Jayne Harrill – Chair
Jayne Harrill practises in all aspects of public law children 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.
Julian Young – Treasurer
Julian is a senior partner at Ernst & Young and has over 25 years’ experience in financial services. He leads in the Wealth & Asset Management sector and has gathered experience in the UK, Australia and the US. Julian’s experience encompasses a wide variety of disciplines including assurance, regulatory advice, governance, risk and M&A, working with innovative start-ups through to large international firms.
He holds a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics from Imperial College and is a chartered accountant (ACA). Julian has two teenage children, and experience of adoptive care in his wider family.
Natalie is Managing Director of Clarke Holland Estate Agents. A busy family run business that sees her and her husband work alongside each other managing their team to sell people’s homes as well as managing their own and other property investors portfolios. Her knowledge of property and the Estate Agency industry enables her to be best placed to support others to start their own Estate Agency, this is done via a mentor based franchise. Women’s Property Network is a monthly property support group that Natalie set up with her partner Michelle after spotting a need for the event for females in property to come together and form lasting friendships.
Natalie is mum to four and a kinship carer for her niece who resides with her and her husband on a Special Guardianship Order. Natalie has been a befriender to kinship carers in the north east of England and believes that support for kinship carers is a must. Kinship care is something that is misunderstood and under supported, as a kinship carer she herself has at times felt very alone, let down and put upon. Her hope for her role is to help grow the charity in order to support those in her position who really need to have their voice heard. Charity and children are subjects that Natalie is passionate about she is also a trustee for Hope 4 Kidz, a governor for a local school and is a volunteer for the Parent Child Home Program being trialled in the North East of England after being brought over from the USA.
Stephen qualified as a solicitor in 1994, having studied at the University of the West of England, and became a partner at The Family Law Company in 2005. After qualifying, Stephen was involved in civil litigation focusing primarily on insolvency work. In 1999, after five years acting for the public in civil litigation and disputes, Stephen made the change to family law as he had the desire to make a significant difference to people’s lives.
Although Stephen has experience in all areas of family work, he has a particular interest in all matters relating to children, the rights of the child and what is in the best interest of the child. He is on the Law Society’s children panel. Stephen acts for parents as well as extended family members (in particular grandparents) and for and against local authorities in terms of public law matters, and specialises in contact issues, residence issues, step-parent adoption, adoption and Special Guardianship Orders. Stephen wishes to highlight that the only potential conflict that he has is in relation to the Lawyers List (this is disclosed at each board meeting).
Prof Elaine Farmer
Elaine Farmer is Emeritus 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 used to teach on the qualifying post-qualifying programmes in social work at the university and was formerly the Head of the Centre for Family Policy and Child Welfare 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 publications include: Kinship Care: Fostering Effective Family and Friends 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). The latter study was an investigation of informal kinship care, funded by the Big Lottery. She also worked with a team of researchers on the recent Grandparents Plus study ‘Growing Up in Kinship Care: Experiences as Adolescents and Outcomes in Young Adulthood’ (Grandparents Plus 2017).
Dave Eaton is a Senior Public Affairs Associate at the Financial Conduct Authority. His public affairs experience encompasses working as the Policy and Public Affairs Manager of a think tank, working with a Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords and working with Prospective Parliamentary Candidates in target constituencies. He has also served as the Secretary for a European health charity.
He holds a BA (Hons) in Theology and an MA (Res) for his thesis on digital thanatology and cognitive neurology from the University of Durham. He was inspired to join the Board of Grandparents Plus after his parents became kinship carers.
James is an experienced strategist, specialising in developing new teams and digital ventures within and for organisations. James started his career at Deloitte before moving to help setup an AI platform at a leading Magic Circle law firm. James has since moved to WT Consulting, and is responsible for building out the UK practice.
James is an entrepreneurially-minded professional with a postgraduate degree in Strategy and Innovation from the University of Oxford and a BSc in Economics & Politics from the University of Southampton.
Yvette became Ofsted’s National Director, Social Care in April 2018. Prior to taking up this post, Yvette was Director of Children’s Services in the London Borough of Merton, a position she held for over 9 years following a 20 year children’s services career in London.
Yvette’s career has been shaped by her passion for making a difference for children and in particular the most vulnerable; her commitment to creating an environment across all children’s services where the very best practice can thrive; and a deep interest in system, organisational and institutional self-evaluation to support continuous improvement and effectiveness. Yvette has two adult children, one with autism, and prior to her current post was a longstanding FE Governor and keen supporter of a range of children’s charities, including serving at board level for a number of years.
Our senior leadership team
Lucy Peake – Chief Executive
Lucy joined Grandparents Plus as Chief Executive in September 2015. She managed its merger with The Grandparents’ Association, led a strategic review and organisational restructure, and an expansion of services and programmes for kinship carers. She is a member of the Adoption & Special Guardianship Leadership Board and a frequent speaker. Her recent media experience includes BBC Breakfast, Sky News, BBC Five Live, BBC Victoria Derbyshire and BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour.
Previously she spent 11 years at The Fostering Network where she was Director of External Affairs and then Director of Development. Her highlights included involvement in the introduction of the Mockingbird programme, the development of London Fostering Achievement and the successful Staying Put campaign to enable young people in foster care to stay with their carers until 21.
Lucy has a PhD in Politics from Southampton University and has previously worked in research roles in universities and the voluntary sector. She has three young children.
Kate O’Brien – Director of Business Development and Programmes
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.
Deborah Slaughter – Head of Marketing and Engagement
Deborah has 20 years’ experience of marketing in the non-profit sector, developing and delivering marketing strategies to raise brand awareness and attract and engage beneficiaries and supporters. She is experienced in brand management, integrated marketing communications, digital marketing, and creative campaigns.
In her previous role as Head of Marketing and Communications at Education and Employers, she set up and embedded their first marketing department, wrote and delivered the first brand, marketing and digital strategies. She attracted 5,000 new volunteers in one year by working with key partners like UK Theatres, NHS England, National Association of Head Teachers and launched the Drawing the Future report.
Previously Deborah worked for 10 years at Breast Cancer Haven, a support charity that improves the lives of people affected by breast cancer. As Marketing Manager, she led the charity rebrand in 2016; coordinated communications for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and delivered the digital marketing strategy. Prior to this, Deborah spent five years as Marketing and Events Manager at The Housing Corporation, leading on the events strategy.
Deborah has also worked on contracts for government departments and was Brand Manager at Language Line Ltd. She has a degree in English from Manchester Metropolitan University and a Charted Institute of Marketing qualification.