Our Trustees

Dr Caroline Jessel, Chairman

As a former local GP Caroline has a strong commitment to improving the health and emotional well being of children by supporting families and promoting healthy behaviour. Because of this she founded Dandelion Time in order to offer children something more engaging and holistic to address their problems. She now works for NHS England as Lead for Clinical Transformation and Outcomes for Kent, Surrey and Sussex and also has a role for the South of England Region as lead for Sustainability and Health. She is working to ensure that the health and social care system tackles the underlying causes of health problems in a coherent and systematic way to reduce health inequalities.  In addition she is chair of the Kent Nature Partnership which is dedicated to protecting and valuing the living environment and ensuring it is part of healthy economic development. Caroline is a trustee for Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wealden Literary Festival.

Dr Elizabeth Vallance (The Lady Vallance) JP MA MSc PhD


Dr Elizabeth Vallance was Head of the Department of Politics at Queen Mary, University of London where she was subsequently a Visiting Professor and is now an Honorary Fellow.  She has been Chairman of St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust and of the Institute of Education, University of London  (where she is also a Fellow).  She chairs The National Autism Project, the Centre for Mental Health and CEDR (Alternative Dispute Resolution).  She is a Sloan Fellow of the London Business School and has sat on the boards of HMV Group, Norwich Union plc, CGNU plc and Aviva plc and was a non-executive director of the Medical Protection Society.  In 2008-9, she was High Sheriff of Greater London.  She is currently Chair of Governors of Sutton Valence School.


Aonghus Gordon

From a background in arts and education, Aonghus founded the Living Earth Training Course in 1984, which developed into Ruskin Mill Trust in 1996. He has established and co-founded a number of educational establishments and Trusts both in the UK and abroad, including Glasshouse College in Stourbridge, Freeman College in Sheffield and Clervaux Trust in Darlington.  Most recently, Ruskin Mill Trust has initiated a sister project in California, Meristem and a new college in the jewellery quarter of Birmingham.  Both opened in 2015.  He is developing a new Master’s Programme (MA in Special Education: Practical Skills Transformative Learning) with Lillehammer University in Norway starting in August 2016.  Aonghus’ vision is to provide an opportunity for the re-creation of culture from the inside out for young people who are in need of specialist educational re-integration (‘Vital Beauty’).  This intention is particularly informed by John Ruskin’s visionary picture of the renewal of culture through arts and the environment and Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual picture of human development.   Aonghus delivers workshops and lectures internationally.

Richard Long

Richard Long is a solicitor. In addition to his (largely commercial) practice, he is a County Councillor for Kent and sits on or chairs several Kent County Council Committees.   He is also a serving Officer in the Army Reserve.

RichardRichard Parkin

Richard started his career in agriculture and then over a period of twenty years  helped grow a small Kent based business into one of the UK’s  largest Agrochemical distributors operating nationwide from 26 depots throughout the country. As Managing Director he broadened the company’s activities to provide a comprehensive range of specialist services to the agricultural industry. This involved the introduction of research and trials units to support the manufacture and distribution of agrochemicals and application machinery. Currently Richard is Founder of VenueDirectory.com which he started in 1991 when he was looking for a new challenge and identified the opportunity for a software solution that would provide meeting and event planners with the first electronic directory of searchable venue information.  He is now semi-retired.

Nigel JacobsDr Nigel Jacobs

Dr Nigel Jacobs worked for Relate in both clinical and management capacities before joining the NHS as a systemic family therapist, where he specialised for many years in the treatment of eating disorders. Prior to leaving the NHS, he was responsible for developing and delivering a training programme to encourage the capacity of clinicians to work with a family focus, across Kent adult mental health services. He currently works in both private practice as a family therapist and supervisor and delivers training on several specialist family therapy courses. He is also a Director and Trustee for the Association for Family Therapy. Nigel continues his passion for working with clients and their families through his involvement with Dandelion Time, assisting with the development of the Dandelion Time therapeutic model.