Lord John Bird

Lord John Bird, Founder and Editor-In-Chief, The Big Issue

Lord John Bird was a poor boy, orphan, thief, inmate, artist and poet before going on to found the ground-breaking social initiative that is The Big Issue. He was born shortly after the Second World War to a London-Irish family into slum-ridden Notting Hill. Homelessness, orphanages, crime and prison characterised much of his early life until his metamorphosis into a successful small businessman occurred in the 1980s.

Since setting up The Big Issue magazine and foundation to help the homeless help themselves some sixteen years ago,Lord John has become an authority on motivation and the ascendancy to achievement. Amongst the places he has spoken are the UN in New York, Nairobi and Istanbul, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace. The UN Scroll of Honour, an MBE and the 2005/6 Beacon Prize for Creative Giving are just three of the many accolades and awards he has received. Since the inception of The Big Issue in 1991, Lord John has overseen its development into the UK’s most successful social enterprise, stretching from Tokyo to Totnes and helping thousands of homeless people worldwide.

Since 2001, he has worked for Sure Start a government led initiative that has been empowering parents to be actively involved in the decision making processes in their local areas as well as fast tracking them to services they otherwise may not have accessed previously.

His autobiography “Some Luck”, published by Penguin is a fantastic explanation of much of Lord John’s lack of fortune, misfortune and his ascendancy out of the vulgar life of crime to social engineering. In March 2007 he took part to the Quick Reads campaign and wrote the best selling book ‘How to change your life in 7 steps’. Now aged 61, he has recently remarried for the third time and he has 5 children.

Nigel Kershaw

Nigel Kershaw

Nigel is CEO of Big Issue Invest and Chairman of The Big Issue and advocate of social enterprises that offer business and financial solutions to social problems.

Big Issue Invest is a specialised provider of finance to social enterprises, and is pioneering new and transformative ways of creating financial inclusion and opportunity.

Previously as Executive Chairman and Managing Director of The Big Issue he was previously responsible for the magazine’s publishing operations, as well as developing its new social businesses.

In July 2007 he was nominated as Director of the Month by the Institute of Directors. Nigel also serves on the board of the Social Enterprise Coalition and has been appointed as one of the Cabinet Office’s Social Enterprise Ambassador.

Greg Powell

Greg Powell
has degrees in Law and Psychology and was admitted as a Solicitor in 1973. The senior partner of Powell Spencer and Partners since 1977, a leading community legal aid practice in London.
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Previously the President of The London Criminal Courts Association (www.lccsa.org.uk) and in 2005, the Criminal Legal Aid Lawyer of the year which was a reflection in part of work done for the release of a British citizen from Guantanamo Bay. Greg is also the national manager of the criminal law team of Thompson’s Solicitors, the country’s largest Union law firm. It is indeed an honour to have such a distinguished and experienced person as our patron.

Fred Litzenberger

Fred Litzenberger

It is with great regret that we have to announce the passing of a great coach, patron and friend. RIP 28th May 2021

Potential Youth Mentoring would like to welcome Fred Litzenberger as a Patron. He is a well distinguished basketball coach having coached successfully for over 38 years and with whom I had the honour of working with in the summer of July 2015, whilst supporting a number of children and young people from the basketball club called ‘The Bulldogs’. Coach Litz has coached both the men’s and women’s teams at Oregon University, coaching the mighty Ducks to six straight NCAA tournament appearances and back to back Pac-10 title’s in 1998-99 and 1999-2000. He was the head coach at Western State College in Colorado (1994-95) and associate men’s head coach at Northwestern State LA (1993-94). His collegiate coaching resume also includes a two-year stint as an assistant at Miami, Fla. (1991-93) under Leonard Hamilton, four seasons at Colorado State (1987-91), two at Eastern Washington (1985-87), and five at Fresno State (1981-85), as well as five years as head coach at Vanguard university.

It during his stay at Colorado State where Litzenberger first crossed paths with Ducks’ head coach Ernie Kent, when the two were both assistants in the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons under legendary coach Boyd Grant. The two helped guide the Rams in their postseason bids in the 1988 NIT (advancing to the semi-finals) and 1989 NCAA Tournament second round after clinching the Western Athletic Conference championship.

In addition to his numerous trips to the NCAA Tournament, Litzenberger’s career features a head coaching ledger of 194-62, 12 20-win seasons, five conference championships four National Invitation Tournament appearances, including an NIT title with Fresno State in 1983. Also, his four-year stint as head coach at Hamline (Minn.) University (1975-79) featured a trip to the NCAA Division III Final Four in 1977.

Earning an undergraduate degree in physical education (1968) as well as a master’s (1980) from Northern Colorado, the three-year letterman broke into the coaching ranks as the freshman student coach at Berthoud (Colo.) High School in 1966-67. He then became an assistant at his alma mater in 1967-68 before moving to the head coaching job at Middle Park High School at Granby, Colo., in 1968-69. A U.S. Army veteran, Litzenberger was the head coach of the Army team at Ft. Huachuca in Arizona from 1970-71.

His teams have led the nation in scoring defense four times and have been in the top 10 in numerous defensive categories throughout his career. Litzenberger, has produced books and videos on defensive fundamentals that are sold throughout the world. Although he currently resides in Eugene, Oregon, USA, he regularly visits the UK. We are both fortunate and proud to have such a wealth of experience as a Patron and look forward to having Coach Litz! join us.