Louise Parrott-Bates – Pure Insight Chair starting 10th October 2013
Louise is the CEO of Pure Innovations Charity – working towards disadvantaged people having good lives with purpose and meaning.
Louise trained as a Social Worker and spent all her career working with people to improve their independence, skills and wellbeing.
Responsible for over 200 staff and a budget in excess of five million – she is driven to implement change in services and systems to ensure disadvantaged people have improved lives.
Leadership skills and a passion in not settling for “good enough” drives her enthusiasm to continually improve the culture that reflects the values and behaviours of Pure Innovations.
Louise is also chair of two other charities – Smart Works and Pure Insight. She utilises her experience and knowledge to ensure these charities are financially sustainable, aspirational for growth with an infrastructure to realise its potential. Risk, governance and compliance are managed with and thru the board and senior managers.
Oliver Gardner – member since 1st April 2016
As a practising solicitor, specialising in criminal defence and other legally aided work, my work, over 20 years has brought me into contact with many children and young people. Early on, I became conscious of the disproportionate number of looked after children entering the criminal justice system and as I gained experience, I grew totally frustrated by the woeful lack of provision for so many of these children.
It started to occur to me that many looked after children were being failed by the very system intended to help them and as a direct consequence of this failure many such children were falling into the criminal justice system. Through my work, as is often the case, I built relationships with many of my young clients. Although, my role in their lives was for a specific purpose, I came to appreciate the positive effect of the relationship on the young person. It also occurred to me how very much a positive type of relationship was missing from so many of my young clients’ lives.
Feeling somewhat constrained by the nature of my relationship as their solicitor, I decided to train as a ChildLine counsellor and then went on to study counselling and psychotherapy to level 3 in the hope that I could work more closely and more positively impact the lives of children young people within the care system. In fact, it was whilst I was training as a counsellor that a friend, also on the course recommended the mentoring programme at Pure Insight. I completed the programme and then having seen first-hand the huge benefits of it and the other work undertaken by Pure I wanted to help the charity to a greater extent and so through my efforts I was then invited to join the board of Trustees which I readily and with great pride accepted.
As a solicitor I consider my ability to make objective judgements based on the processing of information a key skill from which the organisation can benefit. My knowledge and experience of the criminal justice system is also a useful. Resource from which the charity can draw.
As a trained counsellor, I would hope that my ability to listen, express non-judgemental advice and offer positive regard to the young people we work with will be considered a useful asset.
Ed Nixon – member since 10th September 2016
I am a social worker who has worked with children and their families for over forty years. Initially I worked for a Local Authority (Sefton MBC) as social worker, Senior Social Worker and then Area Manager leading a fieldwork team covering everything to do with Children and Families social work. Before leaving the Local Authority, after 27 years, I had become Service Manager for Looked After Children managing everything from Children’s homes to Adoption with Fostering, Leaving Care and a team working to avoid children coming into care as part of my brief.
I then transferred across to the Independent Sector– as the Group Operations Manager and subsequently CEO for an independent provider where we eventually delivered residential child care, fostering, education and therapeutic services to children with a whole spectrum of needs. Everything was judged to be ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’ by Ofsted and not yet ‘Good Enough’ by me and my colleagues. I was made redundant in 2015 after a change of ownership and I would say (well I would wouldn’t I?) of ethos too.
Since then I have worked independently supporting residential and fostering providers and undertaking commissions from (variously) the Independent Children’s Homes Association, the National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care and ‘Action for Children’.
I have been involved in the Every Child Leaving Care Matters campaign since day 1 (December 2013)and plan to be there on whatever day it is that we achieve the right for all children in residential care to ‘Stay Put’ if they so choose.
I am proud to be a trustee of Pure Insight and hope that my Local Authority, Private sector and more recently voluntary work has enabled me to develop some knowledge and a degree of expertise to bring to the table.
Steph Watkin- member since 2019
I was a solicitor in central Manchester for over 20 yrs before moving to live in America. Upon my return I volunteered with Pure Insight as a Parent Angel and then completed the mentor training course in September 2016. I was consistently impressed with the work of the charity and ethos of the staff that I knew I wanted to do more and so became involved with their other projects and haven’t looked back since.
I have personally seen the huge benefits the mentoring scheme can bring to the lives of young adults , the tag line of “transforming lives “ really is true. I remain committed to working with Pure Insight to deliver their goals and ideals.
Geoff Dodd- member since 2019
I have always been involved in the fields of youth work and education in both in a paid and voluntary capacity. I am a qualified teacher and I have a Masters degree in Youth Studies from the University of Manchester where I researched young people’s physical and mental health in relation to unemployment and educational circumstances. I worked as a senior youth and community worker for Manchester City Council’s Youth Service for 20 years, based in Wythenshawe and then worked for Stockport Council for 15 years with the Youth Service and then with the integrated Services for Young People. I carried out a number of senior management roles in Stockport including a time as Head of Youth Service. On leaving the local authority I worked as Youth Involvement Manager with Wythenshawe Community Housing Group.
Throughout my adult life I have always been involved in working with and supporting the voluntary sector. I was the local authority link to the voluntary youth sector for the 15 years I worked for Stockport and have also been a grant assessor in a number of capacities including the Princes Trust, The Queens Award for Voluntary Service and the North West Regional Youth Exchange Committee. I was a Board Member at Stockport Action for Voluntary Youth (SAVY) for almost 20 years until 2018. I have also been a volunteer Aspirational Mentor for BW3 in Wythenshawe where I mentored young people in the 6th form who were at risk of dropping out of their studies at Manchester Enterprise Academy.
Since 2014 I have been an Independent Member on Stockport Council’s Fostering Panel. This role has given me enormous satisfaction, new learning and the opportunity to contribute to important decisions that affect the lives of children, young people, their families and foster carers. I am passionate about the involvement of young people in decisions that affect their lives and believe their views must be heard and valued. More recently I was delighted to be appointed to the role of Independent Panel Member at Adoption Counts, a collaborative adoption agency, bringing specialist skills of five local authorities from across Greater Manchester and Cheshire together to deliver adoption services.
I feel very privileged and proud to be a Trustee on the Board at Pure Insight and having undertaken the mentoring training recently I can fully appreciate the commitment, enthusiasm and dedication of the staff and mentors who provide such an incredible service for young people in the areas we serve. I hope my own skills and knowledge will complement the enormous experience already within the Board.
Andy Britton- member since 2019
After leaving school I worked in the chemical industry but finding this unfulfilling I retrained as a teacher.
I started my career working with children in south London primary schools.
After a break I returned to teaching in special education, ending up as headteacher of a residential school for children with complex needs.
During this time I completed a masters degree in psychology and went on to train as an Educational Psychologist .
I eventually specialised in work with looked after children, working directly with social work colleagues.
I was also involved in a number on innovative approaches and training programmes supporting parents and careers.
A ‘Parenting Mindfully’ programme : a Programme to support Foster Carers ( fostering attachments) : a programme to help adoptive parents promote positive attachments with their adopted children.
I became aware of Pure through working for a local authority.
Since retirement I have enjoyed working in my local community garden as well as volunteering at a small local hospital.
I find time to walk, ride my bike and visit my family in various parts of the country.
I have recently learned to make stained glass and have set up a small workshop in my cellar !