Anna-Clare joined Step Together in September 2018, having previously been CEO of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum. She has over 10 years' experience of senior management in the charity sector, primarily working in the health and social care sector. Anna-Clare also brings experience of the commercial sector, where she focused on business development and income generation. Outside of work, Anna-Clare has a busy family life with her husband and twin boys and enjoys getting out in the fresh air for runs or dog walks.
Deb joined in January 2021, from Headway Bristol (a brain injury charity) where she led on all charity operations from HR and fundraising, to finance and governance. She previously ran her own boutique legal recruitment consultancy and professional CV writing business and spent over 25 years in the industry as a successful recruiter, manager and careers coach. ACIPD qualified with many years’ experience in business start-ups, sales and operations, she has responsibility at Step Together for managing our volunteer project management team and core program delivery. Deb lives in Bristol, is married and a mum to two grown up children. To relax, she enjoys working on her allotment, cooking, drawing, musicals and watching live bands.
Lucinda has worked in administrative and customer service roles for many years and recently began studying arts therapy. Since moving to Bristol 6 years ago she has both worked and volunteered in a variety of settings including addiction treatment centres, a youth centre, two primary schools and most recently for a charity and membership organisation that trains psychotherapists and supports access to low cost psychotherapy. When not at work Lucinda loves to get out to the countryside for walks, growing vegetables and cooking, and continuing her arts therapy studies.
Administration and Communications Officer
Gillian joined in January 2021, after working as a paralegal in education law, primarily supporting families of children and young people with special educational needs. She has worked with several charity organisations, including Citizens Advice, and Asylum Welcome, and has a particular interest in the legal issues that vulnerable people face. In her free time, Gillian studies Arabic, enjoys painting, and going on long walks.
Volunteer Project Manager
Manchester, Ex-Offenders Programme
Karen is a mum of three grown up children. She has always been a working mum and the majority of her career has been spent in supporting families and individuals to achieve their full potential. Having spent a significant amount of her early career working with offenders, Karen joined the Step Together team in 2012, supporting ex-offenders across Greater Manchester.
Peer Mentoring Co-ordinator
Ex-Offender Programme, Manchester
Kate has a background in counselling and psychotherapy with a specialised interest in grief and bereavement therapy alongside mindfulness meditation. She worked within the justice system supporting domestic abuse survivors and recovering alcoholics. Prior to joining Step-together Kate used her counselling and people skills as a bomb spotter at Manchester Airport. She also took part in the "for my future" course which gave her the confidence to return to working in a helping profession. When not at work Kate loves to craft with her 3 boys and add to her enormous collection of shoes.
Young People, Bristol
Mel joined Step Together in September 2021, having worked with Young People for 20 years in a wide range of roles, including mentoring, family support work, delivering groupwork and detached youth work. Alongside her role as Sessional Worker for Step Together, Mel is a qualified Forest School Leader and runs forest school sessions for 4-16 year olds. Mel also has her own allotment where she grows her own fruit and veg, and enjoys painting, sewing, cooking and anything crafty. She also loves to paddleboard and travel – preferably together!
Volunteer Project Manager
Young People, Bristol
Polly comes from a background in the charity and social care sector. Polly’s love of creating volunteer opportunities and supporting young people was discovered while volunteering with the Outdoor Education Department at the North York Moors National Park. This passion was solidified during her three years with Nepal-based charity, Conscious Impact, developing and delivering a youth programme in a rural Nepali community. This passion then led Polly into the social care sector on her return to the U.K. Since moving to Bristol, Polly has worked with Unique Voice, coordinating creative summer programming for children before joining the Step Together team in September 2021. In her spare time, Polly enjoys long walks and cycle rides, reading, writing and watching live music and theatre.
Volunteer Project Manager, Young People
Dumfries & Galloway
Sue has been involved in volunteering ever since moving to Scotland more than ten years ago; both in a recruitment capacity with Camphill and WRVS, and as a volunteer herself for The Samaritans, WRVS, the local youth group and local school. Sue has managed our work in schools and with disengaged young people in Dumfries and Galloway since 2010. Married with two boys, Sue enjoys mountain biking, running, travelling to new places, reading and painting.
Volunteer Project Manager, South of England
WIS / Veteran
Laura’s background is in Clinical Physiology, where she worked for several years within the NHS. Laura also has experience of working directly within the armed forces community for several welfare organisations, both overseas and the UK. Being a military spouse, she shares an insight and understanding of what military life is truly like. With an interest in personal development, she is passionate about helping those around her by providing a supportive network, enabling people to develop their potential. Laura is married and lives in Salisbury with her two children.
Marc joined Step Together Volunteering in April 2022, after an 18 year army career. Since leaving the army, he has worked in civil engineering and specialist recruitment. He has made a successful transition to “civvy street” and hopes to help other soldiers and veterans find their way too. He is currently based Cumbria and enjoying getting familiar with the Lake District and being in nature as much as possible. In his spare time, you can find him navigating his way up a fell, running with his dog, or on his motorbike, also with his dog!
President and Patrons
Sir David Manning, GCMG, KCVO
Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE
Captain Michael Fulford-Dobson
Damon de Laszlo
Founder and Lifetime President - Roger Potter (MBE)
Roger founded World Wide Volunteering, now re-named Step Together Volunteering, in 1994. Roger was Director of World Wide Volunteering until 2006 and was a member of the UK National Task Force for the European Voluntary Service scheme. He is currently the Chairman of the Britain-Nepal Society. His early career was spent in secondary education and he was principal of a large London Sixth Form College.
Board of Trustees
Dr Roger Donbavand, FRSA
Roger has a business background in branding, marketing, strategy development and change management consulting. He started his career in the City and then moved into consulting for service based industries, both in the UK and overseas. The last five years saw him working in Sydney where he transitioned into the charity and voluntary sector, working for Mission Australia and Opportunity International, and on the board of Leprosy Mission Australia. In 2016 Roger and his wife volunteered for 3 months in Sri Lanka. He is also a trustee of EMMS, a charity based in Edinburgh which works in the palliative care sector. His interests include fly fishing, classical music, opera and cricket. He is married to Janet and they have two sons working in London.
Julia Killick, CBE
Julia started her career in London Local Authority Housing working for Hillingdon, Harrow and Brent before joining the Prison Service in 1998. After stints at HMP Highdown, HMP Holloway and YOI Feltham as Head of Prisoner Care, Julia took charge of the Immigration Removal Centre Haslar, before moving to become Governor at HMP Guys Marsh in Dorset. In 2010 Julia returned to Holloway as Governor and with a team of 300 staff cared for 590 women, reducing costs by 25% whilst achieving highest standards in its history in two consecutive inspections. Julia retired in December 2015 and is now a volunteer trustee for two local community charities, as well as driving the community bus, and acting as an advisor to the London Criminal Justice health network and Liberty Kitchen, a social enterprise helping prisoners into work.
Scharmarie van de Vyer
Originally from a small and mostly unknown mining town in the northern part of South Africa, Scharmarie now lives with her partner in a small village just south of Bristol. Scharmarie's background has been primarily in corporate finance and accounting and more recently she has moved into asset/wealth management and financial advisory, an area that she feels more passionate about, where she can help people with financial education. Scharmarie has international offshore funds and finance experience, having lived in Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Bermuda. She currently works in investments and finance for a small company in the Cotswolds. Outside of work Scharmarie attends gymnastics and trampolining classes (her childhood sports of choice) and also does Ballroom dancing with her partner. She is an avid Crossfitter and always up for anything outdoors and adventurous.
Caroline Marsh, FRSA
Caroline is an independent consultant with significant experience as an effective strategic advisor and coach across ‘people services’ - adult social care, housing, public health, children's services, and justice services. She has been a senior leader for over 20 years, and her previous senior leadership roles include Director of Adult Social Care at Manchester City Council, and Director of Offender Management Services in The Ministry of Justice, managing prisons and probation services in the North West. Her experience includes Service Design, Commissioning, Adult Social Care, Offender rehabilitation services, Children's Services, housing for older people, Community Safety, Youth Offending services, and Public Health. She is interested in developing thought leadership and has authored a number of published articles relating to adult social care and personalisation in criminal justice. Caroline lives in the North West and is active across a number of networks including membership of the Association of Adult Social Services; fellow of the RSA; chair of the Academy for Social Justice Commissioning seminar series in Manchester and member of the Institute of Leadership & Management.
Deborah is a Director and General Counsel of Sulla Investments Limited, a regulated investment firm and adviser to Envestors, a regulated corporate finance adviser. Until September 2015, she was a partner in an international law firm where she led teams in Europe advising corporate clients. From 2007 to 2010, Deborah sat on the Save The Children Fund Festival of Trees committee where she assisted in fund raising through the annual Festival of Trees Gala. She is a member of her local Neighbourhood Planning Steering Group, formed to assist the community to influence the planning and development of her local area.
Liza has nearly 30 years’ experience in a senior leadership role in the justice sector. She leads, manages, develops and motivates large teams within a complex and changing public sector landscape. She has a diverse background as a senior manager in a range agencies - Local Authority social care departments, children’s rights and advocacy, Children’s Society, Local Authority Secure Children’s Homes, Her Majesty’s Prisons service and has worked at the Youth Justice Board (YJB), an Arm’s Length Body sponsored by Ministry of Justice for approximately 15 years. Liza is an avid follower of her local team - Everton, and tries to keep fit and healthy by trying all the new gym and exercise regimes! She has a strong value base and loves to work with people - putting her values into practice and expecting others to show good governance and accountability.
Maurice, or Moz as he's known, has a background in the media industry having started in publishing before moving into branding, advertising and digital marketing. He currently works for a London based marketing agency as Resource Manager, and has over 20 years managerial experience. Moz has held a lifelong passion for sport, including supporting Watford FC, and still enjoys keeping fit. Moz was introduced to Step Together via an offer of pro bono support to help us with our brand refresh and clearer messaging. Together with his contacts in the industry, who also offered their support pro bono, Moz provided Step Together with a vibrant new logo and simple, concise messaging. Having shown such a keen interest in the charity and its work, Moz was subsequently invited to join the Board of Trustees, and was appointed in July 2020
Matt is a former British Army Officer serving in the Royal Regiment of Artillery between 2000 and 2006. Medically retired as a result of an injury sustained during service he has spent the last 15 years in a variety of roles supporting those experiencing a social disadvantage to overcome challenges and seize opportunities. Holding senior positions in the UK, Europe and Australia, Matt has designed, influenced, bid for, secured and delivered a variety of government-funded programs focused on skills and employability and in supporting individuals to find, secure and sustain great work. This experience led to his secondment to the Army Recovery Capability as their subject matter expert on disability employment which saw him support the design and facilitation of the transitional journey to civilian careers for the most severely wounded and injured service personnel. Matt was also the lead author on a Forces in Mind Trust funded research report entitled 'A Better Working Future for Ex-Service Personnel' focused on how the demands of employers are met by the skills and talents of veterans.
Ralph served for 30 years in the British Army commanding on operations in Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2015 he has been the Director of Operations at a large school in North London responsible for coordinating the delivery of all non-teaching aspects of the school and supporting the school’s outreach programme, Shaftesbury Enterprise; he also sits on the school’s Charity Committee. He is a Trustee of The Rifles, his former regiment and a member of the Grants Committee supporting Rifleman and their families. He lives in South West London and has been a volunteer with HANDS since 2011, a local charity providing meals for the elderly living alone in the area. A former rugby player and rower his interests include rugby, fitness training, open water swimming, skiing, music, food and wine and reading.