Meet the team
John was at The Space during the inception in 2017 and has been part of the vast changes establishing The Space to what is has become today.
Currently a trustee of The Space, John is also Chair of the Cheddar Medical Patient Group and Director of the Cheddar Community Partnership.
He is retired and has a business background, specializing in business excellence and quality assurance with global organisations.
John is keen on building a Circle of Support around young people to enhance their resilience and wellbeing for later life.
Sandy has been involved with The Space since it began.
She feels passionate about educating young people on how best to look after their mental health and providing a service which allows prompt access to assistance when needed.
Her children attended school locally in Cheddar and she has been struck by the incredible sense of community which exists in the local area.
Since retiring from her business in Cheddar she enjoys spending time with her family cooking, travelling, and walking their two beloved cockapoos.
Susan joined in September 2020 and currently works for OTR Bristol as Facilities & Resources Manager. She has a background in management as well as a degree in psychology. Susan has previously held a number of voluntary roles including being the link governor for SEN at Chew Valley school and has an understanding of the challenges faced by young people in rural communities.
The Space Operations Team
Doreen Smith is Operations Director for The Space is responsible for leading all aspects of operations in the charity. With over 40 years in senior leadership roles at Chief Executive level leading charities of various sizes and purpose but mainly connected with mental health, community services and domestic abuse. Her expertise is in change management.
She is passionate about volunteering and believes that she owes her interesting career to volunteering. A past Trustee of BIBIC for several years she provided free consultancy to small charities on all aspects of governance and operations.
An enthusiastic gardener and allotment holder she lives in a small and friendly village where her two Daughters and several grandchildren visit frequently. If Doreen could choose one ‘mantra’ it would be the quote from Leah LaBelle.
‘Work hard for what you want because it won’t come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to’.
My name is Laura Wilcox and I manage all the administration and data inputting. I have worked within education for the last 5 years and am impassioned about working alongside children and young people.
I recently gained a qualification in Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health to help within my two roles.
The Space Counselling Team
My name is Leesa Hayes and I am an integrative Counsellor based in Somerset.
Whilst training I was employed at Bridgwater and Taunton College as a Student Support officer, helping students with wellbeing matters, financial issues, and transport assistance. To gain my counselling practice hours, I secured a volunteer role in the Counselling team as a counsellor in training, working with young people form 14 years and up.
I have been employed as a counsellor for the College since qualifying in 2017 and was promoted to Counselling Team in March 2020 where I manage and support our Counsellors both employed and volunteers across all our three campuses.
I have experience of working with many client issues such as anxiety, sexual abuse, bereavement, LGBTQ, self-harm, low self-esteem, and depression.
Hello I’m Kirsty. I predominantly work as a Person-Centred Counsellor. I offer a safe, secure, confidential space to enable my clients to feel comfortable to unravel what is at the core of their feelings, which could be related to life experiences, or formed thoughts and patterns of behaviours. My hopes with my clients, is for my clients to find more comfortable ways of thinking about their life, to encourage them to gain self-confidence, and self-belief.
As a counsellor I adapt the way I work to suit each client, as every client is unique, and everyone works well with different approaches. I do this by integrating therapies to best suit the individual needs of each client. I find that people come to counselling for many reasons, whereby they have reached a point in their life that they want some support in gaining some understanding of their reasons for accessing counselling.
Hi, my name is Lea and I decided to volunteer with The Space because I can.
I currently work at Fairlands Middle School, but before I had my own children, I worked as Youth Support Worker for Bristol City Council and Learning Mentor in a secondary school in Bristol. I also worked (and I hope to return to occasionally do so again) within the play services at the Children’s Scrapstore in Bristol.
Some years ago, I spent a great proportion of my time volunteering at the local preschool, but stopped when my own children moved on.
I am now in the fortunate position again, where I am able to commit some of my time to volunteering and The Space seems like the right place for it.
My name is Polly Cook. I am currently training to be a counsellor and have completed level 2 and have just started level 3.
I am volunteering for The Space to gain experience but more importantly to help those that need it. My daughter has suffered with depression and anxiety since she was 12 years old and had no available help so after seeing her go through it and fighting for her to be seen i decided I didn’t want others to go through what she had, so here we are! My background of work has always been children, I’ve previously worked as a private Nanny, worked in schools and nurseries so I have covered all ages from 0- 16 years. I live with my Husband and 2 grown daughters and I have 3 stepchildren ages 14, 13 and 10.
Hi – my name is Sue Roy. I’m 49 and born in Scotland but grew up in South Africa.
I am volunteering with The Space in order to support children and young people in the Cheddar area with yoga and mindfulness lessons. I taught almost 800 children a week in SA and they all benefitted tremendously. I will be working with The Space to make this possible here in the UK.
I love to meditate, spend time in nature, practice yoga and eat good food.
My name is Cath Frith.
I live with my husband, our 10 year old son and our cat Bohemian (who strangely enough has one blue eye and one green eye!)
I have completed my Level 2 Introduction to Counselling and I will soon be starting Level 3. I was a primary school teacher for five years and I have recently been helping out in a school for children who have been excluded from mainstream education.
I am volunteering for The Space because I am keen to help children and young people who may benefit from some extra support. (Having been through some low patches, I recognise how helpful it can be to talk to someone outside your family and friendship circle and to work through things in a different space.)
My name is Charlotte Cox and I have worked in Marketing and Communications for the last 8 years. In my previous role I was responsible for the rebrand of an international firm, website design and content, social media accounts, campaigns and events. I am passionate about helping companies effectively communicate their story and build strong brand awareness. I have lived in Wedmore, with my husband and two boys, for 3 years. Alongside my work I have always enjoyed volunteering and helping to support my community. My happy place is the garden and I firmly believe that gardening is a force for positive change and plays an important role in improving physical and mental wellbeing.
My name is Emily and I am a Mum to 3 small ( ish ) humans! For me, this ongoing journey of parenthood is so very many things. At times it can be really scary, lonely and utterly confusing, but it can also be fascinating, exhausting and incredibly joyful. I continuously learn from my children and other parents about my strengths as well as the areas I really struggle with and am a strong believer in the old adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child’.
I don’t believe there’s a ‘best’ way to parent, as our children are all individuals and we all bring our very own unique sets of experiences into parenthood, the important work is the relationships we are developing with ourselves, and with our growing children. We may find that some challenges are pretty common, and others that are very specific to our personal circumstances, but wherever we are on our journeys, and whether we have strong support networks around us or not, I want people to know we are never alone. I am hoping that through ‘The Space’, we can create a safe and supportive ‘parental village’ for everyone to access support through the challenging times, and feel empowered to celebrate the joyous ones! I feel very privileged that my whole working life has been in various caring roles, supporting folks in education, the community, and voluntary sectors. I studied Art and later continued to graduate with an M.A in Integrative Child Psychotherapy from I.A.T.E in London before embarking on a family of my own, which continues to challenge, exhaust and inspire me everyday!