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Meet the Team

Over 200 years combined experience

Yes, we’ve racked up more than two centuries! The original founders of Flourish Fostering have accumulated an impeccable heritage in fostering, social work, professional therapeutic disciplines and specialist childcare services.

In addition, we have two decades of working together as a team in building, developing and running therapeutic fostering services at the highest level.

If you foster for the independent sector you need to know that the people managing and governing your service have proven business acumen – at Flourish Fostering we have the high level business skills to match the very high standards of our practice. Imagine how impressive this knowledge base becomes with the additional experience of the thirty members of the Flourish Founders Group.

In addition, our team of Social Workers, Social Work Assistants, Therapists and Administrators have collectively worked for a mind-boggling 393 years in children’s services.

Mica Douglas

Managing Director

31 years sector experience

A social worker and a highly regarded Psychotherapist who has worked in therapeutic fostering for 31 years, Mica trains, supervises and supports our Foster Parents to manage the complexities of caring for children and young people who have suffered relational trauma. In 2020 Mica completed a doctorate in exploring therapeutic training and how this can elevate the skills of Foster Parents in achieving often remarkable results in fostering. Mica’s findings from that research study plays a key role in informing the therapeutic work at Flourish Fostering. Her vast experience as a Social Worker, Manager and a UKCP Registered Psychotherapist (for adults as well as for children and adolescents), gives Mica a unique combination of skills to lead Flourish Fostering.

Mica says: “The fact that I have worked as a Social Worker and as a Psychotherapist for many years has given me a unique view of fostering, and my passion is in developing interesting training courses that genuinely leave people eager for the next instalment. It’s an exciting future for everyone involved with Flourish, and we never stand still – we’re constantly researching new, innovative ways of supporting Foster Parents and children.”

Karen Heard

Registered Manager

37 years sector experience

A social work manager in fostering for over 12 years, Karen was a Foster Parent herself for nearly 25 years, providing her with invaluable experience that she can pass onto other Foster Parents. Karen has completed extensive training in therapeutic fostering and prior to working in the sector, she worked in the mental health sector and understands the resourcing difficulties facing children and young people in care who may need additional support. Karen brings warmth and humanity to the complex and challenging task that is fostering. Because of her experiences, Foster Parents know that she can completely understand their perspective whilst holding onto the child’s needs as paramount. Karen easily strikes the right balance of empathic support and professional social work values and management boundaries from a skilled therapeutic base.

Karen says: “It’s important to me that Foster Parents feel at ease from the very first moment they contact us. As well as my dedication to all the families working tirelessly with us now, I’m here to give people interested in fostering with Flourish any information they may need, along with all the necessary support when they become Foster Parents. I believe we deliver the very best service and we work as a team to continuously improve and support our Foster Parents, children and young people.”

Tracey Meakings

Senior Supervising Social Worker

30 years sector experience

A Supervising Social Worker who has worked in fostering for a decade, Tracey is passionately dedicated in supporting our foster families both individually in their own homes, and in group settings when everyone comes together to share their experiences. Tracey’s training in therapeutic fostering includes over a year of study and she loves seeing children and young people develop, thrive and reach their potential due to the care, support and encouragement of their Foster Parents. Working with children for over 30 years, Tracey’s experience ranges from educational settings, children’s clubs and community initiatives; she is the ‘go-to person for planning special events and her colleagues admire her creativity and drive in making them an enjoyable way for foster families to share time together. A mum herself with two grown up children and four grandchildren, Tracey enjoys spending fun times with extended family, and loves baking cakes for charity events.

Tracey says: “I strive to achieve the highest standards in my work at Flourish, it’s important to me that the social work support function runs smoothly and competently to help ensure an environment that’s free from unnecessary stress for our Foster Parents, as this is what enables them to be the very best they can be when caring and advocating for our children and young people.”

Wendy Smith

Psychotherapist
27 years sector experience

Wendy is our Psychotherapist who works with children and provides ongoing support for Foster parents. A Foster Parent herself for 14 years, Wendy understands how worthwhile fostering is when you can change the trajectory of a child’s life and gain so much from the experience. After qualifying as a therapist, Wendy felt the natural progression to work with Foster Parents and children as she has first hand experience of what it means to live with traumatised children.

Wendy says: “I love nothing more than seeing relationships grow and deepen. Our Foster Parents are like neurosculptors – influencing the brain growth of the children they care for as they invest time and love, and nurture into these relationships – this is what makes me happy.”

Julia Webb

Supervising Social Worker
32 years sector experience

A highly experienced Supervising Social Worker with previous therapeutic expertise, Julia followed a career in fostering as her parents fostered when she was younger. Julia studied to become a social worker, a path that led to many situations where she worked with Foster Parents and children in care. Julia then specialised in therapeutic fostering as she felt strongly that having a therapeutic approach would aid children and young people to settle within a family, to be understood and to given every opportunity to reach their potential.

Julia says “Seeing a child or young person settle within a family and to accept the care, love and support available to them is very rewarding. This could take months or even years, but when I see it happen it is fantastic.”

Kevin Rye

Supervising Social Worker
9 years sector experience

Having worked within the voluntary sector in community-based projects that engage individuals, Kevin is experienced in working directly with children and young people in care, and with foster families, supporting them to enhance young lives whilst building long-lasting relationships. Therapeutically trained to work with Foster Parents and a natural people-person who takes a great deal of satisfaction from offering support, guidance and motivation to people, Kevin takes great satisfaction from his role as a Supervising Social Worker, working alongside some amazing families and young people.

Kevin says: “I understand the importance of seeing first-hand the positive changes that come about when children and young people are given opportunities to develop and achieve, so that their self-esteem is raised and their aspirations grow, enabling them to flourish alongside their peers.”

Thea Renee

Supervising Social Worker
20 years sector experience

Thea joined Flourish Fostering in 2021 as a Supervising Social Worker. She provides support and guidance to our Foster Parents alongside undertaking initial and Form F assessments. Thea has various child care and management qualifications including and has over 20 years experience working with children and young people which stemmed from her parents being Foster Parents when she was a teenager.

Thea says: “Seeing children and young people evolve and flourish and grow and making positive changes in their lives is why I do this.”

Josey Collins

Social Work Assistant
15 years sector experience

Following her passion for Social Work, Josey started her career in fostering 15 years ago working in administration and referral teams. She now supports the placement of children and young people with foster families, having developed a considerable amount of expertise in this area. Josey also has experience as an Education Advisor, working alongside young people to support their educational, social and leisure needs. Ambitious in pursuit of becoming a qualified Social Worker, Josey is Flourish’s Social Work Assistant, helping the team in numerous ways including directly supporting children and young people and their Foster Parents.

Josey says: “Fostering is very close to my heart and I love my job at Flourish; it’s great to be part of, and to support, such a dedicated, hard-working and friendly team who do their absolute best to enhance children and young people’s lives.”

Cara Tullett

Psychotherapist
5 years sector experience

Cara is Flourish’s Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist joining the team in 2022. Cara has worked as a children’s therapist in a mixture of schools, working with children, young people and their parents for several years. More recently she has also worked therapeutically with children and young people in care, and alongside this, has also gained valuable experience working therapeutically with Foster Parents, offering support and a reflective space to unpick and think about things together. Cara love’s working in this field finding it extremely rewarding and fulfilling where she feels passionate about connecting with people and supporting them.

Ian Da Nobrega

Finance Manager
15 years sector experience

Ian spent his childhood in Africa, eventually living at a lion sanctuary where he helped to hand raise the lion cubs. He settled in the UK in 2002, developing his financial career in various sectors ranging from mining, property development, retail and pension funds. Ian later married and now lives on the South Coast with his husband for a slower pace of life, setting up his own finance practise from where he supports our Flourish finance team. In his spare time, Ian loves house renovations, gardening and spending lots of time on the beach with his dog as well as being a keen piano player in between volunteering at various charitable events.

Ian says: “I feel privileged to be a part of the Flourish team it places emphasis on putting children, families and staff at the heart of everything it does.”

Tessa Yeates

Supervising Social Worker
28 years sector experience

Tessa worked for 7 years with the homeless before moving into the fostering sector where, for the past two decades, she has worked for different fostering organisations. She supports Foster Parents to provide children and young people with the best possible outcomes in life to reach their full potential, whatever that may be, ensuring to provide guidance and information when needed. Tessa maintains engagement with new and current Foster Parents to ensure they are involved in and have a voice in matters that relate to foster care.

Tessa says: “Seeing a young person who has had a difficult start in life settle, grow and thrive in a foster family and become their own person is extremely rewarding.”

Ian Parker

Marketing Consultant
22 years sector experience

Ian oversees Flourish’s marketing, setting the annual strategy that inform our diverse foster family audience. With a marketing background that spans over 20 years with both private and public sector health and social care brands, Ian spearheads our communication campaigns that seek to engage and educate people about what makes a great Foster Parent, how people can apply to become a Foster Parent as well as creating materials that support their journey with Flourish Fostering.

Ian says: “It’s an honor to be a part of a committed and dedicated team where the marketing function plays such an important role in helping people understand the amazing gift of being a Foster Parent – it’s great to be part of something so special and make a difference in changing children’s lives.”

Krissi Thorp

Office Manager
8 years sector experience

With lots of energy and passion for working in a fast-paced, lively office environments, Krissi is usually the first person to welcome our Foster Parents and visitors to The Cedars. She enjoys being busy and strives for perfection in all she does. Krissi runs the practical aspects of Flourish and keeps thing running smoothly and on schedule; she is often the first port of call for Foster Parents and always helps with whatever is needed in a reliable, prompt, efficient and friendly manner. She enjoys being involved in children’s events and seeing young people thrive and flourish.

Krissi says “Being very family orientated and extremely close to my sisters, I have such pride in being part of the Flourish family; it’s an extraordinary place where each day brings new challenges. I feel very privileged to be part of a team bursting with talent, compassion, and dedication and who are all striving for the same goal.”

Kylie Stacey

Social Work Assistant
2 years sector experience

After studying Politics, Business and Sociology at Rainham Mark Grammar School, Kylie has mostly worked within administration and customer service roles.

Creative and passionate about working with children and young people, Kylie relishes the opportunity to be a part of something so important and finds it very uplifting to see everyone working together to support children in finding happiness and stability. A lover of a good debate, Kylie interests outside work are music, fashion, travel and foreign cultures.

Kylie says: “I love working with all of the wonderful Foster Parents, children, and my colleagues here at Flourish Fostering and seeing the huge impact and difference the organisation makes to young people lives.”

Heidi Butterfield

Administration Assistant
20 years sector experience

Heidi has worked with children and young people for over 20 years. A qualified childcare practitioner, she enjoys working in child focused roles, something she has done within nurseries, schools and colleges as well as with the NSPCC. Heidi is passionate about ensuring children are safe, healthy and secure in their everyday life which is her main reason for pursuing this field of work. At Flourish Heidi supports the administration team ensuring that anyone contacting or visiting the organisation feels welcome and secure in the knowledge that they are supported to make a difference in their lives, developing strong and positive relationships between the team and flourish Fostering.

Nicola Tunbridge

Director
27 years sector experience

Nicola has worked in the independent fostering sector for over 25 years, most notably as an innovative and successful Managing Director. Having been both a Foster Parent and an entrepreneur, Nicola is passionate about the creation of a cutting edge and ‘stand out from the crowd’ fostering provision that truly makes a difference to Foster Parents and to children’s lives. A dedicated Therapeutic Practitioner, she trained at Family Futures Consortium and designed the highly praised ‘The Future is Orange’ course on childhood attachment.

Nicola says: “The support that the Flourish Fostering team provide means that our Foster Parents can get on with their job of looking after children and young people in their care, knowing that they are equally-valued members of the team; I’m here as a ‘hands-on’ Director, committed to ensuring that we provide our Foster Parents with a first-class experience. I am proud that at Flourish we have a warm, family feel to our work that gives everyone a sense of belonging to something good.”

Riz Khan

Director
32 years sector experience

Riz has over 30 years of experience in the health & social care sector, of which 25 years have been at Board level. He has developed a reputation for building value and improving outcomes for children and young people, working alongside some of the country’s leading health and social care organisations. Passionate about supporting people to become the very best Foster Parents they can be and helping children and young people to overcome past childhood trauma by providing opportunities to help change their lives.

Riz says: “My vision is for Flourish Fostering to become a leading specialist therapeutic fostering organisation that attracts the very best Foster Parents and delivers the very best possible care and positive outcomes for children and young people.”

Alfred Foglio

Director
29 years sector experience

Alfred has worked within the health and social care and property sectors for almost three decades, where he has held board positions of various organisations, including Advanced Childcare and Cambian. He served on the Investment Board for the Children’s Services Innovation Programme that was set up by the Department for Education, creating the development of more effective ways of supporting vulnerable children. Alfred is highly committed to making the Foster Parent journey possible for people who wish to provide a safe and caring environment for young people, bringing a wealth of skills to support the Flourish Foster team.

Alfred says: “Making sure that as a Foster Parent, your experience and journey with us is the best it possibly can be is what makes Flourish stand out from our competitors – we’re a friendly, experienced team who will help and support people through each and every step to a life-changing and rewarding career in fostering.”

Katie Sammonds

Finance Director
14 years sector experience

Katie has worked in the health and social care sector at senior financial level for a number of years. She worked as Head of Commercial Finance at Advanced Childcare, the largest provider of children’s residential services, fostering and education in the UK, carrying out group-wide financial analysis, budgeting and forecasting, as well as supporting on numerous acquisitions and integrations, completing investment appraisals for property acquisitions and providing commercial support regarding pricing, tenders and new service launches.

Katie says: “I thoroughly enjoy working in the children’s services sector as it gives me the opportunity as an accountant to feel like I am doing something with meaning, which many finance people don’t get the opportunity to have. I love hearing the success stories of the children in our care – even little progress steps forward – it reminds me why we do this.”

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Kath Hamblett

Manager
31 years sector experience

Kath is a strong, transformational and accomplished leader with over 30 years experience in the Health & Social Care Sector, 11 of these years within fostering. Kath has developed and lead high performing teams in a variety of settings and disciplines and has the ability to naturally identify talent, nurture and encourage individuals by mentoring them to challenge thinking in order to support their aspirational goals. She has significant experience in analytic impact review to drive transformational change through teams and organisations to provide an excellent service in fast paced and complex environments.

Kath says: “I have an innate ability of forging excellent, strong and sustainable relationships at all levels by influencing and negotiating through open and honest communication. I am highly professional and reliable with strong, high-level planning and organisational skills that support strategic development and will give the best possible outcomes for the children and young people in our care.”

Sarah Carter

Housekeeper at The Cedars
3 years experience

Sarah is Flourish’s housekeeper at The Cedars, making sure that the offices are kept clean and tidy for when Foster Parents, and visitors are in attendance for when the team come in to work the following day. When not working at Flourish, Sarah loves spending time with her two daughters Grace and Libby, and her husband Garry. Sarah also enjoys walking her dog Faithy and going to the occasional dog show with her.

Emma Parr

Administration Assistant
12 years experience

Emma has a background of working in secondary schools in both administrative and support roles. Recently this has developed in to offering mindfulness and counselling sessions to young people aged 16 years and over. Emma is passionate about enhancing positive mental health and wellbeing especially among young people.

She is currently completing her Level 5 professional diploma in psychotherapeutic counselling practice and is a qualified hypnotherapist.

At Flourish Emma supports the administration team ensuring that anyone contacting or visiting the organisation feels welcome and secure in the knowledge that they are supported to make a difference in their lives, developing strong and positive relationships between the team and flourish Fostering. Emma will also be running the weekly drama group for Flourish fostering.

Kelly Donaldson

Psychotherapist

Kelly is a Psychotherapist joining the team in 2023. Kelly has been working therapeutically within fostering for the last 5 years, delivering therapeutic training and providing a space for Foster Parents to reflect on the relationship with their Foster Child. Kelly has also gained valuable experience working in the voluntary sector for 13 years predominantly with Young Carers, and youth-led services.

“I am excited to join Flourish because they recognise the importance of valuing and nurturing relationships. I am passionate about anything to do with enhancing people’s lives and sharing that learning in creative and thought-provoking ways.”

Sarah Semper

Therapeutic Practitioner

Sarah has worked as a children’s counsellor for Kids Company and in schools with children and young people. She specialises in participation at Flourish undertaking Voice of the Child activities with each of the children and young people and helping to run workshops.

Mark Taylor

Operations Manager

Mark has over 36 years social work experience in both in the public and private sectors. This has included residential care, child protection and safeguarding teams, and managing fostering teams across the Northwest.

He has been instrumental in the development and progression of regions to become established, supported communities of staff, carers, and young people, with strong connections to both the agency and the local authority.

Mark is a third-generation foster parent himself, supporting young people into adulthood, enabling them to overcome challenges and reach their potential.

Mark says: “I am privileged to be joining Flourish Fostering North at the start of its journey, knowing that their philosophy and values strongly resonate with my own.

I am passionate about providing the best possible care, support, and training to foster parents enabling them to develop the necessary skills and outlook to care for our children and young people.”

Apply to be a Foster Parent