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 - Food and Beverage Supervisor

Kelly Lester

Food and Beverage Supervisor

In my role, I work from the Kitchen Office, and deal with the organisation of our Venue team by producing our meal planner, rotas and placing orders.

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

My working day in Venue involves producing our rotas, placing orders, arranging meal times, sorting menus, helping with recruitment for any role we may have available - no day is the same!

To me, Brathay means making a difference to young 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.

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 - Operations Manager

Leanne Delahunty

Operations 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.

Heather Jones - Compliance Manager

Heather Jones

Compliance Manager

My job is to make sure that Brathay is doing what we are supposed to be doing in areas such as insurance, legislation, data protection and quality (ISO9001). It's a varied role that requires a keen eye and the ability to prioritise and then reprioritise!

I first came to Brathay as a volunteer mentor and then joined the staff team in 2012. These days there is no such thing as a typical day for me in the office. I've found it pays to be flexible and just roll with whatever the day brings as almost anything could pop up. This could be researching changes in legislation, auditing an internal process, writing a brand new policy or being a sounding board for a colleague.  

One of my biggest highlights to date was helping out with a group of care leavers and watching them grow and blossom over the days. It was pretty special to witness. They each started out a bit shy and guarded and over the week they tried out new things and stretched themselves, all the while building up their confidence and resilience. 

Away from work my life is generally in ruins as I’m a total archaeology geek! I’m often off on my mini-adventures, searching for ancient sites, visiting dusty museums or digging up pottery sherds.

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.

Peter Grenville - Marketing Manager

Peter Grenville

Marketing Manager

As Marketing Manager, 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 spent seven years as a newspaper columnist!

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.

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!

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 for 26 years - something I can't quite believe - first as a Learning and Development Consultant, then leader of the POD team, and, since 2005, as Chief Executive.

Every day at Brathay is different. I represent the charity externally and spend a lot of my time meeting people who want to inspire others to develop themselves which is always exciting. I see my role as one of 'removing rocks from the runway' so our staff can have the greatest impact on the lives of young people as possible.

The best part about being at Brathay is the variety of experiences it has given me. I've delivered programmes in different parts of the world and met many brilliant and inspiring people from all communities and walks of life along the way. It has been a real privilege.

I also thoroughly enjoy the more 'everyday' stuff, like chatting to young people on site about their stay at Brathay and what they have learnt and most enjoyed. It is always very gratifying to get this sort of feedback and it makes me proud that we've been able to have such a positive impact on people's lives.

One thing that is little known about me was that I once sailed around Cape Horn. It was a long time ago, but I still remember it and am grateful for the challenge it gave me.

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 - Marketing Officer

Jackie Mackenzie

Marketing Officer

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!

Tracy Seton - Accountant

Tracy Seton


As an accountant and finance administrator I deal with lots of numbers - all day and every day! As well as the accounts, I handle purchase orders, pay our suppliers, record events such as accidents and deal with the post. 

I've been at Brathay for over 4 years and what I most like about the job is being reminded why we are here and what this wonderful charity is all about. One recent highlight for me was reading a letter from someone who came to Brathay more than 40 years ago who said that the experience had changed their lives from that point on. It is very humbling and rewarding to realise that you are a part of something that works towards achieving this all the time.

Outside of work I do a lot of work with young people in my local area. I have volunteered in scouting for 15 years and I am the District Explorer Scout Administrator for Lonsdale District which means I do all the admin for 150+ explorer scouts and their leaders. I am also appointments secretary for Lonsdale and look after the appointment of all the leaders in the District and currently an explorer leader at a Sea Scout Unit.

Laura Proctor - Business Development Support Assistant

Laura Proctor

Business Development Support Assistant

My job involves helping to sell residential visits and facilitated courses for children and young people from all over the UK. I've been with Brathay for 3 years and I started in our Programme Support Team before moving over to Business Development in June 2019.

The location where we work in Ambleside is spectacular and watching our resident Deer visitors outside our office window is always wonderful. The people are pretty special too!

The best part of the job is being able to bring young people away from their ‘everyday’ lives to allow them to learn, reflect and improve their well-being. This is really important to me as I think all young people deserve a chance whatever their personal circumstances. The work our staff do with young people really helps them to focus on themselves, to realise that they do have a choice in what their future holds and allowing them to build relationships with the people around them.

No two days are the same for me at Brathay, apart from the fact that I always start the day with a cuppa whilst checking over emails. After that, it could be speaking to new and existing clients, putting quotes together, booking accommodation and group spaces, visiting our clients when they are on site or sending out contracts. To be honest, the list goes on!

It may surprise some people to hear that although I live in Cumbria now, I actually grew up on a remote Scottish island, the Isle of Islay. 

Billie O'Brien - Venue Shift Leader

Billie O'Brien

Venue Shift Leader

I manage the venue assistants and night shift leaders alongside two other shift leaders to ensure that Brathay Hall and all its facilities and self-catering accommodation are kept to a high standard at all times.

I've been with Brathay over 4 years and I am really enjoying the role as it's my first job and I've learnt such a lot. Brathay means a lot to me as I believe in it as a charity and also it has helped me develop and progress my career. Every day here is crazy, busy, varied and fun - I'd say it was totally rewarding!

Something about me that not many people know is that I'm 10 minutes older than my lovely twin brother!

Jelena Suklina - Venue Shift Leader

Jelena Suklina

Venue Shift Leader

I have been working at Brathay for 10 years and my job as Venue Shift Leader means overseeing a team of workers to make sure that everything is clean and tidy and up to standard for our paying guests.

I work with a great team and we all get on well which is even better! I like working for a charity because you know that everything we do is for the benefit of others in the end. Keeping our customers happy means that they will return for another visit and tell others about Brathay and this all brings in income for the charity.

I have been here so long that it feels like Brathay has become my second family. Some days the work can be tiring and demanding but every day varies and it's never boring. When I'm not at work one of my favourite things to do is play the piano!

Katherine Bell - Client Relationship Manager

Katherine Bell

Client Relationship Manager

I am quite new to this role as I only started three months ago, but as Client Relationship Manager it is my job to take bookings for guest services, including accommodation bookings, Brathay Escape packages, and other events. 

So far I have really enjoyed the job. I like the fact that it is so varied and that I have been able to meet so many new and interesting people. I support Brathay as a charity and believe in the overall mission which helps to stay motivated - oh yes, and I also enjoy my lunchtime walks around the grounds or along to Ambleside surrounded by all the amazing views!

I feel that my work is worthwhile because I know that I am working for a great cause and that all the money from the venue bookings we take goes towards Brathay's work with children and young people.

When not at work, I enjoy art and design and I love going to the theatre!

Robert Heckingbottom  - Senior Receptionist

Robert Heckingbottom

Senior Receptionist

It's my role to ensure that bookings and enquires are responded to quickly and efficiently and to work closely with the venue team to deliver the best possible customer service.

I started at Brathay in March 2019 and I'd say that my best day at work so far has been helping out on the front lawn at our marathon event in May. It was really interesting being out of the office seeing the event happening, speaking to volunteers and seeing the work we do on such a great day. 

Working on Reception is only one small part of how we help people at Brathay but we constantly get calls and visits from people who stayed with us as long as 40 years ago and they're still talking about how Brathay changed their lives. It makes me realise that I am definitely working in the right place!

In my free time I am a musician and photographer. I once made a collection of portraits of professional comedians including Harry Hill, Bridget Christie and James Acaster.

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