Lucy Peake l Chief Executive
Lucy joined Grandparents Plus in September 2015, after 11 years at The Fostering Network where she was Director of External Affairs and then Director of Development. Her experience includes policy and research, business and programme development, fundraising, marketing and membership development. Her highlights include the development and delivery of London Fostering Achievement, the award winning programme to raise the educational attainment of children in care, as well as the successful Staying Put campaign to enable young people in foster care to stay with their carers until 21. She has a PhD in Politics. Lucy has three young children who enjoy spending time with their grandparents.
Kate O’Brien l Director of Programmes and Business Development
Kate joined Grandparents Plus in March 2017. Before joining Grandparents Plus, Kate was Director of Programmes at Mentor UK, where she developed and led programmes on drug and alcohol prevention for young people, including work with kinship families. Previously Kate had senior programmes roles at Save the Children UK, where she worked for 11 years, focusing on international humanitarian response, particularly child protection. Kate also has a strong background in partnership development and collaboration, fundraising, sales and marketing. Kate started off her career in the corporate sector in educational publishing and has also worked for Cancer Research UK and the European Parliament in Brussels. She has two young children whose grandparents play a key role in their lives.
Maeve Thompson l Marketing & Communications Manager
Maeve joined Grandparents Plus in 2016 as Marketing & Communications Manager. She has an MSc in International Politics from SOAS, University of London, and has previously worked in PR and marketing for the Canal & River Trust and in the private sector.
Eleanor Nderitu l External Affairs Assistant
Eleanor Nderitu has been working at Grandparents Plus since September 2016. She has an MSc in International Creative Advertising from Manchester Metropolitan University. She has also worked within the advertising industry as a media planner/buyer for over three years.
Jo Raine l Advice Service Manager
Jo manages our advice service. She previously worked as a Citizens Advice Bureau adviser for five years. She has also worked for many years in Supported Housing, after doing an MSc in Housing. Jo has two children, and their grandma plays a big role in their lives.
Nicola Kerr l Advice & Information Worker
Nicola previously worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau for 12 years, firstly as a Generalist Adviser and then as Specialist Welfare Rights Adviser. Most recently she worked for a charity providing information and advice to adults and carers around health and social care. She also worked as Detached Youth Worker for a year befriending young people on the streets, working with young people’s personal and social development by offering information support and advice.
Dawn Jenkins l Programmes Manager, Kinship Care
Dawn is the Programmes Manager – Kinship Care based in our Newcastle office. Dawn manages our Relative Experience; Supporting Kinship Carers, Supporting Kinship Children (Teesside); and Raised by Relatives programmes. She joined Grandparents Plus in 2014 and has comprehensive experience of supporting children, young people and their families from roles in the education, voluntary and statutory sectors. Dawn is a qualified social worker and has worked in frontline Children’s Services teams in the Northumberland and Newcastle areas. Dawn currently sits on the service user involvement committee at Northumbria University and has delivered workshops to undergraduate and postgraduate social work students around kinship care.
Ray Blythe l Project Worker, Relative Experience
Ray has worked within both statutory and voluntary sectors, with families and children for over 10 years. She has worked in a number of roles including mentor, advocate and mediator for three different charities and in two different local authorities. Ray is a school governor with three children.
Darren McGlen l Project Worker, Relative Experience
Darren has worked in the community sector for the past 12 years having previously worked in various roles within the NHS. He has a vast experience working with young people and their families, those with disabilities, behavioural problems as well as those involved in the criminal justice system. Darren is a parent of two as well as a qualified foster carer.
Mari Dilworth l Project Worker, Relative Experience
Mari is a Project Worker for the Relative Experience project in the Middlesbrough area. Mari has 16 years’ experience as a Youth and Community Worker and 26 years’ experience in the Further Education Sector as a Lecturer in Counseling, Health and Social Care and as a Manager of Foundation Learning. She has a wealth of experience of working to support adults and young people promoting self-esteem and self-advocacy in the Teesside Area. She has two adult children and three grandchildren and plays an active part in their lives.
Ancha Stoodley l Project Worker, Relative Experience
Ancha previously spent five years as a Parenting Worker for Northumberland Youth Offending Service, supporting families where a young person had committed an offence. She also has extensive experience in the drug and alcohol field, spending six years as part of the Therapeutic Care team at Phoenix House residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in South Shields, and a further three years experience working in drug and alcohol services in Worcestershire and Birmingham. Ancha holds a BA (Hons) in Sociology and is passionate about volunteering and working with families. She has two children.
Yvonne Brown l Programmes Co-ordinator
Yvonne brings to the project over 30 years’ experience of PA and administrative positions within Newcastle Social Services, including management roles. Yvonne has experience of fostering and has one daughter.
Administration and Support Staff
Louise Baker l Finance and Office Manager
Louise worked for The Grandparents’ Association for nine years, looking after memberships and publications before taking over the finance and office management in the Harlow office and providing support to the Chief Executive. She has held a number of roles in sales, procurement and service management. Louise is married with three children who enjoy spending time with their grandparents.