My name is Jessie Jacobs. I’m a passionate champion of Teesside, interested in the rights and voices of women, young people and children, place regeneration, social enterprise, community empowerment and development, and social change.
In 2002, whilst studying for MA in Management at Durham university, I met a young teenager involved in street prostitution and this changed the course of my life forever. Alongside a few local women, we set up a small project to reach and engage women and young people caught up in addiction and prostitution. The project became an award winning charity called A Way Out. For over twelve years I lead the work there as a project manager and eventually Chief Executive Officer. We supported hundreds of people to turn their lives around and by 2014, when I handed over the reigns we were employing around 22 staff and 50 volunteers.
I have a deep passion for people and about making a difference in the world around me. In all I do, I try to fight for forgotten and marginalised people’s voices to be heard, for all people to have equal rights and life opportunities regardless of race, ability, sexuality or economic background . I believe in unity, in working together as collectives and cooperatives. I am an advocate and champion for communities, charities and civic society.
I have a background in community development, place regeneration, policy, campaigning and the media. I want to see ordinary people at the heart of policy making, to see hidden voices heard and more participatory forms of democracy, emerging.
I set up the project I Love Stockton Me which celebrates the good things about the town and was involved in the Stockton town team. I also started a peoples media project “We Are Our Media” which created the newspaper The Eclipse.
For my day job I’m the director of the Northern Inclusion Consortium, which is charity consortium, representing four major charities and delivering services to 100,000 people across the North East and Yorkshire, many of whom face multiple complex needs such as homelessness, exclusion, mental ill-health, and addiction.
I am a committed Labour Party and trade union activist and have campaigned in two general elections, European election, local elections and was the regional field director for Britain Stronger In Europe, campaigning to stay in the European union.
Alongside politics I write and have written for local and national publications, am working on a couple of teen fiction books (feel free to ask me about them) and I am a keen surfer, walker and all around outdoorsy type.