Who we are
Our team is based at our head office in Cheltenham Spa. From here we all focus our efforts to make sure we deliver the best outcomes we can for seriously ill children, young people and families.
Our senior management team have day-to-day responsibility for leading WellChild and the delivery of our strategy, whilst our board of trustees provide strategic leadership and support to ensure that we’re doing what we set out to.
Meet the senior management team
Colin Dyer, Chief Executive
Colin was appointed Chief Executive of WellChild in 2010 having joined the organisation two years earlier. Prior to joining WellChild, Colin spent five years heading up the Steve Redgrave Trust, a charity providing inclusion opportunities for young people across the UK. A qualified senior journalist and former news and sports editor, Colin spent 10 years directing and consulting on sports marketing and sponsorship accounts in the UK and across Europe – including work to incorporate cause-related and charity-focused elements in major sponsorships alongside organisations such as Comic Relief and the World Food Programme. Colin is passionate about ensuring that children and young people have access to the best possible opportunities. One of his proudest achievements has been leading on a change in direction at WellChild from grant funding to the direct, practical support programmes, which are now proving so vital for thousands of families every year. However, in his words, ‘there is still much to do’.
Tara Parker, Director of Programmes
Tara is a registered paediatric nurse with extensive experience across the UK. Her career in paediatrics has spanned both acute and community sectors and she has held senior positions within Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and NHS Acute and Community Trusts. Tara has specialised in commissioning of care for children with complex health needs and disabilities. Her move to WellChild will enable her to continue the important work of championing the rights of some of the most vulnerable children and young people and their families in the UK. Tara is mother to two children, one of whom who has complex needs and this has enabled her to gain a unique insight to both the lived experience and the professional challenges.
Matt James, Director of Communications & Engagement
Matt joined WellChild in 2015 following over ten years marketing in the technology industry. Prior to joining WellChild, Matt co-founded Eccomplished, a consultancy advising early-stage retail technology companies on marketing, growth and fundraising. Matt was previously responsible for UK demand generation at MessageLabs (now part of Symantec) and ran marketing across Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa for Websense. Matt leads the communications and engagement teams at WellChild, ensuring that the charity continues to punch above its weight in getting the issues faced by thousands of families across the UK firmly in the public eye. Matt has an MBA from Cardiff Business School and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He has a keen interest in the transformative potential of digital technology for social good and has been instrumental in the early development of a new mobile app to help parents manage their child’s complex medicine routines.
Emily Henderson, Director of Operations
Emily joined WellChild in 2019, having worked in business management and operational roles across various sectors, concentrating on the health, social care and charity sectors more specifically in the last 6 years. Emily works across the organisation and manages the operational and support services including business processes, finance, IT, Health & Safety, Data Protection and front of house to ensure that WellChild runs smoothly, efficiently and effectively. Emily is skilled at assessing the services that an organisation uses, such as IT, telephony and database to ensure they are robust, secure and effectively adhere to GDPR. Emily has undertaken training covering leadership and management, IT, health & safety and business administration.
Abby Guilding, Director of Fundraising
Abby joined WellChild in 2020 and has worked in the voluntary sector for nearly 10 years. After studying dietetics, she found her place within the charity sector and prior to joining the team Abby headed up a Gloucestershire food charity. Whilst there, she was fundamental in the creation of flagship social enterprise projects; establishing relationships with commissioners and supporters; redefining the charity’s goals; and developing new income streams.
Abby is passionate about health and wellbeing and enjoys developing sustainable relationships to make significant impacts. As the newly appointed Director of Fundraising at WellChild, she will be working to establish a stable and ambitious growth in income to allow the organisation to deliver its new charitable strategy.
In her spare time, Abby enjoys cooking for family and friends, and can often be found on long dog walks across the Cotswolds.
Meet our board of trustees
Craig Hatch, Chair
With four children, including Fraser who has Cerebral Palsy and a large amount of daily care needs, Craig has first-hand experience of the challenges facing families caring for a child with complex health needs. As a WellChild Parent Ambassador, Craig has spoken about his experiences at a number of conferences, events and was part of the team that spearheaded the #notanurse_but campaign, shining a light on the reality of life behind closed doors for thousands of families. Craig is Group Managing Director at global professional services firm, WYG Group. He is a Chartered Surveyor and a Fellow of both the RICS and CIOB.
Nick Fisher, WellChild Vice Chairman
Enjoying a business career spanning four decades Nick brings a wealth of experience to the WellChild board of trustees. Nick is the owner and CEO of Venture Studios, a nationwide family photography business. He has a PLC corporate background and is used to working in a disciplined and compliant structure. He is a member of the WellChild audit committee and in 2018 was appointed vice chairman of the board of trustees. He is a founder member of the corporate development board and also an advisor to the senior management team in his specialist area of marketing and fundraising.
Rosalind Futter, WellChild Treasurer
Rosalind became a WellChild Trustee and Treasurer in 2018. Rosalind is a chartered accountant with nearly 20 years’ experience in practice and industry working for companies such as Andersen, PwC, Reuters and BT. She is currently Commercial Finance Director for Landsec, the UK’s the largest commercial property development and investment company. In addition to her role as Treasurer, Rosalind also chairs WellChild’s Audit Sub-committee.
Huw joined WellChild as a Trustee in 2017 having been a member of the WellChild Advisory Panel. Huw was a consultant in child health for 30 years based at the Children’s Hospital for Wales in Cardiff and has a wealth of experience in the clinical aspects of healthcare for children and young people. He was seconded (half time) for seven years to the Welsh Assembly Government as the first National Director of Clinical Services for Children and Young People and adviser to three Health Ministers. One of the specific responsibilities was the production of the National Service Framework and the policy for Specialist Services for Children & Young People. Huw is a passionate advocate that children’s services should be central to UK healthcare priorities.
Liz is a registered general nurse and children’s nurse with extensive experience across the UK, beginning at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. A former Director of Nursing at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Chief Nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Liz was professional advisor for children and young people’s health policy at the Department of Health, where she worked on several national policy initiatives for children, young people and families. She has been a lecturer at the University of Central England and Birmingham University and is currently an independent nursing and healthcare advisor having recently held the role of Director of Nursing and Patient Services for G4S Healthcare Services Ltd. Liz holds an MSc Public Sector Management from Aston University, Birmingham.
Leanne is mum to three daughters, Erica, Sophie and Kyla. Sophie has cerebral palsy and multiple complex needs. Leanne has worked at regional and national levels to improve services for children and young people living with serious health needs and is the driving force behind the parent-led #notanurse_but campaign. Through the campaign, Leanne has shared her experience through a powerful series of video diaries, which have been viewed widely online and used to educate child health professionals and decision makers across the sector. As a WellChild Parent Ambassador and campaigner, Leanne has spoken at many conferences and events, sharing her experiences caring for her daughter and her passion for making a positive change to services and helping raise awareness of WellChild’s work.
Ruth is a Fundraising & Marketing Consultant for charities based in the west country. She has over 20 years experience in developing and delivering on challenging fundraising and sales targets. Ruth particularly enjoys integrating marketing and strategy with innovative fundraising. Prior to becoming a consultant Ruth was Director of Marketing and Supporter Development at WWT, based at Slimbridge. Ruth led a large team delivering over £12m income for wetland conservation around the world. She also worked at Pilotlight, a charity which brings together business leaders with small charities in a way that benefits both parties. In the private sector, Ruth worked in marketing and sales for many food and drink brands including Muller, Unilever and Sainsbury’s.
Simon is a Partner and Solicitor and the head of the Court of Protection and Deputyship team at Kingsley Napley LLP solicitors. He acts as a professional deputy or as a professional trustee for a broad range of clients, all with a multitude of differing needs and requirements including lacking mental capacity, specialising in property and financial affairs. Many have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of medical negligence or personal injury, some have a mental illness or dementia, others have a learning disability. He has particular experience of working with young children and adults who have cerebral palsy and their families.
Simon is a member of the Law Society, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the Court of Protection Practitioners Association (COPPA) and the Professional Deputies Forum (PDF).
WellChild Nurses provide specialist care and practical support to seriously ill children, young people and their families. They play a crucial role in enabling children to leave hospital and be cared for at home, reducing the practical, emotional and financial impact for families. WellChild have funded 38 WellChild Nurse posts across the UK.Meet some of our WellChild Nurses
Helping increasing numbers of seriously ill children and their families relies on our ability to understand and respond to the critical issues facing our key stakeholders, to grow our income streams efficiently and build a sustainable and effective organisation. This is why we invest time listening to and developing our family, professional and commercial advisory networks to help guide our charitable and business development strategy.