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.

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.