Operational team

Ceri George (CEO)


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 (Customer Support and Finance Manager)


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.


Emily Nicholas (Administrator)

I joined Platform for Life in February 2021 after working in the private sector in administration and tour operations. I am passionate about the charity’s values of creating better access for individual families to mental health services and counselling. Having been an advocate for mental health awareness for over 10 years, I am delighted to be part of Platform for Life and being able to support the charity with its vision.

Della Austin (Clinical Director)


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. 


James Thorley (Sessional Counsellor)

My name is James, and I am a Person-Centred counsellor. I am passionate and committed to helping my clients work towards a more comfortable sense of emotional well-being, guided by whatever they wish to explore and any changes they would like to make. I work with people and their families affected by addiction as part of my week and come from a background of working with the homeless, hostels and night shelters.

Pam Hutcheson (Sessional Counsellor)

I joined Platform for Life during October 2020. I have over 30 years health care experience, initially as a registered nurse within haematology, oncology, and palliative care before progressing into mental health. I obtained a graduate diploma in counselling from the Australia College of Applied Psychology in 2002 and a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from Chester University in 2014. I offer a respectful, supportive, non-judgmental space for clients, drawing on my person-centred and art therapy training when working with them. I am registered with the Health Care Professionals Council (HCPC) and the British Association of Art Therapist (BAAT).