Our People

STAFF

Peter Chidwick

Peter Chidwick

Joint Chief Executive

Paula Ojok

Paula Ojok

Joint Chief Executive

Lorraine Pearce

Lorraine Pearce

Head of Administration

Laura Dowswell

Laura Dowswell

Head of Finance

Nicola James

Nicola James

Head of Membership

Rachael Wyartt

Rachael Wyartt

Head of Service Delivery

The first part of Peter’s career was within the commercial sector and spanned 25 years working for financial services organisations. Culminating as contact centre manager, Peter acquired experience in operations, productivity and change management positions as well as a broad range of customer facing sales and service roles. He has a Diploma in Operational Management and qualified as an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Financial Services.

Peter has now worked in the non-profit sector since 2005. He was the first member of staff employed by Mental Health Helplines Partnership, one of the organisations which went on to form Helplines Partnership. Initially as Project Manager, and then in a variety of roles as the charity itself developed, Peter has been involved with the development and implementation of the majority of the services offered by Helplines Partnership today.
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Paula joined Helplines Partnership in 2008. Her previous roles were in the private sector working for several high profile household names including Sony Computer Entertainment, Morton International and Cable and Wireless. Since joining the voluntary sector, Paula has developed her role within Helplines Partnership from PA, to Central Services Team Manager, to Director of Membership and External Affairs. She is responsible for the organisation’s membership, events, policy, marketing and communications and external affairs. Paula has a particular interest in helplines and is passionate about the service they provide to the public and the communities in which we live.
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Lorraine has worked for Helplines Partnership since 2009 and has extensive and varied experience of working in administrative roles. She has previously worked as a helpline volunteer and currently supports her husband who is Chairman of a local voluntary environmental charity. Her current role includes Governance, Human Resources, general administration and Health & Safety.

Laura qualified as an Accounting Technician in 2000 after completing her training in general practice and in 2012 gained Fellow status as an FMAAT member. She started working as finance officer for a local Church in 2008 which sparked her interest in working in the Charity Finance sector.

In her role as Head of Finance she has overall responsibility for the day to day financial transactions of the organisation as well as providing management information to the CEO and Board to assist with their decision making.

She is a Trustee for the national charity BBS UK as well as being a family support worker for their patients and families and fully understands the importance of people receiving the appropriate support at times of difficulty.

Nicola joined Helplines Partnership in 2005 as administrator to the Project Manager. Through this role, she gained wide experience in all aspects of the charity, developing a particular interest in working with the members and facilitating member conferences. In the past, Nicola has worked for various Councils and commercial organisations developing systems, delivering training and implementing IT projects.
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Rachael has worked in the voluntary and statutory sector since 2000. She started her career in Australia working in children’s homes in Melbourne in her gap year. On returning to the UK Rachael worked for Action for Children working in the Leaving Care team in Lowestoft. Rachael then worked for GFS Platform as their Sexual Health Coordinator. This involved setting up a volunteer programme, delivering SRE in both formal and informal settings and opening school based health clinics. Whilst working at both AFC and GFS platform Rachael was involved in the set-up and running of a local charity in Suffolk for young people. Rachael then moved to London to manage Brook’s national helpline Ask Brook, which she did for five years.

Rachael has a BSc Hons in Health Sciences and Sociology and an Advanced Diploma in Nutrition and Weight Management. In her current role with Helplines Partnership, Rachael is using her considerable experience within the helpline and voluntary sector to support helpline services in development, training and achieving the Helplines Standard accreditation.

Annika Howard

Annika Howard

Marketing and Communications Manager

Mega Arumugam

Mega Arumugam

Trainer & Assessor

Sonia Esposti

Sonia Esposti

Membership Executive

Tracey Lott

Tracey Lott

Services Executive

Rebecca McGrath

Rebecca McGrath

Trainer & Assessor

Annika has worked in communication and marketing roles since 2005. She spent time in the public and private sector, working in areas as diverse as web design and development, financial services, healthcare and social science research. Annika has supported a range of charities in voluntary roles as a youth mentor, volunteer advisor, media match volunteer, trustee and chair.
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Mega has worked for over 10 years in the voluntary sector, namely within the domestic and sexual violence and abuse field and also has experience in volunteer management. She has managed, developed and led the specialist domestic and sexual violence helpline and crisis intervention teams. Mega is a professional and accredited trainer, specialising in designing and delivering domestic and sexual abuse, stalking and harassment, honour-based violence and child sexual exploitation training. She is also a telephone befriending volunteer for a national organisation supporting Parents Against Child Exploitation (PACE). In her current role as Trainer and Assessor for Helplines Partnership, Mega is using her experience within the helpline and voluntary sector to support helpline services in development, training and achieving the Helplines Standard accreditation.

Sonia has worked in various support roles including secretarial and enquiry line work. She is now part of the Membership Team and is a key point of contact for new member applications.

Tracey has over 15 years’ experience working in the charity sector across a range of mental health & wellbeing support services. Tracey’s working life started in metal research but volunteering with a local helpline sparked her passion for the sector. She has since worked as a Volunteer Manager and a Mental Health Information Worker. In her current role as Services Executive, Tracey is responsible for providing support for the delivery of Helpline Partnership’s suite of high quality services. In her spare time, she is currently a trustee of a local charity with an interest in governance and supporting quality service delivery.

Rebecca has 7 years’ experience working in the charity sector across a range of support services. Rebecca started her career supporting the long term unemployed. Volunteering within the Rape Crisis movement sparked a passion for helpline work. Over the last five years she has delivered support to young people in abusive relationships, people with long term health conditions and survivors of sexual violence. In her current role as Trainer and Assessor for Helplines Partnership Rebecca is using her experience within the helpline and voluntary sector to support helpline services in development, training and achieving the Helplines Standard accreditation.

TRUSTEES

Roger Leslie

Roger Leslie

Treasurer

Christopher Stacey

Christopher Stacey

Elected Member Trustee

Doon Jackson

Doon Jackson

Elected Member Trustee

Emma Saddleton

Emma Saddleton

Elected Member Trustee

Ray Barker

Ray Barker

Elected Member Trustee

Sophie Andrews is the Chief Executive of The Silver Line Helpline and was recruited by Dame Esther Rantzen and the Board of Trustees as their first employee in September 2012. Within two months of joining she successfully launched a pilot of the service across the NW of England and then with a small team secured the funding in order to launch the service nationally in November 2013. Sophie has extensive experience of working at both strategic and operational levels, and in managing and large numbers of staff and volunteers. In recognition of this she was awarded Voluntary Sector Achiever of the Year at the Women in Public Life Awards in 2011.

For more than 25 years Sophie has been employed in senior management positions within the private sector, the public sector and voluntary agencies. She has extensive helpline experience and began her career as a call centre manager for Cable and Wireless and then Marks and Spencer Money before making the transition to work in social care. She then went on to become Head of Volunteering at the NSPCC (ChildLine). Alongside her professional career, Sophie has been a Samaritan volunteer for over 25 years and held the position of Branch Director and Regional Director before being elected as National Chair of the charity which is a position she held from 2008-2011. Sophie is also a published author and motivational speaker. In December 2017 Sophie received an OBE in the New Years Honours List.

Roger is a graduate of St Andrews University and a chartered accountant. He spent most of his career as a tax partner at Ernst & Young firstly in Edinburgh and then in London retiring in 2011. Since then he has been working part-time advising HM Revenue & Customs and HM Treasury on tax policy matters.

Christopher is the Co-Director of Unlock, an independent award-winning charity which provides information, advice, training and advocacy, dealing with the ongoing effects of criminal convictions. He is responsible for overseeing the charity's support, activities, communications and policy work. He is one of the country's foremost experts on the criminal record disclosure system, and in understanding the long-term effects associated with having a criminal record. He supports and challenges employers and others in their use of criminal records. He has a Law degree, Master of Laws degree, is a Winston Churchill Fellow and a Member of the Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group.

Doon Jackson is a trained counsellor, supervisor and play therapist with 20+ years of experience working in both the commercial and third sectors. For 13 years he managed the national Mind Infoline and Legal line and has provided therapeutic support for a number of helplines across the UK.

Emma has a 10 year history working within the third sector helpline industry. She is the Helpline Operations Manager at YoungMinds - the UK's leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people through campaigning and research, and influencing policy and practice. She is responsible for ensuring high quality service delivery for the YoungMinds Parents' Helpline that supports parents who are concerned about their child's behaviour, emotional well being or mental health. Emma also has an extensive background in the rape crisis sector, managing and delivering helpline services to survivors of sexual violence.

Ray has worked in social housing for over 30 years in a variety of management roles for both local authorities and charitable housing associations. He also served for five years as a housing association board member and worked as a housing consultant and Audit Commission Housing Inspector. In these last roles he specialised in business improvement in a number of different areas including customer service. Ray is currently the Head of Operations for the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) an international charity that promotes the welfare of seafarers on a global basis. ISWAN also operates a 24 hour per day, 365 day per year, multilingual, multi-channel, free, helpline for seafarers and their families who want help or advice for any kind of a problem.

Sarah Murphy

Sarah Murphy

Elected Member Trustee

Karen Ditchfield

Karen Ditchfield

Co-opted Trustee

Daniel Whitbread

Daniel Whitbread

Elected Member Trustee

Sarah has worked within third sector helplines since 2005, her first role being a telephone debt adviser and mentor with National Debtline, before moving to Rethink Mental Illness in 2009 where she is currently their Head of Advice & Helpline services, looking after different telephone based services across the country all specifically helping people affected by mental illness.

Karen is Operations Director at the WISE Campaign, a not for profit membership organisation which works to empower those who want to increase the participation and success of women in the UK science, engineering and technology workforce. Karen leads the operational delivery to ensure the commercial and technical infrastructure supports the growing membership and development activities. Karen has over 10 years' management experience in the outsourced contact centre sector and has delivered helplines on behalf of charity and public sector organisations as the Head of Contact Centres. The helplines delivered include services covering mental health, general health, education, employment and carers.

Daniel’s current role is Head of Operations at Samaritans, where he has worked for 7 years. Before that he worked and volunteered for two other helplines, Get Connected (now The Mix) and Childline. Daniel has an MSc in Voluntary Sector Management from Cass Business School, and has a particular interest in the different languages of technology, and how change happens on a large scale.