Dr Charlie Alcock, CEO and Founder
Clinical Psychologist Dr Charlie Alcock founded MAC-UK alongside a group of young people in September 2008.
Charlie became a clinical psychologist in October 2007 having completed her 3-year doctorate. During her clinical training, Charlie specialised in community work and sourced a placement in New York at The DOME Project. There she worked with young offenders attached to street gangs such as the “Bloods” and the “Crips” - two of the most influential and dangerous gangs in the USA.
Enthused by this experience and the shocking statistic that one in three offenders have an unmet mental health need at the time of offence, Charlie was keen to change the situation back in London in a radical way.
The north London estate where MAC-UK began is a deprived area renowned for a high level of crime, gang violence, poverty and unemployment. Charlie wanted to use a youth led approach to start up a project that would enable mental health to be accessible to young people and their community. She hung out by the local fish and chip shop until a young person spoke to her; It was 18 months in the making. At first they treated her with extreme suspicion. Some people threw stones and spat at her. Slowly, she gained their trust and together, they set up MAC-UK's founding project, Music and Change.
Charlie won the Charity Times Rising Star Award 2011; the Future 100 Social Entrepreneurs Award 2010; the NCVYS Young Partners Award for the South of England in 2009. She was runner up for the Beacon Young Philanthropist Award 2010 and was shortlisted for the Red Hot Women Awards 2010.
Obi Campbell, MAC-UK Youth Worker
Hi my name’s Obi and I’m one of the founding members of MAC-UK’s original project, Music and Change. I got involved when I heard there was a new project that wanted to work with a group of hard to reach young people from the Rowley Way Estate through music. It sounded very interesting and I thought I could help get it started, as I lived there and still do. We started a steering committee, and began putting ideas together of how it should be run and it grew from there. My role at MAC-UK now is primarily as a youth worker who helps facilitate projects, but this has grown into me helping to train youth organisations on mental health awareness. The reason why I like MAC-UK is its new approach by helping young people to help themselves. It also gave me a great sense of helping my community and has made me very proud to be a part of it.