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Jessie Joe Jacobs

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Jessie Joe Jacobs
Stockton-on-Tees, UK
🏳️ NationalityBritish
🎓 Alma materUniversity of Leeds
Durham University
💼 Occupation
Campaigner, charity director
📆 Years active  2002-present [1]
Director of the Northern Inclusion Consortium
Standing to be the Labour Party's candidate for the 2020 Tees Valley Mayoral election.
🌐 Websitehttps://jessiejacobs.co.uk/

Jessie Joe Jacobs is a Teesside-based British activist and charity worker. She founded the charity A Way Out in 2002 and is the current director of the Northern Inclusion Consortium. She is currently the Labour candidate in the 2020 Tees Valley mayoral election

Early life[edit]

Jacobs was born in Stockton in County Durham and attended the Grangefield Academy before studying pharmacology at the University of Leeds and a master's degree in management at Durham University.[2][3]


In 2002, whilst still at university, Jacobs founded the charity A Way Out in her home town of Stockton to address the multiple challenges faced by vulnerable young people and women in the town, drawing on her own experiences as a survivor of teenage domestic abuse.[4][5] The charity works through a programme of outreach and prevention to address a range of issues.[6][7] Since 2002, over 5,000 people have been supported by the charity.[8]

In 2009 Jacobs, along with her charity A Way Out, was nominated for and won the inaugural Bank of Scotland Corporate's Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, supported by The Sunday Times, along with £100,000 of prize money for the charity and mentorship from Kavita Oberoi.[9][10] This gave Jacobs national recognition and she was featured in The Independent, alongside Debbie Scott, Jamie Oliver and Selwyn Dyson Image to illustrate the types of community champions, the then Leader of the Opposition David Cameron was referring to when he announced his Big Society policy.[11]

Jacobs was nominated for a number of local awards such as a Gazette Community Champion in 2012 for her charitable work by local Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham[12], as well as regional awards such as the Northern Power Women Awards in 2018[13] for her work as a policy offer for the Trade Union Congress[14], and finally for a number of national awards such as the Dods Women in Public Life Award in 2013[15]. A Way Out was also nominated in 2013 for Centre for Social Justice Award.[16]

During her time as CEO of A Way Out, Jacobs became known as a community activist and regularly spoke out on issues such as the cheap availability of alcohol and its effects upon marginal women.[17][18] Reflecting her growing regional recognition, in 2013 she was featured in an episode of the BBC North's Inside Out, alongside Peter Davies, mayor of Doncaster, and Dave Fishwick, millionaire founder of Burnley Savings and Loans, as the programme sought to address a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research suggesting that the North needed a voice of similar statute to the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and proposed that Davies, Fishwick or Jacobs might be the 'Boris of the North'.[19]

After she stepped down in 2014 she continued to speak up for the work of the communities she had spent her career supporting authoring a comment piece for The Guardian in response to the impact closure of Kids Company[5] and following her work as the North East field director of the cross-party Britain Stronger in Europe campaign she authored a piece for the New Statesman commenting on why poor communities in the North East had voted leave in the EU Referendum in 2016.[20][21] In 2017 she also co-founded The Eclipse, a free newspaper that aimed to give a voice to vulnerable people in the region.[22]

She briefly worked as a researcher for Phil Wilson, the Labour Party MP for Sedgefield[23], before becoming director of development for The New Bridge Project, who she helped to secure new premises in the Grade II listed Carliol House in Newcastle city-centre in 2016.[24] Since 2018 she has been director of the Northern Inclusion Consortium, a charitable partnership of Mental Health Concern, Changing Lives, Humankind and Groundworks, which delivers the multi-million pound, National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund Building Better Opportunities programmes in the Tees Valley and in Tyne & Wear.[25]


Tees Valley mayoral candidate[edit]

In July 2019, Jacobs announced she was standing to be the Labour Party's candidate for the 2020 Tees Valley mayoral election.[26] Other candidates for selection were Dan Smith, an engineer and the office manager for the Labour MP Paul Williams, and Darlington councillor Mandy Porter.[27][28][29]

Porter didn't win enough nominations from Constituency Labour Party (CLP) groups and trades unions to be shortlisted, while Jacobs was nominated by every CLP and Smith received enough nominations. After shortlisting interviews, only Jacobs was shortlisted. She was hence selected without a ballot of local members. Smith had made social media posts expressing support for candidates standing against Labour candidates and accused Labour councillors of corruption in 2015 and 2016, before he joined the Labour Party.[30]

In January 2020, Jacobs launched her campaign to become Tees Valley mayor.[31]


  1. Richardson, Lucy. "A new direction for A Way Out". Northern Echo. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  2. Blackburn, Mike (2009-07-03). "A Way Out wins entrepreneur award". gazettelive. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  3. Kelly, Mike (2016-03-05). "Meet the North East campaigner on a mission to keep the UK in the European Union". nechronicle. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  4. "Our Story | A Way Out". Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jacobs, Jessie (2015-08-11). "We have to ensure that Kids Company's work carries on | Jessie Jacobs". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  6. Bruce, Lindsay (2011-12-23). "Thornaby woman turns life around thanks to Stockton charity". gazettelive. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  7. Love, Laura (2013-04-16). "I was so lucky to be alive...now I'm on my way to help others". gazettelive. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  8. "New direction for A Way Out in Stockton". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  9. Stone, Andrew. "Youth focus finds favour with social awards judges". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
  10. Blackburn, Mike (2009-07-03). "A Way Out wins entrepreneur award". gazettelive. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  11. "'Big society' is the solution to poverty, declares Cameron". The Independent. 2009-11-11. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  12. Blackburn, Mike (2012-11-22). "Hard work earns A Way Out co-founder award nomination". gazettelive. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  13. "2018 Northern Power Women Awards Shortlist Announced". Northern Power Women. 2018-01-09. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
  14. "Jessie Jacobs". www.tuc.org.uk. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  15. Love, Laura (2013-02-05). "Jessie Joe Jacobs shortlisted for prestigious award". gazettelive. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  16. "MP promotes charity helping women at risk find "A Way Out" in Stockton". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  17. "Cheap alcohol deals 'killing British women'". Metro. 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  18. Thomas, Hannah (2011-03-16). "Alcohol is killing British women". Marie Claire. Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  19. Jackson, Chris (2013-02-25). "Searching for a 'Boris of the North'". BBC News. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  20. "North-East residents urged to stay in the EU". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  21. Kelly, Mike (2016-03-05). "Meet the North East campaigner on a mission to keep the UK in the European Union". nechronicle. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  22. "Eclipse newspaper launches in Newcastle, Gateshead & South Shields - Journalism News from HoldtheFrontPage".
  23. "Register of Interests" (PDF). Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  24. "We Are Moving!".
  25. "Jessie Jacobs is appointed as Director of the NEC". Northern Inclusion Consortium. 2018-11-09. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  26. Gullon, Nick. "Charity leader is hoping to become Tees Valley Mayor". Northern Echo. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  27. Brown, Mike (2019-08-07). "Thornaby engineer wants to take on mayor Ben Houchen for Labour". gazettelive. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  28. Metcalf, Alex (2019-09-05). "The three Labour candidates lining up to take on Ben Houchen". Teesside Live. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  29. Rodgers, Sienna (2019-10-09). "Jessie Joe Jacobs selected as Labour's Tees Valley mayor candidate".
  30. Brown, Mike (2019-10-10). "How Labour selected Jessie Joe Jacobs as mayoral candidate". gazettelive. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  31. Metcalfe, Alex (2020-01-22). "Trio of pledges as Jessie Joe Jacobs launches campaign to be mayor". gazettelive. Retrieved 2020-03-03.

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