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, programme development, fundraising, business development, 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 former foster carers until 21. She has a PhD in Politics. Lucy has three young children who enjoy spending time with their grandparents.
Sarah Wellard l Director of Policy & Research
Sarah Wellard is the Director of Policy and Research. She has nine years’ experience in the voluntary sector working for a national disability charity and as Parliamentary Officer for Barnardo’s. Sarah has also worked as a freelance journalist and consultant, an advisor within the civil service and has an MSc in social policy from the LSE. She has three children and is a school governor.
Agnes Gautier l Policy Officer
Agnes Gautier is the Policy Officer. She has nine years of policy, project and campaigns experience in the voluntary sector. She’s worked for the United Nations International Labour Office and the National Union of Students. She has a MSc in European Social Policy from LSE and studied politics in France. Agnes has two young children.
Jessica Satchell is a research assistant who joined the team in June 2015. In addition to her MSc in psychology and research methods, Jessica has experience in support work and providing rapid intervention to people found rough sleeping in London. She has also extensively volunteered as a peer supporter and worked on community development projects in Sri Lanka.
Alana Genge l Communications & Marketing Officer
Alana Genge is the Communications and Marketing Officer. She has a MSc in Political Communication, Advocacy and Campaigning from Kingston University. She currently volunteers as a Wish Visitor with Make a Wish UK and has previously been our Campaign and Communications Intern.
Jo Raine l Advice Service Manager
Jo Raine is the Advice Service Manager. 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 Kerr is the Advice and 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.
Alison Blaxland l Support Network Manager
Alison Blaxland is the Support Network Manager. She leads the development of our growing and influential Support Network of over 7,000 kinship carers, ensuring that they are connected with each other and able to take part in our events and campaigning work. She has worked in the voluntary sector for over 20 years in media and communications roles and previously worked for the children’s charity Barnardo’s as an Editor. Alison has one son.
Susannah Cardy l Project Manager
Susannah Cardy is the Project Manager. She leads the development of our new parenting programme, designed exclusively to meet the needs of kinship carers, and co-ordinates the Support Network. Susannah has 15 years’ experience as a television director, working on a range of documentaries, and as a freelance writer. She directed A Grandparents’ Tale for Channel 4, which followed three sets of grandparents who were raising their grandchildren. Susannah has been a kinship carer for eight years raising her three nephews and one niece, after the death of their father. She also has two younger children of her own.
Bernie Huxley l Project worker
Bernie Huxley is the Project Worker for the Kinship Care Support Network. She joined the team in November 2015 after relocating to London from Lancashire. Bernie has worked as a qualified social worker in the North West for over 20 years in various posts across adult and children’s services. During that time she also managed a Barnardo’s Young Carers project and has worked within Health as a Palliative Care social worker. For the last five years she worked within fostering, supporting foster carers and young people in their care. Bernie has three adult children and has one granddaughter who she loves to spend time with.
Cath Halse l Project Manager, Relative Experience
Cath Halse is the Project Manager for the Relative Experience project based in the North East of England. Cath brings a wide range of experience in both statutory and voluntary sector settings. From starting out as a social worker in Newcastle she has moved to the voluntary sector in both development and management roles and has experience of working for five different charities, both local and national. She is married with two sons.
Dawn Jenkins l Project Worker, Relative Experience
Dawn Jenkins is the Project Worker for the Relative Experience project based in the North East of England. Dawn is a qualified social worker and has 14 years’ experience in education, voluntary and statutory sectors, with a particular focus on children, young people and their families. She has three children.
Ray Blythe l Project Worker, Relative Experience
Ray Blythe is the Project Worker for the Relative Experience project based in the North East of England. 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.
Mari Dilworth l Project Worker, Relative Experience
Mari Dilworth is the Project Worker for the Relative Experience project based in the North East of England (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.
Lyn Boyd l Project Worker, Relative Experience
Lyn Boyd is the Project Worker for the Relative Experience project based in the North East of England (Durham area). Lyn has had an impressive leadership career within the voluntary sector across the North East, including managing a Citizen’s Advice Bureau, leading a European funded project as well as being Deputy Director of Durham Rural Community Council and latterly Chief Executive of Mental Health North East. She is passionate about effecting change for local communities and fighting for individuals who have faced discrimination. She has been a kinship carer, supporting her daughter and her grandchild during difficult family circumstances.
Yvonne Brown l Project Administrator, Relative Experience
Yvonne Brown is the Project Administrator for the Relative Experience project based in the North East of England. She 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 PA to the Chief Executive
Louise Baker is PA to the Chief Executive. She 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.
Sacha Shabbir l Information Systems & Office Manager
Sacha Shabbir is the Information Systems and Office Manager and has previously worked with the Child Protection Reviewing Team, Hackney Children’s Services and has several years’ experience in both the voluntary and private sectors. She is a volunteer at her local community and education centre and is a member of their Unity within Communities’ advisory board.
Yaw Brobbey l Finance & Administration Officer
Yaw Brobbey is the Finance & Administration Officer. Yaw has worked with many organisations including Islington Voluntary Action Council, London Lighthouse, Centrepoint and Greenwich Action for Voluntary Service. He has also been a trustee of Islington African Project (Elthorne Learning Centre), a Committee member of Community Accountancy National Network and an Executive Committee member of the South East London Consortium. Yaw is married with children and is a proud grandfather.