Meet The Team

Sabiene North – CEO

Following a 22 year career in Wealth Management, Sabiene joined the BFYC team in March 2020 as our Fundraiser and Events Coordinator, before taking over as CEO in 2022. Sabiene brings a wealth of skills with her from previous roles in Wealth Management. Sabiene studied History and Politics at Southampton University, and is an active member of the local running community. Her role at BFYC is vital for leading the team, bringing in funds, liaising with the community, corporates and raising awareness of the important work BFYC does. 

Sabiene is also one of our Designed Safeguarding Leads, her details can be found in our Safeguarding section.

James Edney – Operations Manager

James is a qualified Youth Worker with 20 years of experience working with young people in a wide variety of settings including youth clubs, outdoor education, education environments and residential support.

Before moving to BFYC, he worked across the county supporting youth work practitioners and community groups through advice, training and networking. 

He is looking forward to developing this new role to help BFYC grow in its amazing work and is excited to join a vibrant and passionate team.

Mandy McCartney – Fundraising & Events Coordinator

Mandy is responsible for all our fundraising and events, including applying for vital funding, recruiting donors and supporting our charity’s activities and services for young carers. Mandy joined the charity in January 2022, and has personal experience of being a young carer, with the passion and desire to help ease their circumstances and daily challenges.

Hannah Waugh – Fundraiser and Events Co ordinator

Hannah is part of the fundraising team supporting with raising the essential funds needed to allow the charity to run. Hannah has recently graduated with a Master’s in Psychology and Learning disabilities and has previously worked within the charity sector. It is through this experience that she knows the importance of the support Be Free YC offers to young carers.

Charlie Burke – Digital Marketing Manager

Charlie is our Digital Marketing Manager, developing and responding to our social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Threads, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Charlie also deals with managing our internal and external communications, website and PR coverage, recently completing her CIPR Foundation in Public Relations. Charlie is the initial face of the charity online, bringing with her previous creative experience of interacting and documenting through blogging and website designing.

Callum Watkins –

Befriending & Volunteering Coordinator

Callum was born and raised in Surrey, where he later realised, he was an informal young carer. It was while studying Geography at Swansea University, Callum begun to truly understand the good Non-Profit Organizations can do and started volunteering again. Upon moving to Oxford, after a brief stint at a corporate firm in London, he decided to look for work in the charity sector and found Be Free Young Carers. The charities goals and focus on an area that lacks support in general really resonated with Callum.

Emma Horwill

BFYC Health & Wellbeing Ambassador & Yoga Teacher

Emma is a fully qualified yoga & mindfulness teacher, who runs our Mindful Movements sessions for our young carers in schools. 

Having a difficult childhood, suffering early loss and undiagnosed depression and anxiety, Emma found herself buying self-help books and eventually received counselling as a teenager. Losing her adopted Dad at age 6, she and her younger brother would have been identified as young carers, but sadly no organisations such as Be Free Young Carers.

After training with Yogakidz in 2017, Emma offers yoga and mindfulness to children and their families, including our young carers enabling them to find fun and effective ways to help to start exploring their inner world, both with their bodies and their minds. Encouraging strength, both mentally and physically, empowering the children, and parents, to become more confident and realise their innate sense of self-esteem. 

Gemma Thorpe

Senior YC Youth Worker

The Vale & South Oxfordshire

Gemma is one of our longest serving Senior Youth Workers, working to Young Carers in The Vale and South Oxfordshire. Gemma engages with young carers, liaises with local schools and arranges young carer emotional support, activities and training.

Lorraine Nicholls

Senior YC Youth Worker – Oxford

Lorraine is a qualified primary school teacher, with over 20 years experience of working in schools. In the last few years she worked as a teaching assistant, specialising in supporting children with SEN and emotional/mental health needs.

Lorraine has brought her expertise on board as we recently expanded into Oxford, an area she will be directly covering to support young carers and families.

Lorraine is also one of our Designed Safeguarding Leads, her details can be found in our Safeguarding section.

Carly Buckingham – Young Carer Youth Worker

Carly worked at our charity as a Youth Worker for over 10 years before taking some time out to care for her son. She is extremely excited to have rejoined the team and is eager to support as many young carers as possible, bringing with her a wealth of experience. As a young carer herself growing up, Carly is passionate about raising awareness of young carers and ensuring they all have access to the vital support that Be Free YC provides.

Linda Christodoulou –

Charity Counsellor for Young Carers

Linda has worked with children and young people for over 27 years. Linda has experience from her time as a Teaching Assistant, an Early Years Teacher, a respite carer for children with Special Educational Needs and at a children’s hospice providing care for young people to the age of 18. She has also volunteered as a Samaritan, and trained as a counsellor to Diploma level.

Linda provides support to our young carers through our Counselling Service, offering sessions of 45 minutes and meeting with the young carer weekly for six sessions and more when considered necessary. Linda’s role is to offer a safe confidential space, where young carers feel safe enough to explore the issues/problems they are struggling with. She uses her knowledge and counselling skills to attempt to encourage and empower the young carer, helping to make any changes possible, either physically or in their cognitive approach to their life, and to the issues they bring to the counselling sessions.

Jenny Latimer –

Young Carer Youth Worker & Befriending Supervisor

Jenny has been a part of the Team for several years, working behind the scenes supervising our Young Carer Youth Workers since the charity was previously called South and Vale Carers.

Jenny provides our Young Carer Youth Workers and Befriender Coordinator with support on a monthly basis dealing with case work, emotional wellbeing check ins, specialist advice and occasional training sessions.

Jenny currently works in Private Practice as a Therapist and Supervisor. Her qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Person Centered Counselling, Diploma in Psychology and an Advanced Diploma in Supervision.

Our Trustees

David Wells, Chair of Trustees

David’s career in Human Resources spans over 25 years in multi-national public-listed, private, private-equity-backed companies and public organisations, latterly as Director, People and Organisational Development at Imperial College NHS Trust.

Since 2018 he has been working with private and public sector organisations as an independent Human Resources consultant. He was inspired to join Be Free Young Carers as a Trustee having seen the positive impact that the charity makes, and the challenges faced by the NHS in meeting increasingly complex health needs. 

Elizabeth Paris & Loretta Light, Vice Chairs of Trustees

Elizabeth joined the Board in early 2021. Her career has been in investment banking as a Managing Director with Chase Manhattan Bank and JP Morgan. After a variety of board roles at national and regional level she is currently a Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, an Associate Fellow of the University of Oxford Said Business School, Chair of Trustees at Oxford Playhouse, a trustee of SOFEA and a Charity Mentor. A particular focus on women and entrepreneurship includes a role as a World Bank consultant designing the IFC program for gender sensitivity in banks, leading on from managing the University of Oxford Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women programmes in China. 

Loretta, a local parish councillor and a Governor of South Central Ambulance NHS Trust for Oxfordshire, joined the Board in March 2020. Loretta is particularly interested in safeguarding.

Roy Browne

Roy graduated from Imperial College, London with an honours degree and is a Chartered Civil Engineer. Over a number of years he has held several senior positions in both the public and private sectors in England. Roy is married to Liz who is a Professor of Education. He shares his time between London and Oxfordshire and has been a Trustee of Be Free Young Carers since 2017, where he brings his commercial and marketing skills to the Charity.

Colin Mitchell FCCA

Colin is a qualified accountant with a broad background as CEO, finance director and non-executive roles in commercial enterprises and charities. He currently specialises in strategic business planning and has over 30 years’ experience in corporate mergers and acquisition projects across the UK and EU. Colin was a magistrate in Berkshire for 16 years; is a trustee of an Oxfordshire Multi Academy Trust and Chair of a London modern ballet company aimed at bringing the world of modern ballet to a wider audience and young dancers. He is married to his wife Pam, they have four children and eight grandchildren. Colin recently joined BFYC’s Board of Trustees in June.

Dr Roger Eccelston

Dr Roger Eccleston is Director of the ISIS Pulsed Neutron and Muon Source ​at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Before joining STFC, Roger was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Professor of Materials Physics at Sheffield Hallam University.  His career has involved a range of senior roles in universities and research organisations.

Roger completed a PhD in Physics from the University of Warwick and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics.

He is passionate about the importance of young people having opportunities to thrive, which is one of the reasons he is so pleased to be a trustee of BFYC.  He is also a trustee of the Careers Research Advisory Centre.   He has previously been a Guardian of the Sheffield Assay Office, trustee of Helen’s Trust and Blythe House Hospicecare, and on the Board of Governors at Barnsley College and the DN Group of Colleges.

Angus Horner

Angus former Campus Director for the Harwell Science & Innovation Campus Limited Partnership, having also been a founder shareholder inside the Private Sector half of the Partnership from 2013 until Spring 2020. He is a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and is also Founder and Managing Director of Prorsus Ltd. Angus lives in South Oxfordshire, with his Wife and young children. He is engaged in the broader region and also seeks to contribute via a Directorship of Didcot First Ltd, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Oxfordshire Growth Board and as a Governor of St Birinus School.

Laurie Cooper

Laurie currently heads up a Finance and Sales administration team in the gardening sector, with over 20 years accounting experience. She is a self driven systems and people manager that strives to achieve and embraces new challenges hence becoming a trustee for BYFC. Her family have been in Oxfordshire for the last 8 years. During this time Laurie have spent the last 5 years in a befriending role with another local charity which she has thoroughly enjoyed. She has a personal desire to always help others and being a part of this wonderful charity.

Jo Broad

Jo was appointed to the Board in November 2022.  Her commitment to improving the life chances of Children & Young People is seen in a career of more than 25 years from working with children as a coach, to managing large-scale strategic programmes focused on Learning, for public sector agencies.  Jo specialises in the strategic development of organisations, partnerships and projects working with a backdrop of public policy. She has worked with some 20+ Local Authorities individually and as strategic partners, including on Merseyside and across East England. Since 2004, she has delivered her commitment to the sector under the banner of KindleCo, her own Consultancy. Jo has a specific interest in “supporting the supporters” of vulnerable families to navigate the complexities of the landscape external to their task, project or organisation. She has variously partnered CEOs, project directors, practitioners, policy professionals, researchers and parent-carers to perspective-share, consult, understand & unpick obstacles blocking their way and enable meaningful next steps. Her professional watchwords are Collaboration, Compassion, Creativity & Courage. Jo will be contributing to our Partnerships & Fundraising subcommittee.

Lucinda Cross – Clerk to Trustees

Lucinda is a Small Business Operations and Governance expert, with over 25 years’ experience in the Finance, Retail, Insurance, Childcare, Charity and emerging markets sectors. She specialises in supporting Charities with their Governance and Compliance and works with a number of organisations focussing on their organisational and operational resilience. Having been exposed to vulnerable children and family situations, Lucinda is passionate about working with organisations who can make a difference to those in need.