Operational team

Ceri George (CEO)

ceri.george@platformforlife.org.uk 

I attended the University of Cardiff and joined the steel industry in 1989. I spent much of my career in sales and marketing with Tata Steel where I rebuilt a failing brand, launched multiple new products and services, led major digital projects and developed and managed international marketing teams. I am an award winning Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and have an MBA from Warwick University. In 2016 I left to start my own business, helping local small to medium enterprises develop their strategic focus and marketing skills. I worked on a voluntary basis as a marketing SkillShare partner with Cheshire West Voluntary Action, helping a number of local charities including OPAL Services and Neuromuscular Centre. I helped develop Platform for Life’s strategy before joining as CEO in March 2019. I believe passionately in what the charity does and the difference it is making to the lives of individual families and am delighted to be a part of it.

 

Laura Nield (Administrator)

laura.nield@platformforlife.org.uk.

I live in Chester with my husband and our two children. Before joining Platform for Life I practiced property law with a Chester based law firm. I decided to have a career change and wanted to find something that I could do that would make a real difference to our community. I have worked with Platform for Life since July 2019 as an administrator.  It’s an interesting and rewarding role in which I get to work with fantastic people. In my spare time I enjoy playing netball and being with my family.

 

Della Austin (Clinical Director)

della.austin@platformforlife.org.uk

I am a fully qualified counsellor and play therapist and hold Masters in Counselling, Play Therapy and Professional Studies. I’ve worked for many years as a Counsellor, Play therapist and University Lecturer and have developed counselling services in primary care and education. I was a lead partner in a Welsh Assembly Pilot Project for the Counselling in School Initiative within the Foundation Stage and have Contributed to the BACP Mind Ed project and been a member of the BAPT training and education sub-committee. I helped to establish Platform for Life in 2017 to offer families struggling with multiple challenges related to poverty and poor mental health, community-based counselling support. I’m member of the British Association of Counselling practitioners (BACP) and British Association of Play Therapists.

 

Rachael Hardman (Employed counsellor)

I am a person-centred counsellor and registered member of the BACP. In my counselling practice I am compassionate and caring with a firm ethical and professional approach. I offer a warm, therapeutic space where clients can discuss whatever they may wish to without judgement. I joined Platform for Life in 2018 and have worked with a wide variety of clients and issues ranging from grief and bereavement, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, abuse (in its many forms), workplace stress, everyday stressors, health conditions and loneliness. Beyond counselling, I have a background in health care and have worked in diverse, multinational and multicultural environments and enjoy working with diversity. I have practiced as a health educator and been a registered nurse for many years. In my nursing career I specialised in oncology and palliative care which, along with my personal life experience, has given me an intimate understanding of grief and loss. I hold a Master’s degree in Clinical Counselling (with distinction) and undertake regular ‘continuing professional development’ and recognise this as an important aspect of my current practice.

 

Helen McGlashan (Employed counsellor)

I qualified as a counsellor in 2005 and graduated with a Master of Arts in Counselling at Chester University in 2013. I have been a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy throughout my career, gaining accreditation with them in 2019. I began my career working for the NSPCC as a schools counsellor with Year 6 and secondary age pupils. From that I was lucky enough to be part of an initiative by the Welsh Government to set up counselling services across Wales for all secondary schools. I have also been employed by a multi agency service working alongside other professionals such as Educational Psychologists and family support workers. In addition to my role as a counsellor, I have delivered training to both adults and children as well as therapeutic groups to various ages. Working with parents has been necessary on occasion when working with younger children. I have also been involved in youth work, supporting children in care and young carers. Training has always been a key part of enhancing my approach and skills and I have accessed varied courses that are relevant to my role. During my employment, I have worked with a range of people in various contexts, and feel my values and beliefs contribute to working as holistically as I can to provide support to others who need it. 

 

Elisabeth Stokes (Employed counsellor)

I have well over 20 years’ experience of working in the counselling profession. Initially providing a service for West Yorkshire Police, following this I set up a counselling service for Better Health at Work a Local Authority project in Yorkshire.  Within my work for these two organisations I have worked with Adults, supporting them with a wide range of issues including, stress, anxiety, depression, trauma and grief and loss.  I created and delivered stress management, workshops with a focus on CBT and set up self-help groups for people to support them in managing, stress, anxiety and depression. Following my work with Adults and hearing many comments from them that they ‘wished that had received counselling years ago when they were at school’, I became interested in working with Children and Young People and completed a Degree Course at Glyndwr University which provided me with the skills and knowledge to work using creative methods (play, games, art) with children and young people.  I draw on my experience and training to enhance my person-centred approach to counselling and use integrative methods such as creative methods, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and practical problem-solving strategies to tailor the sessions to suit individual needs. I am a member of the BACP and have a BSc Degree in Counselling (Children and Young People); Advanced Diploma in Counselling and Group Work, Masters Degree in Human Resource Management, Diploma in Occupational Health, and a BA Degree in combined Psychology and Sociology.

 

Sessional counsellors

We also have a number of sessional counsellors who work with us. They are well qualified in their fields and with experience of working with our type of client base. All our counsellors work to BACP standards.