Meet Our Staff
Karen Mercer – Chief Executive
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.
Rosalyn Cooper – Financial Manager
Rosalyn was born in Stockport and is married with a young daughter.
She studied at Salford University and gained a degree in Business Studies. Following on from this she started a temporary role which turned into to a permanent long term role in the print industry as an account manager predominantly working in outdoor advertising for almost 11 years. Rosalyn decided a change in career was needed and wanted to move into a more caring industry; into an area which supports and benefits the community. Rosalyn joined Being There in August 2017 as financial administrator. She was promoted to the position of Financial Manager in 2018.
Rosalyn was impressed by how the charity supports clients and relieves some of the pressures that they are experiencing. You may see her helping out at some of the social groups and events.
Ambia Begum – Diversity & Inclusion Link Worker
I completed a degree in Health and Social Care. Since then I have done a lot of volunteering and then went on to working in various sectors. As a volunteer for Sure Start, I assisted staff with bilingual home visits. I also volunteered with Home Start supporting vulnerable families. I then went onto be a freelance Interpreter for a couple of years and also worked for an organisation supporting survivors of domestic abuse. This lead me to my journey with Diversity Matters North West where I had a few different roles, the most recent being Befriending Coordinator where I provided emotional telephone support to residents of Tameside who were lonely and isolated, particularly those who were affected by the global Pandemic. I want to give back to the community using the skills and experience I have acquired over the years. I want to help vulnerable people and support them where I can. I am looking forward to my journey with Being There as Diversity & Inclusion Link Worker.
Jeff Boardman – Being There Volunteer Recruitment Co-ordinator
Jeff was born and lives in Salford. Jeff worked in the construction industry as a quantity surveyor for over 40 years. Jeff is married and has two daughters and one granddaughter.
Jeff has been a home support volunteer with Being There for over 18 years and has recently become a driving volunteer. Jeff is also a fundraising ambassador for St Ann’s Hospice in Salford.
When the opportunity came up to work for Being There as support services assistant Jeff was delighted to help the charity in a role that is both very rewarding and enjoyable. Jeff is also responsible for volunteer recruitment at Being There on a part time basis.
Jeff’s outside interests include playing tennis and racket ball and enjoys supporting his local rugby league team Salford Red Devils.
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.
Suzanne Roberts Branch Manager – Being There 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 has worked hard to develop a new ‘Being There’ service in Tameside and Glossop and she became full time there in October 2018 having supported Salford for two years.
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.
Anam Siddiqi – Being There Support Services Assistant
Anam holds a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology with her dissertation on Cancer patients. She has experience of working as a Psychologist and Mental health Professional in India. She also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Guidance and Counseling along with a Diploma in Advanced Hypnotic Techniques and Modalities, conducted by California Hypnosis Institute, USA, endorsed by American Hypnosis Association. She is a Certified Neuro Linguistic Master Practitioner, approved by International Hypnostic Association LLC. She has an interest in research and has published research papers in various journals around the areas of psychological wellbeing, Quality of life and optimal functioning of individuals.
She got married and relocated to Manchester in 2019 and has been volunteering with Being there since then. She is currently a Mental Heath Professional with Priory Healthcare Cheadle Royal and a Behaviour Support Assistant at SEN schools in Manchester.
As a volunteer, Anam does home visits and telephone befriending. In March of 2020 she added to her voluntary role and took the role of casual Support Services Assistant, providing cover for holidays and sickness, mainly working from the South branch but sometimes travelling to other branches. Anam says she finds the work very enriching and rewarding.
Rebecca Turner – ‘Being Heard’ Counselling Manager
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 and was later promoted to North branch manager after developing an interest and experience in service delivery. Rebecca loved 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 changed roles to manager of Being There’s new ‘Being Heard’ Counselling Service Manager in February 2021 after helping to pilot the service in 2019/20 when she qualified as a person-centred counsellor.
Flora Washburn – Branch Manager Being There Trafford
Flora joined the Being There team in June 2019, having worked predominantly in Higher Education since graduating from Lancaster University in 2012 with a degree in Religious Studies. Flora has been a volunteer for a variety of charities, including those supporting people affected by domestic abuse, as well as children with disabilities and learning and behavioural difficulties. Flora is passionate about improving the mental wellbeing of people, no matter their background, and in June 2018, she combined this passion with her love of the outdoors by hiking 40 miles in 24 hours to raise money for a national mental health charity. She has just completed a postgraduate degree in Psychology.
Flora was delighted to be offered the post with Being There, having witnessed the remarkable and life-enhancing impact that volunteers can have on empowering and enabling those facing challenging circumstances.
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.
Mark Woodcock – North Branch Manager
Mark joined the Being There team in April 2021 having worked on a community project in Oldham which encourages people to improve their health and wellbeing with a particular focus on reducing levels of social isolation and loneliness. As a result, Mark has experience of working with a variety of community groups and has facilitated classes or support groups for clients with medical conditions, people with dementia, people with a disability and the bereaved.
In his spare time, Mark likes to keep active, particularly through running and playing football. He is passionate about helping others and is a qualified Personal Trainer. He previously volunteered for Stockport Cerebral Palsy Society and ran a marathon to raise money for the charity.
Mark is looking forward to working for Being There and would like to develop the service by forming strong community links and offering more opportunities to clients and volunteers and continue the great work which has already been done in the North Manchester branch.
Deborah Wynn – Branch Manager Being There Salford
Deborah has spent the majority of her career helping people through mentoring and befriending services. In previous management roles she has managed multiple programmes of up to 700 people. She has supported some of the Russell Group Universities on framework design, in addition to devising many mentoring and befriending programmes in the UK and abroad for organisations in the public, private and third sectors. She has also been a Quality Standards Assessor for nearly a decade, ensuring that organisations comply to national accreditation expectations.
Deborah enjoys working in volunteer management, in particular marketing and evaluation methodologies. She has firsthand experience of the outcomes that can be successfully achieved and believes it is important to inject a bit of fun in any volunteer programme in order to recruit and retain volunteers/service users.