Karen Stephens

What do you do at Carefree?

I’m a Youth Work Coordinator, which means that I organise collaborative activities that bring care-experienced young people together to develop their talents, find new interests, make new friends, and have their voice heard. My main focus at the moment is setting up Multiply, which is a project for over 19-year-olds who do not yet have a Level 2 maths qualification. The project involves engaging in fun, creative, real-life activities, such as shopping, cooking and budgeting, in order to demystify maths and practise skills we didn’t even realise we had!

What do you like about working at Carefree?

I’m new to Carefree, but I already feel welcomed and supported by everyone who works here, so one of the things I like is the friendliness, warmth, and sense of community among the other members of the team. I also love working with the young people here and am really inspired by their energy, enthusiasm, humour and honesty, as well as by the questions, commitment and insights they bring to every activity.

Can you say a bit about your past experience and qualifications?

I have a degree in Drama and Theatre Studies and spent the first part of my working life as a youth theatre director at the Young Vic Theatre in London. After that, I worked as a freelance director with various professional and community theatres before training as a teacher and moving to Brussels to teach English as a Second Language in an international school there. I worked with a diverse range of young people from all over the world in a rich melting pot of different nationalities, cultures and languages. I’ve now come back home to Cornwall to be closer to my family and am very excited to have been given the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of young people and colleagues at Carefree.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Having just returned to Cornwall after living abroad for 25 years, I am really appreciating being near the sea again. I love walking on the beach with my dog and swimming in the sea, whatever the weather. I also like paddle boarding, baking, experimenting with different recipes, eating out, reading, and wrapping myself up in a duvet in front of a tear-jerking film. I enjoy doing all these activities alone or with friends, but I love them most when I get to do them with my two children when they come back home from university in Leeds and Manchester.