Staff Profile

Neil Watson

Director and Head of Programmes

Neil is a Substance Director and Head of Programmes. He taught in west London secondary schools from 1984 before going on to manage Leyton Orient Football Club’s Community Programme in 1989. During the thirteen years, he was there the organisation developed a reputation for delivering innovative programmes of work with young people in east London. Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme won national recognition for its work including football’s national Community Club of the Year, the Times ‘Increasing Access to the Arts’ Award and a CRE Race Equality Award. Neil was also responsible for setting up the London Community Sports Network in 2000 as a response to the lack of capacity within the sector to manage and deliver sport and activity based social interventions. In 2002 Neil became Director of the Home Office Positive Futures programme, a national sport and activity based social inclusion initiative and was responsible for its strategic development until 2006. Between 2006 and 2007 he was an Assistant Director at the Government Respect Task Force, leading on young people’s issues. Neil is currently leading pioneering work in partnership with Youth Sport Trust and Right Directions to develop the Quest assessment tool for the Sport for Development sector and a new qualification for managers. 

Why Neil works for Substance

I particularly enjoy working with colleagues at Substance to research, design, implement and manage our involvement in national programmes, particularly those that seek to improve the life chances of young people. Outside of Substance I am a supporter of Newcastle United and a trustee of Wallsend Boys Club.