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Chris Dyer, Director - is a 28 years' experienced professional in the criminal justice arena, and set up Mentoring West Midlands in its current format in December 2012; previously it was a specialist consultancy from May 2011. He is an operational deliverer 'by trade' and the former Strategic Lead Officer for Urban Street Gangs and Reducing Gang Violence for Birmingham. A professionally accredited 'high risk' mediator, mentor and experienced trainer, he holds a Level 3 Certificate in Education and Learning, TAQA and Designated Safeguarding Officer status and is a qualified Care Manager and provides day to day management and leadership within the organisation. Chris leads on all external, professional staff training and also delivers training in custody.
Chris finished working as an Approved Advisor of The Home Office's Ending Gang & Serious Youth Violence Peer Review Team in 2016, who he worked with for close to 4 years; he remains part of the national working group. Previously, whilst working as a senior officer for Birmingham Community Safety Partnership he had specific responsibilities for jointly leading and formulating the city's safeguarding responses to vulnerable and high risk young people, with a view to limiting their involvement in criminal gangs and organised crime; he was also part of the Multi-Agency Gang Unit management team and Vice-Chair of Birmingham Reducing Gang Violence 1 (BRGV1) the city's main tactical, partnership group. Chris' career in the criminal justice system spans 28 years, as does his operational delivery and senior management experience. He started working in the field of 'extreme emotional and behavioural difficulties', managing and delivering residential programmes for young people aged 10-22, who had committed serious sexual and violent offences. He is a former Senior Consultant for the national charity Crime Concern (Catch 22 in its current form) and his career also includes significant success in social business development, change management and creating, managing and personally delivering programmes of work for some of the country's most challenging and dangerous people.
His work was nationally recognised with a British Community Safety Award in 2001 for his work in the Low Hill Neighbourhood Safety Programme and internationally recognised in 2004, when he received the European Crime Prevention Award whilst working for Crime Concern as a senior consultant, seconded to Birmingham to run the city's Safer Neighbourhood Programme.
Current representative and strategic activity:
Rachel Stokes, Operations Manager - Rachel has been working with children, young people and adults with complex needs for over 11 years. Rachel has worked in supported accommodation with young offenders and those with challenging behaviour, delivered intensive family intervention and support, specialising in 'Teen' parenting, and worked with a range of complex case work including domestic violence and substance misuse. Prior to working for Mentoring West Midlands she worked in adult mental health, engaging with people presenting severe mental health needs and learning difficulties. Whilst with the organisation, Rachel has been the Genus Project regional lead in the East Midlands delivering the Building Positive Futures Programme in 3 prisons and as of mid 2019, the Team Leader; she was promoted to Operations Manager in November 2019 and will take increasing oversight of community and custody based work and other areas of organisational development in 2020. Rachel holds a BSc Honours Degree in Criminology and Psychology and an MSc in Psychology and a Level 3 in Education and Training and Level 3 (1) TAQA.
Lydia Chaplain, Hub Coordinator, Talent Match Walsall - Lydia has over 19 years experience working with young people and adults with complex mental health needs, autism spectrum disorders and challenging behaviour within a variety of settings including supported accommodation, community settings, primary care and more recently at Birmingham City University in the Counselling and Mental Health Team. Lydia has worked in supported accommodation with young offenders with challenging behaviour, dual diagnoses and substance misuse, delivering both 1:1 and family support and interventions. She also spent 3 months working voluntarily in in a 'safe house' in Kenya with children and young people with complex needs, including homelessness, substance misuse and offending histories. Lydia holds a BA Honours Degree in Psychology, an MSc in Forensic Psychology and Criminology, and is an accredited Systemic Practitioner with the Association of Family Therapy.
Christine O'Brien, Business Manager - Chrissie has over two decades of administrative, personnel, financial and managerial experience within educational establishments in both private and public sectors, including working as part of leadership teams on two SureStart Programmes. Chrissie has first hand experience of working alongside probation services in young offenders institutions and delivering training programmes relating to job prospects with young offenders and so preparing them for release; in doing this, she has coordinated a wide range of specialist provision. Chrissie oversees the day to day administration systems within MWM, is the named Data Controller for GDPR matters and Information manager for our ISO27001 and holds a BA Honours Degree in Business Administration and BTEC HND in Public Administration.
Adrian Lett, Senior Specialist Mentor (West Midlands) - Ade has 10 years experience in various aspects of the criminal justice and related support services. Upon leaving the Royal Navy as a young adult, he worked as a youth engagement officer in Young Offender Institutes supporting young people through their sentence as well as delivering non accredited programmes. He then worked for Prison Service HQ writing national policy and procedures as well performance managing drug services in prisons nationally. Following this he worked in prison based public protection before delivering the Thinking Skills Programme and Restorative Justice; Adrian also acted as a mentor for young people moving into the adult prison system. Prior to working for Mentoring West Midlands, Ade was the Restorative Justice Coordinator for a pilot project in Worcestershire and then worked in a specialist children's residential home; he holds a Level 3 Award in Education and Training.
Currently being recruited - Specialist Mentor (West Midlands) -
Leah Halkier, Genus Project, Child & Family Pathway Wkr. (Yorks & Humber) - Leah has worked and volunteered in the Criminal Justice System for the last 4 years supporting women in custody and community who are extremely vulnerable and hard to reach. This involved providing 1-1 support empowering service users to change behaviour by tackling entrenched habits and beliefs, a multitude of poor coping mechanisms aswell as often dealing with presenting crises. As part of this role Leah supported service users through parole hearings and those under MAPPA arrangements, hospital order and through court and family care proceedings. Leah played a key role in implementing and developing this service in HMP New Hall and across the West Yorkshire area ending up as Senior Worker. Leah holds a First Class Hons Degree in Criminology, a BTEC National Diploma in Health and Social Care and NCFE Level 3 Award in Education and Training.
Christine Welch, Genus Project, Child & Family Pathway Wkr. (North East) - Chris has over 10 years experience in working with young people and adults in a social care and housing setting, undertaking work such as assisting homeless service users with multiple, complex needs who require support with their mental health, substance and alcohol misuse and are living in extreme poverty; also working for Barnardo’s helping vulnerable young people, ensuring that they are safeguarded from such issues as financial abuse, trafficking and sexual exploitation whilst working closely with statutory health and social work teams. More recently, Chris has been working within a semi-supported housing project in Gateshead with medium to high-risk homeless service users who have diagnosed mental health concerns. Through this and her other work she has significant experience of working with individuals straight from custody and people who have been discharged from hospital secure units; within this she has also been a key part of multi-disciplinary teams that support individuals to live safely in their communities. Chris is a qualified Independent Advocate, holds a CIH Level 3 in Supporting Homeless People and a BTEC National Diploma in Caring Services.
Kayleigh Lane, Genus Project, Child and Family Pathway Wkr. (East Midlands) - Kayleigh has over 6 years experience working with adults and young people presenting a wide range of complex social issues and barriers to service engagement. Whilst studying to become a Psychotherapist at university, Kayleigh volunteered for a charity supporting victims of sexual abuse and this led to other work for charities supporting men and women that had experienced domestic violence; there she worked 1-1 with her clients aswell as delivering The Freedom Programme to groups. Kayleigh then moved over to the criminal justice sector where she has worked across the East Midlands delivering to groups in custody, educating and supporting women about domestic abuse and exploitation; Kayleigh has also worked 1-1 in and out of custody with females moving them towards education, training and employment. Kayleigh holds a Level 6 Professional Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and a Level 3 Award in Education and Training.
Sarah Stanley, Genus Project, Child and Family Pathway Wkr. (East Midlands) - Sarah has over 9 years experience working with individuals with complex needs including domestic abuse and homelessness, many within the Criminal Justice System. She began her career in a refuge supporting women and children fleeing domestic abuse; working with the families offering 1-1 therapeutic support and delivering the Freedom Programme. This experience led Sarah to then work within the adult homeless sector within a hostel setting. Sarah then moved on to HMPPS and has spent the last 3 years working in several prisons as part of their resettlement team; in this role Sarah has predominantly worked with offenders within the Integrated Offender Management framework along with co-delivering the Foundations of Rehabilitation programme. Sarah holds a BA honours in Crimonology and an NVQ level 3 in Probation Practice.
Daniella Deehan, Genus Project, Child and Family Pathway Wkr. (HMP Humber) - in post mid October - Daniella has 2 years experience within the prison system working with prisoners and their families to help reducing reoffending and intergenerational offending through the use of 1-1 case work and group courses. She previously worked with children subject to child in need plans and child protection plans as a support worker in contact centres and residential homes. Daniella also completed voluntary work in pupil referral units when completing her university degree; she holds a Foundation Degree in Working with Children, Young People and Families.
Irfan Arif, Senior Specialist Mentor (East Midlands) - Irfan has over 8 years experience of working with young people and adults with a range of complex needs including youth offending, learning difficulties and behavioural problems. He has worked supporting young people 1-1 when leaving custody and enabling them to adjust to life post custody aswell as supporting them to not re-enter the criminal justice system. Irfan has also worked in the field of rights and equalities both as an advocate and coordinator aswell as providing cover support in schools as a supply teacher. Irfan holds a BTEC Level 3 in Mentoring, a level 4 Certificate in Education & Training and a BA Hons Degree in Applied Youth and Community Development.
Tremayne Blair, Specialist Mentor (East Midlands) - Tremayne has over 10 years experience of developing and delivering sporting programmes to students of all ages across the East midlands; previously he worked abroad on large football camps whilst also delivering mentoring interventions and support. In this work, he has engaged with key partner agencies developing innovations in partnership with parents, carers, children and young people designed to offer more accessible, understandable and responsive care for young people with challenging disabilities; also, at his prior workplace, he was responsible for creating a specialist PE curriculum to schools that that was delivered across Nottingham and Derbyshire. Tremayne holds a BA Honours Degree in Sports Coaching and Teaching.
Walsall Talent Match Hub:
Media Brown, Mentor: Media been working 1-1 with vulnerable young adults aged between 18-29 delivering an employability programme for the last two years within the Talent Match Programme; this has entailed working with people with complex mental health issues as well as ex-offenders identifying their barriers and supporting them with housing, training, mental health assessments, benefits claims and appeals, attending child protection meetings, attending court, probation etc. Media has worked with young people for 8 years in various guises, and has prior experience of four years working for a grade one training provider. During the four years, Media worked as a Learning Support and Functional Skills Tutor delivering Maths and English E1-L2 offering support within vocational workshops and with learning and exam invigilation. Media has also delivered behaviour management intervention and support at pupil referral units and covered lessons at various secondary schools. She has also undertaken voluntary work as an Assistant Educational Psychologist during her final year at University aswell as duties as a Youth & Young People Support Assistant at a drop-in centre, Teaching Assistant at an exclusion centre, women's centre supporting with health advice and providing support on the Dementia ward based in a local hospital. Media holds a Bsc Hons Degree in Psychology, PTTLS level 3 in Education and Training and a Mentoring Level 2 NOCN qualification.
Angela Ball, Mentor: Angela is a qualified Counsellor who has over 10 years’ experience of working with vulnerable young people and families delivering person centred approaches. Over her career she has worked with a diverse range of service users including drug and alcohol users, ex offender’s and people with mental health problems; she has also delivered non accredited training and workshops around preventative substance misuse education. Angela has been working as a Mentor with Talent Match since 2015 helping young adults with additional life barriers into education, training and employment. She holds a CTI Diploma in Counselling, Certificate of Proficiency with British Association of Counsellor’s and Psychotherapy, Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector Level 3, CMI Level 5 Management and Leadership Award 5003 – Performance Management, NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Mental Health Awareness.
Amy Harding, Mentor: Amy has over 5 years experience working with young people of various ages with multiple and complex needs and barriers to employment and training. Amy has been working on the Talent Match programme for over 2 years, working again with a diverse caseload, supporting these individuals experiencing life barriers. Previously, she worked as a youth worker in her local community facilitating and delivering local activities and workshops, engaging with targeted activities for 5-19 year olds living in disadvantaged areas. Amy has also previously completed a summer working for Camp America as a head counsellor in the USA; working with young people, helping them build confidence and self-esteem.
Darren Taylor, YMCA Hosted Mentor: Darren has 7 years’ experience working with young people of various ages with multiple and complex needs and barriers to training and employment, particularly offenders/ex-offenders; the last 2 years has been spent working on the Talent Match programme. Previously, he has helped deliver gang intervention work & has been part of a team deployed to critical incidents across parts of the West Midlands, to help manage and resolve 'high risk' conflicts. Darren also has experience of managing community projects and facilitating workshops regarding critical thinking with young adults on the fringes of anti-social behaviour. He also has experience in setting up business and enterprise and possesses good knowledge around health & fitness and delivering related workshops in The Way Youth Zone Wolverhampton.
James Lowe, PCC West Midlands funded Mentor: James has more than 7 years’ experience working with adults with Autism and complex needs to overcome barriers to employment, education and training. He has also worked in a number of environments, including delivering of Work Choice and Access to Work via the DWP, student support to adults with disabilities in further and higher education and local authority contracts and programmes and most recently via the Work & Health programme for a national charity. James has designed and delivered social and personal development programmes for young people, and delivered training to clients, employers and staff; he holds a BA Hons in Theatre Studies, Writing and American Studies.
Tabitha Darbyshire-Phillips, Mentor: Tabitha’s main experience is within the education environment, her most recent role was for two years as an Assistant Head of House, this involved designing tailor made programs and support for students with various barriers to learning; as part of this Tabitha would provide one to one mentoring and other support via bespoke action plans. Whilst working within education Tabitha also co-designed a curriculum with the aim of enhancing students study skills and wellbeing; she has also previously volunteered as a Youth Worker at The Way in Wolverhampton, supporting and guiding young people within a range of difficult circumstances. Tabitha holds a BA Hons in English and has undertaken Open University courses on Young People’s Wellbeing and Mental Health.
Maria Henry, Finance and Administration Officer: Maria started her career as a Nursery Nurse and then transferred to administration and finance. She now has 8 years experience of administration, recruitment, training, compliance and finance for a number of professional agencies that work within and in support of the care sector. She holds an NVQ3 in children's care, learning and development.
The Via Learning Centre, Quality Assurance -
Ellen Kerr, Internal Quality Assurer (IQA): Ellen is a qualified and experienced IQA, assessor and trainer who specialises in education, training and employment. She is a skilled professional with experience of working within third sector, public and corporate sectors for over 20 years, from frontline delivery to operational management. Her passion lies with getting the best out of people by supporting them to develop and grow, leading towards successful and rewarding achievements. Ellen’s role is to assist and support our robust quality assurance system through IQA of our NCFE accredited learning packages via learning centre delivery. Ellen holds certificates in TAQA Level 3 & 4, Award in Education & Training Level 3 and a Post Graduate Diploma in Careers Education and Guidance.