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. 


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.


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).