Let our team introduce themselves...
TAB employs a team of professional staff who are passionate and committed to supporting young people with their wellbeing.
My name is Gary
It is vital that every young person has the access to mental health support when they need it. Supporting young people to build their resilience to overcome life challenges is what I am passionate about. I am thrilled to be part of this amazing charity.
I have worked in the charity sector for 17 years. I started out as a youth worker in many different settings; I trained at Ruskin College Oxford as a youth and community worker. I then went on to qualify as an integrative counsellor and a registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). My professional training was at the world renowned Minster centre which is a leading Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling training institute based in Queens Park, London.
I am proud of all our amazing Staff members who go above and beyond to ensure local young people get the support they need.
Hi my name is Melanie but most people call me Mel.
I understand how difficult it can be to take the first step when looking for support. Sometimes it’s really hard to even know if we need help or not...we just know that things don’t feel good. We may feel confused, anxious, angry or sad or we may not even know how we feel, maybe just plain "flat".
I aim to offer a warm, relaxed, non judgmental, down to earth approach. So if you would like to talk things over please just call us. Previously I worked with young people aged 14-19 in a youth counselling agency. I also have experience in counselling at a children's hospice, supporting children, teenagers and their families.
I am a senior accredited psychotherapist/ clinical supervisor MNCS, MBACP.
Assistant Clinical lead
I am a qualified psychotherapist, registered with the BACP and trained at Regent's University, London.
I have experience working with a diverse range of issues from anxiety, depression, self-harm, eating disorders, relationship issues to name but a few.
My hobbies are fitness/running and baking!
Hi, my name is Helen and I have been counselling with The Abingdon Bridge since 2016. I aim to offer a warm, non-judgmental relationship in which you can build trust and feel safe enough to explore the difficulties and worries you might be facing, as well as recognising the strengths and resources you already have. I have counselled young people and children in schools and community organisations and I have also worked as a counsellor in a bereavement charity and a prison. I’m a qualified counsellor, registered with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and have undertaken specialist training in counselling children and young people. I love working as part of the friendly team at TAB to support the young people who use our service.
Healthy lifestyles co-ordinator
Hi, my name is Justin and I’m a qualified advice and guidance worker. I first became interested in working with young people after getting through many years of struggles as a young lad, with drugs, alcohol, crime, issues at school, violence, and relationships. These were some of my struggles, and after going through these issues I decided that I wanted to support young people, so I started working for TAB in the hope that my experiences could maybe help young people make the best choices for themselves. So if you are interested in taking the first step towards a better quality of life then please do give us a shout. I don’t judge and even though I'm the ripe old age of 47 you may find I even speak your language.
Healthy lifestyles co-ordinator
Hi, I'm Holly, I have been working locally with young people for 10 years. Starting out in youth work and moving into mental; health. Overcoming life experiences are what lead my passion in helping others. I know that I am not a fixer, and I don't have all the answers, although I might have a suggestion or two. I am not afraid to sit in darkness with others. At TAB we create a space where you can be heard, without judgement. I know first-hand the power of having a space like this, without one I might not have been here today. If you would like some support, reach out, don't suffer on your own.
Hi, I’m Shelagh. After working in secondary education for many years, I retrained in psychodynamic psychotherapy and gained accreditation with BACP in 2008. Since then I have worked as a counsellor with adults and young people in secondary schools and private practice. I joined TAB in 2018 and feel privileged to be part of this dynamic, friendly team offering support to young people over a wide range of issues.
Hi, My name is Richard. I joined TAB to support Young People by offering them a space to talk about their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment.
Hi I’m Claire and I’m a counsellor. Inspired by the support I received as young person trying to cope with anxiety, I’m honoured to be part of the team at TAB and be able to contribute to the well being and mental health of young people in my community’
Hello, my name is Christian and I'm an integrative counsellor registered with the BACP. I have experience working with a diverse range of clients with a wide range of difficulties. My main aim though is to create a safe and trusting environment where you can explore whatever may be bothering you without fear of judgement, criticism or blame. I have a particular interest in the challenge’s young LGBTQ+ people face.
I understand it can be very awkward to come into what can seem like a weird world of counselling. TAB is a safe space where the first steps are to get to know you at your own pace.
I am an integrative counsellor working with the Person Centred, Transactional Analysis and the Transpersonal approaches and a member of the BACP.
I love to work creatively, believing there is more to Talking Therapy than just talking.
Hi, I am a coach with The Abingdon Bridge. I aim to offer a welcoming, safe and non-judgemental space for young people to explore the challenges that they have.
I have been working with young people since 2006 in either secondary education or in coaching. I am a master practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and I qualified in coaching at Henley Business School. I also trained with Marisa Peer in Rapid Transformational Therapy.
My approach is person centred and solution focused. I work collaboratively with young people to work on issues that matter to them.
I love being part of this supportive team at The Abingdon Bridge.
Hello, my name is Fiona and I am a Senior Counsellor with The Abingdon Bridge. I am trained in various modalities including Person-centred, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and I am an accredited member of the BACP.
I have experience of working with young people in secondary schools and in private practice. I have supported adults and young people with such a diverse range of issues, there are too many to mention! My aim is to create a safe and collaborative space for young people to explore what is difficult for them, without fear of judgement.
I was drawn to working for TAB because of the challenges I faced as a young person and wanting to support others to navigate the complexities of adolescence and transitioning to adulthood. I feel extremely fortunate to be part of the wonderful team at TAB.
I have a passion for fitness and the benefits of exercise in supporting mental health so this year I qualified as a Personal Trainer. I own an outdoor fitness company and in my spare time can usually be found in nature either walking, running or mountain biking!
I have worked with children, young people and their families in different environments for over 10 years.
I am an integrative counsellor and a member of the BACP. My main approaches are person centred, Gestalt and TA.
TAB is a great team full of experience and energy and I hope that I can add something to it.
My name is Rachel and I am a Wellbeing Practitioner at TAB. I have been working with young people in Oxfordshire for 8 years and specialise in wellbeing and mental health.
I am a trained yoga teacher and use yoga as a tool to support mental health & chronic illness. Looking after the health of your mind is something I am 1000% passionate about.
I have had a long and difficult journey with my own mental health & have used self-harming behaviours to cope. On the road to recovery I have found different ways to cope & support the health of my mind.
Every young person deserves the chance to explore how to look after themselves in a safe environment. I am a strong believer in finding a 'therapy' that works for you.
The best thing you can do for yourself is find someone you trust & ask for help. It can be life changing, I promise :)
Trainee Youth Well-being Practitioner
Hi my name is T’Quan. I am a trainee youth well-being practitioner for the Abingdon Bridge. I'm passionate about supporting and working with young people to help them achieve what they want to achieve. I believe one of the best tools to do this is in the gym. Boxing and gym work is something that has benefitted me and lots of others I have supported to better themselves and their mental health. I am also a mental health ambassador for Oxfordshire Youth where I have had mental health training.
I have also just completed a mentoring course.
If you're not feeling yourself, need some support to reach goals or work through some troubles, get in touch for a chat.
Mandy Del Frate
Hi! I joined TAB as a counsellor because I have my own experiences of being a young person without anyone to talk to when I was having a difficult time. I now try to use that experience to be that person for you. I aim to listen without any judgement or blame, and work together with you on the things that are important to you.
...and our Trustees
I am a retired Chartered Engineer who specialised in the development of mathematical algorithms for the control of robotic devices. This computing experience led to an interest in financial accounts. I became treasurer of The Abingdon Bridge in 2005 but before that I held two other treasurer posts in different charities, the first one in 1980. Now I am a member of the TAB team that oversees the finances of the charity. I was a Leader in the local Scouts before I retired and am proud of the work of The Scout Association with young people as I am with the work of The Abingdon Bridge. I have seen it grow from a small local charity to the successful, forward looking organisation it is today.
I have been a trustee at TAB since 2012 and had the privilege of being the Chair of the Trustees from 2013 - 2020. During this time, we increased the impact of our work significantly. By leading a funding strategy to increase our income, TAB has recruited more counsellors and youth workers which has enabled us to support more young people who need our help and guidance.
I was the head of a large comprehensive school for 22 years and an education consultant. I am therefore able to share some insight into the value of supporting young people particularly when they need guidance and counselling. I am also passionate about supporting schools as they encourage young people to raise their aspirations and fulfil their potential.
The Abingdon Bridge was set up over 25 years ago by the churches in Abingdon who recognised the need to help young people at a critical time in their lives. I am a member of the congregation at Christ Church and I continue to be encouraged by the willingness of local churches to support TAB in all aspects of its work.
Hilary Daffern Daffern
I have spent the majority of my working life as an NHS nurse, midwife and health visitor. The last 12 years were spent working for the Oxfordshire Community Health Trust, much of the work focused on child physical and mental health needs. I was aware of the work of The Abingdon Bridge and joined as a Trustee 2 years ago, having previously been a long standing volunteer and Trustee of the League of Friends organisations. I am very proud to be associated with TAB and the valuable works it does with young people.
I was an NHS GP for 34 years, practicing at a small family Health Centre in Oxford for 25 of these. A large amount of GP work is supporting people who have mental health problems or need some emotional support.
I became involved with The Abingdon Bridge 4 and a half years ago and have been a trustee for over 4 years. I really enjoy working with our team of staff, volunteers, and trustees to provide an excellent service for young people in Abingdon. I am in awe of how the staff engage with young people and offer them a holistic approach.
I particularly enjoy working with the staff and helping with their training programme. My medical background has proved helpful in the provision of Covid safe working during the pandemic.
I am a Chartered Secretary with a career history that has spanned many and varied industries acting as a company secretary and director. Since September 2001 I have been a freelance consultant operating as a Chartered Secretary, Non-Executive Director and Trustee to a variety of companies.
I was elected as a Trustee of The Abingdon Bridge in June 2019 having been co-opted on to the Premises Group earlier that year to help find and secure new premises for TAB.
As a parent and grandparent, I have always had an interest in the wellbeing and mental health of the younger generation and was delighted to be able to join the Trustees of TAB to help in the management and funding of the Charity and my background in industry has allowed me to apply my knowledge to the role of Treasurer of TAB.
The team of staff, volunteers and Trustees at TAB provide a brilliant service to the young people of Abingdon and South Oxfordshire and I hope that together with our sponsors and donors we can make it go from strength to strength
I’ve lived in the Oxfordshire for over ten years. After completing my studies at Oxford Brookes University I started my career in Oxford working within Financial Planning. I subsequently moved to work for a Toxicology Business where I work within their operations department. Since leaving University in 2009, I’ve always spent a proportion of my weekends and evening supporting those in the local community (ranging from Sea Scout Leader to Founding President of Oxford Rotaract).
While living in Abingdon I got to know about the incredible work in the community which TAB were leading and in-time joined the Trustees at TAB. It’s an absolute privilege to be a trustee at TAB, everyone works incredibly hard to deliver the best possible outcomes for all clients that get in contact with us.
I was born in Surrey and moved to Abingdon with his wife Barbara in 1981.
My career was spent working for some of the country’s major retailers initially as a Company Secretary and then moving through audit, finance and risk management. Before retiring from corporate life I spent time in France working for a French DIY chain. Then followed eight successful years as a consultant working for the Oris Group of companies based at Harwell. I was also a non-executive director of a Manchester based facilities management company. My experience of finance, risk and governance within my various career roles will enable me as a trustee to contribute to the principal aims of The Abingdon Bridge
I am also a governor and currently master of another local charity; Christ's Hospital of Abingdon. The charity dates from 1553 and provides almshouses to local residents and funds educational support to young Abingdon people in need. The charity also provides public service to the town by maintaining Albert Park for use by the people of Abingdon.
I am a member of St Michael’s and All Angels Church in Albert Park, previously a Churchwarden and currently a member of the choir.
I am keen golfer and a theatre goer who also enjoys most forms of music, but particularly traditional English Folk and acoustic-roots music.
I retired from teaching after 23 years at Bartholomew School 3 years ago, where one of my roles was as a tutor and mentor as well as Head of the Drama Department. I have known about, and respected the work of, The Abingdon Bridge for many years and received excellent reports of their work from my own students who needed their help. So, it was a natural progression to want to offer my time and I became a trustee. I have always worked closely with my local community and was Chair of Governors for Thameside School in the 1990s and I also work for two other child-based local charities. Within TAB I recruit and organise the volunteers as well as serve on two of the sub committees. I am proud to be involved with the running of such a wonderful and much needed organisation.
I have spent over a decade working for Oxfordshire County Council as part of their youth opportunities and education, employment and training support service.
I am currently the EET (Education, employment and Training) Tracking manager for Oxfordshire County Council which involves tracking and supporting young people in their next steps after compulsory education. I promote education opportunities as well as positive activities to young people to support their progression and have trained as a Mental Health Champion. This all supports my role as a trustee, being aware of the resources and services that can benefit TAB.
My role gives me a great insight into the challenges and emerging issues that young people in Oxfordshire face, One of the biggest barriers being poor mental wellbeing. That is why i am proud to support The Abingdon Bridge and the great work that they provide to the local community.
I have a degree in Chemical Engineering and after qualifying with a PGCE, taught science. I also have a Masters degree in Science Education. During my career of over 30 years teaching science in two Oxfordshire state schools I had many other responsibilities. These included many years involved in teacher training across a wide variety of other secondary schools. This experience has given me a good understanding of the pressures that some pupils are often under and how they can need appropriate support at such times. I also had substantial responsibilities for staff development and am keen to support our excellent staff to develop their own knowledge and skills in making the service that TAB offers to young people as good as it can be. I am very impressed in how proactive the staff are in anticipating needs and initiating projects, and fully support this.
I joined TAB in 2014 with the chief role of developing and maintaining the website.
I have been a Trustee with TAB since September 2013 and since 2015 I have been the Honorary Secretary.
Before my retirement in 2003 I was employed for 30 years by Exxon (Esso) as a Human Resources Manager. Following the creation of Infineum - a joint venture between Exxon and Shell - my final position was as the Human Resources Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
I have always taken an active role in the education and development of young people, being a Governor of a local independent secondary school and Abingdon College of Education. I held both governorships for 10 years.
My other interests include watching rugby and being a passionate Cornishman I research my family history. More recently I have taken an interest in military history and for the last six years I have been a volunteer with The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
I am married to Sue, a retired local midwife. We live in Abingdon and have two children and four grandchildren.