Prof Ann Buchanan MBE

Prof Ann Buchanan is currently Senior Research Associate and Professor of Social Work at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford. She was formerly Director of the Centre for Research into Parenting and Children and for more than nineteen years undertook research on children’s well-being, fathering, children involved in divorce and grandparenting. In recent years she has been involved in advising Government family policy forums. She is currently on the Council of the ESRC and was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to social science.


Stephen Burke

Stephen Burke, Co-Chair, became a trustee of Grandparents Plus in 2003. He is co-Director of United for All Ages, an intergenerational social enterprise. He is also the former Chief Executive of Counsel and Care, a charity giving advice and information to older people, their relatives and carers across the UK. Previously he was Director of the Daycare Trust which campaigns for quality affordable childcare for all. He has over 20 years’ experience in public relations, fundraising, journalism and management in national organisations. His work has been recognised in several major public relation awards. As a local councillor, non-executive director of a health trust and trustee of several charities, he has been involved in a wide range of community initiatives seeking to address disadvantage.


Dean Casswell

Dean Casswell became a trustee of Grandparents Plus in 2007 and is currently our treasurer. Dean is the former director of Finance and Fundraising of Contact a Family. He is now Chief Executive of Bag Books, a UK-wide charity providing tactile and multi-sensory stories to people with learning disabilities. He has an MBA and an MSc in Charity Accounting and Financial Management. He became a step-grandparent at the age of 34.


Brian Edwards

Brian Edwards is a former Director of Education in Gateshead and Northumberland and is a past Chair of The Association of Chief Education Officers. He is now retired, having had a long career teaching in disadvantaged inner-city secondary schools in the West Midlands, then moving into education management in local government.

He was a Regional Children’s Services Advisor for the DfE, being very much involved in the introduction and development of Children’s Services nationally and in the North East. He is an Associate Member of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and Director of Educare Consultancy Services Limited.

He is a very active Grandparent , with direct experience of providing child care, and is committed to improving the life chances of children through collaboration and team work.


elaine farmerProf Elaine Farmer

Elaine Farmer is Professor of Child and Family Studies at the University of Bristol.  She spent several years as a social worker in the UK and Australia before moving into research and teaching.  She teaches on the qualifying programme in social work and the post-qualifying award in child care at the university. Her research interests on which she has published widely include foster and residential care, the reunification of separated children with their families, child protection and kinship care. She has undertaken studies in a number of Department of Health and Department for Education research programmes, including on Child Protection, Residential Care, Family Support, Adoption and Neglect. Her studies on kinship care and reunification were in a Department for Children, Schools and Families research programme on Quality Protects. Her most recent study on kinship care was an investigation of informal kiship care funded by the Big Lottery Fund. Her publications include: Kinship care: fostering effective family and friends care placements (Jessica Kingsley 2008); Spotlight on kinship care: using census micro data to examine the extent and nature of kinship care in the UK at the turn of the Twentieth Century (University of Bristol 2011) and The poor relations? Children and informal kinship carers speak out (University of Bristol 2013). She is currently working with the NSPCC ona department for Education-funded project to develop Pracitce Guidance on reunification and implement it in three local authorities.


Patrick Grattan MBE

Patrick Grattan set up the Equality and Diversity Forum in 2002. He also founded The Age and Employment Network (TAEN) in 1997 and was Chief Executive for 10 years to 2007. Patrick built up TAEN as a leading centre of expertise and policy body and as a network of organisations committed to better opportunities to learn, work and earn. He was appointed MBE in 2001 for this work. He was a member of advisory boards and groups for Government departments, the Learning and Skills Council, Jobcentre Plus and a number of voluntary organisations. He continues to work in a supporting role for TAEN.

Patrick has had a varied career in the Diplomatic Service and Civil Service and in the oil industry, working in the UK, the USA and France. He ran the operations of the Prince’s Youth Business Trust. He was a member of the Parole Board from 1997- 2003 and a former board member of Notting Hill Housing Trust. He is an active performing musician.


Jane HarrillJayne Harrill

Jayne Harrill practices in all aspects of public law chirdren cases, mental capacity and the protection of vulnerable adults.

Jayne represents local authorities, children and adults. She has developed expertise in the most serious cases with concurrent criminal proceedings involving charges of murder, assault and sexual abuse. Her extensive experience encompasses cases of non accidental injury, neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children. She is currently developing a pro bono advice service within chambers for a charity that supports grandparent carers. Jayne has a particular interest in representing vulnerable clients and those lacking capacity which has led her to establish the Court of Protection team within chambers.


Helen Jackson CBE

Helen Jackson has lived in Sheffield for 40 years.  She left Oxford in 1960 with a History degree. She trained as a teacher, working mainly with special needs children.  Elected to Sheffield City Council in 1980, she chaired the Economic Development and Works committees. She became MP for Sheffield Hillsborough in 1992. In 1997 she was appointed PPS to Mo Mowlam with a brief to liaise with women’s and community groups during the intense period of the Good Friday Agreement. Since leaving Parliament in 2005, she worked with the Equal Opportunities Commission to form the Women and Pension Network. She was appointed as a Commissioner for the Women’s National Commission in September 2008, and was a Trustee and Vice Chair of the Fawcett Society. She has taught adults about Politics and Public Life, was a Trustee of Age UK Sheffield, is President of Homestart (Sheffield) and on the management board of Sheffield 50+.  She now plays an active role in the lives of her nine grandchildren. She was awarded a CBE in 2010 for her work in the South Yorkshire community, and the Women and Pension Network.


Stephen Mold

Stephen Mold is a Sales and Marketing professional; he leads the sales operations for leading US technology firm Roxio in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Stephen is a holder of the Institute of Directors Diploma in Company Direction which deals with Board best practice. Stephen has extensive international experience in Europe and the US, having managed European operations for a number of successful hi-tech Silicon Valley businesses. He brings strong commercial expertise and is comfortable working with new technologies and managing change.
Over the 3 years preceding the 2010 General Election Stephen was the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate in Derby North and narrowly lost by some 600 votes.
Stephen is married with two young boys and has a special interest in parenting and the wider support of families in whatever form.


Sally RoweSally Rowe

In 2014 Sally Rowe joined Luton city council as the Director for Children and Learning. She is the former Deputy Director, Social Care , with Ofsted and a Senior Civil Servant. As Deputy Director for social care, she had responsibility for Ofsted’s social care work including; the delivery of timely, high quality inspections, the development of policy and inspection methodology and work with the social care sector nationally. Prior to joining Ofsted, Sally was Deputy Director of Children’s Services and Head of Families First at Staffordshire County Council. She has also been a governor at a sponsored academy and a trustee of the British Association of fostering and adoption (BAAF) board.
Her professional background is in social work and she has worked in a number of local authorities holding responsibility for safeguarding services, services for looked after children and children with disabilities.

Sally has personal experience of kinship care in her own family and is therefore very aware of the need to ensure proper support is given particularly to grandparent carers.


Pat Strachan

Pat has a great interest in later life developed over 30 years working and volunteering with older people. She is not a grandparent but has personal experience of the benefits of grandparent care herself and her two sons have benefitted from close relationships with their grandparents.

Pat is trained in social policy and housing.  She has worked in local government with major registered social housing landlords (Hanover and Peabody) and in the voluntary sector as Chief Exectuvie at Age Concern Peterborough and with Care and Repair England.

Pat is currently the Manager of Cambridgeshire Home Improvement Agency – a partnership of three councils delivering home improvements and adaptations in the city of Cambridge, South Cambs and Huntingdonshire.


Julie Wilkes

Following a career in local authority social work and training, Julie worked as Chief Inspector of social work education at the General Social Care Council, Director of Performance at Barnardo’s and was CEO at Skills Third Sector until 2011.  She became a kinship carer for two children in 2006, and is currently doing postgraduate research at Manchester University, looking in to how parenting relationships are negotiated in kinship care families.  She lives with her family in Leeds.