• Gemma Santiago

Happy 10th Birthday!

To celebrate our 10th Birthday, we decided to look back over the last 10 years to reminisce and celebrate how far we’ve come and how much we have achieved.


So, we asked each of our team members to recall a favourite memory or more (it’s hard to narrow down to just one for all that time), which we wanted to share these with you 😊


Starting with Charlotte, our Managing Director and founder of the charity:

"For me, there have been some magnificent highs and some VERY STEEP learning curves. I started Fleet Phoenix on a wing and a prayer with little money in the bank but a passion for young people, their life opportunities and wanting to support them through their challenging periods.
Probably one of my proudest moments was Lucy Page moving on from being a young person client to finishing her youth work traineeship and becoming an invaluable member of the Fleet Phoenix team. I still smile when I hear her on the phone advocating for a young person, as I remember the days that she would run out of the office the minute the phone rang 😊So we started to leave the phone ringing until it annoyed her enough to answer it.
Also, the Christmas concerts every year are one of my favourite evenings. So much work goes into the evening by young people and the team. The evening sets the tone for my Christmas and it is always a very proud moment watching the young people (some very, very nervous, I have held the sick bucket more than once) get on the stage and perform their little hearts out."

Lucy, one of our wonderful Youth Workers in Charge:

“My first day volunteering at Hypelet (age 15) and being too scared to leave the kitchen to where the young people were, so I turned up every week and stood behind the breakfast bar for the duration of the session – this happened for maybe my first 6 months. Now, 12 years on, having done lots of training and now I am confidently able to help young people and their families with anything and everything that is asked of me.
Another favourite memory is being offered to do my first ever traineeship that Fleet Phoenix offered me. It was a great opportunity for me and a journey that I was so excited to go on.”

Jon, a dedicated Volunteer who works at our music projects:

“As I love music and I work with the young people every week, to see them perform at the Christmas concert is just brilliant and the confidence they gain from the experience is priceless. It is such a happy night and something I look forward to each year.”

Clare, another one of our dedicated Volunteers who works at our youth clubs:

“One of my favourite moments at Fleet Phoenix was delivering food parcels to families around Fleet at Christmas. We felt like little elves delivering these, so every time myself or my colleague Matt got back into the minibus, Lucy would shout “No elf left behind!” It really got us into the Christmas spirit and knowing that we were helping the local families to have what they needed for Christmas”

Andrew, who is one of our Trustees:

“My favourite memory is helping the young people set up at the Aldershot Lido opening event in 2019 where they played live to around 3,500 people. It was an incredible event for the young people and a great opportunity for them to play their music to a big audience.”

Matt, who works at our music projects and is our drum tutor:

“ I have quite a few memories... Seeing the children I’ve taught music to, grow up and end up doing music at University, due to the opportunity that SMART music and Jammin gave them.
The Christmas concerts are always a great way to see the young people really achieve what they've worked so hard at and at the same time as enjoying themselves.
The summer projects are always a lot of fun, apart from the time I was genuinely beaten at connect4 by a 4 year old... haha...”

Louise, another one of our wonderful Youth Worker in Charge who works on our music projects and youth clubs:

“The Christmas concert is always a highlight for me. One year we held it in the hall at The Harlington Centre. A small group of boys around 12 years old, performed ‘Imagine’ on ukuleles with vocals sung by a teenager who was visually impaired. In preparation for the end of the song, I got up to lead the singer off the raised stage but one of the younger boys was carefully leading his older band mate into the audience. This is one of my many moments when I have seen the kindness in our young people.
Another memory for me, is after years of seeing the talented young people of Fleet excel themselves in performing at various Fleet Phoenix live events, nothing compared me with finally seeing my own child join their esteemed ranks.”

Cat, who is one of our newest Trustees:

“I only have a recent best moment and that was seeing the pride and support amongst the young people for Scam Jam – from painting the skatepark into the late hours to the cheers from everyone at the event. I loved every minute of it. It is just proof that it isn’t magical elves but lots of hard work making events like these happen."

Denise, who is one of our Trustees:

“I have a lot of memories… A lot of my great memories are of evenings at The Youth Café – one evening a local councillor taught one of the more energetic boys how to knit! Hilarious! The end of session ‘issues checklist’ started as a bit of fun but turned out that it generated some amazing discussions at the end of the night. Community Policing at its best, the Police dropping in for a cuppa and a chat. Working in partnership with HYPE for the monthly disco – an astonishing organisation and high energy fun. Going home from anytime at The Point feeling a huge buzz of energy and total amazement at the dedication and skills of the staff team. Loving the time spent with our young people. Being part of a community resource, which covered so many areas of youth support and positive activities. Setting up Fleet Phoenix with Charlotte and of course the Christmas concerts.
I am utterly proud of Charlotte, the staff team and the Trustees. Charlotte and Lucy – nobody could make me laugh as you have and I love you both.”

Sonja, who is one of our Trustees:

“I had a long think about my favourite memories, and it is so hard to pick but I would say that some of my best memories are when we did events in partnership with Southwood Golf Club. Also our Birthday balls that we held at The Elvetham and Farnham Castle – these were great events and ones I will always remember.”

Finally, me (Gemma), I am the Administrator for the charity:

“I have a couple of favourite memories; one is seeing how the online profile of the charity has improved and grown particularly locally – for people to know what we do is great and to see how the community rallies around to help/donate/support us especially over the past few years has been brilliant.
As I don’t have a huge amount of contact with the young people, it was lovely that on the odd Friday evening, when we had our FREE session, I was invited out to join in with friendly (sometimes competitive 😊) games of Uno. I had such a good laugh with my colleagues and the young people, which was lovely and fun way to end the week”.

These are just a few of the many, many memories that we all have from our time at Fleet Phoenix.


We look forward to making many more memories at this wonderful charity.


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