Meet the Team | Explore Relationships
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Meet The Team

At the centre of Explore’s work is a small but committed team as well as a community of dedicated volunteers who support our work. We are governed by a team of volunteer Trustees, chaired by Angus Somerville, and are led by our CEO Amanda Edwards.

TRUSTEES

Angus Somerville, Chair

Angus joined the Board in 2016 and became its Chairman in June 2018.

 

After a full career in the Royal Navy, and subsequent CEO roles in the medical charity sector, he now serves on his church’s Pastoral Committee and is Chair of the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) at Winchester Prison. These varied roles have given him valuable yet hugely different perspectives on human lives and, especially in the case of the IMB, the extreme consequences of broken families and bad relationships.

 

Angus knows only too well how fortunate he is to have enjoyed a stable, happy family of his own, following his marriage to Joanna in 1981, with two now grown-up children, and recently the delight of a grandson. He fervently wants young people to have the same experience, and believes that understanding what it takes to build and sustain a lasting, healthy, loving relationship is vital for their futures.

Jane Reap, Treasurer

Jane was appointed as Treasurer for Explore in 2018.

 

She has had a long career in delivering business and IT change within the Financial Services Industry, and is now taking a career break before deciding on her next role.

 

She is a Treasurer trustee for the Heartline Families charity and is a Local Authority School Governor for a primary school in Basingstoke. Jane has been married twice: sadly, both marriages ended in divorce.

 

Jane lives in Old Basing with her teenage daughter, two cats, three hens and three ducks. She enjoys playing tennis, gardening and country walks.

Katie Thom, Trustee

Katie joined Explore as a Trustee in 2017. She brings with her twenty years of educational experience.

 

Katie supports Explore because she strongly believes that good quality marriage and relationships education will help young adults make better-informed and safer relationship decisions later on in life.

 

Katie’s specialisms include knowledge and understanding of the new Relationships and Sex Curriculum and best practise in PSHE.  She was also the Designated Safeguard Lead in her last school and helps to ensure that Explore keeps up-to-date with its safeguarding policy and procedures.

Suzie Simmons, Trustee

With over 16 years’ experience within the fundraising sector, Suzie’s day job is Head of Fundraising at regional children and young adult hospice where she strategically leads the community, corporate, Trusts and major donor team within the charity. Suzie started her fundraising career volunteering with a youth development charity in Namibia and was inspired to have a career change having previously worked in the luxury hotel industry. Alongside her day job and Explore, she is a Trustee for her local pre-school as well as a volunteer peer supporter for breastfeeding mother and babywearing parents.

 

Suzie joined Explore in 2018 and is passionate about the work of the charity. Being married to David and with two small children, she was lucky to be have been raised in an equally secure and loving environment which enable her to aspire for those ambitions herself.  What Explore can offer all young people, but especially those who have experienced separation as a family or similar is that they too can have these aspirations and the understating they can glean from an Explore session will equip them with skills that they will no doubt pull on throughout their lifetime.  That to Suzie, makes what Explore does, rather special.

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Lois Hill, Trustee

Lois joined the board in 2020 as Explore’s very first young trustee.

 

She demonstrates a portfolio of work within the third sector, from serving on the National Members Council at the Co-op to running her own youth social mobility organisation during the first covid-19 lockdown.

 

Lois has an infectious passion and drive towards educating and supporting young people to give them the best start in life. She feels that it is integral for them to be well-informed and educated on relationships in order for them to ensure that any partnerships they build are safe and healthy. She believes that these qualities are fundamental in facilitating growth and success in every aspect of a young person’s life.

 

Lois is excited to help co-design and facilitate Explore’s inaugural youth panel and is delighted to join the board at such an exciting time for the charity. She hopes that her role at Explore will help to amplify young voices and ensure that the charity continues to adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of future generations.

Dan Cottrell, Trustee

Dan joined the Board in 2021.

 

He has worked extensively with young people in a variety of environments. In his work with the Prince’s Trust, he helped create confidence to take business plans to the market. In his school and tutoring roles, he has developed resources and lesson plans that have enhanced learning outcomes, including some of the market-leading materials. Most significantly, from his sports coaching roles with players, coaches and teams from grassroots through to semi-professional and international, he has been able to help people, young and old, become better versions of themselves.

 

His current main role is Managing Editor of the world’s number one rugby coaching website. He also coaches and mentors rugby coaches across a variety of teams, clubs and schools. He brings a wealth of experience in learning, working with young people and their parents. Having launched and developed the rugby coaching website, he has written over two million words on rugby and coaching.

 

With this background, he is keen to support Explore to build multi-channel learning opportunities. Every time Explore opens a young person’s mind to the enormous value of strong relationships, once that young person is made to feel valued and therefore motivated to discover more, there is every opportunity to continue to reflect and grow.

 

Dan lives in Bristol and is a keen golfer when he’s not coaching.

Emily Emiru, Trustee

Emily joined Explore as a youth panellist in early 2021. She thoroughly enjoyed engaging in discussions with her fellow panellists and participated in a social media takeover as part of the Power of Youth Festival during which she spoke about how young people can make a difference through volunteering. Following her positive contributions to the youth panel, Emily was appointed as an Associate of the Board of Trustees and looks forward to bringing a new perspective to the charity’s work.

 

Emily has a wealth of experiences related to youth work and has contributed to youth-related causes in many ways, including through serving as a youth panellist, ambassador and charity co-ordinator. Emily is particularly passionate about public speaking and loves to use this skill to share advice and stories, as well as to engage with those in positions of power who can help to improve outcomes for young people. She has been involved in the delivery of many virtual and in-person events related to careers, social mobility and personal development.

 

Emily does this alongside studying Economics at the University of Nottingham.

TEAM

Amanda Edwards, CEO

Having spent the first 10 years of her career in Financial Services, in 2010 Amanda was inspired to take a change of direction and move to the Charity sector.  After 9 years working with an international mentoring charity, including several years as Chief Operating Officer, Amanda joined Explore as Chief Executive in the summer of 2019.

 

Having witnessed and experienced the significant benefits of mentoring built on open and trusting relationships, the Explore methodology, where adult couples have open and authentic dialogues with young people about their relationship experiences, really struck a chord with Amanda.

 

Amanda experienced family separation (both through bereavement and divorce) in childhood, and therefore believes that providing young people with the opportunity to explore relationships as a young person has a significant positive effect on lifelong wellbeing. Amanda lives in Bristol with her family.

Liz Chisnall, Head of Operations

Liz joined the team at Explore in 2019 as Hampshire Local Development Officer and really enjoyed getting to know our local volunteers and schools in Hampshire. In her current role as Head of Operations, she enjoys working alongside all our Local Development Officers and volunteers to provide young people with our fantastic Explore sessions.

 

Having worked for youth charities in the past and volunteering with young people for many years, Liz loves the opportunity to combine these skills to reach young people with relationship skills training they can relate to through our model. Her experience with young people has convinced her that soft skills and relationship skills, in particular, are really key to young people’s happiness and ability to transition into and succeed in the adult world. Having run her own business she is also experienced in the background tasks needed to ensure we are in a great position to continue our mission to reach more young people with Explore’s fantastic sessions.

 

Liz lives on the South Coast with her husband and four children.

Zoe Adams, Senior Local Development Officer

Zoe operates along the M4 corridor supporting Berkshire and parts of Wiltshire. Zoe believes in the mission of Explore and sees it as a privilege to be able to help facilitate a safe, honest space for young people to ask questions and form opinions on healthy, long term relationships. Having come from a separated family, she knows the challenges first hand of a marriage breakdown and the effects that this can have on a young person’s own outlook on relationships.

 

Zoe has a First-Class Honours degree from Oxford Brookes University in English Language and Education. Through her degree, she was able to see evidence of how relationships impact on all aspects of a young person’s life including their education.

 

She has experience working with children and young people in various capacities, supporting young adults’ social and emotional wellbeing in the UK and abroad.

Andrea Tiller, Local Development Officer, Kent

Andrea is extremely proud to work for Explore and is driven by the authenticity of the sessions. She supports opportunities that navigate and normalise imperfection and difference, utilising trust and equality to form a positive framework for relationships to grow.  Andrea has seen young people struggle in a society saturated with superficial outlets and has witnessed the negative impact this can have on decision making.

 

Andrea has previous experience of working with young people having taught English and Drama to students of mixed ages and abilities both in the UK and overseas. She is experienced in guiding students through enquiry, harnessing their reflective and analytical skills.

 

Andrea holds a Masters of Research Degree from the University of Hull.

Gemma Davis, Local Development Officer, Hampshire

Gemma is delighted to have joined the Explore team in early 2022. She feels passionate that the unique couples’ workshops offered by Explore will help inform young people by modelling a realistic and healthy long-term relationship.

 

Gemma is training to become a humanistic integrative counsellor and as part of this has completed a working with young people course. The learning Gemma has taken from this experience has reinforced her belief that an Explore workshop can give young people the gift of insight and awareness, helping them to make positive changes in their own future relationships.

 

Gemma had an early career in pharmaceutical sales and marketing. Alongside her current Explore role and counselling training, she is also a volunteer police cadet leader and a volunteer to support dyslexic readers in school. Gemma is divorced after a 20-year marriage and lives in Barton on Sea with her three teenage children.

Yosra Elhamamy, Assistant Local Development Officer, London & Essex

Yosra joined Explore in 2021. She has lots of experience in volunteering, specifically working with children and young people with disabilities, as well as working with adults, all in a diverse range of roles.

She holds an undergraduate degree in Anthropology.

Explore resonates with Yosra because of what it wishes to teach and do, in terms of improving the relationship experience for young people, to be able to form better and healthy relationships with others in their personal lives and beyond, through workshops and much more.

Sarah Stone, Local Development Officer, Buckinghamshire

Sarah works for Explore in Bucks. She is very proud to be working with the charity and is looking forward to building new links with schools and other organisations working with young people.

In a time when so many of us are part of a ‘blended ‘ families, and many relationships in our lives may be challenging, Sarah feels it is a privilege to be able to help create and facilitate sessions where young people are actively encouraged to ask the ‘tough’ questions about maintaining successful relationships.

Sarah believes that Explore sessions are vital for all young people to access.

Having previously worked within schools, she has experience of working with teenagers at what is often a critical time in their lives, and helping them achieve the most from important extracurricular experiential sessions.

Faye Southey, Local Development Officer Essex & London

Faye joined Explore as LDO for Essex / London in early 2022.

 

Faye has been working with children and young people for the past 16 years, most recently within the charity sector focusing on inclusive play and leisure opportunities for disabled young people and young adults.

 

She feels privileged to now hold honest and open spaces for young people through Explore’s work, offering a springboard for their own personal exploration into their values and desires for the future.

 

Faye has a real passion for supporting the foundations of young people’s futures, particularly around subjects related to sex and relationships. She is committed to changing the narratives for our future generations by breaking down stigma and helping young people feel heard and supported as they transition into adulthood.

Ellie Fass-Roads, Local Development Officer Bristol

Ellie joined the Explore team in 2022 as the LDO for Bristol.

She has spent many years supporting volunteers; through business with an education charity, and young volunteers at two different universities, also with the youth charity Young Bristol.

She qualified as a youth worker and took her role in a different direction, supporting young people with drink and drug addictions as an early intervention worker, covering schools across Bristol. Through this she developed an interest in helping young people with their mental health, and she trained to teach mindfulness to children and teens, which she did in schools and through the youth mental health charity Off the Record.

She is very keen to be involved with the work of Explore, having lived through a difficult parental divorce, which impacted greatly on her mental health. She believes the youth-led model is where young people can freely explore and learn about their own wellbeing for the future.

Ellie lives in Bristol with her husband and two children.

Yvonne Williams, Facilitator

Yvonne joined Explore in 2020 as a Facilitator and has a background in sales, administration and education. She has over 10 years  facilitation experience working with mainly young men that offend, assisting them to improve their communication skills , life chances and consider positive life choices.

 

This has been achieved by engaging the young men in open dialogue about any topic  that is important to them, controversial or otherwise and also structured discussion.  They are encouraged to speak freely, but appropriately and experience has shown that we can all learn from each other, although do not always have to agree. In this role she has been a listening ear, an educator and a sounding board to young people from diverse backgrounds who often say they feel unheard and disenfranchised.

 

She has a degree in Race and Culture, which she is very proud of and the university experience changed her life, particularly in regard to understanding her own identity. Celebrating and learning from difference is one of her passions and she particularly supports empowering diverse communities to be proud of their heritage, traditions and identity and to share their knowledge and customs with others for the benefit of all.

Natasha Rees, Facilitator

Natasha has been facilitating Explore sessions since early 2018.  Previously the LDO for Hampshire, she now runs her own RSE organisation, delivering lessons on a wide range of topics including consent, self-esteem, puberty, and pornography.

There are plenty of examples of unhealthy relationships in culture today, and while young people can be helped to spot those red flags, there aren’t many places to see what healthy relationships might look like instead.  Explore are brilliant at providing exactly that, and giving students hope that no matter what they might have seen in the media – or even in their own lives – a happy, long-lasting, healthy relationship is absolutely something they can have in their future.

She lives in Farnborough with her husband, a science teacher who sometimes joins her to be a volunteer couple!

Rose Abrehart, Facilitator

Rose joined the team at Explore in early 2021 as Local Development Officer for Essex, and has now moved to a facilitator role with the team.

Having spent the last twenty years working exclusively in the voluntary sector with young people and families, Rose understands how the issues families can experience, including bereavement, divorce and separation, can impact on young people and their ability to form strong relationships.

Rose has been a volunteer all her life. She is passionate about the benefits volunteering brings to families and young people, the community and the volunteers themselves.

She has lived across the South East and in France, returning to Essex 10 years ago. She has been married for over 35 years.

OUR PATRONS
Sir Anthony Seldon

Sir Anthony Seldon

Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham

Sir Paul Coleridge

Professor Joy Carter CBE DL