and working with businesses to develop win win partnerships.