Our Ambassadors

At Smash Life we understand that inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, we are very fortunate to know many inspirational individuals, who are prepared to give their time to help engage and inspire. Our ambassadors have diverse life and work experiences ranging from professional footballers, biologists and musicians to amazing young people that are currently in care. We are very proud to share with you our Smash Life Ambassadors. Find out all about our amazing “Smash Life” ambassadors by clicking on each of the + tabs below!

Billy Jones

Professional Footballer

Billy Attended Crowmoor Primary School and Belvidere Secondary School in Shrewsbury before Playing professional football from the age of 16.

Billy is currently in his 18th year as a professional Footballer and lists Crewe Alexandra, Preston North End, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland AFC and Rotherham United as the clubs he has played for also playing under some of the top managers in this country.

Billy is a great role model for any aspiring children looking to pursue a career in the sporting arena and is proof that hard work, dedication, sacrifice, realisations and resilience are key ingredients to making your dream a reality.  Billy is often described as Professional in his approach by many ex team mates proving that you have to be put the hard work in if you want to realise your potential.

Billy has been a great help to us since our formation, meeting a number of children, helping with group work,  speaking at events and also giving away freebies to some of the children we support who may need a helping hand,  some extra words of encouragement or guidance. Encouraged and supported by a loving family growing up Billy understands the importance of having someone who “believes in you” and understands how this can be the bedrock to help you succeed.

The values that Billy lives by made it very easy for us to offer him a position as an ambassador as he is someone who lives by the values we promote and certainly engages and inspires many children looking to emulate his journey.

We are delighted to have Billy on board and his experience, advice and guidance will inspire many children and young people.

Niall McCann

Biologist / Activist

Niall McCann is a huge inspiration to Many and someone Matt and Andy have known since childhood having grown up in the same estate, attended the same primary school and played for the same football team. Niall’s quality of “being his own person” really stood out to the brothers back then.

Niall McCann is a British biologist and activist who has dedicated his life to seeking out adventure in the natural world, either in combination with his zoological studies, or on stand-alone adventures. He has spent well over two years on expeditions on six continents.

The focus of all Niall’s work is a response to the ongoing struggle in the conflict between humans and wildlife. In his career as a zoologist, Niall has specialised on working with endangered species, and has conducted zoological research in the UK, Italy, Mauritius, Bolivia, Namibia, Guyana and Honduras; spending over 21 months living and working in remote and challenging parts of the world.

Born in Victoria, Canada, into a family of adventurers Niall grew up in Shrewsbury, in England’s most rural county: Shropshire. Niall studied Zoology at the University of Bristol, and recently completed his PhD at Cardiff University.

Niall’s first major expedition came in 2000, when, at the age of 18, he spent one month cycling in the Himalayas with his father and a friend, crossing the Khunjerab Pass, the highest paved pass in the world.  In 2007 Niall rowed across the Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean. This expedition was followed, in 2009, by a successful attempt to man haul on skis across Greenland.

Niall made his television debut in 2011 with the PBS documentary Lost in the Amazon: the enigma of Col Fawcett, which aired in the History Channel in the UK.  As a result of the success of this documentary, which won two international awards, Niall landed a six-part wildlife adventure series ‘Biggest and Baddest’ with Animal Planet Canada and Nat Geo Wild.

Niall is actively engaged in ongoing conservation projects in India, Honduras, Nepal and Guyana, and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

A man who grabs life with both hands, always striving to push himself but also showing care and empathy to others around him. This makes Niall a perfect Ambassador to our organisation.

Mya Edwards

Young Person

We are delighted to have Ambassadors who are currently in care.

Mya is someone who can give us a unique but very real perspective which should never be ignored, advocate for our service, be a shining light,  guide and be a source of inspiration for children currently in care.

We believe that role models and sources of inspiration are every where and we watch with pride as Mya continuously shows courage and vulnerability to share her journey in care in the form of Youtube videos, instagram posts and attending foster carers training to help shape understanding and inform practice from a lived experience so more people are aware and have empathy towards the very real journeys of children in care.

The only way practice, approaches and understanding will improve is if we really listen to the thoughts, wishes and feelings of children and young people currently in care.

Mya is a shining light to many and she should be proud of the mature way she is using her experiences to inspire and educate others as she navigates through college and hurdles in life with maturity, positivity and great resilience.

Mya will advocate for our services, be the voice for children and young people, attend future events with us and also provide a young persons perspective at our company interviews. With Mya’s  attitude to life and her willingness to give back the only way is up for this young woman.

Nikki Simmons

Professional Vocalist / Musician

Nikki Simmons was born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia, United States.

At age 6, Nikki knew she wanted to pursue a musical career, eventually recording her debut EP at the age of 13 years old.  

Nikki fell wholly in love with music and singing, drawing inspiration from artists such as Jewel, The Cardigans, Deftones, The Streets and more. Nikki has a wealth of musical experience having done her first tour at 17, later touring 32 US States, the UK, and playing massive festivals in England, Germany and the world famous Warped Tour in America.

Nikki has also recorded lead and backing vocals on numerous records, including letlive, The Rising of the SHIELD HERO (anime) and has been featured on several YouTube stars videos, most significantly on Jonathan Young’s Pokémon metal cover of “Double Trouble” which has amassed to date over 1.1 million views. 

Nikki has also written music and voiced characters for games and soundtracks, most recently songs in the rhythm game Cytus II and award-winning indie game No Straight Roads

Nikki is passionate about helping others and empowering young people to make informed choices to reach their potential. She is a shining example that you can follow your dreams if you work hard enough, show persistence, and never lose sight of your goals.

In Nikki’s own words : 

“When I started singing I met so many amazing people and had experiences which I could have only dreamt of. People may just see my online music videos or listen to my songs, what they don’t see is the hours and hours of practice, rehearsals, investment and craft that goes into all of it. I hope I can inspire others who have dreams to follow them. You have to keep working at it, chipping away at smaller goals to reach the big ones! It doesn’t happen overnight, but one day you wake up and realize how much you’ve grown and learned since the dream began.”

Nikki has also talked very openly about how important lifestyle choices, self-development, routine and diet has been for her to maintain not only a healthy voice but also a healthy state of mind in order to perform at her maximum potential.

Kyle Thomas

Young Person

We are delighted to have Ambassadors who are currently in care.

Kyle is someone who can give us a unique but very real perspective which should never be ignored, advocate for our service, be a shining light,  guide and be a source of inspiration for children currently in care.

Kyle has overcome many hurdles in life and we believe that role models and forms of inspiration are everywhere.

We have known Kyle for sometime, having previously mentored him and having seen first hand his resilience, drive to succeed, kind and caring qualities towards others.

Kyle is also proving that living with Cerebral Palsy will not be a barrier in life but a motivation and an inspiration to others that nothing will stop you achieving in life as long as you have the right mindset, set goals, listen and focus firmly on your future.

Kyle is currently doing an apprenticeship and is also training to become a peer mentor.

Kyle will advocate for our services, be the voice for children and young people, attend future events with us and also provide a young persons perspective at our company interviews.

With Kyles attitude to life and his willingness to give back the only way is up for this young man.

Carl Rogers

Secondary School PE Teacher

Carl Rogers is a secondary school PE teacher and head of years 10 & 11 at Shrewsbury academy school.

Carls journey started as a pupil at the school he works in now, growing up a short distance from the school before leaving to pursue his dream of becoming a teacher at Worcester University.

Carl Loves his job, and from visiting the school it is Very clear he has a great relationship and connection with the pupils. Carl is a “radiator” – someone that constantly radiates that positive energy, is fun, caring and also wants to build relationships to try and understand what else may be happening in the pupils lives which may be affecting their wellbeing but also giving children the platform and space so they can feel comfortable to talk or share.

Carl is huge on positive reinforcement, hobbies and positive diversions and although he expects high standards he is also down to earth with the pupils, showing his caring side and vulnerability – he really embraces the “children don’t care what you know until they know you care” mantra.

Carl loves the fact that Teaching can be different everyday and loves how he gets to interact with hundreds of different people – “No day is ever the same”. Carl told us “If I am walking down the corridor I will try to say hello to everyone I pass” At Smash Life, we LOVE this attitude – modelling the behaviour children need to see from adults.

Carl really embraces the fact that he gets the opportunity to positively impact lives daily. Carl loves working with all the students and supporting them to be the best they can be and also feels lucky to be working alongside some amazing colleagues.

In his spare time, Carl is very active, often seen either in the gym, jogging, playing football (on Saturday & Sunday), playing golf and is keen to pass on how much physical activity and sport has played a huge role in his life to the children he teaches.

Carl also loves cooking and listening to music.

Carl has also been very kind and volunteered his time to support Smash Life in the past, helping in our woodland and on projects we have delivered. Nothing is ever too much. Carl is extremely enthusiastic, happy, turns every situation into a positive and we are very proud to have him advocating, sharing and being a role model for Smash Life.

What we do

Find out how Smash Life can help you

Inspirational Talks

The talks cater to young people and professionals and will focus on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Abuse, Complex Trauma and Safeguarding and are designed to help professionals understand children and young peoples behaviour, change approaches and perceptions and bring a reality to practice that can’t be obtained through books. For young people they will receive a hard hitting, factual story that will help them to understand that they are not alone with their own trauma's and can build up their own skills and resilience, following the positive example set by the Smash Life brothers.

Learning for Professionals

The talks cater to young people and professionals and will focus on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Abuse, Complex Trauma and Safeguarding and are designed to help professionals understand children and young peoples behaviour, change approaches and perceptions and bring a reality to practice that can’t be obtained through books. For young people they will receive a hard hitting, factual story that will help them to understand that they are not alone with their own trauma’s and can build up their own skills and resilience, following the positive example set by the Smash Life brothers.

Mentoring

Our bespoke and unique shared life, one to one mentoring sessions are for young people needing a positive role model, guidance and a listening ear.

Aimed at young people

Our bespoke and unique shared life, one to one mentoring sessions are for young people needing a positive role model, guidance and a listening ear.

Group Work

A safe space for young people to listen, discuss, share and learn about difficult topics or issues that have been identified by you or them e.g. drugs, alcohol, masculinity, gang culture, future aspirations and promoting positive / healthy relationships.

Positivity

A safe space for young people to listen, discuss, share and learn about difficult topics or issues that have been identified by you or them e.g. drugs, alcohol, masculinity, gang culture, future aspirations and promoting positive / healthy relationships.

Training / Consultation

We are able to use our experience of growing up in the social care system and working within it to provide advice and guidance so that your organisation is a young person centred service. We are available to deliver bespoke training courses for you and your staff team.

Training / Consultation

We are able to use our experience of growing up in the social care system and working within it to provide advice and guidance so that your organisation is a young person centred service.  We are available to deliver bespoke training courses for you and your staff team.

Feedback

Reactions from some of our recent clients!

“A big thank you for helping so far on this absolute monumental journey I’ve been on: Anger, Emotions, and Positive vibes so again thank you so much”

Young Person, Mentee

“Andy has a fresh delivery style to bring home the stark reality of young people in crisis and dwelling on his past experiences he provides many ideas on helping young people to get on the right path to make the best life choices they can. He is an inspiration to young people everywhere who are daunted by the challenges life brings them.”

Helen Ball , Shrewsbury Town Council Clerk

“Incredible. Thank you for sharing your story and advice”

Christine Dunn, Professional

Thank you for coming along and sharing your story with us all. Such a heartfelt speech that moved everyone in the room, and lots of really important information to take away.”

Andy has provided our most vulnerable students with support that they would not be able to access within school. His unique perspective on the issue experienced by LAC has enabled our students to feel secure, in particular during the stressful exam season. This is an excellent example of use of pupil premium funding.”

Teacher, Holy Trinity School - Telford

“Having heard Andy and Matt speak I was able to relate many of the things they said to me and to the young people I work with and could only hope the young people that I work with develop a tiny bit of insight that Andy and Matt have. Their talk and shared experiences show that young people do not need to be a victim of their past and hearing this first hand can only strengthen this belief with the young people they work with. The motivation, humour, honesty and frankness of the talk is moving and exhilarating. I felt a roller coaster of emotions listening but felt even more motivated to support the young people I work with. Since meeting Andy and Matt I have spoken to young people about them – shared their messages and views. Their words have stayed with me and I can relate their experiences to many different situations I come across in my role. I thought I knew a lot “looked after children” , care leavers, the system – but learnt more from this talk than any other course, training or from books.”

Kathryn Packer, Education Liaison Officer

“I just want to say a massive thank you to Andy for the support I have been given. I can always know that no matter what mood I am in I will always come out of the session smiling. More people should be like this looking out for others.”

Young Person, Mentee

“What a breakthrough……he has told you more than he would’ve shared with carers or me on the first meeting”

Social Worker, Shropshire Council

“Andy and Matt give so much to those they work with, they really are an inspiration to so many. Being able to relate to the young people they mentor through their shared life experiences gives the young people someone they can connect with openly. I would highly recommend Smash Life.”

Natalie Prudence, Elite Dance Studios

“Just had the most inspirational speech from these lads. Absolutely amazing and they should be very proud of themselves and their achievements”

Matthew William, Care Home Manager - Keys Group

“ Since I have seen you I am not arguing with the teachers, its good to know someone has been there and understands.”

Young Person, Mentee

“These remarkable brothers suffered long term abuse, humiliation, degradation and shame at the hands of those entrusted with their care. Their life story is one of courage, resilience and determination.. Their promise to use yesterday and their commitment to each other today, is to be the change for children that they should have experienced. If you are looking for conference speakers, mentors for your children these chaps are going to be booked up very quickly after being invited for by the consortium for therapeutic communities to their first conference debut yesterday.”

Sarah Morgan, Specialist Advisor, Education and Childrens Social Care

“…really looks forward to her sessions which is such a transformation – when ….has something to think about ….opens up with us here which is such a relief and …also feels reassured about things on her mind knowing ….can talk it over with Matt”

Parent, Mentoring Client

“It was really good, he was really cool and I enjoyed the talk because Matt was funny, down to earth and really relatable, not like some teachers who just talk down to you”.

Pupil, Charlton Secondary School Telford

“I was lucky to hear Andy and Matt present earlier this year and their story must be one that has resonated with me the most. Ever. It has informed our practice at Sandcastle Care and we now weave our therapeutic web into colleges and schools offering trauma informed care training even further. Thank you Andy. Thank you Matt.”

Helen Barton , Head of Therapeutic Services at Sandcastle Care

Contact us today!

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