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 across North East Essex and Witham. My role is to lead the organisation, enable the team to grow and work closely with trustees to develop partnerships so that those in later years can live life better.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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."
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
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Francesca joins Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex as Compassionate Companions Coordinator. Francesca has previous experience in working with adults with learning disabilities and the care of those later years in residential and domiciliary settings. She has a passion for training and self-development, particularly within the areas of palliative and end of life care. Francesca hopes to be able to use her experience within the Compassionate Companions project to provide support to those coming to the end of their life in a meaningful way, recognising each person’s individual needs and wishes.
Lisa Smith Senior Communities Dementia & Befriending Coordinator
I have always been passionate about working with those who have dementia and their families. Having had two close family members with dementia I know only too well how this can affect the person and those around them. I am currently undertaking a dementia training course to update my skills. I ran the North East Essex befriending service from 2010 -2013 where I matched many people with volunteer befrienders in that time and loved every minute of this. I love seeing the outcomes of helping people and im passionate about empowering people to have a happy healthy life.
Abi joins Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex as Mental Wellbeing Coordinator. After graduating from the University of Kent with a degree in Psychology, she has supported adults with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions in a residential setting. Outside of employment, Abi volunteers for a text-messaging service to help individuals self-manage their mental health in a moment of crisis. Abi hopes to empower individuals to take steps, no matter how small, to care for their wellbeing and to ensure that those facing challenges to their mental health receive the support they deserve.
Viv joined Age Concern Colchester in August 2020 as a Trusts and Grants’ writer, having worked for Age UK Suffolk for two and a half years in the same role. Having grown up in Colchester, I left for university where I studied for a degree in English and Law. On returning, I worked for Abbotts (East Anglia Ltd), in Clacton, Stowmarket, Ipswich, and Bury St Edmunds before running the office in Thorpe-Le-Soken for several years. I loved travelling all over these areas, meeting people, crawling around their homes, and generally indulging my life-long fascination with houses. I then re-trained as a secondary school English and Drama teacher in Suffolk - the career I built and loved for 25 years. In 2014 I took the decision to leave teaching and began volunteering at St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich, then quickly taking on 3 different roles for each of the years I was there, culminating in my favourite – Hospice Writer, working therapeutically with patients and using stories for marketing and fundraising purposes too. Here I learnt the value of charities and realised that this environment was one in which I wanted to stay, using writing as a way of raising awareness and funds.
Claire joins Age Concern as Executive Assistant to the CEO Simon and also supports the Chairman Nick, along with the Trustees and brings a wealth of experience in supporting an Executive Team. Having previously worked for the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Haven Gateway Partnership, ECL and Randstad Recruitment she is very people centred and is very happy to now be working with a charitable organisation which supports people in later life. Working for the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex has shown Claire that she thrives in an environment that serves and helps people, Age Concern is passionate, forward thinking and puts the people in the heart of what they do and being a small part of that gives a huge amount of job satisfaction.
Sarah joins Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex as Operations Manager for Support Services. Sarah brings a wealth of skill and experience from working for the third sector. Having previously worked for organisations including Mind, Alzheimer’s Society, St Mungos and Shelter, she has established a passion for developing and supporting high quality services. Sarah is excited to join the team and to be working for improved support for those in later years.
Kayley has a strong background in customer support with many previous years working as a personal trainer and fitness instructor. She always knew that she wanted to have a career that involves making other people's lives easier. Kayley’s goal every day is to try and make someone’s day a little bit less complicated. With knowledge of leading a team and working within a software design and development company. She has an extensive range of knowledge and is always looking for ways to improve that. Kayley aims to encourage and empower the older generation to live a happier, healthy lifestyle.
Emma is excited to join the Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex Support Services team. Having worked within NHS acute mental health services, several national art institutions, and for an architectural firm – specialising in social housing projects, Emma is keen to apply her skills and experience within her role as Trusts and Foundations Fundraiser, to help make the lives better of those in their later years.
I spent 40+years in my career as a Pharmacist and during that time worked in many different areas within the profession. I started my working life in hospital pharmacy, later moving on to community pharmacy where I eventually owned my own pharmacy. Later still, I developed an interest in Training & Development and eventually worked with the National Pharmacy Association training pharmacy technicians. My final work move was to a Health Authority where I was responsible for ensuring contract compliance in community pharmacies and assisting pharmacists to develop their practices. With retirement in sight due to an NHS reorganisation, I joined Citizens Advice where I gained 10 years' experience. Initially, I trained as a General Advisor then later I became a Supervisor and Training & Development Officer, supporting a team of Advisors and Trainee Advisors during Advice Sessions. I have always enjoyed analysing problems presented and then 'demystifying' the information to help Clients move forward
A senior executive with extensive experience in leadership and change in both private and public sectors, who enjoys making a difference. Proven success in delivering innovation and programmes in both UK and overseas as well as ensuring calm out of chaos. With a wide experience of many sectors including, Defence, Health, Charity and Telecommunications, but most importantly with a passion for working with and developing people. Ru brings with him a wealth of experience in the VCSE sector and strategic leadership. Ru joins as Deputy Chair of Trustees as we move through the next phase of growth.
Liz is excited to be part of the Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex Support Services team. Having worked within the private sector in retail banking, and within the public sector, for both the Council and the NHS. Liz has a wide experience of welfare benefits and public health. Liz is dedicated to help make the lives better of those in their later years and offers a friendly welcome to people accessing services through the inbound support team.
I am delighted to be part of the Age Concern Colchester & North Essex Support Service team. I am a Royal Navy Veteran and have over 20 years experience in customer service. Recently I trained as a Person Centred therapist as part of my choice to focus my career toward a helping field. I have a passion for empowering and supporting others. In recent years I have been more aware of the social issues older people in the community are facing and am committed to supporting them to the best of my ability through my role in the inbound support team.
I consider myself to be a social butterfly, being a real people person, I love to interact with a variety of people, helping and organising anything I can do to bring our community together. My previous background has been in administration, however I felt I wanted a change in direction, therefore, I saw a role advertised for an Activities/ Groups Coordinator, and applied, secured the role, and have met lots of lovely clients.
Victoria joins Age Concern Colchester and North East Essex as the Veterans’ Befriending Coordinator. I am a former soldier in the Armed Forces and married to a serving British Army Officer. I plan to combine my military experience with the domiciliary and activity coordinating skills I learned in the health care sector to connect veterans’. My aim is to create social community groups to combat loneliness and develop understanding and awareness of different levels of dementia across the veterans’ community.
Kelly joins Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex as a Communities Befriending Coordinator. Kelly has extensive experience in Customer Services and Recruitment. In her previous role, Kelly managed a small team which she loved, as she thrives on meeting new people, building relationships and supporting others. After having taken some time out of the office to raise her young children, Kelly also spent a considerable amount of time caring for her Grandmother. Kelly has personal experience of supporting someone living with dementia and understands the support that is needed and appreciated. Kelly is excited to join the team at Age Concern and looks forward to connecting people who may feel lonely or isolated within her local community.
Victoria Knott : Veterans Befriending Coordinator
Kelly joins Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex as a Communities Befriending Coordinator. Kelly has extensive experience in Customer Services and Recruitment and thrives on meeting new people and supporting them to live their best life. Kelly has personal experience of supporting someone living with dementia and is excited to join the team. She is looking forward to connecting people who may feel lonely or isolated within her local community
Tracey has more than 10 years’ experience in Communications and Fundraising. She has worked for charities such as World Bicycle Relief and Carers First as well as the NHS Mental Health Trust NEPFT. She now leads our Digital Communications efforts working to increase the reach of Age Concern Colchester by delivering captivating campaigns through our digital media channels. In her free time Tracey enjoys spending time with her young family, fitness and travelling.