Trustees and ambassadors

Claire Johnston

Chair

Claire has been a director of nursing, working on NHS Mental Health and Community Trust boards for 15 years. She worked in clinical and operational service roles in family and mental health and safeguarding, and then took up a role as the Royal College of Nursing’s national adviser in primary care. She also worked as a policy adviser in the chief nursing officer’s team on nursing in primary care and school health. Claire is an honorary clinical professor of nursing at Middlesex University’s Institute of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work. “As someone who has worked directly with families where a parent suffers with mental ill health, as well as managing front-line teams in health and care, I have seen first-hand the devastating impact on children’s lives. Children of a parent with mental illness are astonishingly creative and courageous –  taking on young carer roles with their mum or dad which would defeat many an adult. But this is often at great expense, as their chances to do well at school, build friendships and grow into well-balanced adults are diminished.”

Chineye Njoku

Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, Trustee and Ambassador

Chineye has been a young carer of a parent with mental illness for most of her life and regularly attended our KidsTime Workshops. She now uses her own past experiences to help other young people who have a parent with a mental illness. She has a Biomedical Science Degree, MSc in Mental Health: Psychological Therapies, PGdip in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and currently works as a cognitive behavioural therapist and safeguarding lead for an IAPT ( Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) Service. Chineye has combined her work and personal experiences by acting as both an advocate for the needs of children and young people and giving professional presentations to different groups in the UK and Europe.

Dr Guinevere Tufnell

Trustee

After training as a doctor and then a psychiatrist, Guinevere worked in a wide variety of mental health services before becoming a child and family psychiatrist. She was a consultant psychiatrist with the child and family unit of the Traumatic Stress Clinic (TSC) in central London. At Great Ormond Street Hospital, Guinevere specialised in assessing and treating children and families who had been psychologically traumatised as a result of experiencing violence, abuse and bereavement. She has a longstanding interest in improving the general understanding of mental health issues, and has collaborated on numerous public education projects for the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She was commissioning editor for Mental Health & Growing Up – a series of factsheets available on the RCPsych’s website – for parents, teachers and young people. She has published articles on a variety of topics relating to child mental health. She also worked for many years on the telephone advice line for parents run by the child mental health charity YoungMinds, where she was also a trustee. “I wish Our Time had existed when I was working with children and families in east London. They would have been so valuable because Our Time provides a unique opportunity for children and young people to boost their understanding and shrink their fears about mental illness. It’s a safe space where they can share information with each other and with family members – and feel stronger and more confident about how to get help if they need it.”

Ambeya Begum

Trustee and Ambassador

Ambeya has been an active ambassador for the charity and her ongoing support has been recognised in her role as an NHS Changemaker. Within this role, she voices the concerns of young people, ensures young carers have recognition and helps the NHS manage their social return on investment. She has completed several demanding fundraising activities and advised policymakers and educators on parental mental illness, and how to recognise and support affected children. As a young carer herself, Ambeya is passionate about helping others, which is reflected through her ongoing commitment and contribution to the charity. She supports young people in monthly workshops and has proactive involvement in the ‘Who Cares?’ programme, offering recommendations based on her own personal experiences. “Working for Our Time is always an amazing, yet overwhelming experience for me. Having never had a KidsTime Workshop experience whilst growing up, I see it as my obligation to prevent others experiencing a tough childhood. Seeing a smile on a child’s face when they leave a workshop is one the most rewarding experiences I have encountered.”

Louise Rodgers

Trustee

Louise has had a successful career as a PR and communications consultant working with many different organisations, across all sectors. She is now a trained and accredited executive and business coach (PGC, ICF) and founder of her own company Eidyia Ltd. She is also a visiting lecturer in Public Relations at Regent’s University, London, and a board trustee at London Youth.

“I believe that each generation has an obligation to pass on to the next a world that features an improved level of wellbeing and greater equality of opportunity. Our Time works with a group of children and young people who, because they are not widely recognised as having very specific support needs, may struggle to grow up healthy and achieve their potential. With deceptively modest, but very effective interventions, it is clear to me that Our Time can make a real difference to future generations. I am delighted to have the opportunity to become a trustee and hope to make a contribution to Our Time’s continued growth.”

Rosemary Martin

Trustee

Rosemary is a qualified accountant who has worked in a number of different sectors for both private companies and not-for-profit organisations at board level. She has commercial experience combined with strong accounting and reporting skills.

Naomi Bacon

Trustee

Naomi is the co-director of a communications agency specialising in PR, marketing, social media and events within publishing and the arts. She is also the co-founder of the COR Collective, a training school offering courses in public speaking, confidence and resilience. Naomi contacted Our Time and asked to be involved as both her parents have struggled with mental health issues. The workshops are something she wishes she’d had access to as a child. She is leveraging her PR skills and networks to organise a series of events and activities to raise funds and awareness for the cause.

Edward Hicks

Trustee

Ed is a solicitor in the London office of a leading international law firm where he specialises in advising companies and investors from across the world on cross-border corporate and financial transactions. Ed is committed to pro bono legal representation and assists many charities operating in the United Kingdom and beyond with questions of charity law and corporate strategy.

Kirsty Tahta-Wraith

Ambassador

Kirsty has worked with Our Time since 2011 in several capacities and is determined to ensure the impact of Our Time’s services is made available to more than just the lucky few. Kirsty attended Our Time’s KidsTime Workshops from the age of eight with her father who had bipolar disorder. She is clear that the support she and her family received at the workshops made a big difference to her confidence, as well as influencing her career choice.  She is passionate about supporting families affected by parental mental illness and she now contributes to the workshops as a counsellor, drawing on her own experiences to support those in similar situations. She continues to be involved in the development of the resources for schools as part of the ‘Who Cares?’ programme and has delivered numerous presentations to school staff and other professional audiences, including the Marlborough Family Service Conference.