Sami's Story - Samantha Sykes Foundation


The main thing you need to know about the Samantha Sykes Foundation Trust is that the work of this charity is carried out on behalf of, and in the memory of, Samantha Sykes who tragically died, at 18 years old, with her friend Kimberley Frank who was “looked after” by the local authority. Sami was murdered because of the support she selflessly gave to two sisters, who were in need of love, protection and guidance and who would have benefited from the work of this charity. Our promise to Sami is: 

  • To contribute to all children having an equal chance in life, no matter what their circumstances. 

  • To support young people who are victims or at risk of sexual exploitation through therapeutic intervention and support.

  • To support young people from within the care system through education, mentoring and pastoral care.

  • To inspire these children to believe in their own self-worth and achieve their full potential in spite of their challenging circumstances.

 The Samantha Sykes Foundation Trust’s mission is to support victims and those at high risk of child sexual exploitation, up to and including the age of 25, to access therapeutic interventions such as (but not confined to) counselling or therapy, to help them re-build their often broken lives. Additionally, we also support looked-after children in the care system and care leavers, up to and including the age of 25, to access further and higher education. This can be through the provision of books, laptops, travel passes, equipment or any other items we feel would help that child or young person to achieve their full potential.

With the help of local communities and working in partnership with businesses, not-for-profit organisations, educational establishments and other statutory services, we make a difference to the lives of children and young people. 


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  • We work to provide funds to help children and young people access counselling, specialist therapy, medical support and other therapeutic interventions.

  • In the past, we have worked in partnership to support the Hand-in-Hand project, who undertake work with victims of child sexual exploitation.

  • Our in-house specialist therapy services are currently commissioned to provide time-limited interventions to children and young people who are victims of, or at high risk of, child sexual exploitation. This includes trauma counselling and Art Psychotherapy. The funding for this service is provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner or from Government grants and is not paid for from fundraising events and donations unless explicitly requested

To develop our social movement, the Samantha Sykes FT has provided awareness raising and presentations to a large range of professionals, both locally, nationally and internationally, including (but not limited to) the Police, Social Care, international researchers, Nursing and Medical profession and Educational establishments. Some Trustees have worked with NHS England around the issues surrounding CSE and care-experienced children and young people. We have reviewed policy and service specifications for commissioners and have worked with several third sector organisations around domestic abuse issues such as ‘Women’s Aid’.

Child Sexual Exploitation - Samantha Sykes Foundation

This is an amazing organisation that has helped me beyond simple words. Without their support, I would not have had sufficient funds to purchase the books which have been a lifeline for me, being essential for my studies.

Lian Bate - 1st year Criminology & Psychology

I would like to express how much having a laptop bought for me by the Samantha Sykes Foundation has supported me with my studies over the past year. As a care leaver, without the financial support of family, it can be very difficult to afford a laptop.

Danielle Davies - 2:1 in Childhood Studies

Last year, the Samantha Sykes Foundation provided our care leavers with 13 laptops, software packages, over 100 essential textbooks and dance clothes.

Rebecca Hayes - Support Coordinator, University of Huddersfield

The Foundation has been fantastic, allowing me access to tools and equipment that I wouldn’t have been able to afford on my own.

Daniella Vermeer - 1st Year Costume & Textiles

I knew nothing of the Samantha Sykes Foundation before I started at Huddesfield University. The books I received through the charity have become a valuable resource for all my studies.

Mark Cohen - 2nd Year Behavioural Sciences

The Foundation provided some of the textbooks which were indispensable to my learning. I was also able to attend the Butterfly Ball, which enabled me to meet other students from similar background and which I really enjoyed.

Vicky Fernando - 1st in MPharm

The Samantha Sykes Foundation has supported us since 2014 and we’re immensely grateful for this.

Zoe Stephenson-Jones - Service Manager, Hand-in-Hand Children's Society

The Samantha Sykes foundation have made it so that I can practice as a social worker. Without their financial support, I wouldn’t have been able to enrol on a Master’s in Social Work course. I had just finished university and left the care system and had no money to achieve this dream. SSFT stepped in and assisted in my two years at university. I now work with looked after children on a daily basis. I now have a home and will not be a statistic, this is all down to the SSFT.

Steve Hawksworth

I am 21 years old and, through Samantha Sykes Foundation, I have had therapy, which has helped me during these most isolating times. I feel like I have a supportive person who I can talk to and who listens to me. My therapist has helped gain my confidence back and improve my communication skills.


I have received a laptop from the Samantha Sykes Foundation as I have started a Games Development course at Uni. I am so lucky to have been given something so expensive, that will help me on my course. Everyone on my course can afford a laptop but I couldn’t. To me this was a really really big deal, it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever owned and I am so thankful for it.


I am 18 years old and I got a laptop when I started my health and social care course. Before that, I had to do all my course work on my foster mum’s laptop and my work kept getting misplaced. I love my laptop and it’s helped me get onto level 3. I am happy that I can come to you in my times of need.

Education - Samantha Sykes Foundation


We are currently working in partnership with various High Schools, Tertiary Education providers, Colleges, virtual school and Universities in the Yorkshire area. Together, we have identified real gaps in the needs of children who are brought up in the care system and as result feel that it is impossible to continue their education after high school.

  • In partnership with Huddersfield University, a Mentorship scheme was developed for students who were brought up in-care, to provide them with the ongoing support they need but cannot receive from their parents or carers. We aim to make Huddersfield University UK’s number 1 choice for care- leavers.
  • We are planning a new scheme to help local schools deliver a positive message to their in-care children, showing them that there is a real future in further and higher education for them. The Trust will offer funded visits to local Universities and further education establishments for groups of in-care children.
  • We also provide essential equipment such as laptops, books, software etc. which many of us take for granted, but which are not readily available for this group of young people. When required, we may also provide Rail cards and other such items, that may make the difference, for a vulnerable child.

2020 has been a very challenging year for many and has impacted greatly on fund raising activity. However, SS-FT have continued to provide much needed support to children and young people, including the provision of laptops to enable many young people to continue with their education remotely. Access to electronic equipment is something many of us take for granted, but for care experienced children and young people this is often unobtainable. Without your support, many would have been unable to continue with their education. All the money we raise through voluntary fundraising activity and contributions goes directly to children and young people.

If you wish to get involved in shaping our educational support packages, please get in touch through our Contact section.


The Trustees of The Samantha Sykes Foundation Trust include members of a family devastated by the tragic death of their 18-year-old daughter but also of a team of highly qualified and experienced professionals in business and child protection.

  • Julie Warren Sykes – Chairperson/Media Contact
  • Eric Sykes – Treasurer / Advertising / Web Assist
  • Karin Jackson – Communications
  • Ben Sykes
  • Leanne Warren
  • Ian Sykes – Web Development/ Advertising/ Communication (Deceased)

Our Honorary Member is Professor Pat Cantrill MSc, BA HONS, RGN, RHV, RHVT, TC (Man). Professor Cantrill is committed to improving the care and protection of children and young people and has worked relentlessly within this arena for most of her professional career.

Our Ambassador for Children and Young People is Sannah Mahmood who works tirelessly to support young people who have been disadvantaged

Trustees Samantha Sykes Foundation


Nazir Afzal OBE, was Chief Crown Prosecutor for NW England and formerly director in London. Most recently, he was Chief Executive of the country’s Police & Crime Commissioners. During a 24 year career he has prosecuted some of the most high profile cases in the country, advised on many others and led nationally on several legal topics including violence against women and girls, child sexual abuse, and honour based violence. He had responsibility for more than 100,000 other prosecutions each year. His prosecutions of the so called Rochdale grooming gang, BBC presenter Stuart Hall and hundreds of others were groundbreaking and drove the work that has changed the landscape of child protection. He is the Chair of Hopwood Hall. He was appointed to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). He is also National Adviser on Gender Based Violence to the Welsh Government. Most recently he joined the advisory board of Google’s Innovation Fund for counter-extremism.

  • Nazir is a tutor for several leadership programmes in the public and private sector.
  • He has made presentations to dozens of diverse organisations in this country and abroad.
  • He is on the European Union and Council of Europe list of expert speakers.
  • He has given hundreds of interviews in all forms of media.
  • Nazir gives a considerable amount of time to charitable work and is trustee and patron of several NGOs including Jan Trust, Karma Nirvana, EngageMe, Halo Project & Savera and is the former Chair of the Prince of Wales’ Mosaic Trust.
  • He is Pro Chancellor of Brunel University.
  • He is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Central Lancashire, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law by the University of Birmingham and this year an Honorary Doctorate by Manchester University.
  • He assists the UN on rule of law, for example, he has chaired conferences in New York, Madrid, Norway and Geneva on various justice topics.

Nazir’s has received many accolades. In 2005, he was awarded an OBE by the Queen for his work with the CPS and involvement with local communities. He has also had the honour of being the only lawyer to ever prosecute a case before the Queen. In 2007, he was awarded the CPS’s Public Servant of the year, named Legal Personality of the Year by the Society of Asian Lawyers, the UK Government’s Justice Award 2007 and awarded the Daily Mirror newspaper “People’s award” voted for by readers. He was awarded the Law Society/Bar Council Mentoring award.  Nazir was also selected for the Asian Power 100 along with the Muslim Power 100 list, recognised as one of the 100 most influential leading Muslims and Asians in the UK.  He has been listed in the Pakistan Power100 which regards him as one of the 100 most influential people of Pakistani origin in the world today. Awarded the lifetime Achievement Award by the Power 100, and the British Muslim Award in 2013. He was Asian Media Group’s “Man of the Year 2012,” and the Asian Achievers Award 2014.  The acclaimed BBC Film “Three Girls” was based on his case & featured Ace Bhatti playing him.

We are honoured to have him as a Patron of The Samantha Sykes Foundation Trust


As long as young people, either in the local authority care system or care leavers are disadvantaged and young people remain victims of child sexual exploitation, missed opportunities, injustice & violence persist. While this is happening, none of us can truly rest. It doesn’t take much to change a life. Get in touch with the Samantha Sykes Foundation today and start making the difference.