Our Trustees

Dr Caroline Jessel, Chairman

As  a  former  local  GP,  Caroline  has  a  strong  commitment  to improving the health and emotional wellbeing 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 has retired from her role in NHS England promoting the Health and Sustainability agenda as part of the overall  system  transformation  to  more  holistic  approach  to health which tackles the underlying causes of health problems in  a  coherent  and  systematic  way.  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 also a trustee for Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wealden Literary Festival.

Sir Paul Carter CBE

Paul Carter was elected to Kent County Council in May 1997 and was the Leader of the Council from October 2005 to October 2019. Paul has been the Chairman of the County Council’s Network and sat on the LGA Executive and LGA Leadership Board.

As well as his political career, Paul has been a successful entrepreneur with a business career spanning over 35 years, having established and run a number of businesses in Central London, primarily in construction, property and retail.

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.

Simon Norman

Simon Norman worked as a technology product manager and management consultant at PA Consulting, Deloitte, QVC, and then architecture firm Spacelab before becoming a software engineer. He has carried out a number of roles in large-scale business and technology transformations, including programme planning, cost management, business and software architecture design. His interest in finding innovative solutions to the endemic deprivation in the UK led him to Dandelion Time.

Head and shoulders of lady smiling in a gardenGilly Wilford

Gilly is a chartered accountant whose experience ranges from auditing major listed companies and Lloyd’s underwriters to small local businesses. She joined the NHS as a finance manager and then became finance director of a healthcare company, leading its growth from a small to major provider to the NHS.

She is committed to serving the local community and is a church treasurer and auditor and has served as a Trustee of Crossroads and Guideposts, both charities which help people with complex care needs. She joined Dandelion Time as a volunteer in 2017 and has been a member of its development committee before being appointed as a trustee.

Helen Stevens

Helen Stevens has lived locally in Boughton Monchelsea for eighteen years.  She is married with two children.  Helen has previously attended Dandelion Time to support a family member.  Helen felt this was a very positive experience, feeling that everyone involved was fully supported by Dandelion Time.  This time helped those attending immensely and Helen is now very honoured to be a Trustee, and to be able to use her first hand experiences to guide the development and expansion of the charity.

Helen has run a  construction company with her husband for the last 25 years. She is a member of the Parish Council and also helps run the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme for her village along with being the secretary for the Scouts.  Helen has helped out at the winter shelter for the homeless and found this very rewarding.  In her spare time, Helen enjoys paddleboarding, walking her dog Preston the Puggle, and going to the gym.

Dr Lesley Hanney

Dr Lesley Hanney is a consultant systemic family psychotherapist and accredited systemic psychotherapy supervisor with over 30 years’ experience in the area of child and adolescent mental health.

She has a specialist interest in attachment, developmental trauma and neuroscience having published several articles in this area. Lesley works in both the public and private sector with children and young people presenting with distress and mental health challenges and she has specialist knowledge and experience working with the foster parents of children and young people in the care system and with adoptive parents pre and post adoption.

Lesley is also an adoptive mother and a foster parent.

Karthikeyan Vijayakumar

Karthik is a technology entrepreneur. He envisions & builds products that make an impact on people. He founded Twenty19, an internet platform, which pioneered internships & online courses for indian college students in India. Over 5 million students in India & 40,000 companies have been impacted by Twenty19.

He believes that every child deserves a real opportunity at life. That led to him co-founding the non-profit organisation Deepam in Chennai, India. Deepam helps less-privileged children get access to opportunities through learning english language skills, computer skills & improving their exposure. 

Karthikeyan has an Engineering Degree from BITS Pilani. In 2009, he was awarded the BITS Global 30 under 30 Award. TiE Chennai awarded him the ‘Young Achiever of the Year’ for the work done by Twenty19.

He enjoys playing sports – running marathons or playing cricket for his club during the weekends.