Meet The Team
Director & Mental Health Lead
I am a qualified mental health nurse, ACT therapist, and have training in Behavioural Family Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I have also worked in residential schools for children with autism. I have 13 years’ experience in working with adults and young people in the field of mental health and I am shocked that each year there are more and more children coming into contact with mental health services.
I am so passionate about the need to deliver evidence-based emotional literacy and mental health awareness to our children. Not only because I believe that there is a current crisis in the area of mental health but also to simply support children to develop effective self-care and management of their emotions so that they can go on to live a fulfilled life!
I am thrilled to be a part of Bridge the Gap Child Mental Health in delivering this much-needed work, across our city and beyond.
A little about me: I live with my husband and my two children (7 years and 5 years). I love everything outdoors, whatever the season, and we are regular campers! I think it is so important to find time to relax and my favourite way to do this is always with a book.
Founder, Director & Parenting Lead
As an experienced early years educator and nanny, I've worked and studied within child development for over 22 years, discovering emotional literacy through my role.
The more I utilised emotional literacy the more I saw the impact at home, in school, and how it has a positive impact on every child; that's when I founded Bridge the Gap.
I still love working with children and teaching them about emotions and mental health and I also love to support parents and build a good relationship with them through both 1:1 coaching, and when running the parent course and workshops.
On a personal note, I have two children (18 and 12) at home with myself, my husband, and an anxious rescue dog called Ruby. I love musicals and sea turtles (as of yet haven't found a combination of the two) and have experienced both crippling childhood and adult anxiety over the years. Founding and developing Bridge the Gap is a vocation and I am committed to making a difference to the children in my city and beyond.
I am a chartered accountant and chartered tax advisor and whilst I have no experience in child mental health, what Bridge the Gap Child Mental Health are achieving and set out to achieve is something that I’m super passionate about! I’m looking forward to supporting and guiding the incredible team in this exciting new chapter.
Outside of work I love spending time with my husband and two little ones, you’ll find us outside walking, playing, picnicking, or splashing in puddles! For me, a run, a yoga session, or a good book are the perfect way to wind down and get some important relaxation time.
Community Mental Health Practitioners
& Clinical Supervisors
& Clinical Supervisor
I have been a qualified mental health nurse for over 10 years. During this time I have developed a wealth of experience in person-centered, recovery focussed, and compassionate care.
I have a strong holistic approach to positive mental health and wellbeing. I manage a project called Hannah Fields which is a community garden aimed at supporting people's wellbeing through combatting social isolation and reconnecting us to our natural environment.
I am passionate about supporting our young people in what is an ever-increasing challenging environment to grow up in. I am thrilled to be working with Bridge the Gap and look forward to the opportunity to contribute to such a vital service. As both a parent and professional I have seen the need to provide our children with the support and guidance to be able to lead secure and fulfilled lives.
I love spending time with my family and have two children, aged 16 and 18. I enjoy spending as much time in nature as possible, whether it's growing food, planting trees, or just relaxing!
Community Practitioner & Clinical Supervisor
I have worked as an Occupational Therapist for the past 12 years with a core aim to provide high-quality holistic care.
I currently work within the NHS as a senior therapist at the Pulvertaft Hand Centre. I have an interest in the relationship between physical and mental health and the combined impact on recovery; applying research evidence to everyday activities. Previously working with acute mental health settings has shaped me as an individual and as an Occupational Therapist.
There is currently a crisis in children and young people’s mental health. Young people deserve to have their needs met and support provided in ways individual to them. Emotional literacy enables young people to understand and express their feelings; taking control of their own mental health and well-being.
Working for the Bridge the Gap enables me to empower young people to become emotionally literate, content, with a greater sense of confidence and self-esteem, which in turn will result in them becoming resilient adults; I’m not sure there’s a better job!
Outside of work, I enjoy being with my husband juggling family life and a never-ending house ‘fixer-upper’! spending time outdoors, and we love to go on holiday. I am a keen, if not successful baker and use this as a way to relax!
Community Practitioner & Clinical Supervisor
I graduated from Essex University in 2019 with a Masters in Occupational Therapy and currently work in an NHS psychosis team.
I am chuffed to be joining a team with values so closely aligned to my own. Prior to working with Bridge the Gap, I worked as a paediatric occupational therapy assistant; a job which I adored and inspired me to retrain! Here I worked with children with a variety of disabilities and behavioural needs; however, I was struck by the profound impact these conditions often had on self-esteem and confidence, and how difficult it was to access support.
The recent pandemic is likely to have lasting effects on not only our children but for us too. Evidence shows that 1 in 4 adults experience difficulties with their mental wellbeing. I am passionate about supporting children through early intervention and in turn, their parents to develop their knowledge about emotional literacy; developing stronger relationships, and enabling our children to manage their emotions; a core life skill.
Outside of work, my two children (12 & 8) keep my boyfriend and me busy! I love being outside, especially pottering in my garden or out for long walks. It’s important to make time for myself and schedule in time to bake, paint, or read a magazine with a cuppa!
I’m excited to be bringing the Bridge the Gap vision to my little town in Essex and working with the team to empower our young people.
I have been a qualified mental health nurse for 19 years. I have experience working in a variety of mental health areas including self-harm, psychosis, and substance misuse. I have provided support and clinical supervision to colleagues for many years.
I am currently working within the NHS as a Trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioner within mental health. I have an interest in bringing together mental health and physical health, raising the importance of mental health, and reducing the stigma people may face.
I feel privileged to be joining Bridge the Gap to support the work that they do. I know personally and professionally the benefits the team together with their approach benefits young people and their families.
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and 2 children (ages 12 & 8). I like being active and outdoors. Yoga, running and music are my balance in life.
Community Mental Health & Systemic Family Practitioner
Hi, my name is Marie Levesley and I'm a Registered Nurse and Systemic Family Practitioner.
I also currently work as a service manager for an IAPT service (Talking Mental Health Derbyshire). My core qualification is as an RGN but I specialised in School Health nursing and working with a number of young people struggling with self-harming behaviours, evolved to working in CAMHS.
With CAMHS I completed the post grad CBT certificate, and then went on to complete the CYP IAPT Systemic Family Practice course at Manchester University.
I've lived in Derby for most of my working life, although I grew up near Oxford. I love being outside in the sunshine, live music, creating and crafting, and a good cuppa. At home, I'm kept busy with a teenager, 2 dogs, and 3 cats.
Creative Expressive Therapists
I recently graduated from the University of Derby with a BA in Creative Expressive Therapies (Creative Arts, Health, & Wellbeing). Having taken a couple of years out of education before deciding on the right career path, I was able to really look at what I wanted to contribute to the world and how I could do that.
Over the last three years, I have learned and refined my knowledge and skills of integrating creativity with education and how to use it to benefit the well-being of others. During my final year, I looked more heavily at the benefits of equipping young people with the skills and support they need to maintain their own mental health now and in the future. With this, I was lucky enough to complete my placement module with Bridge the Gap and I saw what incredible work they do in and around the community.
I look forward to working with Bridge the Gap providing creative workshops and private support.
Outside of work, I enjoy doing craft projects, visiting friends and family, visiting new places, and walking with my partner and our dog Bodhi!
I am a creative and therapeutic practitioner, my aim is to help people create to express. Since graduating with BA (Hons) in creative and therapeutic arts at the University of South Wales, I have been able to gain three years of experience, facilitating my own workshops and working with children and adults with mental health needs and learning disabilities.
Since Graduating I have earned another 3 years of experience in facilitation through my own business called Bello Mind and Soul. I have been involved in health and wellbeing festivals, charity events, and worked closely with local schools. I can offer a group or one to one workshops structured around your own personal goals and what you want to achieve!
I specialise in multimedia and recycled materials and sensory art. I believe that it is about the process of the art-making and not the outcome, let's create to express together! I am so excited to be part of the team at Bridge the Gap.
Play and Creative arts Therapist
and filial play coach
I am a play and creative arts therapist working with children and families and have also trained as a filial play coach, which is about working alongside parents and carers and harnessing the power of play. I started my career as an early years teacher and worked in schools and local authorities for over 25 years with a focus on personal, social, and emotional development and inclusion.
Experience has taught me that the quality of our relationships across our lives has a huge impact on our development and wellbeing so I also work as a trainer and consultant with early years settings, schools, and other organisations that work with children. I talk about attachment, brain development, self-regulation, trauma, relationships, play, and storytelling with a view that when we have the information we need, we are in the best place to support ourselves and others.
When not working, I’m an enthusiastic artist, maker, and love working outside – these things keep me grounded and connected to myself.
I’m thrilled to be able to work alongside Bridge the Gap and am excited about where this connection can lead! Contact Fiona here.
As Jennifer's mother, I have been supporting Bridge the Gap since the beginning, seeing it develop and watching it evolve through hard work and it's brilliant to see how they support children, and their parents and teachers.
The work the team does for vulnerable children is amazing and will help those children to achieve their potential in spite of the considerable issues they face.
I qualified in reflexology in 2006 with an ITEC diploma and had my own business for a few years until family commitments made me cut down on my work. Now I'm looking forward to helping the team at Bridge the Gap to support those who use their services.
My role will be to provide complimentary hand and foot massages in a relaxing and stress-free environment and hopefully help those who use my services to leave feeling uplifted.
A little about myself: I'm mostly retired and enjoy spending my time with my husband, grown up children, and grandchildren.
To help myself to relax and recharge I enjoy reading a good book, walking, and crocheting owls for Bridge the Gap support packs.
Essential Oils Consultant
& Membership Coordinator
My name is Anya and am passionate about sharing dŌTERRA Essential Oils with you.
I am Mum to 2 amazing boys aged 9 and 13, married to Carl, and have a gorgeous Mini Schnauzer called Milly.
I started getting interested in Essential Oils to help our well-being as a family. I started with Lavender, it is so very calming, it's antiseptic and promotes sleep – what is there not to love! BUT I bought a supermarket one and it was really pleasant but when you smell the dŌTERRA Lavender Oil – there was no comparison!
I fell in love with dŌTERRA oils and use them every day in my house for the wellness and health of my family, we use them to clean our house too, trying to eliminate toxins from our cleaning products (have you seen the ingredients list on a bottle of cleaner!) and for support for our emotions too.
It is so important to look after ourselves and I try and take time out (not easy with a family) but little things can add up, I love taking a Lavender and Epsom salt bath – it’s so incredibly relaxing (with the door locked and some soft music), I love Pilates and can not wait to get back to my lessons – its been so hard to do anything online during this trying time of working from home, homeschooling and regulating emotions. I love my family time, I love a good movie and a Gin and Tonic! Having downtime, even 5 minutes a day to pray and be thankful is so important to our health and our mood. My happy place is walking along the beach at 7.00 am with Milly and the sun coming up.
I will be doing 121 sessions at Bridge the Gap and I am very excited to meet you and support your learning and using these beautiful oils to help and support your families.
You can join my private Facebook page by finding me at “Be Blessed at That Rainbow Place” for tips on how to use the oils, green cleaning, and lots of other interesting snippets.
support pack coordinator
My name is Katie I’m married to Nik and I’m a mum to two gorgeous but very lively boys aged 11 and 9.
I first found Bridge the Gap in January 2020, their parenting course had been recommended to me to help with my eldest son's emotional struggles.
After the course, I felt so informed and empowered as a parent and finally, all my son's struggles made sense. The more I found out about Bridge the Gap the more I knew I wanted to be involved. So when I saw a volunteering opportunity arise I didn’t hesitate to apply. I’m so excited to be part of an incredible community and look forward to supporting the Bridge the Gap team.
Ambassador & Event Support
Originally from the North East of England, I have lived in Derby since 1990. I have been married to my wife Jo-Anne for 19 years and have two teenage children. A keen cyclist and football supporter I celebrated a milestone birthday this year!
Currently working at Wyndham Primary Academy supporting a wide range of children in an Attachment aware, Trauma-informed setting and 'Outstanding' mainstream school.
There is so much more work to be done in our schools as well as teaching. I am working in a newly developed role bespoke to our school under the banner of Emotional health and Mental well being, coaching our children to be able to grow and learn safely and effectively while being able to understand and talk about their emotions, creating strategies for times when they can't.
I am super excited to be working with two professionals as respected as Jen and Nikki and I'm passionate about supporting Bridge the Gap develop their services and expand their reach further into the communities that so desperately need support.
Funding Manager Curriculum Advisor
When my wife Jennifer first told me about her vision for supporting child mental health, I knew that it was needed and that I wanted to support her.
I've been a teacher for 13 years and know how important Emotional Literacy is and how vital it is for restorative conversations, I feel like I've been on this journey with Jen; it has transformed both my parenting and my teaching.
I'm pleased to be able to support in a practical way as well, writing and managing funding bids is new to me - I was thrilled when we won our first bid!
On a personal note, I like to relax by gardening, playing golf, and walking the dog with my family; I am also a massive Spurs fan, but I can't say that's relaxing!
Bridge the Gap has such an important role to play within the community, I am very proud to be a part of it.
Jennifer and her team provide a valuable service in and around the Derby area – supporting parents, children, and schools in building knowledge and skills to deal with children’s mental health.
There’s no other service like Bridge the Gap and families can sometimes wait for extended periods to get help from the NHS. Jen and Nikki need to spread their time and message to help people in need – but time is short. That’s why I’m excited to join the team as a volunteer – to free up some of their valuable hours so that they can do what they do best.
I put the newsletter together as well as meeting and greeting at drop-in sessions when I can.
I’ve got my own experience of supporting a child through anxiety – and I couldn’t do it without Bridge the Gap.
Jennifer and Nikki have plans to move this organisation forward and that’s why I’m excited to be a part of the team.