Our Chief Executive together with the senior leadership team are responsible for bringing to life, the association’s vision and strategy.

Steve Bavington
Chief Executive Officer

I joined West Bromwich YMCA in 2006 having had a career in corporate sales and marketing. I enjoyed 7 great years leading on marketing and fundraising for what became YMCA Black Country Group – including a year working for YMCA England on a national project promoting physical activity.

In 2013, I moved across to lead a Christian charity in Birmingham for 9 years, supporting individuals and working with businesses to offer thought leadership and practical support around wellbeing to their employees.

It was a privilege to have been called by God back to lead YMCA, building on an incredible foundation and working with a superb team, to continue and grow our life changing work.

I am married to Jo, we have three children and one granddaughter. I am proud to play hockey for West Bromwich and enjoy expressing my creativity through baking, painting and photography.

Jill Law
Chief Corporate Officer

I joined the YMCA in June 2009 having worked and qualified in the accountancy profession for over 20 years.

I feel truly blessed to be part of a such an inspirational organisation knowing that the work the Corporate Team does behind the scenes contributes in such a positive way to the lives of the people we serve, with our Christian Ethos and Values at the heart of everything we do.

Outside of work, I can normally be found on the touchline of a football pitch supporting my son on his grassroots journey.  I’m also an FA Level 1 Qualified Football Coach too!

Sally Cowan
Chief Operations Officer (Places)

Prior to the YMCA I founded a youth homelessness project in the Wyre Forest, and gained front line experience of working with vulnerable young people who have been made homeless. It was here that my dedication to serving communities was ignited.

I’ve been a part of the YMCA family since 2007 and feel blessed every day to be part of such an amazing organisation. I believe that the work of the YMCA really does have the power to transform lives – and see this evidenced everyday through the dedication and hard work of our staff teams.

Jo Goldie - Chief Officer of Programmes - YMCA Black Country Group

Jo Goldie
Chief Operations Officer (Programmes)

Prior to joining YMCA my background has been within the criminal justice, predominantly the Probation service where I have worked as an Assistant Chief Officer of a leading Community Rehabilitation Company based in West Mercia.  Prior to this I had been working for a Christian Housing Charity with a national remit developing programmes and services for ex-offenders across the country and serving as part of their senior leadership team.

It is a privilege now to combine my working experience and my faith filled passion for my local community to work and serve within my home area in the Black Country and impact the lives of the young people in this community.

Helen Brown
Chief Operations Officer (Nurseries & Quality)

Senior Leadership Team

Lenny Allan

Head of Housing

I joined West Bromwich YMCA originally in 1987 as a Welfare Officer (Support Worker) moving with my wife Jenny, two young children and the dog Shep.

Moving to England from Northern Ireland where I volunteered and worked for the Ards YMCA from 1981 as an expression of working out my Christian faith. I then moved to Coventry YMCA in 1991 for my first management post as Housing Manager until 1999 when I became Housing Field Officer with YMCA England. I was drawn back to West Bromwich YMCA in 2005 and saw the formation of YMCA Black Country Group and now lead a great team within the housing services. One of my proudest moments was when I received an award from YMCA England and Wales for my services to the YMCA

For relaxation I enjoy fishing, snooker and photography.

Blantina Chipangura

Executive Head of HR & Ethos

I joined YMCA in 2015 as a Chartered Member MCIPD.  I have over 25 years’ experience in people management from varied sectors such as NHS, charitable and the private sector.

I am passionate about people management, equity, diversity and inclusion so it is a personal pride for me to see people thriving within the organisation and contributing to this great charity. Most importantly, it is inspiring working for the YMCA Black Country Group as it makes a clear, tangible difference to so many people in the diverse communities we serve.

My favourite way to relax outside of work is listening to interesting podcasts , walking and I love travelling to different countries whenever I have the opportunity.

Natalie Gilliland

PA to the Chief Officers

I have worked for YMCA BCG (previously West Bromwich & District YMCA) since September 2002.

My main role is organising and supporting the Chief Officers and Board of Trustees, which I have a great rapport with. I must say we have an exceptional staff team and I enjoy the variety of my role – every day is different.

I’m married with 2 grown up children and continue to enjoy playing Netball (yes, it’s outside in all weathers), walking my dog and occasionally running or going to the gym.

Jim Gowman

Head of Premises,
Health & Safety & IT

I joined the YMCA in November 2003 having worked as a trades person within the building trade amongst other things.

I feel honoured to be part of the Corporate Team as we work tirelessly behind the scenes to deliver a high quality service that  impacts positively to the lives of the people we serve.

During my spare time, I am usually teaching Tae Kwon-Do at my locally run club, I am currently a 5th Degree Black Belt with The TAGB.

Louise Kumar

Head of Business &
Community Development

I started working as the Charity Administrator for First Base Walsall in 2011, the charity merged with YMCA Black Country Group in 2013 and I have developed my managerial and leadership skills in various roles within the Programmes team before becoming the Head of Business and Community Development.

Prior to working for the YMCA I had a passion for working with children/young people and leading peer groups in their Christian journey. I still feel incredibly blessed to be working for an organisation where its values reflect that of my own.

Outside of work I love to spend time with my family, and I’m kept incredibly busy by my two daughters. We like to go for walks with our dog, and enjoy baking and crafting together.

Grace Maddocks

Head of Communications

I joined West Bromwich & District YMCA back in 2009 as a Marketing & Fundraising Apprentice. I continued working with the Group for 5 years until I left to pursue a career in Graphic Design; after a few years working in various agencies, I eventually had the opportunity to return to YMCA in 2022.

I love working for YMCA; it’s wonderful to be a part of an organisation that has such an impact on so many people. My favourite part of my job is filming case studies and hearing from the people whose lives we’ve touched.

In my spare time, I can be found in my campervan on a hiking trip with my husband and our dog Duke, I’m also a keen runner and enjoy indoor bouldering.

Jo Philips

Head of Finance

I joined YMCA in 2017 as a CIMA qualified Accountant.

Prior to working here, I gained over 20 years’ experience working as a Management Accountant or other finance role within the charitable housing sector. It is a pleasure to work for the YMCA a wonderful organisation that has a positive impact on so many young lives.

Outside of work I spend time with my beautiful granddaughter and I also bake and decorate celebration cakes.

Luke Tyler

Head of Health & Wellbeing

I have been with the YMCA since 2008 and have a real passion for supporting people to improve their health and wellbeing.

Supporting people through the delivery of early intervention and prevention activities I use my skills and experience to implement, deliver and sustain community programmes that empower people to thrive.

I take time out to relax, reflect and do the things I enjoy, including spending time with family and friends, sports & fitness, walking my dogs, snowboarding and playing the piano.

Linsey Wildsmith

Christian Mission Co-ordinator

I joined the YMCA in September 2023, having previously worked for a network of Black Country churches to organise large Christian festivals and inter-church events and to encourage collaboration and togetherness between Christians across the region.

I’m thrilled to be working with YMCA Black Country group to help people both inside and outside of the organisation to understand the Christian ethos that motivates and underpins the work we do and to support all of our staff and service users to truly belong, contribute and thrive.

I am happily married and have two young children. In my spare time I enjoy distance-running, spending time with my family and performing around the country in an ABBA tribute band!