Meet Our Staff
Alis Aspinall – Administrative Assistant
Alis initially worked in private industry in Human Resources and switched to the voluntary sector following a spell of volunteering with Salford Citizens’ Advice Bureau in the late 1990’s.
Since then she has worked for Manchester Care & Repair as an Administrator and an Advocate for people over 55 and more latterly, as an Engagement Worker for Voluntary & Community Action Trafford, managing and co-ordinating Trafford’s 50+ Voice Network, working to improve quality of life for older community members.
Alis has been a Dignity Champion for many years and in 2012 became a Bliss Champion for the national charity of premature and sick babies, promoting and campaigning for high standards of care and addressing needs of their families and carers. On joining Being There she also became a Dementia Friend.
Jeff Boardman – Being There Support Services Assistant
Jeff was born and lives in Salford. He worked in the construction industry as a quantity surveyor for 40 years in both private practice and social housing. He is married with two daughters and one granddaughter.
Jeff has been a home support volunteer with Being There Salford for over 15 years and is also a fundraising ambassador for St Ann’s Hospice in Salford.
When the opportunity came up to work for Being There as a support services assistant Jeff was delighted to help the charity in a role that is both very rewarding and enjoyable.
Jeff’s outside interests include playing tennis and squash and enjoys supporting his local rugby league team Salford Red Devils.
Branch Manager – Being There Salford
Margaret spent 25 years working within the NHS in Manchester, latterly as PALS and Complaints Co- ordinator, resolving complaints and concerns and providing help and support for patients, their families and carers on all aspects of their NHS care.
Margaret has been volunteering for over 30 years both in the UK and overseas and has had the privilege of working in Peru and Tanzania and in 2012 was one of 70,000 Gamemakers who made up the volunteer workforce of the London 2012 Olympics, working at the Olympic Stadium – an experience Margaret says she will never forget.
Margaret has been a volunteer with Being There for over 15 years, working mainly in home support, visiting people in their homes and providing much needed emotional and practical support. Now working for Being There as one of two part time Branch Managers at the Salford branch, a role which Margaret says she finds very enjoyable and rewarding.
Paula Hewitt – Branch Manager Being There South Manchester
Paula joined the Being There team in July 2017after previously working for a number of national charities in a variety of roles including developing and managing services for people with cerebral palsy, dementia and stroke survivors. Her most recent post was with Prostate Cancer UK and involved influencing and campaigning for better treatments for men with prostate cancer.
In her spare time Paula volunteers for a national charity which provides emotional support to anyone in distress, struggling to cope or with thoughts of suicide.
After many years in the voluntary sector, Paula is well aware of the positive impact that voluntary organisations and volunteers can make to someone going through a difficult time in their life.
Karen Mercer – General Manager
Karen qualified as an educationalist in 1984 before working for a number of voluntary and statutory organisations in the UK and overseas. She devised and delivered the education and community service at Hat Works Museum in Stockport before moving into marketing and fundraising for various arts organisations in the North West. She joined Being There in 2003 as Marketing & Fundraising Manager, becoming Operations Manager in February 2006. When Keith was recruited to overall Operations Manager in 2008 Karen moved to a communications and development role.
In January 2017 took on the role of General Manager (Acting) with appointment to the full role in September 2017.
Tom North Branch Manager – Being There Trafford
Tom relocated from his native Newcastle to take on the role of Branch Manager in Trafford. Tom has managed and supported volunteers in various roles. Before moving to Being There, he worked for the Alzheimer’s Society as a befriending manager. This involved recruiting and training volunteers to act as companions to people with dementia who lived alone. Tom has also worked for large housing association where he managed a telephone befriending service for more isolated tenants. Other previous roles include support worker and sports coach. Tom is a Dementia Friends Champion and delivers Dementia Friends awareness sessions to various community groups including library staff, school children and other health professionals. He has created 250 dementia friends to date.
Tom’s main interest away from work is sport. Tom plays football three times a week and has signed for a local team. He is an FA qualified football coach and worked as a volunteer coach for his local team in Newcastle for eight years. Tom understands the importance of volunteer led services and is excited to build on the well established Being There –Trafford branch.
Suzanne Roberts Branch Manager – Being There Salford and Tameside
Suzanne joined the Being There team in January 2016 after previously working for a national mentoring and befriending project. Suzanne has supported volunteers in a range of roles and also provided emotional support to those facing difficult and personal challenges. Suzanne feels it is important to give those facing a life limiting illness positivity, encouragement and empowerment and has seen firsthand the positive changes for those who have been supported to take control of their own lives. Suzanne is looking forward to the challenge of developing a new ‘Being There’ service in Tameside and Glossop whilst supporting the existing successful service in Salford.
In her spare time Suzanne volunteers for a local residents group working to create a green environment for the benefit of the community and also enjoys fundraising for charity. Suzanne has completed 5 and 10K charity runs for Cancer Research UK and also ‘Tough Mudder’ raising funds for Help for Heroes.
Branch Manager – Being There Manchester
Rebecca joined Being There in October 2006 to provide some much needed temporary support for branches. She became a permanent member of staff when she was appointed Finance and Administration Assistant in April 2007. Rebecca loves helping at the support groups and social events as she sees how important these are for clients, allowing them the chance to get out for a few hours, make new friends and forget their illness for a little while.
Rebecca enjoys working at Being There because every day is different and she finds great satisfaction in knowing she is helping to reduce stress for people by arranging transport to hospital appointments or just being somebody they can talk to.
Les Whalley – Being There Support Services Assistant
Les has been with Being There for just over three years. Previously, he worked for a large well known company in Trafford Park for 25 years and then spent a couple of years as a self employed Locksmith. He is married to Julie and they have two grown up children and two growing up Grandchildren.
As a volunteer Les does home visits and respite sitting. He also helps out at the twice monthly support group in Salford. He enjoys walking, especially with his chocolate Labrador, Achilles. In January of 2017 he added to his voluntary role and took on the role of SSA, providing cover for holidays and sickness working mainly from the Salford but sometimes travelling to the other branches. Les says he is really enjoying the work and finding it very interesting and fulfilling.