The Team at Brathay Trust

Our team of 180 employees and 200+ volunteers consists of passionate, skilled and experienced people. They love what they do and embody Brathay's values of inspire, support, share and achieve.

Here's a flavour of them:

Kelly Lester - Receptionist

Kelly Lester


In my role I work mainly on reception, dealing with bookings, customers and everyday occurrences.

I have been working for Brathay since 2012, and the best part has been seeing our department excel throughout the years.

My working day involves manning reception and answering phone and email queries. Checking guests in, selling sweets, sending out mail campaigns, updating booking websites - no day is the same!

To me, Brathay means making a difference in people’s lives.

Something that few of my colleagues know about me is that I was once on Songs of Praise!

Fozia Nazneen - Family Key Worker

Fozia Nazneen

Family Key Worker

I have been working at Brathay’s Bradford based office since 2013. We work with children, young people and families that may have various issues such as low attendance at school, have suffered Domestic Violence issues, suffering from mental health/emotional/psychological issues, or are out of work and need support.

What I like about my job is that every day is different, as some families may need intense support and some families may not. We have a lot of assessments, referrals and contact logs to fill in. However we are always out of the office due to the amount of visits we have to do with each family.

We always make sure that we work with other professionals and liaise with them in regards to the issues with each family to promote effective work.

The highlight of working here is getting to work with such a vast range of people and seeing the changes in the people we have worked with.

P.S. I have done a skydive through Brathay!

Chris Nicholls - Tutor

Chris Nicholls


My job is to provide outdoor technical support and run development courses with for young people.

Having worked here since 2014, my favourite day of the year is our annual ASICS Windermere Marathon, but I also really enjoy the work we do with young people in care. Brathay is an opportunity to do really good work, with really good people in a beautiful place.

One of the best things about my job is that there isn’t really a typical day, but a typical week will involve being out on the lake with the whaler boats or canoeing, a trip to a ghyll, being involved in some small projects, and running high ropes activities.

P.S. My favourite food is falafels.

Julie Whiting - ​Assistant Head of Community Provision

Julie Whiting

​Assistant Head of Community Provision

In my role I focus on Business Development for the West Yorkshire Region.

I have been working for Brathay since 2010, and the highlight has to be being part of developing something special in Bradford, from moving into Cathedral Halls, to having an amazing delivery team who are all passionate about the work Brathay do.

For me, Brathay is like having an extended family; I feel very lucky to be part of developing programmes which provide children, young people and families with life changing opportunities.

A typical day may include meetings with clients, funders, commissioners, developing programmes, and writing reports.

P.S. I volunteer knitting for Bradford SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death) Charity.

Lucy Maynard - Head of Research

Lucy Maynard

Head of Research

As Head of Research I work with a team of researchers to better understand, develop and evidence the impact of our work at Brathay.

I have been working here since 2007, and every day starts with a coffee and a walk to work at our inspiring Lake District HQ … #appreciative!

To me, Brathay is a place where we can create spaces for people to learn and grow.

The highlight of my time here has been seeing how our work supports young people to grow and develop in ways they never imagined possible.

Alyson Knowles  - Operations Manager Challenge Events

Alyson Knowles

Operations Manager Challenge Events

My job is to organise the operations behind our ASICS’ Windermere Marathon, 10in10, and cycling events.

I started working for Brathay in 1998, and the highlight has to be playing a key part in supporting our 10in10 inspirational runners on their amazing journey.

My working days are very varied. They can range from ensuring all fine detailed planning of our events is in place to speaking at length with a 10in10 participant who needs support, advice and reassurance.

Brathay is a very special inspirational place where people come and experience the positive effects of the ‘Brathay Bubble’. It is life changing.

Andy Woodhead - Learning and Development Trainer

Andy Woodhead

Learning and Development Trainer

I am a Learning and Development Trainer with the People and Organisation Development Team and am also responsible for running the Aspiring Leaders Programme.

My role is really varied; working with apprentices to senior teams on development programmes, with clients to provide solutions to their challenges and with our fantastic ALP students to help them grow and develop.

I have been here since 2009 and have many highlights from that time but, for me, I think the biggest one is the people; both the Brathay team and also the fabulous clients that we have who make the work dynamic, varied and really quite enjoyable.

For me, this epitomises Brathay- working together to make a difference, whether it be in helping people reach their potential, driving performance in teams or improving life chances in communities.

Scott Umpleby - Head of Fundraising

Scott Umpleby

Head of Fundraising

In my role I manage the Fundraising Team, develop Brathay’s fundraising strategy and work with colleagues to generate income and resources to deliver our charitable mission.

I have been working for Brathay since 2001, and a typical day involves looking for ever more creative ways to engage people and organisations to support our work with disadvantaged young people and families…speaking to people…writing funding bids…managing online activity…etc.

The highlight of working here is getting to work with such a wide range of colleagues – all committed to improving the lives of vulnerable children and young people. Oh….and the cake!

To me, Brathay means great people, great place. In three words: inspiring, supporting, sharing.

P.S.  My favourite pulse is the chickpea.

Leanne Delahunty - Project Manager

Leanne Delahunty

Project Manager

I work in Brathay’s Bradford Office managing the Family work contracts.

A typical day for me is in and out of the office - one minute I could be at a client’s house cleaning or helping them move and then the next minute I could be in meetings with Bradford Council or Head teachers.

I have been working for Brathay since 2013, and the best part has been seeing the dramatic changes within our clients’ lives, and the difference our interventions can make to a whole family.

To me, Brathay means supporting others and improving other people’s chances in life.

P.S. I have Ovaphobia (a phobia of eggs).

Paul Bate - Learning & Development Consultant

Paul Bate

Learning & Development Consultant

I work with a wide range of public, private & third sector organisations to help them to keep moving forward in this ever-changing working environment.

I joined Brathay in 2006 (that’s 12 years now) having served for 28 years in the Royal Air Force. The highlight of working here has to be the beautiful environment at Brathay, it’s wonderful and it is such a privilege to share this reflective environment with the many different people I work with.

A typical day for me, when working with a group, will be starting at 7.00am with a pre-breakfast ‘energiser’ (canoeing on Windermere or walking up Loughrigg Fell) and then spending the day using a variety of interesting & enjoyable experiential challenges to bring to life various concepts and theories that help to deliver the outcomes of the programme that will have been agreed with the client/organisation I am working with.

Something many don’t know about me? In my early years I played rugby for England U15, U16 & U19 teams, Rosslyn Park, the RAF and Combined Services.  Playing Rugby taught me some really important lessons about high performing teamwork and highly effective leadership.

Chris Jeffs - Deputy Head of Centre

Chris Jeffs

Deputy Head of Centre

My job is to organise and deliver outdoor education courses, staffing, office work, assisting with meal times, maintenance (fixing light bulbs, toilets!) etc. Every day is a good day!

I have worked for full time for Brathay since 2012 but worked on a freelance basis for a while before that.

The highlight of working here is being able to work with young people from Wigan who use our Low Bank Ground centre.

p.s. I like olives..

Jenna Mitchell - Senior HR Adviser

Jenna Mitchell

Senior HR Adviser

As Senior HR Adviser, I am involved in most things people related including recruitment, training, payroll and advice.

Having worked at Brathay since 2008, a typical day usually starts with a scenic drive to work followed by coffee when I arrive. I will then meet new staff to do inductions, interview, co-ordinating DBS checks and payroll admin.

Lunch time is sometimes a run or if I’m feeling lazy a catch up lunch with a colleague. The afternoon may consist of end of month reports, updating our social media or talking to local schools and colleges about career events. We always have a pot of tea on the go in the afternoon!

The highlight of working here has to be the people. Whether it’s the staff you are working with, or the group that has left after a course, everyone is a team and helps each other and achieves the best they can.

To me, Brathay means helping to positively change lives, giving people opportunities and a working for a good cause.

As well as working at Brathay I run my own photography business and have shot over 100 weddings!

Charlotte O’Connell - Stronger families keyworker

Charlotte O’Connell

Stronger families keyworker

As a Stronger Families Keyworker, I only started working for Brathay in 2017.

My role is very new to Brathay and Bradford so a typical day at the moment is learning new things about my job role and getting to know others’ roles within Brathay.

The highlight so far has to be getting to know the friendly team!

P.S. I like peanut butter.

Lesley Sharp - Venue Manager for Wigan Centres

Lesley Sharp

Venue Manager for Wigan Centres

In my role as Venue Manager for our Wigan Centres, I take care of their day to day running.

I started working at the Centre in 2006 and transferred to Brathay in 2012. Although there are no typical days as each one is different, every day at Brathay means making a difference.

The highlights of working here encompass everything from the beautiful surroundings to the wonderful staff, and of course the young people who make it all worthwhile.

Something that few of my colleagues know about me is that I was Millom School Gala Queen when I was 14.

Gary Tully - Head of Business Development

Gary Tully

Head of Business Development

As Head of Business Development I am responsible for driving our income to ensure we have enough to deliver. My focus in on anything to do with income – from direct client sales and relationship contact to activities related to social media and brand presence.

A typical day usually involves some elements of travel, client contact, proposition development, strategic planning, and admin. Having only worked here since 2017, the highlight has to be the great environment and the outcome of the work we all support.

To me, Brathay is all about enabling people to optimise how they perform – be that in life or business. Something that not many people know about me is that I’m proud to come from a North East mining family background and have spent a day down a pit 5 miles out under the North Sea.

Peter Grenville - Marketing Executive

Peter Grenville

Marketing Executive

As Marketing Executive, I do lots of different things to do with websites, social media, printed materials, adverts etc., but in a nutshell my job is to raise awareness of Brathay, and support colleagues to promote what we do.

A typical day at Brathay? I wish there was one! Lots of meetings, lots of analytics, thinking about ‘brand’, cappuccinos, coming up with ways to make Brathay and what we do more visible, writing stuff, more cappuccinos, website wrangling… did I mention cappuccinos? Oh, and wearing loud shirts.

Having worked here since 2009, I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing colleagues – they are inspiring and passionate about what they do. Beyond that, becoming the person in charge of marketing for Brathay is pretty special!

To me, Brathay means empowering young people, so that they have better chances in life once they’ve spent time with us.

P.S I’m also a qualified forklift truck driver, trained barista, and newspaper columnist!

Kate Sharples - Programme Manager (North West)

Kate Sharples

Programme Manager (North West)

My job is to manage partnerships and programmes in the North West (including Merseyside to Wigan to Blackpool) and develop new partnerships with organisations in this area.

I have been an associate of Brathay since 2012, becoming a permanent member of staff in 2016. The three words I would use to describe Brathay are adventure, quality and calmness.

The best thing about my job is getting to work with such a diverse spread of children, young people and families as well as staff and every programme bringing a new journey.

A typical day here may include meetings with partner organisations, through to programme planning and funding searches,  followed by a visit or delivering a session to children and young people in their community space.

P.S. I won an award for my photography, awarded by Mike McCartney, and I took the photos for a Calendar Girls style calendar for local charities in Anglesey.

Caroline Caple - Business Manager

Caroline Caple

Business Manager

In my role as Business Manager, I support our People and Organisation Development team in delivering high quality programmes to our Corporate clients which ultimately supports the charitable work of Brathay.

At Brathay very rarely are two days the same!  I love my role as it requires working with lots of the different Brathay teams, our clients and suppliers. It involves anything from long-term planning, budgeting and marketing to project management for our larger pieces of work and assisting with daily operational matters and problem solving.

Having worked here since 2014, the highlight for me has to be achieving our successful registration on the RoATP (Registration of Apprenticeship Training Providers) to enable us to offer apprenticeship programmes under the new standards.

Something that not many people know about me is that I started my own career on an apprenticeship scheme back in the day when it was called the YTS scheme. Brathay is an inspiring place where working together on a common goal enables us to achieve more than the sum of the parts.

Mark Haisley - Chef

Mark Haisley


In my role as Chef, I am responsible for delivering the food to our clients and managing a team of 3 other chefs and kitchen staff.

Every day at Brathay is busy, busy, busy! Working here means helping to provide the customer with a great time by cooking delicious food.

Having worked here since 2006, the highlight remains that feeling of satisfaction I get when a customer tells me the food was lovely. Also working on the Brathay estate is a pleasure as it has beautiful surroundings and scenery.

Something which not many people know about me is that I’m a big fan of Leeds United.

Catherine Allen - Accounts Assistant

Catherine Allen

Accounts Assistant

In my role as Accounts Assistant I spend my days sending invoices out, getting money in, H&S admin and, well, all sorts of things! I have been working here for 8 years in my current employment but have worked a total of 16 years for Brathay.

The highlight of working here for me is the people and the stunning scenery. I love being part of the life-changing programmes we run for young people and having the sense of being part of something really special.

A typical day for me is an 8.30 start followed by responding to e-mails, banking money, lots and lots of admin and anything else that crops up in the Finance Department.

Something not many people know about me is that I’ve auditioned for the Voice twice (didn’t get anywhere though) and when I’m not at Brathay I make and sell jewellery.

Lisa Kenton - PA to Chief Executive & Trustees

Lisa Kenton

PA to Chief Executive & Trustees

On paper, my role is to provide administrative and operational support to the Chief Executive and Trustees. In reality, I do a whole myriad of things including being deployed to specialist tasks and finish projects.

I started working for Brathay in 1998, and it has been lovely seeing Brathay expand into the Community and expand its influence and impact out beyond what goes on at Ambleside.  Also, having the opportunity to work in different roles ranging from People and Organisation Development, ICT, Children and Young People Services and then my current role which can see me involved in lots of different aspects of the Charity.

Every day at Brathay is different, and that is great as it creates variety but sometimes this can be a challenge. Without doubt though, the day always starts with looking at the diary, both Godfrey’s and mine. Moving onto scanning emails to pull out the urgent and important ones and so the day unfolds…

For me, Brathay is a place for people to find out they can do and achieve more than they realise.

P.S. I can make you look 21 again. I’m a trained organic skincare formulator. I’ve won awards for my formulations and have aspirations to set up an artisan skincare business one day.

Emma Johnston - Business Development Manager (CYP Residentials)

Emma Johnston

Business Development Manager (CYP Residentials)

My role means I am the first point of contact for our lovely clients who bring children and young people for a residential with us.

I started as a temp in April 2017 and after a fab year of working in the Programme Support team and learning the ropes, I moved to the CYP team in my current role. So I've been here 18 months now.

The highlight of working at Brathay is the people who work to make such a huge difference to the lives and outlook of young people. Brathay opens up a new future with real positive change for the young people who spend time here. It is a beautiful place to work and is always really busy with so many different people visiting and lots going on.

No day is ever the same but in a nutshell I look after everything from initial enquiries, quoting for a residential, booking accommodation, showing people around the site, contracting and everything in between!

Charlie Shufflebottom - Senior Tutor

Charlie Shufflebottom

Senior Tutor

My job is to deliver and develop outdoor courses for anyone. This covers making a brew to a high level to sorting out toilets, there isn’t a typical days work for me.

I started working for Brathay back in 1996 as a freelancer and have worked with them ever since. I even got married in the walled garden at Low Bank Ground, one of our outdoor centres, which was a real highlight for me.

Something not many people know about me is that I can play the guitar to ‘guides’ level and I make a mean curry.

Jill Dawes - Learning and Development Consultant

Jill Dawes

Learning and Development Consultant

In my role as a Learning and Development Consultant, I develop partnerships and deliver targeted residentials.

I have been working here since 2015, and one day is never the same as the next.

The best thing about working at Brathay has to be the inspirational staff who have a strong belief in the young people who arrive here, and want to bring out the potential in them – however difficult! To me, Brathay is built on shared values- we are a strong tribe.

Something that not many people know about me is that I like eating cold ravioli out of the tin!

Julia Wilson - Senior Fundraiser

Julia Wilson

Senior Fundraiser

As Senior Fundraiser I raise money for Brathay’s work – mainly the work we do in the community.

I’ve been working for Brathay since 2014 and I’m based in our Ambleside office. A typical day is often a combination of putting together fundraising events, pulling together the information needed to apply for funding for a new project and writing funding applications.

I find Brathay such a rewarding place to work. The highlight so far was probably when we were one of BBC Radio 4’s weekly charity appeals in 2016. The whole process of putting together the broadcast was really interesting and we raised more money than we expected for our work with young people leaving care.

Something that few of my colleagues know about me is that I’ve given birth at a hospital entrance!

Heather Dixon - Finance Director

Heather Dixon

Finance Director

As Finance Director my role is many and varied; I look after the finances and the finance team, fundraising, events, guest services, HR and IT. The easiest way to think about it is that most of the things I look after are part of the engine that Brathay needs to keep things ticking over.

I have been working at Brathay since 2010 and I rarely have a ‘typical’ day. Brathay is multi-faceted and so are the highlights of working here. It might be a piece of feedback from a young person, delegate, participant or staff member. It could be success in a tender or bid to a Trust, it might be the view of the hills as I walk round the site or the wildlife I pretend not to notice when I am in a meeting.

For me, working at Brathay means making a difference.

P.S. I’m really 21.

Godfrey Owen - Chief Executive

Godfrey Owen

Chief Executive

As the Chief Executive of Brathay Trust I lead the organisation to ensure that we meet our mission and strategic plan in a sustainable way.

I have been working for Brathay since 1995 as a Learning and Development Consultant, Manager, led the POD team and became Chief Executive in 2005.

Every day at Brathay is different. I spend a lot of my time meeting people who want to inspire others to develop themselves which is always exciting. In my office, I spend a lot of time working out how we can use our resources as effectively as possible to have as great an impact on young people’s lives as possible. I find that challenge very stimulating as well.

I have had many highlights over the long time I have worked here. Some of them are very ordinary – I chatted to a group of young people at the boathouse this weekend who talked very excitedly about their experiences at Brathay which I was very proud that we had been able to provide.

Brathay gives me and my colleagues the opportunity to have an impact on young people’s lives in a very flexible and creative way. As young people’s lives change, we work hard to ensure that Brathay offers support that remains relevant and inspiring to young people. That is a great project to be part of.

Sophie Wills - Marketing Assistant

Sophie Wills

Marketing Assistant

As one of the newest members of the team, I assist the marketing department with our marketing strategy and ultimately help increase the awareness of Brathay.

I already love it here!!! So far my typical day involves routine social media checks, creating engaging content and sharing the amazing work this charity does.

This job is already extremely rewarding as not only do I get to promote Brathay, but I share and celebrate others' success, inspiring more people to realise their potential!

All the staff here are so lovely and I am really looking forward to a future here at Brathay working in such a wonderful and fulfilling environment.

Something many people might not know about me is that I have passion for art, interior design and love for dogs - especially my lovely Cockapoo puppies Heidi and Olive!

Jackie Mackenzie -

Jackie Mackenzie

As Marketing Officer I help to promote Brathay’s name and make sure as many people as possible get to hear about the good work that goes on here.

Since joining Brathay at the start of the year I’ve been blown away by the quality and diversity of courses offered and the highlight of this job is being allowed to blow the charity’s trumpet on other people’s behalf.

I’ve worked in journalism and the corporate world in the past and Brathay is a breath of fresh air by comparison – not just because of the beautiful landscape surrounding us, but also in the caring, nurturing attitude of colleagues. I moved to the Lake District for a better quality of life and with this job as part of the mix I feel I have achieved exactly that.

One little known fact about me is that I’m half way through attempting to write my first novel!

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