The Board

Meet the people working tirelessly to make Preston Youth Zone a reality for young people in the area.

Guy Topping, Chair of Preston Youth Zone+ Board

Managing Director, Barton Grange Group

Guy Topping was born in Preston in 1965. Having attended Broughton High School, Hutton Grammar and Writtle college of Agriculture where he achieved a National Diploma in Commercial horticulture, he joined the family business at Barton Grange in 1989. Guy is responsible for the Garden Centre Division which comprises Garden Centres at Brock, near Garstang, and Bolton. A long-suffering North End fan and a keen sportsman, Guy enjoys playing tennis for Broughton, cricket for Barton Grange and golf whenever he can.

Guy has been involved at Bolton Lads and Girls Club for many years and is desperate to see a similar facility in Preston.

Nina Lockwood

Founder & Director, Intuitive Interim & Executive Search

Nina is 43 years old, married to Tony and has two wonderful stepchildren, and one fabulous daughter of her own.  Now living in Brindle, she was brought up in Leyland, and attended Balshaw’s High School from where she launched her early career in Banking in 1985.  Since then, Nina has experienced many different management roles in a variety of industry sectors, and is now the Founding Director of Intuitive Interim & Executive Search, an independent recruitment consultancy providing senior executives to the Transport Sector, and into selected North West of England organisations, on both an interim and permanent basis.

Nina became involved with Onside NorthWest in 2010 after hearing a young person tell their story, and share the impact of the support they had received through the Mentoring programme at Bolton Lads & Girls Club.  Nina says, “The work which has been done at Bolton over the years is simply incredible, and I believe that the young people of Preston should benefit from more of the same.  I am passionate about doing whatever I can to help this become a reality”.

Martin Ainscough

Chair, Ainscough Group

Martin is 57 years old, married to Judith and has five children. He lives and works in the Wigan area. Previously, he worked in the family business Ainscough Crane Hire and built it up to the largest independent crane hire company in the country. He sold the business in October 2007 for £255m to a management buy out team backed by the Bank of Scotland. Martin now runs Ainscough Group which specialises in Corporate and Property investment. His business interest now range from Industrial Engineering, Green Energy, Contract Furniture Manufacture, Industrial and Residential building sites.

Martin & Judith have their own Charity Trust and Martin is the Chair of the Wigan Boys & Girls Club Charity. He is also Chairman of both the Wigan and Leyland Forward Boards and of the Wigan UTC. He lists his hobbies as work and charity.

Martin Newsholme

Managing Partner, KPMG

Helen Denton

Executive Director, Lancashire County Council

James Carter

CEO, Eric Wright Group

A Master of Laws and a Fellow of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors with extensive development experience in complex schemes. Was previously employed at Hyndburn Borough Council as an Assistant Director with special responsibility for estates, building control and economic development. James joined Maple Grove Developments in 1986 initially as Development Manager and was appointed to Director on 1 March 1989. Thereafter became Chief Executive Officer for the entire Group. He remains actively involved in development management and took the lead on the company’s award winning developments in Kendal and Ripon.

James is also a member of the Board of Directors of Preston Vision – a regeneration company committed to the development and promotion of Preston and its greater region including South Ribble and Chorley and Trustee of the Eric Wright Trust – a trust set up to put company profits into supporting under-privileged groups within the North West of England.

Rowan Mellalieu

Director, Barker, Booth & Eastwood

Rown was born and bred in Preston and has practised as a solicitor in the city for in excess of 31 years.  She is a collaborative lawyer and mediator, as well as vice chair of the Lancashire and Cumbria Resolution committee.

Away from the law, Rowan is chair of Preston Exchange Network and sits on the disciplinary committee of Lancashire County Rugby Football Union.

As a mother of two sons, Rowan has become involved in the work to set up the Youth Zone+ because she knows first hand what a huge benefit the Youth Zone+ will be to the young people of Preston.

Mark Perks

Cabinet Member, Young People, Lancashire County Council

Mark Perks B.Ed ( Hons) was elected onto Lancashire County Council in 2005 and became the Cabinet Member for Young People and Champion for Young People in 2009. He is Chairman of LCC’s Third Sector working group and New Era Trust Board in Accrington. He has been responsible for the implementation of the county’s Youth Zone policy across Lancashire.

Educated at Rivington & Blackrod High School. He has experience of working in the area of finance for both the public and private sector before qualify as a primary school teacher in 1995.

He is a governor at two schools in Chorley where he lives. Mark volunteers as a youth worker at Buckshaw Youth Association and is a welfare officer and football coach of a local FA Charter Standard junior football club.

Rod Norton

Strategic Lead, Early Support, Lancashire County Council

Rod is both a qualified teacher and youth worker. He worked as a face to face youth worker and youth work manager for many years and has experience of managing large youth facilities such as the new Youth Zone.

He also has widespread experience of managing Information, Advice and Guidance services. He has been Head of Services to Young People in both Rotherham and in Lancashire and for a period was Director of Business Development at the National Youth Agency.

Currently he is heading up the development of Early Support and Intervention for lancashire County Council. He possesses post graduate qualification in both Education Management and the Management of Staff Development.

Dharma Kovvuri

Dean, UCLan Business School

Dharma Kovvuri is Dean of Lancashire Business School at UCLan. He was born and brought up in Preston and studied at local schools in the city. He graduate from UCLan and went on to gain a MBA. He worked in retail management for Sainsburys before becoming an academic in higher education. In 2009 he became the youngest Business School Dean in the UK. His remit is to take forward the School’s vision of becoming one of the top modern Business Schools in the UK.

Dharma became involved with the Preston Youth Zone (PYZ) because he is passionate that young people from different backgrounds and cultures integrate with each other. He sees PYZ as unique opportunity for the City of Preston to establish a state of the art facility which will make a positive impact on the lives of young people.

Michael Gregory

Director, Freshfield PR

Michael is a Prestonian by choice rather than birth.  He has lived in the city for 19 years after leaving his home town of Peterborough to  study at the University of Central Lancashire, where he graduated in 1999 with an honours degree and the future Mrs Gregory.

With over 16 years experience in delivering PR and Marketing campaigns for public and private sector organisations, Michael brings to the board expertise in all areas of communications and marketing, including brand and PR.  He is co-owner of Freshfield Marketing Communications which is based in the heart of the city on Winckley Square.

He can often be seen pretending to play rugby with Preston Grasshoppers 6XV as a prop forward but his football allegiances remain a mystery although it has been suggested he has a soft spot for the red-half of Merseyside.

“The Youth Zone will be a fantastic place for young people to have somewhere to go, where they can speak to people and help shape their future in a positive way.  I have great memories of my local youth club and it has been sad to see these types of places disappear over the years. The Youth Zone will be a great addition to Preston.”

Tim Jacques

Chief Superintendent, Lancashire Police

Though not born in Preston, Tim Jacques has spent almost all of his life in the city and considers himself a Preston lad. He went to school here, met Jane, his wife here and all three of his children were born and raised in Preston.

He has been a police officer for more than 26 years and a good deal of that time has been within the city, where his proudest professional moment to date was becoming the policing Commander in his home town. He too is a long suffering supporter of Preston North End and also spends many hours on the touchlines at Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Club supporting his two sons who both play there.

Tim has seen the consequences of when things go wrong for young people too many times through his work and can remember the times in his youth, “when things could have gone horribly wrong for me too!”  He is therefore passionate about young people having an opportunity to get involved in positive activities and finding and improving their own unique talents.  This is why he is so genuinely excited and honoured to be involved in Preston Youth Zone+. He has been a school governor for many years and in whatever time he has left he furthers his other passion for music by playing drums in a band.

Mike Tynan

Chief Executive,Westinghouse UK

Mike Tynan has worked in the nuclear industry for almost 38 years. Originally from Cumbria, he moved to Lancashire 12 years ago and was Managing Director at the Springfields Nuclear Fuel Manufacturing Site before being appointed as the Chief Executive for Westinghouse UK in 2008. One of Mike’s main interests is the development of young people in the nuclear industry.

In his spare time, he works with a local charity, Sutty’s Shooting Stars, and local football club, Penwortham St Teresa’s, to provide opportunities in sport for children aged 6 to 18.  Still active in football, Mike is a qualified FA coach, referee and Preston North End supporter.

Of his involvement with Preston Youth Zone +, Mike said “I am delighted to support Youth Zones; they provide innovative and relevant resources and inspiration to a wide range of young people, helping them to realise their full potential.  Having had the benefit of a tremendous career in the nuclear industry I am taking every opportunity to give back as much of my experience as possible to help our next generation of potential leaders, engineers, scientists and innovators.  Our future is in their hands”.

Mike also believes that his company, Westinghouse Electric, having been at the heart of advanced manufacturing in Central Lancashire for the last 70 years, has a responsibility to develop the socio-economic future of the region and Mike is proud that Westinghouse can support Preston Youth Zone +.

Sally Parnaby

Director of Organisation Development and Provider Services – North Lancashire NHS


Lis Smith

Chief executive, Preston College

Dr Lis Smith joined Preston College in January 2011 as Principal and Chief Executive following a career in education, skills and employment with the Northwest Development Agency and Higher Education.  Having started life as a research and development chemist, it provided the grounding for engaging with industry and public sector to understand their needs and deliver to this, something that is fundamental to the College and its demand-led agenda through being responsive to learners’ and businesses’ needs .

With experience and focus on learning, enterprise and innovation, Lis is committed to providing real opportunities and outcomes for learners, enhancing employability and enterprising behaviours in all.

Lis said, “Preston Youth Zone+ will provide a fantastic engaging, supportive and safe environment for young people to come and get involved in a wide range of activities.  It will help to provide new opportunities, new challenges, new role models, something that is critical to helping young people develop and realise their own potential. ”


Anthony Cox


Anthony has worked for KPMG in Preston since November 2000.  He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1999 and a year later he qualified as a Chartered Tax Advisor.

Anthony is a former president of the North West Society of Chartered Accountants and continues to represent KPMG on the committee.

Anthony is married with two children.  He enjoys watching and playing most sports but finding the time with young children is always difficult.

It is great to be involved with the Preston Youth Zone and it is fantastic that businesses and LCC have come together to fund this excellent facility for young people.