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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 of Chief Executive in September 2017.

Rosalyn Cooper – Finance 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 – Being There Diversity & Inclusion Link Worker

Ambia completed a degree in Health and Social Care. Since then she has done a lot of volunteering and worked in various sectors. As a volunteer for Sure Start, she assisted staff with bilingual home visits. She also volunteered with Home Start supporting vulnerable families. She then went onto be a freelance Interpreter and also worked with survivors of domestic abuse. This lead her to Diversity Matters North West where she had a few different roles.

Ambia ‘gives back to the community’ using the skills and experience she has acquired over the years. As Diversity and Inclusion Link Worker she is building community links and  supporting vulnerable people.

Following return to work after maternity leave Ambia says: “It’s great to be back to work after my maternity leave. I have missed the team. I am now working across Being There to support the branch managers with diversity & inclusion. I will focus more on social media to help get our messages out to the community. So, if you see a post on Facebook or Instagram don’t forget to comment, like and share @BeingTheregm and /BeingThereForYou pages!

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 2017 after 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.

Iain Phillips – Being There Support Services Assistant

Iain joined the Being There team as a Volunteer in February 2018, initially providing transport and later also Home Support for Clients in Salford. He now also acts as Support Services Assistant providing leave & sickness cover for full time office staff. He takes great satisfaction in providing practical support for Clients in need, and seeing the resulting relief and appreciation. He is single and lives in Worsley.

Iain studied Chemistry and worked in the Paint Industry for 15 years, which included a number of years living in Germany working as Export Manager. He latterly worked as a Business Development Manager in the Food and Pharmaceutical Industry for 25 years before retiring early in 2017.

Having played Rugby and Squash, he retains a keen interest in sport, and also enjoys walking and reading.

Shakira Rahman – Being There Diversity & Inclusion Link Worker

Shakira as well as being a mum of 4 children, 3 teenagers and 1 toddler , is also a recent graduate. She has  many years of experience in family support and providing advice and guidance for vulnerable people. She loves meeting new people and being sociable.

Shakira is passionate about supporting people who need a voice when facing difficulties in their lives. She is Bi-lingual, being fluent in Bengali and Urdu. She felt that Being There was the right charity for her with a ‘unique selling point’ of being available at the most crucial time.

Shakira love spending time with my family as well as enjoying dancing, singing and swimming.

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.

Sue Rowen Volunteer Recruitment Co-ordinator Tameside

Sue was born in South Manchester and has lived in Tameside for a number of years with her family. Sue enjoys learning new skills and for 12 years, worked as a childhood studies and employability tutor, at Oldham Lifelong Learning Service.

During the past 8 years, Sue has worked in the charity sector, recruiting and training family support volunteers in Tameside and across Greater Manchester. Sue managed a team and developed a CCG funded social prescribing project, which supports people experiencing isolation and loneliness.

Currently studying for a master’s degree, (Child/Adult ADHD and Mental Wellness). Sue has the dual role of volunteer recruitment co-ordinator and Being There volunteer, providing a confidential space where clients and their carers can feel valued, empowered and heard. Sue enjoys going out and about meeting new clients and recruiting volunteers from the local neighbourhood communities.

Sue supports the Children’s Able and Disabled Sports (CADS) team at the Seashell Trust, encouraging children and young adults with autism and life-limiting conditions to recognise and celebrate their personal goals and achievements.

As an active volunteer in the local community, Sue enjoys sharing the great outdoors with her young granddaughter, weekend cooking, shopping and socialising with family and friends.

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 a postgraduate degree in Psychology.

Flora firmly believes that volunteers can have a remarkable and life-enhancing impact on empowering and enabling those facing challenging circumstances.

Mark Woodcock – Branch Manager Being There North

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 has developed the service by forming strong community links and offering more opportunities to clients and volunteers 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.

Emma Blamire – Being There Support Services Assistant

Emma joined Being There as a volunteer in 2021 and is now Support Services Assistant for the company, covering branch managers during times of leave. Emma has spent most of her career in the health care sector and is qualified in mental health. She enjoys her role as a volunteer and is happy to be able to help others further through her role at Being There. Emma takes a personal interest in psychology and health and social issues, and in her spare time enjoys church, community events and being in nature.