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Trustees and Governors Pen Portraits
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Chair of Trustees and Governors: Rev'd Allison Harding

I am currently the vicar of Newburn Parish which incorporates St Michael’s, Newburn and St Mary’s, Throckley. Before becoming a vicar, I worked as a homelessness officer, education welfare officer and probation officer. As a probation officer, I worked with young people and their families at Gateshead Youth Offending Team; I have always had a passion for young people to achieve in life, in particularly I enjoyed working with those who struggled with education or faced challenges within their family and community.


It is my hope that all young people can believe that they are unique and special, and that they can be given the support to reach their potential and make a positive contribution to society. I am delighted to be involved at Talbot House. Outside of work I enjoy spinning, watching sport and looking after my grandchildren and walking my dog.


Vice Chair of Trustee and School Governor: Lisa Alcorn

I am currently the Chief Operating Officer at SJOG which is a national charity supporting adults with learning, physical disabilities and autism in residential, supported living and domiciliary services. My role is vast, with additional nursing and older community services, homeless hostels and an ever growing national safe house accommodation pathway for people affected by modern slavery and human trafficking. I am also the Designated Safeguarding Lead and Prevent Lead for SJOG.


I have worked in social care for over 30 years and eventually specialised in autism by completing a PhD in Autism and Positive Behaviour Support. My thesis integrated a Holistic Practice Framework across a number of large national complex needs providers to help autism practitioners in understanding PBS within the domains of autism. 


I was previously Head of Children’s Services for an autism specialist provider where my responsibilities involved children’s homes and schools. I have been successful at the BILD International Leadership Awards for Innovation Practice for Young People and the National Autism Awards, but nothing beats seeing children and young people thrive.

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Trustee and School Governor: Louise Cannell-Mirza

I am a solicitor within the Family team at Ward Hadaway, Newcastle. I completed my law degree at Northumbria University in 2005 and trained and qualified at Ward Hadaway thereafter. As a family lawyer, I deal with all aspects of family law including divorce, finance and children disputes. I also advise on issues relating to adoption (including international adoption), relocation of children, domestic violence and cohabitation issues. I represent parties within complex public law care proceedings when Local Authorities issue court applications in relation to children. I am also accredited through the Law Society to represent children in such cases.


I also advise the NHS, education and employment sectors in relation to their roles and responsibilities for safeguarding children. Outside of work, I like to travel and be outdoors as much as possible with my husband and young family who keep me very busy and very entertained.

Trustee and School Governor: Nina Ramsay

I am a qualified Art Psychotherapist & Clinical Supervisor. I have been practising since 2010 and have worked for a number of charities supporting children, young people and adults with many referral issues including complex trauma, attachment issues, abuse, identity issues, eating problems, suicidal ideation and self-harm and loss. I also have worked with fostering/adoption agencies supporting carers/adoptive parents in thinking about how to therapeutically parent their children, assessing and supporting carer needs and supporting the placements of looked after CYP.


Since 2012 I have been providing supervision to various therapeutic and non-therapy practitioners and I currently work for Durham County Council and a number of charities across the north east as a Clinical Supervisor, Swiis Foster Care as an Independent panel member and am in private practice to continue to support my caseload of private supervisees, clients and organisations who need training/consultation/restorative supervision. I previously set up and ran a therapeutic service for parents whose children attend the service at Acorns (North Tyneside) and prior to that I oversaw a large therapeutic team at Barnardo's Orchard Mosaic Project.


In my spare time, I enjoy travelling with my husband, eating out, reading and learning new skills. I'm particularly fond of anything Japanese.

Trustee and School Governor: Victoria Mears 

I am a International Trade Manager within NatWest Bank where I have worked since 2001 after graduating with a Business degree from the University of Teesside.  As a Trade specialist I support Commercial and Corporate businesses in the North East to support mitigating risks and growth of their business into new overseas markets. 


I have also worked in other roles within banking including Relationship Management within Business Banking and Branch Manager roles within Retail Banking.  I am qualified and a member of Chartered Banker and Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.


I am passionate in making a difference in the local community and making a difference to children’s lives at Talbot House,  to give every child the opportunity they deserve to grow and prosper and reach their ambitions for the future.

I am married with two children.  In my spare time I enjoy walking our Labrador, swimming and reading.


Staff Governor: Karen Cowans (Family Liaison Officer)

I work in the school as the family liaison coordinator, I liaise with our parents/carers almost on a daily basis, attend meetings with outside professionals, and multi-agencies, and am a Deputy DSL. I have worked at Talbot House since 2004. On leaving university I worked for British Airways as a personnel/staff trainer. It was after some time here I was given the opportunity to train and became a dispensing optician, a role which I thoroughly enjoyed.


After having my three children, I joined the Prison Service, working in Durham and Bracknell adult prison and Hassockfield young offender’s institute. My main role in the adult prisons was security and hostage negotiation. I was then very fortunate to be offered a position at Talbot House Children's Charity. From that day the ethos of Talbot House has been my passion.


I feel privileged to be given the chance to meet our young people and be part of a team that strives to bring change to their lives, personally, socially and emotionally giving them the opportunities, they deserve.


Staff Governor: Steve Hughes (Science Teacher)

I have been the science teacher at Talbot House for several years, having moved from Dorset to be nearer my children and grandchildren. After a teaching career, I moved into the hospitality sector where for over 25 years I ran pubs/clubs and restaurants with my wife. I use the wide and varied set of skills learnt in a fast-paced ever-changing environment to motivate and support children and adults to achieve their true potential. 


Being a staff Governor means I can be an integral part of the process to support Talbot House achieve its goals, as a teacher I have the commitment to ensure our pupils achieve their very best.

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