Centrepoint CEO receives OBE for service to youth skills, employment and homelessness
Centrepoint chief executive Seyi Obakin has been appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).
Seyi, who is also a Commissioner for the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and a member of the Social Security Advisory Committee, has been recognised for his work supporting vulnerable young people to have skills, employment and a home.
Seyi said: ‘The number of young people becoming homeless each year is rising and homelessness causes their lives to spiral out of control. I am delighted that Centrepoint’s successful efforts to help young people gain skills and jobs is enabling them to break the back of homelessness once and for all, and take back control of their lives.’
Seyi joined Centrepoint in 2003 as its finance director, after a spell in a range of social housing provisions, from elderly housing through to all forms of supported housing. He became Centrepoint's first chief operating officer in 2006 and chief executive in 2009.
In this time, he has developed a passionate concern for disadvantaged young people, especially those that are homeless.
Seyi said: ‘One young person’s story has stayed with me – a young woman who, having suffered domestic abuse was taken into care at age 11 and came to Centrepoint at 17 years old, with little qualifications.
‘Yet, with our help, she gained the skills she needed to get a job with a major multinational company and has thrived in that job so much that she has made it into supervisory ranks. I am totally committed to seeing fewer young people becoming homeless and more young people gaining the skills and jobs they need to make great homes for themselves and their families.’
Penny Francis, chair of Centrepoint Board of Trustees, said:
‘We are absolutely delighted that Seyi's commitment to improving the lives of homeless young people has been recognised in this way.
But Seyi will be the first person to say that his work is far from done. Thousands of homeless young people are still approaching their local council each year in desperate need of a safe place to stay. He is more determined than ever that Centrepoint help even more vulnerable young people into a home and a job, so they can leave homelessness behind for good.’
In his role as chief executive, Seyi takes overall responsibility for moving Centrepoint towards its vision of ending youth homelessness.