PSDS Trustees and Founders
I am a founding trustee and member of PSDS and currently am appointed as the Chair of the Trustee body with oversight of our strategic development.
Our son Sam is 16 and has Down syndrome and was the inspiration for us setting up a charity that would help and support children and young adults with Down syndrome reach their full potential. Whilst a trustee I have played a significant role in developing the variety of services that we offer to our families. In particular, I have worked closely with the team to develop our Digbies (pre-school) provision which has now been running for almost 13 years and I have day to day responsibility for managing the extensive team of experts who work with our children at Digbies.
I am proud of all the charity has achieved and even more proud of our children’s achievements.
Finding great solutions
In my professional career I am Group Chief Commercial Officer for Irwin Mitchell LLP, responsible for a growth strategy for our Group which has turnover of £275m. I am a lawyer by background and my passion is finding great solutions for our clients in their personal and business lives.
Outside of work, I enjoy the theatre, running and reading. But most important to me is spending time with my husband, Pete and our two brilliant children, Kate and Sam.
As one of the founding families of PSDS, I have been involved from the start of the charity’s journey but only became a trustee and treasurer in 2017. Through watching my son – Sam – progress within PSDS I have direct experience of the incredible foundational support the charity’s work has given. I am continually inspired by the children and young people with Down syndrome within PSDS which motivates me to think of new ways we can offer support for our membership.
My specific role with PSDS as treasurer involves managing the cashflow of the charity, securing the safekeeping of the amazing donations we receive and paying for the services we provide.
On a day-to-day basis I run my own consultancy business – Institutional Adviser – through which I advise and work on behalf of global investment management firms.
National Down Syndrome Policy Group
Outside of work and PSDS, I chair the National Down Syndrome Policy Group which is currently engaged with ensuring the safe passage of the Down Syndrome Bill through Parliament. The NDSPG also acts as the Secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Down Syndrome. I am also treasurer of the Lloyd Hall Management Committee, the location of so many incredible PSDS and Digbies activities over the years.
I am a founding member of PSDS. My middle daughter Emily was born in 2006 and happens to have Down syndrome. I was lucky enough to meet two other fantastic mums, Vicky and Helen, and together we founded our wonderful charity. I can remember our first ever coffee morning back in 2006. PSDS has gone from strength to strength and I have really enjoyed being part of the journey.
As a trustee, I have responsibility for various areas, including: – the main ones being:
School support – this has been running for over 10 years and thanks to our advisory support teacher and our training and network sessions, we have supported many schools across Surrey and Sussex in successful inclusion of our children and young people with Down syndrome.
5 Club – our social and communication group for secondary and college students, run by our speech and language therapists. We now run two groups in two areas to meet demand.
Family and friends
I am a former family lawyer but have not practised since my 3rd daughter arrived in 2007. My work with PSDS and having three daughters keeps me really busy!
Most mornings you will find me on my Peloton bike shouting at the instructors. I am an avid reader, love to holiday and enjoy spending time with my family and friends.
I started becoming more involved with PSDS initially by being part of the fundraising committee. This involvement developed in to becoming a trustee in 2017. In my role as a trustee I have oversight of the Drama group, as well as the Summer and Christmas parties and our annual family day out to Fishers Farm Adventure Park.
Cooking and socialising
Professionally, I am a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist working for the NHS in South London where I look after hospital inpatients and patients in a local prison.
Aside from spending time with my family, I enjoy cooking and socialising – although both were put on hold whilst training for the London Marathon which I completed for PSDS in 2021!
My family became members of PSDS in 2017 having heard about the charity through a family friend. Our son Ethan, who has Down syndrome, started Digbies in September 2017 and has gone from strength to strength since. The support we have been given and the friendships we have made have been invaluable and I am pleased to be able to give something back as a trustee.
I joined the trustee team in February 2019 and have responsibility as a trustee for the youth club offering for our teenagers.
In my professional career I am an Operations Manager with the British Standards Institution, managing a team of 20 and the delivery of audits to clients across a wide range of industry sectors.
Outside of work I have a keen interest in youth provision and am an assistant scout leader. I am also a parent governor at my son’s primary school.
Andrew and I have two teenage daughters, Rowan and Thea, whose interests are very different (although they share a love of shopping and eating out!)
I thank my lucky stars I met Vicky and Sarah a few months after Thea’s surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome. Our paths would never have crossed had an extra chromosome not brought us together. Shortly after our first meeting we organised a coffee morning – little did we know that would be the start of PSDS!
Fundraising and the future
I am so proud of PSDS and the support it offers families like ours. I loved being a trustee, but in 2019 it was time for a different role – I now organise events and fundraising campaigns and carry out marketing for PSDS in a freelance capacity.
Exciting times are ahead for our fabulous young people and for PSDS too. I am thrilled to be part of the journey!