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 and is currently a Governor of secondary school in challenging circumstances .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 Farmer

Prof Elaine Farmer teaches on the qualifying programme in social work and the post-qualifying award in child care. She spent several years as a social worker in the UK and Australia before moving into research and teaching. Her research interests include foster and residential care, the reunification of separated children with their families, kinship care and child protection. She undertook research in the Department of Health programmes on research on Child Protection and Residential Care and her study on fostering adolescents was part of a research programme on family support. Her studies on kinship care and reunification were in a Department for Children, Schools and Families research programme on Quality Protects.

She has also studied Linking and Matching in Adoption and undertook research on Neglect, both in research initiatives funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families now the Department for Education. She subsequently completed a study of Case Management and Outcomes for Neglected Children which was a five Year follow-up study. She returned to investigate informal kinship care in a study called ‘A Child’s Eye-View of Informal Kinship Care: Experiences and Outcomes’, funded by the Big Lottery.


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 was born near Leeds in 1939. She has lived in Sheffield for 35 years. Leaving Oxford in 1960 with a History degree she cared for her family of three and 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 until recently. She teaches adults about Politics and Public Life, is a Trustee of Age Concern Sheffield, President of Homestart (Sheffield) and Chair of her local village green. She now plays an active role in the lives of her eight grandchildren aged 1 to 20.

She was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours 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

Sally Rowe is Deputy Director, Social Care , with Ofsted and a Senior Civil Servant. As Deputy Director for social care, she has 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.


Jean Stogdon OBE

Jean Stogdon, Co-Chair and co-founder, was for many years a social worker, social services manager and guardian ad litem. She has long been interested in the role of grandparents and until 1999 was Chair of the Grandparents Federation. A Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship enabled her to study the role of grandparents within kinship care in the USA and convinced her that in many situations grandparents and other kin should be the first and preferred choice for the care and protection of children when parents are unable to fulfil this role. Jean was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2013 for services to children and families.


Pat Strachan

Pat has a great interest in later life developed over 27 years working and volunteering time with older people. She is an Older Person’s Services Manager for Peabody Housing Association.
Pat started at East Cambridgeshire District Council (as their first dedicated ‘Elderly Person Adviser’), later returning as the Head of their Strategic Housing Service. She managed leasehold and sheltered housing in 5 counties at Hanover Housing Association, and was Chief Executive at Age Concern Peterborough for 11 years. Pat joined Care and Repair England in April 2009 to promote the involvement of older people in housing in order to improve housing conditions, housing related services and plans across the South of England (South East, London and Eastern regions).
She is not a grandparent but has two sons who have benefitted from close relationships with their grandparents.


Julie Wilkes

Julie has held leadership roles in social work regulation at CCETSW and the General Social Care Council, and has worked as a senior manager in charities including Barnardo’s and Skills Third Sector. She has a master’s degree in social work and is trained in systemic practice and appreciative inquiry. She became a kinship carer for two young children in 2006, and lives with her family in Leeds.