Staff

Glenys Creese

Executive Manager

Glenys joined us on 18th April 2017 as Head of Service. Glenys, who for the last seven years has worked in children and family centres throughout West Sussex, is responsible for expanding the range of services the Charity is able to offer its families.  In July 2020 Glenys took on the role of Head of Centre and is now responsible for the Service and Fundraising Team.

Glenys said:

“During my time working in children centres I have loved getting to know families and developing services to meet their needs. I have a real passion for ensuring families receive the best service that can possibly be offered to them.

“I am excited by the possibilities and challenges that lay ahead ensuring a positive future for the Charity.”  In February 2022 Glenys became the Executive Manager.

 

 

Istvan Agoston

Paediatric Physiotherapist

Istvan joined our Service team in January 2019, as a physiotherapist, alongside Beata he leds sessions for families and children at the Centre in Cuckfield.

Istvan said “I have been working with the Charity since 2019.  My aim is to help children in need and their families as much as I can.  I worked at several workplaces to improve my professional skills to provide the best service. I believe that early years are the most important in a child’s life as due to the plasticity of the brain this iis when we can have the biggest impact on children’s lives.

I am so glad to have an opportunity to work together with the Dame Vera Lynn Charity team and extend our services with my knowledge.”

Jos Cuff

Family Support Worker

Family Support Worker

Following the Charity restructor in July 2020 Jos was made reduandant from her role as Service Support Assistant. However happierly following some funding recieved the Charity was able to adveritse a new role of Family Support Worker, and Jos was successful in gaining this position. Jos supports the two session leads in sessions, provides sibling support when needed and supports families to access services.

 Jos said:

“I am so happy to have the opportunity to re-join the fantastic team at Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity.  I’m looking forward to working with the families and joining them on their journey. I hope that my knowledge of child development, play and family support will enable me to be an asset to the Charity”.

Debra Elliott

Communication and Fundraising Executive

Communication and Fundraising Executive

Debra joined us in January 2021 and is responsible for our fundraising and social media, She has a lot of experience having worked previously for several years within a children’s charity.

Debra said “I am very happy to have the opportunity to work with the team at Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity,  I am really excited by the fundraising opportunities that lay ahead and look forward to being able to grow the support .”

Beata Kusel

Conductor

Beata is a part-time Conductor in our Service Team.  Beata works alongside Istvan in our early intervention sessions.

She says “I graduated at the Hungarian Peto Institute in 1996 as a conductor-teacher.  I have also completed nurse and British teacher training, as well as many Early Years related courses over the years.  I have been working in the UK for over 20 years now as a conductor and have lead some camps and projects in various countries.  I have set-up and was the head of a Conductive Education setting for 10 years before joining the team at Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity.  I am passionate about working with the children with physical disabiliites, teaching them new skills and seeing them becoming more able and more independent is highly rewarding. In our work no two days are the same.  The children are a source of joy and challenge for me to work out tasks and motivation for them to get the most of out of their learning potential at any time.  I believe in what Dr Peto – the physician professor who developed the system of Conductive Education – said that  “the human brain that worked out how to get to the moon, is able to work out anything.”

I am looking forward to getting to know the children and their families at this wonderful charity and touch their lives and aim for a more active and better quality of life in the future.”

Georgina Le Clercq

Trusts and Foundations Officer

Trusts and Foundations Officer

Georgina joined us in March 2022. Her experience spans many years in sales and marketing culminating in over ten years as a Donor Relations Manager raising funds and awareness for a local charity in Brighton.

 

“DVLCC receives no statutory funding and relies entirely upon gifts it receives from individuals, community groups, businesses and, most importantly; charitable trusts and foundations. I’m looking forward to developing lasting relationships with the grant makers who play such a critical role in helping us to fund and deliver our services to young children and their families affected by cerebral palsy and other motor learning difficulties. A sustainable future is our vision and mission.”

Carol Meadows

Family Outreach Worker

Outreach Support Worker

Carol commenced her role as Outreach Support Worker in January 2018 and will be working with children in their own home and providing ongoing support for parents all year round.

She has a wealth of experience having worked previously as a family outreach worker and worked with schools and pre-schools to support children with an Early Help Plan reach their potential.  She has also run community play events and provided advice and guidance for mother and toddler groups and has ten years’ experience in early years, childcare and health and social care.

Carol said:  “Joining Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity is a very exciting opportunity and I am looking forward to working with Glenys to develop the family support area of the charity and in the Conductive Education sessions and running other sensory and play sessions with the children.  I am also really pleased to be working for an organisation where I can be involved in fundraising as well.”

Holly Cahil

Speech and Language Therapist

Holly began working with the charity as an independent speech & language therapist in November 2021. After qualifying in 2006 Holly worked for the NHS for 12 years seeing both children and adults for a range of communication needs before becoming an independent practitioner in 2018. Holly now sees a number of children for direct speech & language therapy at the centre.

 

Holly said:

“My passion has always been working with young children with complex needs, so when an opportunity arose to work with DVLCC I jumped at the chance. I particularly enjoy working with children in the early years as it gives me the opportunity to develop the tools they need to communicate successfully. For many of the children accessing DVLCC this is not always a straightforward process, but I love the problem solving involved, particularly when a child makes a breakthrough with their communication skills. I have also loved the chance to get to know the amazing parents and families, working closely with them towards a joint goal.”

 

Kylie Richardson

Music Therapist

Music Therapist

Music Therapy forms part of the additional services we offer to families at Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity.  We are delighted to welcome Kylie to our team, a fully qualified registered Music Therapist, who has been running weekly sessions at our Centre in Cuckfield since January 2018.

Kylie Says: “Music Therapy is based on the belief that everyone has the ability to respond to music.  During sessions children use a wide variety of instruments, including the voice, to encourage active engagement in shared music making.  

I thoroughly enjoy meeting the families and children that attend my sessions each week and it is rewarding to see them progress as they become more confident and develop social and self-awareness, whilst having fun.”

Volunteers based at the Centre

Jan Dutt

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Session Support - Volunteer

Volunteer – Service Support

Jan has joined us as a volunteer to help within the service team in supporting sessions. She has many year experience working with children.

Jan said “It is good fun working with the wonderful children and seeing them grow in strength and confidence”

Robin Jones

Administrator - Volunteer

Volunteer

Robin joined us as a volunteer in March to help with admin tasks in the office. He is busy each week supporting the fundraising team with admin tasks and researching lots of very useful informtion.

Robin Says “I am very much enjoying working in the fundraising team and making use of my skills. I Have also enjoyed learning about Conductive Education and am in awe of the  amazing work Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity do for the children and families. The staff are a pleasure to work with, dedicated and all mucking in together, getting things done professionally and always with a smile. I gather they are always looking for new volunteers – strongly recommended!”

If you would like to find out more about the various volunteering roles with our Charity then please get in touch.

Vice-Presidents

Virginia Lewis-Jones

Vice-President

Virginia is Dame Vera’s daughter and became Vice-President of the Charity in 2013, having previously been on the Board of Trustees.  She now attends events and supports the Charity on Dame Vera’s behalf. 

Sir Tim Rice

Vice-President

Sir Tim has been a Vice-President of our Charity for a great number of years.  He has attended our Charity Balls and donated tickets for his West End shows for raffle and auction prizes for our events.  He has been a great supporter of our charity and in March 2017 was a guest speaker at the 100th Birthday celebration concert for Dame Vera at the London Palladium.

Sir Cliff Richard OBE

Vice-President

Sir Cliff Richard is one of our founding Vice-Presidents and has been a long-time supporter of our Charity.  

Hayley Westenra

Vice-President

Hayley was appointed as a Vice-President of the Charity in 2009.  

Hayley is a classical artist, born in New Zealand and has been performing since the age of six. Hayley visited the service on a number of occasions with Dame Vera and has also performed at our fundraising events.

She most recently sang at the 100 Tribute Concert to celebrate Dame Vera’s 100th Birthday at the London Palladium in March 2017.  

Trustees

Nick Dutt

Chair of Trustees

Nick joined the Trustees in 2018, but then had to step back in early 2019 the beginning of 2021 due to an overseas posting. Upon re-joining the Trustees, in April 2021 he took on the role of Chair of Trustees.

 Nick is currently working as a Business Consultant on a number of international projects. His skills lie in leadership, project management and operational delivery. 

 

He has spent much of his working life overseas, living in Asia and the Middle East. He is also very involved in leadership roles with other national and international charity and service organisations. As part of this, he has been actively involved with the set-up and running of many large fundraising events.

 

His has a strong desire to help grow and develop the charity and the team from its current strong base, building on the great work done by the Board of Trustees and Staff to date.

Tim Wright

Secretary

Tim has been a Trustee of the Charity since 2006 in the role of Secretary.  

He is a Senior Associate with Pennington Manches Solicitors in Basingstoke as part of the clinical negligence and personal injury team.  His experience in legal matters has been invaluable to the Charity. 

Doug Hill

Treasurer

Doug is a qualified accountant (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales), who has worked for more than 30 years in senior finance roles, most latterly as CFO 

at WPP Health & Wellness/Sudler & Hennessey and, before that, REL Consultancy Group – both global businesses in excess of £25m.  He qualified in 1985 with Price Waterhouse and has subsequently worked in a range of industries including: telecoms; manufacturing; consulting and marketing.   Based in Brighton, Doug has chosen to work as a part-time portfolio Finance Director with a range of clients through The FD Centre).  He also volunteers his time with Sussex Beacon.  He is a former member of the Roundtable.

 

Doug said:

I have long believed in the value and importance of volunteering – supporting local communities and making a difference to other people’s lives.  I became aware of the fantastic work that the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity does, and it is an absolute privilege to bring my specific experience to such a diverse, knowledgeable and dedicated team and to be able to support them and to help the Charity fulfil its potential.”

Paula Barnes

Trustee

Paula is a senior qualified solicitor and partner with over 25 years’ experience in criminal negligence, community care and public law matters.  She is a partner at Lester Aldridge in Southampton and has been extensively involved in the management of claims in the High Court, Court of Appeal and and Coroners Court.  

Paula is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) as well as a Law Society Clinical Negligence panel member and examiner.  She is currently the Chairperson of the new Conductive Education Consortium, of which Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity is a member, and until July, was the Chairperson of Rainbow Centre in Fareham so has been a trustee directly involved in a service very similar to ours.

Paula said: “Being a trustee enables you to put your skills and experience to new use in an entirely different context and, although a cliche, to try and make a difference to other peoples lives.  I have spent my entire professional career spanning some 30 years working in the disability sector as a Solicitor practising in the fields of Health and Social Care and Clinical Negligence.  I am passionate about the need for early intervention for children affected by brain injury.  Sadly this can be difficult to access.  Centres like Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity therefore offer something truly special supporting children and their families with not only Conductive Education but other therapies and much needed support.  It is an absolute privilege to be part of such an amazing charity.”

Colin Darnell

Trustee

Colin has a strong background in community engagement, having recently retired as a magistrate after 26 years.  Colin lives locally in Haywards Heath and has also recently become a Trustee of the Yews Community Partnership in Haywards Heath.  He also volunteers for the library to take books to those who are housebound and is an avid reader of history and non-fiction.

Colin is the lead Trustee for Safeguarding at the Charity and will work closely with Executive Manager, Glenys Creese, to ensure that we are compliant in all aspects of Safeguarding policies.  

Colin said:  “I am a great believer in volunteering that supports local communities.  I was aware of the wonderful work that the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity does to help young children with cerebral palsy and other motor learning impairments to realise their full potential and support their families.  It is a privilege as a trustee to be able to support the outstanding work they do.”

Deborah Hay

Trustee

Deborah is an independent marketing and PR consultant, whose clients include Lingfield Park Resort. Deborah has worked to build a positive relationship with the local community as well as expanding the Resort’s work with charities, including Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity for the Vintage Ladies Race Day. 

Deborah held role of Chair of the Trustees from September 2017 till April 2021 and she brings a wealth of experience in PR and marketing to our board of Trustees.

Tom Jones

Trustee

Tom has been a Trustee of the Charity for over 13 years and in that period was Chairman of Trustees from 2004 until 2010.  He is also a local District and Parish Councillor.  Tom says:

“My personal interest started in 1992 when helping to raise funds for SOS, Dame Vera’s celebrity charity for children with cerebral palsy.  In 2001 when the funding ceased on the pre-school at Ingfield Manor I was involved with the launch of the Bluebird Appeal which raised enough funds for the service to be able to continue with the setting-up of the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity.  I am still as committed today to the vital service that is provided by the Charity and am excited about the future with our new location and the team we have in place to be able to expand and offer additional services to families from across the South East.”

Nicci Long

Trustee

Nicci has been attending the centre with her son Matthew since April 2019. Nicci is also a trained Occupational Therapist who runs a company called Sensory Steps who use fun, education and play in an environment designed to engage and motivate the child to participate in challenging and rewarding activities. They work towards building the self-esteem and confidence of the children which is an integral part of their treatment. We are so pleased to have Nicci join the board of trustees, she brings not only her experience as an Occupational Therapist but also as a parent who has lived experience of the services we provide. 

Tracey Trotter

Trustee

Tracey is a qualified accountant with over two decades of experience as Director of Finance and Resources in Education and Charity sectors. She is also a Master Practitioner in NLP and currently works as a Leadership Coach and Change Consultant guiding leaders to develop a growth mindset, maintain resilience, build their confidence and eliminate fear with tools and techniques for living their best life.

Tracey brings to the Charity’s Board of Trustees her experience in high level delivery across a wide range of other essential support services including project management, HR, IT, MIS, student enrolment/admissions, catering and estates.  Her experience spans education (schools and colleges), health and disability services (multi-site day and residential services for adults with severe learning/physical disabilities) in both charity and public sector organisations.  

Tracey said:

I am looking to utilise over 25 years experience in business services for education to support a local charity with amazing potential that offers lifechanging opportunities to young children and their families.”