Meet The Team

Simon Prestney

Simon Prestney

Running a local charity means making a difference to those you serve. Working with superb trustees, staff and volunteers in Age Concern it is a privilege to support those in later years in the Borough of Colchester. My role is to lead the organisation, enable the team to grow and work closely with trustees to develop a partnership across the Borough for improved support in later years.

Ginnie Giles

Ginnie Giles

Our information and advice service has been built up over many years with our trusted network of providers sympathetic to the needs of individuals in later years. We provide a directory of contacts for varying needs and this can be accessed by phone, or by our online directory on the website.

Eddie Bloomfield

Eddie Bloomfield

Eddie Bloomfield retired from the Ministry of Justice in 2016, having completed a number of senior leadership roles in the Justice system. In particular he was HM Chief Inspector of Court Administration for England and Wales from 2005-10 and the Public Trustee from 2010-16. As Public Trustee he was the custodian trustee of the Prime Minister's country estate, Chequers. Eddie has been a trustee at Age Concern since 2009. He is a member of the Finance, Fundraising and Risk sub committees. Eddie is also a trustee of Grassroots and a Governor of Colchester County High School for Girls. Eddie was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust November 2018. Eddie's responsibilities are within grants, fundraising and finance.

Vanessa Loaiza

Vanessa Loaiza

My research focuses primarily on the intersection between working memory and long-term episodic memory. I have investigated how working memory and long-term memory factors interact with one another to promote immediate recall from working memory as well as give rise to conscious recollection in episodic memory. Furthermore, I am very interested in how processes underlying working memory change or remain intact with age, and how these processes are important to working memory as a predictor of age-related variability in higher-order cognition, especially episodic memory. I use a combination of experimental and individual differences methods to investigate working memory functioning, as well as a variety of empirical designs to disentangle key processes underlying episodic memory. I am also interested in the role of working memory in executive functioning and fluid intelligence. In general, I am interested in the factors that underlie complex cognition. Vanessa is our link to Research for the Charity and is heading up a large research project with Age Concern and Christie's Care in the Home with other colleagues in the University.

Graham Duthie

Graham Duthie

Having worked for Barclays Bank and for M&G Investments in London I was encouraged, on retirement, to join the Board of Trustees of Age Concern Colchester. I have always been interested in the work that the charity undertakes in helping older people in Colchester and for their invaluable and impartial advice on both social and financial issues. I am,therefore, very pleased and privileged to be part of a committed team of staff, volunteers and trustees who all bring their own individual skills, expertise and enthusiasm to support a well respected local charity. Going forward I am personally confident that AGE Concern Colchester will continue to grow and fulfil its role in providing a quality service for all older people living in and around the town of Colchester.

Ivan Lewis

Ivan Lewis

Ivan comes to Age Concern Colchester with a wealth of copywriting, social media and blogging experience. Ivan has completed a post graduate research degree and supports other local charities in Colchester with similar work. Ivan looks after elements of our website and social media and has also completed a project on the history of Age Concern since its inception in 1964.

Ann Reeves

Ann Reeves

Retired Senior IT Manager with 40+years experience of systems development in the insurance sector. Over 15 years experience operating at Board level running a systems company that was introducing electronic trading into the general insurance sector and provision of strategic consultancy. Prior to that Systems Development Manager for an International Insurance Broker responsible for the development of the necessary systems to support the business needs of the company. 15 + years project managing major multi-million pound out-sourced IT projects from conception to implementation by numerous insurance companies. These were outsourced to companies such as IBM and involved ensuring the contracts were negotiated for the best price and run according to agreed standards /deliverables. Experience of all aspects of running a company.

Pauline Turnbull

Pauline Turnbull

Pauline has had a varied career within the Department for Work and Pensions in junior management. After this Pauline then worked in Advocacy for Age UK Essex and since retiring has been involved in Age Concern for the last 9 years bringing her valuable experience and expertise to support in both Information and our Advice and Advocacy teams.

Chris Andrews

Chris Andrews

Brought up and lived locally all of my life, educated at what was the Boys High in Colchester. Studied for my Law degree at Essex University where I stayed to complete a Masters degree in EU Law with human rights, after finishing went to Law School and subsequently joined John Fowlers LLP as a Trainee where I successfully qualified as a Solicitor in 2008 and have since gone on to head up the Private Client department and in 2010 was made a Partner, and further in 2016 an equity partner. I had an active interest in Almshouses and sit on a number of related Charities to both grow awareness of almshouses and preserve them and act as Trustee for them. I am a passionate advocate in elderly law matters and making sure that through awareness of what is possible people can plan well in advance rather than having to deal with complicated matters at the most difficult times. I am a specialist Court of Protection Solicitor dealing with matters relating to loss of capacity and the management of peoples finances and health and welfare matters when there is a loss of mental capacity.

Dilip Mahora

Dilip Mahora

I am Mr Dilip Mohora, an HM Forces Gurkha Veteran from Colchester Nepalese Society (CNS). After my retirement from the British Army in 1994, I joined Sultan’s Security Force in Brunei and worked 12 years as an Office Administrator. When the Home Office authorised UK settlement visas to Gurkhas, I sadly had to resign the Sultan’s Security Force in Brunei and came to the UK in 2006 to settle down. Immediate after settling down in Colchester, I had an opportunity to take a Health Champion’s training which is to show pathways and signposting for their health and settlement problems to the newcomers in the United Kingdom. In January 2012, I was selected to become an interpreter for the UKBA/Home Office to bridge the language gap of Asylum Seeker in the UK. In 2015, I took Community Interpreter’s training at WEA London and achieved a Level 3 Certificate. Ever-since I am working as Freelance Nepali Interpreter. Apart from Interpreting to the people in Colchester Nepalese Society, I am affiliated with many Translation and Interpreting companies including Ministry of Justice. I am now helping to translate and interpret for Nepalese people undertaking their English language training with Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex.

Christina Curran

Christina Curran

Started as a volunteer helping to teach English to the Nepalese. When funding became available I was asked to apply for the role of supporting with English an ageing group of Nepalese. To help build confidence and a sense of belonging, which will bring independence.

Sue Wright

Sue Wright

Looking for a change of direction following a career in education, I have been a volunteer at the Veranda for over a year. I am now covering reception and helping run the community café and activities.

Jane Moss

Jane Moss

Started as a volunteer in the Veranda helping to cover reception and dealing with enquiries. I am now a Project Administrator for our new community integration project with the Nepalese community of Colchester supporting the planning and administration of activities and providing learning materials for the project.

Jo Theodosiou

Jo Theodosiou

Jo joined the team as the Befriending Coordinator for Witham and supports the wider team with administration. Jo grew up working for her mum in a care home and has always held a special place in her heart for people in later years. She feels very passionate about working in the Befriending team and making a difference, however small to each individual she meets. “Each person I meet and talk to has an impact on me and enriches my life in different ways.”

Debbie Currivan

Debbie Currivan

Debbie has extensive experience having previously worked for DWP. Before joining Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex Debbie worked as an adviser for older people for a national charity for 10 years. "I enjoy my current role as I get to see the positive difference we are making to peoples lives."

Jo Mannering

Jo Mannering

have previous years of experience working in Older Adults Social Services, Local Authority Housing, and a National advice line for Older People. My current role as an Advice worker for Age Concern Colchester and North East Essex means that I can utilise the experience and skillset to help and support older adults. Our advice team can support adults with a range of issues including benefit maximisation, housing advice, accessing care and support. Our team have made a huge difference in the local community to support Older Adults to access the help and support that they need to continue living as independently as possible.

Andrea Welch

Andrea Welch

As my background is in mental health nursing I have a genuine interest in the care of others. Working in the advice department allows me to make a difference to someone’s life which is so rewarding. Knowing when you leave their home they feel better than when you arrived is heart-warming

Pat Nichols

Pat Nichols

Pauline Chalkley

Pauline Chalkley

I joined the advice team at Age Concern, Colchester at the end of last year having spent the past 18 years working in an advisory role. For 14 years I was employed as a GP care advisor and was attached to various different surgeries in the Colchester area during that time. In that role I provided advice on welfare benefits, care issues, aids and adaptions in the home etc. I advised people of all ages with both physical and mental health issues. I also spent a few years working for the Tendring branch of the Alzheimer’s Society as a dementia support worker and group facilitator. In that role I was able to provide advice and support to many people with dementia and their families/carers. In earlier years when my children were young I did some volunteer work for the Harwich and Dovercourt branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau which also gave me very valuable experience in advice work

Maggie Woolley

Maggie Woolley

I worked for most of my career as a social worker in Hertfordshire, starting in a maternity hospital, working as a counsellor with parents with babies in special care and later on the wards at the general hospital. After I retired I looked after my husband who died from kidney failure and then moved to Colchester to live near my daughters. I have settled well here, made friends and find it’s a good community to be part of. I am happy to use the skills I learned while working to help people live well in older age.

Dipa Patel

Dipa Patel

I have 9 years experience as a tutor working with Adults with Learning Disabilities, delivering a range of vocational skills. Before that, 8 years with a reputable telecommunications company in the Accounts Billing Department. I have always found it gratifying to participate in volunteer activities alongside my career and seeing someone smile. I am currently a volunteer for both the Prettygate Home Library Service and Age Concern Colchester, as an Office Administrator. I enjoy using the skills I’ve learnt to support case workers with the admin, and dealing with client queries to help the older generation live well.

Peter Luckin

Peter Luckin

John Loxley

John Loxley

Mo Taylor

Mo Taylor

Maryon Pape

Maryon Pape

I have worked in the health and social care industry for most of my working life. Helping to make a difference to people’s lives is the greatest gift I can leave as a legacy. Whenever and who ever I meet I like to believe I have given hope to. In this role as befriending coordinator I have met some amazing people, both clients and volunteers I have recruited. I can never get bored of hearing clients’ accounts of their exploits either in WW2, or something they have achieved in later life, every account is valuable to me. Each person I meet and talk to has enriched my life and grown my understanding of human nature.

Amanda Georgeson

Amanda Georgeson

Amanda is an experienced board-level international marketer, with a broad, in-depth background in strategic brand marketing and communications across the full marketing mix. She has worked both in-house, and with blue chip B2B and B2C clients, across a diverse range of sectors; notably mobile technology, the arts, education, events, media and publishing, financial services, leisure, retail and non-profits. Director level roles in various organisations have honed her strategic, creative and commercial focus to help drive the businesses she has worked with. An early adopter of the benefits of digital technology, Amanda now leads on digital marketing in the non-profit sector and is dedicated to making a real difference to the causes that she serves. She remains passionate about the creative arts, health and fitness, and travel.

Colin Bennett

Colin Bennett

Colin is retired after a successful career in financial services in the City. Colin has involvement in charity leadership in Colchester, Tendring and London; Chair of Grassroots, Trustee and Company Secretary at Beacon House and Trustee of the Actors Benevolent Fund. As well as being actively involved in the running of the charity Colin has worked tirelessly to improve life for many people in the local area. Part of this work is done through his commitment to Rotary which provided his interlink to the Trustee work that he now does for Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex.

Su Britter

Su Britter

Su Britter is a highly skilled commercial HR Director who has a successful track record across major companies within the building merchants, fashion, betting and food retail sector. Due to this extensive experience, is able to define and deliver the commercial benefits of the people agenda and thus ensure an ROI is delivered. Due to a collaborative approach has exceptional relationship/stakeholder management skills and therefore able to influence at all levels. Expert in all areas of general HR and talent management and proven to deliver the commercial KPIs.

Jane Diplock

Jane Diplock

Jane joins Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex as Operations Manager Befriending & Dementia with extensive experience working with Dementia, Adult Social Care and Care setting experience. Having worked for Alzheimers Society, Runwood Homes and Essex County Council Jane has developed clubs, activities and support for those in later years and their carers and families. Jane is leading on Befriending, Friendship Clubs and Dementia for Age Concern across North East Essex and Witham

Martin Jones

Martin Jones

'Martin joins the team as the new Operations Manager for Advice and Benefits. With extensive experience of managing teams in delivering advice and support services Martin is passionate about assisting those in later years to maintain independence and wellbeing. Having recently worked for Citizens Advice and a Family Carers support organisation Martin also has over 11 years experience of working within a local authority benefits department and is looking forward to leading the advice work delivered through Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex.

Michael Watson

Michael Watson

Michael is enthusiastic to be a part of Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex following retirement after a lifetime of working in finance in a variety of industries including medical devices, electronics, telecoms and textiles. Michael is a qualified certified accountant FCCA and has been part of the senior management team in his recent positions. Michael was born, educated and has lived in Essex his whole life and is currently living in Colchester. Michael is looking forward to contributing to the future growth and activities of Age Concern and its positive impact on the lives of those in later years - like himself!

Nick Avery

Nick Avery

Nick joins the charity having had a varied career. After graduating from Oxford, his roles have encompassed IT, finance and risk roles in the retail, financial and gaming sectors. He moved to the non-profit sector ten years ago, joining Leonard Cheshire and then working as a consultant in higher education before taking up his current role as Director of Resources for Lepra, the Colchester based international charity. Nick has previously chaired Parkhaven Trust, a charity providing services for old people near Liverpool, as well as being a trustee of national care provider Camphill Village Trust and helped to set up Other Halves, a Chelmsford based support network for carers of people with dementia. Nick moved to Colchester seven years ago and has keenly engaged in the local community, including coaching young players at the rugby club, volunteering at First Site and is a regular member of the popular local Appetite book club. “For me It is a huge privilege and responsibility to lead the Board of Trustees at Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex Board at such an interesting time, with the charity both expanding the range of services for older people in Colchester, Witham and Tendring and looking to roll out its successful model to other localities in the area. I am particularly looking forward to meeting our staff and volunteers as well as the older people we work with and to supporting Simon in his efforts to meet the many needs of older people in the area."

Emma Baum

Emma Baum

Emma joins Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex as Operations Manager for Bereavement and Compassionate Companions. Emma brings a wealth of skill and experience in setting up and running support and information services for the third sector. Having previously worked for organisations including Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, Bowel Cancer UK, Breast Cancer Care and Victim Support, she has established a range of successful projects within telephone and email support; health promotion and outreach; information provision for patients and families and peer support volunteering. Emma is also a qualified holistic therapist and trainer. Her strengths include volunteer management; developing support services and providing accessible information and training. She has a passion for finding sensitive and person centered creative solutions for individuals and families in need of help.

Christine Horn

Christine Horn

Christine joins Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex as Dementia Team Leader, for our new campaign in raising dementia awareness in Tendring. Christine brings a wealth of skill and experience in Dementia. Having previously worked for Alzheimer’s Society, she delivered face to face support for anyone affected by Dementia in various settings. She is trained to deliver Dementia Friends Sessions, Carers Information Programs, and courses for people with Dementia to live well. Prior to this Christine worked for Tendring District Council, in their Older Persons Support Team. Christine has a passion to change lives for the better, for those who are living with Dementia, or who are affected by Dementia and achieving Dementia Friendly Communities across North, East and West Tendring

Nicki Cailes

Nicki Cailes

After working as a tutor in adult education I moved into social care thirteen years ago. I initially worked as a training and volunteer coordinator and then as a trainer in care homes across Essex. I also volunteered at a local care home and for the Alzheimer’s Society. I joined the Dignity campaign to promote dignity in care, became a Dementia Friend and a Dementia Champion. In the course of my work and volunteer roles I have met a whole range of individuals who often said that they felt marginalised because of their age and I become more aware of the difficulties that older adults can face because of the assumptions that society can sometimes make. Age Concern Colchester are working hard to promote the wellbeing of older adults in our local area and I was keen to be a part of that. As a Befriending Coordinator I feel that I can help to make a difference by ensuring that I match clients and befrienders who will have a positive impact on each other’s lives.

Louise Bradshaw

Louise Bradshaw

I have spent the last 12 years working for the Alzheimer’s society supporting anyone effected by Dementia. Throughout my time there I have been involved with groups, awareness raising and working with volunteers. My main role, Dementia Support, included telephone and face to face contact. I am very much a people person and really enjoy meeting new people and because of this, I would like to think I could make a difference to someone’s day however small. Prior to this I worked for Social Services care in the community caring for people with physical disability’s

Judith Fantousi

Judith Fantousi

I have lived in North Essex for most of my life, first in Clacton on Sea, and then following a move to Bury St Edmunds in 1997, came back to Colchester in 2001. I began volunteering for Adult Community Learning in 2003, and quickly progressed to become a tutor, and later a manager, supporting adults to build their confidence and self-esteem, whilst developing and learning new skills, particularly related to their children’s learning. In 2014, I began working for Barnardo’s Children’s Services, working closely with volunteers who supported local Children’s Centre activities, as well as regularly meeting the people accessing the service, to gain valuable feedback and insight. I’ve always been passionate about making a difference to people’s lives, through both paid and voluntary roles. Like so many, dementia has touched my family; I became a Dementia Friend about 6 years ago, and have a keen interest in those living with, or who are affected by dementia. I am looking forward to this new challenge working for Age Concern as a befriending coordinator.

Jason Wiggins

Jason Wiggins

Jason has a strong financial background, this has been achieved through 10 years’ experience in financial control and reporting roles within industry. He actively studying to become a chartered accountant. He has an inquisitive mind and really enjoy meeting with people within his organisation and understanding their roles within the organisation. This allows him to build an in-depth picture of how the organisation operates and how everyone is working toward the organisation goals. He has a good eye for detail and will delve into the finances to ensure he has a full understanding of the organisation financial position. He joined Age Concern has he has a strong belief that we should support and learn from our seniors. He valued his grandparent’s advice and moral lessons he learnt from them.

Jayne Vernon

Jayne Vernon

My career started in a Dementia care home, which lead me on to working at Broomfield hospital. I then spent 15 years at Age UK, enrolling volunteers and arranging clinics for services all over Essex My experience with Dementia and loneliness is very close to my heart, I know the frustration it can bring to families. I thrive on meeting new people and in this busy world, no one should be lonely or isolated. As a befriender, I understand the importance of the volunteers' role as much as our clients' needs. I look forward to help building these new relationships and working for Age Concern. I have been involved in many fundraising events over the years for various charities and I also volunteer myself at an outdoor activity center, which helps build self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

Sophie Ashby

Sophie Ashby

Prior to working with people in later life, which I began 12 years ago, I used to be a trouble shooter for various insurance firms in the city. I changed my carer because I became passionate about the rights and struggles of older people who can often be overlooked by society. I began as an Advocate for Age Concern Essex in 2008 and gradually progressed in to reablement services and then advice and Information. Before joining the team at Age Concern Colchester I also supported the discharge team at Colchester Hospital specialising in support for older people. I found my true strength in communicating with older people, gaining their trust, and implementing support networks. I found giving older people advice to better manage their later years truly rewarding. I have become remarkably successful at applications for Health Benefits and Pension Credits and look forward to supporting the people of Colchester and North East Essex to find the tools they need for independence

Kay Player

Kay Player

Kay joins Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex as Emotional Support Coordinator.  Previously a legal secretary for many years, Kay gradually changed her career to become a counsellor and specialises in bereavement counselling.  She has worked with clients in various areas of loss including long term illness, loss of a baby and bereavement by suicide.  She is also a specialist mental health mentor, working mainly with clients experiencing anxiety and depression.  Kay believes that each person is a valuable member of society and understands that at varying points in a person’s life, support may be needed for them to recognise this.