Our Staff

Leise Cooper – Parent Support Manager
Leise was involved in setting up Angels in 2003 and has been managing our services ever since. She has a BSc in Applied Psychology and Sociology and a Certificate of Higher Education in Autism (Children), as well as a Level 3 diploma in Working with Parents. She has been a school governor for seven years and has been a passionate advocate for improving services for children with autism and ADHD in Hertfordshire for 15 years, as part of the Herts All Age Autism Board and Herts Parent Carer Involvement. She is the Safeguarding lead for Angels. Leise has two sons with Autism and ADHD, one of whom additionally has a severe learning disability and epilepsy, and she has been assessed as being on the autistic spectrum herself

Leise is the Designated Person responsible for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults

Kirsten Bennet

Kirsten Sabine – Meetings Supervisor and Specialist Support Practitioner
Kirsten became a member of Angels in 2009. She went on to become a trustee in 2010. Then in 2011 she started working for Angels as an Administrator and Meetings Supervisor. Since then she has completed various training courses through The Money Advice Unit around benefits, Safeguarding Adults and Children courses and is a licensed facilitator with Care for the Family this enables her to run parenting courses and facilitate support groups. She is also a qualified first aider. She has just recently completed a Reducing Parental Conflict course through Herts County Council. She has completed a Level 2 IPSEA online course around SEN law, as well as an online course from the British Safety Council on Health and Safety. As of 2019 Kirsten has also joined the One to One service supporting parents outside of our support groups. Kirsten has a son who is diagnosed with ADHD and Autism.

Penny Howarth – Specialist Support Practitioner

Penny Howarth – Specialist Support Practitioner
Penny joined Angels in 2006 and began working as a specialist support worker in 2009. Penny has qualified as an ASD/ADHD coach and has qualifications in Understanding Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD from the University of Derbyshire. Penny has also done the IPSEA foundation in SEN law, Safeguarding adults and children, is a licensed facilitator with Care for the Family, has completed the Open University course in Understanding the Autism Spectrum. She is also a trained Mental Health First Aider as well as having completed Sleep Training and Reducing Parental Conflict Training. Penny is also currently doing a course on understanding ADHD through King’s College, London. Penny has a son diagnosed with ASD, ADHD, Tourette’s, learning disability, severe anxiety and eating and sleeping difficulties. Penny also has three grandchildren of which one is currently going through the diagnosis process.

Raine Simcox – Finance Manager

Raine Simcox – Finance Manager

Caroline Upcraft – Specialist Support Practitioner and Administrator
Caroline joined the Angels team in July 2020. Caroline has a Level 2 Qualification in Understanding Autism, and up to and including Level 3 IPSEA Qualifications in SEND Law. Caroline has completed training in Safeguarding Adults and in ACE’s. Caroline has worked with the charity Homestart, where she has been trained in Safeguarding Children, Perinatal Mental Health Awareness and Protective Behaviours and volunteered with them as a Parent Mentor supporting families with young children.  Caroline has also completed the Family Lives course on Bringing Up Confident Children for Parents of Children with ASD/ADHD and recently completed Facilitator training with Care For the Family. Caroline has 3 children, 2 sons and a daughter. Caroline’s eldest son is diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Sensory Processing Disorder, OCD, hyper mobile joints and has difficulties around anxiety. He has attended a specialist college. Caroline’s middle child has ADHD and attends mainstream school and her youngest daughter is neurodiverse. Caroline has a diagnosis of ADHD herself, so understands the challenges of being a neurodiverse woman.

Bethan Desai – Fundraising, Marketing and Administration Assistant
Bethan joined the Angels team in September 2022 and is our newest member of the team. Bethan has been on a career break for 5 years but prior to this had a long career spanning 17 years in the advertising industry and has worked for agencies in Cardiff, Bristol and London. In 2009, Bethan specialised in Digital Media; running multi million pound advertising campaigns for a range of high profile clients. Bethan has a passion for working with Charities having  previously been an advisor for Media Trust in Wales and is currently a Trustee and Secretary for Goslings Playgroup where she is involved in fundraising and marketing.

Bethan has been a member of Angels since 2020, she has two young daughters awaiting Autism and ADHD assessment. Bethan has recently gained a Certificate qualification Level 2 in Understanding Autism and is under-going further training.

Judith Russell – Specialist Support Practitioner

Judith has been a member of Angels Support Group since 2005 and joined as a Support Worker in 2017. She has four children aged from 16 to 25 years including one son who is autistic and has learning difficulties. She has qualified in IPSEA SEND Law Foundation Level and is a Mental Health First Aider. Judith has a Level 3 Diploma in Counselling Skills and has undertaken Coaching skills training.

Our Trustees

Louise Slater

Louise Slater – Chair

Louise is a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry working on the development of new treatments for rare diseases. She has been involved with Angels organising committee, initially as a Trustee and then as the Chair of the charity for the last 10 years.  Her goal is to oversee the team, and make sure that everyone’s voice is heard, to make sure that the charity reflects and meets the needs of its members.

Contact : chair@angelssupportgroup.org.uk

Hilary Forrester - Secretary

Hilary Forrester – Secretary
Hilary has been a member of Angels Support Group since 2007 and took over the role as Secretary in 2014.  She has a Diploma in Health and Social Care from the Open University and a BSc (Hons) in Natural Sciences.  Hilary has worked as Secretary to the Board of Science and Education, and Senior Policy Executive for Equality and Diversity at the British Medical Association and is currently a School Administrator and Librarian.  Hilary has eight years experience as a school governor including as Vice Chair, Inclusion link governor and Clerk across four schools in Hertfordshire.  Hilary has two sons, the eldest has Asperger Syndrome.

Hilary is the Trustee with responsibility for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults

Rowena Crabtree
Rowena is a Director of a business consultancy, based locally, but operating internationally. She has experience of leadership, marketing, business strategy and vision & mission development.

Judith Russell

Dr Kemi Adejare
Kemi is a Consultant Community Paediatrician in the East and North Herts NHS Trust, with a special interest in autism and ADHD.

Judith Russell

Nicola Ager

Nicola is Head of Marketing at the BBC.  She has over 35 years’ experience working with numerous blue chip companies to develop customer-led brand and communication strategies and campaigns. One of her current professional obligations is to implement tailored communications for vulnerable customers, working with a team of specialist agencies and stakeholders, including dedicated charities.

Judith Russell

Tammy Smith

Tammy is a mum of 3 and her oldest son is diagnosed with Autism. Before taking a career break to spend more time with her children, Tammy was a Principal level consultant working for a HR consultancy. She specialised early in her career in pensions and then moved onto benefits and before she left her role, she  co-headed innovation and proposition for Global Benefit Management. In this role she helped international companies to set global strategies, implement policies and targets and monitor them globally. Tammy has a BA Hons degree in English and Social Policy from the University of Leeds and is an Associate member of the Pensions Management Institute (APMI) and the International Employee Benefit Association (IEBA).

Judith Russell

Helen Osment

Helen is Head of Fundraising at NPC (New Philanthropy Capital) . Helen has been a fundraiser for over 14 years working for a range of national charities in the health, education, youth and social welfare sectors.