After leaving school I turned my weekend job at Tesco into a full time job and soon found myself on their management training program. From this I gained many transferable skills that I now use.
I joined Home-Start in 2004 as an Organiser working in the rural area and since 2012 have been Co-Scheme Manager with responsibility for day to day scheme running and finance.
Outside of work I love spending time with my family. Duncan and I have been married since 1998 and we have two big children, Hana and Luke. We have four French Bulldogs, Nala, Kobe, Odin & Lilo who take up a lot of my time and fill the forthcoming empty nest. I also have a passion for coffee, baking, window shopping, eating out and the cinema.
I have worked at Home-Start Ashford & District since 2002 taking on a variety of roles including volunteer training and support, family work, community development, group facilitation, supervision of staff and currently fundraising.
In addition, I have worked on other projects through the voluntary sector most notably for Canterbury Open Centre and Catch 22 (formerly Rainer) on some challenging projects with homeless people and mentoring services for ‘Looked After Children’ and you offenders.
Prior to working in the voluntary sector I completed my studies at Canterbury Christchurch and Kent University with a Degree in English and Art and a Post Graduate Degree in ‘Modern Literature and Culture’.
I love to view (and occasionally make) art whenever possible and visit large and small exhibitions both locally and nationally. I enjoy comedy evenings, film, reading, and walking. I also volunteer as a parent helper at Tenterden School Federation.
I live with husband, Matthew and daughter, Amelia.
Family & Volunteer Coordinator
I have proudly volunteered with Home-Start since 2014. Having faced some difficult times myself I needed a new direction and a focus. I always enjoy supporting my friends and family through challenging times so this seemed a great opportunity for me and I haven’t looked back since!
As a volunteer, I have supported five families and can really credit Home-Start with guiding my career choice of helping others. I was thrilled to be able to join as Family Support Worker in 2019 and am now Families and Volunteer Coordinator, a role which I share with my lovely colleague, Talitha.
I really enjoy meeting families and assessing how we can help. Alongside this, I help recruit, train and supervise our volunteers and have more recently started working one to one with children in schools. I am a Drawing and Talking practitioner and also support children using sand play. I am enjoying working with young people as part of our mentorship project and supporting them to become more confident and happy.
I have a busy life with 3 children who all have varying hobbies and a busier social life than me! I am so pleased I am able to continue working with such an amazing charity that I have seen at first hand, empowering families to become more confident in their own abilities, and supporting them on that journey.
Family & Volunteer Coordinator
I have lived in the Ashford district since I was 7. I was initially a volunteer for Home-Start, finishing the prep course in 2019 following my A-Levels.
I have always loved caring for people and had an interest in the social care world, so volunteering with Home-Start seemed like a great opportunity. At 20 I am the youngest member on the team. I’m really looking forward to collaborating with volunteers in helping to empower the families I work with.
I volunteer for Kench Hill, an environment centre where I help teach children about sustainability and the outdoors. I am mum to a beautiful black cat called Luna and she is the light of my life. I also love choral singing, plant-based cooking and listening to musicals!
Groups & Events Coordinator
I’m very proud to be a new member of the lovely Home-Start team and am really looking forward to meeting local families in my role as Group & Events Coordinator. I lived in the Tenterden area for the first 19 years of my life, when I left home for university. After finishing my studies at Anglia Ruskin University with a degree in English & European Philosophy & Literature, I moved to London and began a career in Events Coordination. A highlight of this time was working on events for the charity sector; including the annual Charity Awards, held to celebrate organisations doing exceptional work in all areas of charitable activity. In 2009 I left London and Events to move back to Tenterden and start a family.
Since becoming a Mum, I have worked bookkeeping for a company based in Ashford and volunteered as Vice-Chair of the PTA at Tenterden Primary Federation.
Out of work I enjoy live music, exercising at the gym, going back to London as a tourist and watching my son play football (when it isn’t raining!).
I live with my son and our beautiful rescue cat, Decca.
Family Support Worker
I have lived in the rural areas of the Ashford since I was 4. When I was 18 I started work in the Motor Trade as a parts advisor, after a couple of years I left to have my first child, I am now a mum to 3 girls, a dog, a cat and a fish.
My family and I had the help of a Home-Start volunteer while my children were young and we adjusted to family life. After developing an interest in psychology I studied and gained a level 5 qualification in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which I used to facilitate some Self Help Awareness Groups in the local community. When my youngest started school, I decided I would like to pursue a career in the social sector, preferably working with families with young children. I completed my Volunteer Preparation Course with Home-Start Ashford in 2018 and volunteered with a family, I thoroughly enjoyed the volunteering. In February 2019 I started working for Home-Start Ashford as a Family Support Worker.
In addition I have volunteered for The National Childbirth Trust, helping to organise events and fundraisers. In my spare time I enjoy reading, spending time with my family and exploring new places to visit with them.
Family Support Worker
I joined Home-Start at the start of 2019 and really enjoy working with our great team of staff, volunteers and families.
I have always lived in Ashford and spent almost 20 years as a dental nurse.
Wanting a change I spent some time as a teaching assistant at Wyvern school, helping children reach their full potential.
I am passionate about supporting families from pregnancy and beyond.
I am lucky to be a Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Champion for Home-Start Ashford. I am always looking to improve my knowledge and skills.
After attending a course as a baby massage instructor with the International Association of Infant Massage, I am able to support parents learn baby massage techniques. Baby massage can provide a wonderful opportunity to bond through loving touch, eye contact and special one to one time. It provides many more benefits for baby and parent too. It is such a lovely skill to learn.
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my husband and two children, who are now adults. I like yoga, reading and being out walking in my favourite muddy boots with our bouncy springer spaniel. Owning him has certainly been an adventure!
Family Support Worker
I originally joined Home Start in 2020 as a Volunteer, which I very much enjoyed. I was then given the opportunity to become a Family Support Worker and have been doing this since September 2021. I am also studying towards a Childhood and Youth Degree.
Previously my roles have been mainly administration based but within a variety of sectors including the Local Council. I am a mum to a wonderful son, who keeps me on my toes whilst not at work!
My working life ended with me being MD for Henderson Global Investors plc in the Varieties and Private Clients Division.
Following my retirement I have had various roles including Chairman National Trust Finance Committee for Southern England, Chairman Kent Magistrates Association, Vice Chairman Governors Ashford School, Church Warden and Treasurer for Warehorne Church and Warehourne Parish Councillor.
I am married with four children and four grandchildren. I joined Home-Start Ashford & District in 2002 after being introduced by a mutual friend. I served as Chair for over 10 years and have recently stepped down but remain actively involved.
My hobbies include amateur painting, travelling through old Soviet Union, theatre trips and I’m an active member of Ashford Choral & Kelly’s choir.
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Company Secretary, Treasurer and Trustee
Now retired, I have the time to indulge a number of my passions including hill walking, cycling, music, my five grandchildren and of course Home-Start.
I am a lawyer by training and was a partner in a law firm in the City of London. I specialised in corporate and European law and was based in Brussels for over 20 years.
For the last fifteen years of my working life I worked for a multinational company. As a result, I have a range of skills beyond the law including strategic planning, management and governance. I like to believe that the experience of working in various parts of the world has also made me very open to new ideas and doing things differently.
Trustee with the Responsibility of Safeguarding
Trustee and Volunteers’ Representative
I became a home visiting volunteer in 2007 and to date I have supported seven families and have represented the volunteers on the board of Trustees since 2011.
I was born and lived in Greater London until 1989, when my job as Fundraising Manager for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in London moved me to the South-East. I was responsible for community volunteers raising funds to support lifeboat crews in Kent and East Sussex until my retirement in 2004.
Whilst living in London I was a volunteer for a charity providing a 24/7 telephone helpline called ‘Parents’ Anonymous’ for eight years, taking on the responsibilities of Secretary, S. London Co-ordinator and organising the monthly on-call Duty Rota.
My husband Richard and I live in Tenterden and we have two daughters and a son, and six grandchildren ranging in age from 26 years to 6 months. Many of our family live and work in USA and Middle East, therefore holidays are often focused in opposing directions.
My other interests are gardening, yoga and history and I am the Excursion Secretary for the Tenterden local history society.
Having studied an honours degree in Politics and Modern History at Manchester University my business career then took off mainly in the brewing industry where I was involved in market and financial analysis as well as long range forecasting. I have also been a director of a Co-operative retail society.
In 1998 I was elected as a member of the Kent County Council representing South Ashford and became the Lead Member on local government finance in the Labour Group. I retired from the Council in 2017.
Since 1998 I have been a member of the Board of Home-Start because I believe strongly that the early years of a child’s life are critical to their later development enabling them to seize as many opportunities in life as possible.
Trustee and Family Representative, Home Visiting Volunteer Service
I was brought up in the beautiful Peak District in Derbyshire, but it was too land-locked for me and I eventually found my way to the North Kent Coast in 2002 (via Newcastle to study English Language and Linguistics, and London where I met my husband and trained in Speech and Language Therapy).
I worked across East Kent as a Speech and Language Therapist working with adults for 10 years, during which time I enjoyed hobbies of sea swimming, yoga and my lifelong passion of creative writing.
I have three children, aged 9, 6 and 4. My eldest child has autism with a profile of pathological demand avoidance and presents with violent and challenging behaviour. This has been extremely traumatic and difficult for all of our family. We became a Home-Start family in Autumn 2017, and our volunteer as well as the whole team have had an incredibly practical, positive and valuable impact on all of our lives.
I look forward to helping to support other families in difficult situations by offering advice and input as Family Advisor.
Trustee and Family Representative, Additional Services
My family and I have lived in Charing since 2009. We are, Jerry, Mel, Alex and Corey and we live with our 2 Labradors, Lacey and Rosie.
I have been a teacher since 2004, working through a selection of Primary schools until I joined the Caldecott Foundation in 2014. I started there as the Primary School Teacher and progressed to become Virtual School Lead – working with young people unable to access traditional classrooms – then as whole school SENDCO and currently as Assistant Head with SEN responsibility. As part of my role I am a Level 3 Qualified Forest School Leader and find this one of the most amazing parts of my job as I get to ‘play’ in the woods and see the young people thrive.
I love spending time with the family and due to both boys having a diagnosis of Autism I can safely say we are busy every minute of the day, from when we get up to when we go to bed. We love walking the dogs around our pretty village and take part in riding, swimming and countless other activities provided by the many support networks in and around Ashford. Some seven or so years ago, my introduction to Home-Start was coming home to be told by Mel that I was signed-up to attend a Chill with Dad session – the rest as they say is history.
I love to cook when I can, we also like to eat out supporting local pubs and restaurants – at least that is our excuse. When I get any free-time I read and love to be around motorcycles – a left-over hobby from an earlier time.
I hope that my experience to date is of benefit to my latest role as a Trustee of Home-Start and I am very honoured to have been given this opportunity to support an incredible charity.
Ashford Borough Council Representative
Education Advisor to the Board of Trustees
I am currently employed by Goldwyn School where I work as a Specialist Teacher in the Ashford District for pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs. My role entails: supporting schools and individual pupils within mainstream Primary and Secondary schools; delivering core and bespoke training to schools; offering recommendations to schools with regards to referred pupils to support with inclusion and effective intervention strategies and resources.
Previous to this role, I worked at Furley Park Primary Academy for 14 years as a Primary Teacher and SENCO.
In my own time, I like to do simple things like: spending time with my children; gardening; reading; and experimenting with textiles on my sewing machine. I keep meaning to get back in to my love of arts too…and will do when the moment catches me.