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York St John Communities Centre

Meet members
of our team

Find our more about our leadership team, office team, and advisory board members.

Composite image of 21 headshots of team members at the Counselling and Mental Health Centre.

We have a number of trainee and qualified counsellors, qualified coaches, and group facilitators that work at the Centre.

For information on our team structure, view our staffing structure below:

Communities Centre staffing structure (PDF, 0.2 MB)

Leadership team

Lynne is Professor of Counselling and Mental Health, a British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Accredited and Registered Counsellor and Psychotherapist, and a trained supervisor of practitioners working within the counselling and helping professions.

Lynne is founding Director of the York St John Communities Centre and its associated Research and Training Clinic Consortium; with members drawn from several counselling and mental health centres set in universities across the UK. Lynne is researching domestic abuse, in collaboration with a regional charity, exploring early intervention groups for young people who have been caught up in domestic violence situations. Lynne is also currently developing projects on online bereavement groups and online delivery of therapy.

When not working, Lynne loves having time with her partner and friends, pottering in the garden and yard, beachcombing and exploring bookshops!

Rachel's professional background is English language teaching, teacher training and school leadership; and she taught, inspected programmes, and led courses and schools for more than fifteen years in: Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Japan, Thailand and Sweden.

In 2013, Rachel was awarded a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship for her work on the internationalisation of Higher Education. Rachel is a member of the International Federation of National Teaching Fellows, a Visiting Professor at Yunnan Minzu University, China, Governor at South York Multi-Academy Trust, and a member of the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement Panel for Languages, Cultures and Societies.

Divine is a Professor of Counselling Psychology and Programme Director for the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at York St John University.

He is a Chartered Psychologist and Counselling Psychologist. He is registered as a chartered member with the British Psychological Society and as a Practitioner Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Divine is also registered with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy as an Adult Psychotherapist. He has many years of various work experience working in diverse psychiatric/clinical and therapeutic settings including the UK National Health Service (NHS), voluntary sector and private practice. Divine's psychotherapeutic interests are in exploring working with trauma, complex psychological distress, as well as working with those experiencing relational problems.

Divine co-authored and edited numerous books in counselling and psychotherapy. His two latest co-edited books are 'Love and Therapy: In relationship' (Co-edited with Stephen Paul) and 'The Person-Centred Counselling and Psychotherapy Handbook: Origins, Developments and Current Applications' (Co-edited with Colin Lago).

Trish is Associate Head for Counselling and is a BACP registered and accredited counsellor and qualified supervisor. Previously she worked for many years in the voluntary and university counselling sectors. She trains counsellors and works with experienced counsellors in the NHS.

Trish is a humanistic counsellor working from a process-experiential position who privileges the relational aspects of counselling.

Penn is a Senior Lecturer in Counselling and Programme Lead for the BA Counselling courses at York St John University.

She is a Chartered Psychologist and a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Penn is a humanistic-integrative counsellor with a particular interest in understanding the meaning individuals give to their experiences as well as in exploring creative and relational ways of working.

She has worked with adults, children, and young people in a variety of settings including clinical wards, third sector charities, universities, and housing organisations. Her research and therapeutic interests are in trauma, mental health rehabilitation and recovery, and bereavement.

John is a BACP accredited and registered counsellor He is a Visiting Research Fellow of York St John University and Director of the Bereavement Service of the Communities Centre. He has specialised in bereavement counselling for 20 years. His book, 'Supporting People through Loss and Grief: An Introduction for Counsellors and other Caring Practitioners' (2014, London: Jessica Kingsley) is used widely to train bereavement counsellors.

John's hobbies are crafting things from wood, photography and wildlife gardening. He plays drums in a Yorkshire rock band, Coil, which he first joined in 1980.

Nikki has been the Manager of the York St John Communities Centre since February 2022, and her role involves overseeing the daily operations of the Centre, including its groups, services and partnerships, whilst overseeing all safeguarding, health and safety and risk management processes within the Centre.

She provides line management support to the team of Centre Coordinators, Volunteers, Student Counsellors and the Clinical Centre Supervisor. Nikki has a background in safeguarding, mental health and children's residential care. She also has an undergraduate degree in Equine Rehabilitation and Therapy and is a humanistic counsellor in training.

Gracie is the Operations Manager for the School of Education, Language and Psychology.

As a member of the School Leadership team, Gracie is responsible for the day-to-day operational management of the School and ensures the delivery of agreed performance outcomes for the School's strategic plan.

Gracie works within the Communities Centre Leadership team to align the vision and strategy of the Centre with the School and provide additional operational management and support.

Gracie has worked at York St John University since 2016. She has a background in project management and events through a number of roles across higher education, hospitality and voluntary sectors.

Helen is providing maternity cover for the role of Operations Manager for the School of Education, Language and Psychology.

As a member of the School Leadership team, Helen is responsible for the day-to-day operational management of the School and ensures the delivery of agreed performance outcomes for the School's strategic plan.

Helen works within the Communities Centre Leadership team to align the vision and strategy of the Centre with the School and provide additional operational management and support.

Office team

Penny is a BACP Registered Integrative Counsellor and qualified Supervisor.

Penny has worked with adults, children and young people in a variety of charitable settings. Having a background in management and social care, she has held several senior positions in counselling organisations and works as one of a network of independent counsellors for the NHS. She also runs a successful counselling practice, working with individuals, universities, and other local organisations.

Penny's role in the Centre involves assessment and allocation of clients, providing supervisory support to Centre counsellors, together with leading on risk management and safeguarding processes. She is also involved in the recruitment and induction of counsellors.

Anne joined the team as Centre Coordinator in February 2023. Anne has a background in higher education administration in student recruitment and access and outreach.  She has also worked within local authority school governance and leisure centre management.

Anne's role is a broad role that has taken into account the needs of the Centre holistically. This role includes working on the Reception in the Clarence Street premises, where she greets service users as they enter the building and helps to answer any questions or queries that they may have about the Centre. Anne also supports with the allocation of clients to appropriate practitioners and provides support with a range of administration tasks to help facilitate all Centre groups, services and partnerships.

Sara joined the Centre team in April 2023 as a Centre Coordinator, and part of Sara’s role involves providing administration support to the Centre's Online Bereavement Group.

Working on the reception is also a pivotal part of Sara's role as she offers service users a warm welcome, assists to answer queries, and promotes a positive service user experience. Sara also supports the allocation of clients to appropriate practitioners.

Sara has a background in managing and coordinating events, running a business, and providing educational and emotional support to children with autism. Sara has an undergraduate degree in Health Studies.

Sarah has been working at York St John University since 2016 managing the CPD provision across the university, including courses focused on counselling, coaching, mental health and wellbeing.

Sarah has a keen interest in supporting the local and wider community of York, by helping to transfer academic knowledge and expertise to both the business sector and the general public. Sarah has a background in business development and operational management and has worked for a range of organisations including North Yorkshire Council and Sheffield Hallam University. Sarah has also had vast experience working in customer facing roles across the hospitality and leisure sector.

Part of Sarah's role in the Centre involves leading on the reporting processes associated with representing the Centre's growth and development.

Stephanie started working at the Centre in February 2021, and had been involved with the Centre in a volunteering capacity since February 2020. Stephanie has previously worked at a number of charities and organisations, and has worked as a project and account manager, resource and business analyst, managed marketing and social media, co-ordinated events, and more previously worked at a women's Centre working with groups and starting a service user forum. Stephanie also completed her Counselling, Coaching, and Mentoring degree at York St John University, and is a Wellbeing Coach for the Centre and privately.

Stephanie's role within the Centre is vast and varied but mainly see's her managing all aspects of the Centre's marketing and social media and development and implementation of new Centre services.

Advisory Board

Joy has over 25 years experience as a humanistic, integrative and relational psychotherapist, counsellor and supervisor in many different contexts including the NHS, Relate and private practice. She was a Senior Accredited Member of BACP and was UKCP registered as a Gestalt Psychotherapist. Since 1998 she has taught counselling and psychotherapy in many different settings including the Metanoia Institute and most recently at Leeds Beckett University where she was a senior lecturer and course leader on the BACP accredited PG Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Passionately committed to the highest standards of ethical and professional practice she worked with the Clinic for Boundary Studies (formerly 'The Prevention of Professional Abuse Network') to educate health and social care professionals about the importance of boundaries.

In the 2021-22 civic year Joy had the privilege of representing the city as Lady Mayoress of York and during her time in office lost no opportunity to promote mental health issues and celebrate mental health professionals.

Evie is a senior manager at IDAS and oversees commissioned services for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence across North Yorkshire.

She also manages services for young people who are both affected by domestic abuse at home or displaying abusive behaviours, and has a long history of developing services taking a whole family approach.

Before joining IDAS, Evie managed a social prescribing service in West Leeds and worked closely with Public Health to research and deliver interventions to reduce male suicide in LS12.

With a 30 year career in community development and citizen engagement spanning both voluntary and public sectors Joe is currently Head of Commissioning at York where he leads the authority's early intervention and prevention programmes and work on ABCD.

A key member of the international Cities of Service coalition Joe has led the development of social action strategies in York and Barnsley. Previously, he was Head of Stronger Communities at Barnsley Council with co-responsibility for the development of the Council's area arrangements, social inclusion and award winning community engagement and neighbourhood renewal programmes.

An excellent networker and collaborative leader.

Professor Rob Mortimer has been working for York St John University since December 2020 and leads the University's Research, Enterprise and Knowledge Transfer strategy.

Professor Mortimer is an Environmental Geochemist who works on the cycling of nutrients and trace metals in the environment, and their impact on ecology and biodiversity. He has received research funding from a range of government and industry sources, including: AERC; BNFL; British Council; Environment Agency; EPSRC; EU Marie Curie; Irish EPA; Komex; Leverhulme Trust; NERC; Royal Society; Tarmac; Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

Professor Mortimer is a member of the Natural Environment Research Council Peer Review College and a Grant Assessor for the Australian Research Council. He is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Geological Society.

Dr Andrew Reeves is an Associate Professor in the Counselling Professions and Mental Health, a BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist and a Registered Social Worker.

He had over 30 years experience as a social worker and therapist working with a full range of clients, including those experiencing mental health crisis. He is Director of Education for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and is past-Chair of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and past Editor-in-Chief of 'Counselling and Psychotherapy Research' journal. He has published articles, book chapters and books in his specialist area of working with clients at risk.

Ian runs his own business based in York. He is a Customer Experience Director with insight6, and partners with local businesses that care about their customers and staff. They look to his services to improve customer retention, team motivation and more sales, through measurement and training.

Before being invited to join the advisory board to provide us with a different perspective from the business community, Ian had been a participant in one of our Cuppa and Conversation Groups, and subsequently volunteered for the Chat Café drop-in service we offer, and is an advocate of our work.

Michaela is the Manager of the York St John University Wellbeing and Welfare Services, which provide mental health, counselling and welfare support for students.

Michaela's a registered Social Worker (MASW). Before coming to York St John, Michaela's background includes specialist mental health service development in the charity sector, where she held management roles in an innovative crisis mental health service, young people's residential services and a charity supporting survivors of sexual abuse.

Michaela also has experience of coordinating mental health support and aid for refugees and asylum seekers, and providing support and advocacy for people receiving treatment in inpatient hospital settings.

Dr Steve Wright is an early intervention psychiatrist and deputy medical director with Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. He is the clinical lead for Mental Health for Humber Coast & Vale Health & Care Partnership and Clinical Advisor to the Yorkshire & Humber Early Intervention Clinical Network. He has a long-standing interest in youth mental health and is currently involved with national studies looking at the therapeutic benefits of social connectedness and reducing the physical health inequalities faced by people with mental illness.

Supporting York St John Communities Centre

Your donation makes a great difference!

Your gift helps cover the cost of providing free services such as our community language school, bereavement group and café's, student suicide support group 'Laurens Ladies' and drop-ins such as the weekly breastfeeding group.

As our income grows, so too does our staff team of receptionists, administrators, co-ordinators, assessors, supervisors, counsellors, coaches, and group facilitators, and your support is needed to ensure they are actively involved in service delivery and are remunerated for their work. Anything that you are able to donate can help support the work we do and the services that we offer to our community.

Make a donation through JustGiving

Get in touch

York St John Communities Centre

32-34 Clarence Street, York, YO31 7EW

Get directions

01904 876 072

This number is in use from 6.00pm to 8.00pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. You can leave a message on our confidential telephone line and we will return your call as soon as possible.

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