Meet the team

The Staff Team

We have a team of dedicated staff with extensive experience and expertise in youth work, social care, education, health, safeguarding, finance, management, governance and administration. Our staff team are supported by a committed team of volunteers.

Leadership Team

Our Leadership Team is responsible for delivering the strategy of GYC and oversees the day to day running of the charity.


Ele Semadeni is Operations Manager and heads up the Leadership Team and takes responsibility for the whole organisation. Ele has seen the charity grow from a small team of staff members to the vibrant and busy team it is today. She took the helm from founder Helen Predgen-Lay with whom she worked for many years. With over 30 years’ experience working with vulnerable children and adults, her calm approach and commitment to frontline work has steered the charity through internal development and external opportunities and challenges.


Michelle Hitchings is the Finance & Facilities Manager, crunching numbers all day long. She keeps a close eye on the charity’s accounts as well as the raft of policies and procedures that are in place to ensure the smooth running of services. Michelle, known to us as Shelly, has the tough challenge of having to constantly amend and adapt budgets to suit the changing face of youth services, funding shifts and increasing demands upon the charity’s resources.


Hana Gill is our Development Manager responsible for overseeing Gloucestershire Young Carers’ innovative work with schools across the county. She manages the effective Young Carers’ Forum which, co-run by her team colleagues, enables young carers to have their voice heard by leading decision makers, whilst developing their skills, confidence and engagement. She also oversees our specialist work with Young Adult Carers, a group that can fall through the gap between young carer and adult carer services. Hana gained solid experience of voluntary sector management/ development and working with vulnerable young people and families in her 10 years at London based charity Love to Learn.


Sally Gillespie is our Development Manager for Fundraising, Marketing and Communications. Sally is responsible for devising and leading on our fundraising strategy with supporters across the county including businesses, community groups and individuals. She also leads on our marketing and communications from social media content, e-news, media, to printed materials to ensure our charity brand and message is seen and heard across Gloucestershire and beyond. She also overseas our volunteer recruitment and retention. Sally has been a fundraiser for over 12 years with national and local charities and has a solid and varied experience of fundraising management, marketing and corporate social responsibility.

Senior Management

Mandy Bell is our Development Lead taking responsibility for overseeing our development work with health services. She has a keen interest in developing services for families where children and young people help to care for someone with a stigmatised condition such as mental illness or substance misuse and oversees these specialist service areas at GYC.  Mandy is a registered social worker and was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship in 2010, travelling to Australia to research models of support for children of parents with a mental illness.


Our Trustees are the foundation of our charity. They oversee the Leadership Team’s development and implementation of strategies and policies, ensuring that we are remaining true to the objectives set out by our charity in 1993.

They make sure we are offering the most appropriate and efficient service for our young carers and their families.

Our Board of Trustees comprises:

Paul Winterbottom (Chair)
Paul is retired Medical Director in Gloucestershire’s mental health services with interests in Mentoring and Service Safety and Improvement and Serious Incident Learning. Paul is currently Consultant Psychiatrist with specialism in Autism Spectrum Conditions.  Paul brings his extensive experience in mental health and learning disability services and offers supervision to GYC ‘Us Too’ sessions for children caring for a family member with mental ill health.

Paul also has a national focus as South West Regional Advisor for the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Elected Member of the SW Royal College of Psychiatrists Executive Committee.

Rebecca Parish (Vice-Chair)
Becky has 26 years’ experience in public sector roles in the NHS and is currently the Associate Director, Engagement and Experience for the NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group. Previously involved in the commissioning of carers’ services, Becky’s interests lie in communications, public engagement and consultation, patient and carer experience.

Mathew Waddington (Safeguarding Lead and Governance sub group member)
Mat is a Child Panel Lawyer representing vulnerable children.  Mat brings his extensive legal and safeguarding knowledge to the Board and directly to the staff team dealing with front line issues.

Amanda Deeks (Board link to Youth Strategic Investment Fund)
Amanda recently retired as Chief Executive at South Gloucestershire Council. Prior to this she worked in a variety of roles across the health service and local government. Amanda has extensive experience of governance, business management and service delivery (including Children’s Services).

Since retirement Amanda has become involved in a number of voluntary sector activities supporting children and young people, homelessness and services for vulnerable people with complex needs.

Pamela Gorf (Company Secretary , Governance Sub group member and Board link to the Young Carers’ Forum)
Pam is a recently retired Business Analyst and Project Manager.  Pam brings expertise in people management, recruitment and training.  In her private life Pam has extensive experience as a Brownie and Youth leader, and brings her knowledge of youth group activity to the Board.

Rosalind Smith (Fundraising Link)
Ros brings 20 years’ experience in teaching and mentoring at FE college,  and 10 years experience of researching and writing for higher and further education audiences and promotional work. Ros’ passion lies in mentoring young people.  Since retirement Ros has been heavily involved in local fundraising and brings enthusiasm for this area to GYC.

Matt Clifford (Treasurer)
Matt’s background and expertise lies in finance, having worked in the financial services industry for 8 years and has recently taken up a new position as a Lead Accounting Operations Analyst at GE Aviation. Matt became a chartered accountant in early 2020 and became Treasurer for GYC in May 2021. He is also a registered volunteer with GYC and loves getting involved in a fundraising challenge, particularly when they’re sporty.