Our people

Management Team

Graham Carpenter BEM


A founding member, Graham is an experienced leader in charitable & commercial organisations. The last twenty years he has worked in the areas of adult chronic health conditions, family work and work with children & young people. Graham participates actively in the delivery of the service at Dandelion Time. He is a qualified counsellor, working systemically with families & individuals in biographical work.

Carol Bridges

Director of Therapy & Training

A founding member of Dandelion Time, Carol has 40 years experience supporting families. She is an experienced counsellor with an extensive nursing and health visiting background.  She has a passion for bringing families together within the setting of the natural world. Carol works to enable families to forge new and positive experiences and relationships. Carol also leads the Dandelion Time Training Courses

Jane Angell Payne

Director of Finance and Company Secretary

A founding member of Dandelion Time, Jane is responsible for finance, regulatory compliance and manages income generation from Statutory Commissioning and Trusts and Foundations. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers she has worked for 25 years in the charity sector for both operating and grant making charities. Jane holds a Diploma in Charity Accounting.

Paul Curnow

Director of Operations

Responsible for the day-to-day running of the organisation, Paul is a recent addition to Dandelion Time. Paul spent 22 years as a Navigator in the Royal Air Force before moving to Kent to become a primary school teacher. Never happier than when outdoors, he remains an enthusiastic Forest School leader, bushcraft instructor and sports coach.

Therapeutic Team

Our Team is highly qualified and experienced in the provision of individual and group therapeutic work with vulnerable adults, children and young people. The team includes qualified, experienced practitioners with many years of combined experience in delivering therapeutic work.


Director of Therapy & Training

A founding member of Dandelion Time, Carol has 40 years experience supporting families. She is an experienced counsellor with an extensive nursing and health visiting background.  She has a passion for bringing families together within the setting of the natural world. Carol works to enable families to forge new and positive experiences and relationships. Carol also leads the Dandelion Time Training Courses


Family Case Worker

Jenny’s past roles include Family Liaison Officer, Safeguarding Lead & Early Help Worker. She is passionate about using creativity, interweaving art with the natural world, helping families to heal, build positive experiences to cherish & restore. At home she loves spending time in the veg patch, with songful birds and experimenting with new art ideas.


Family Case Worker

Since qualifying as a counsellor, Lara has worked in a variety of settings, delivering mainly trauma focused interventions with adults & children within charities & CAMHs. She enjoys walking, spending time outside with her family and dogs, as well as some mindfulness, particularly whilst cooking and reading.  Lara has always had a strong connection with the natural world, and the gentle healing it can provide. 

Lara shared that it is a privilege to have the opportunity to support children, young people and their families in such a gentle, nurturing, and creative environment.


Therapeutic Gardener and Animal Carer

Michelle loves sharing her knowledge with the families that attend Dandelion Time, from growing vegetables, to giving them opportunities to sow, pot on and harvest vegetables and fruit. She also looks after our lovely animals. Michelle works with our garden volunteers to help look after and maintain our 22 acres of land here at Dandelion Time for the families to enjoy. She loves sharing her passion for the natural world.


Family Case Worker

Since qualifying as a counsellor in 2007, Rachel has worked in a variety of settings, delivering 121 counselling to young children across Kent. “Being immersed in the natural world, bird watching & mini-beast hunting is very much part of my life & it feels like such a gift to be able to support families in such a nurturing & creative environment, surrounded by trees & fields.”


Family Case Worker

Prior to joining the team, Tom volunteered as a Community Mediator and ran life-changing mentoring for young men on probation. He is a certified ‘Hand in Hand Parenting’ Instructor. “I believe that parenting is one of the under-resourced & under-appreciated jobs in our culture & that when supported & appreciated, caregivers themselves can provide the strongest foundation for lasting change & healing for the children they love & care for.”

Fundraising Team

Our energetic Fundraising Team organises our varied and interesting events calendar, as well as managing relationships with the organisations and individuals that so kindly support our charity.

Caroline Fish

Relationship Manager

Caroline joined Dandelion Time in 2021, firstly as a Volunteer with the Therapeutic team before becoming a staff member, initially coordinating volunteers & then joining the Fundraising department. Her varied career has included writing advertising strategy, conducting market & social research & primary school teaching. She’s now passionate about using her skills & experience to promote our work to anyone who will listen!


Marketing and Engagement Manager

Jess has worked within the marketing sector since she left school, specialising in partnerships, brand loyalty and print media. She is passionate about making a difference to the lives of vulnerable children and families. Jess looks after our campaigns, digital marketing channels & is the first point of contact for any press, media queries. In her spare time, she loves to swim, draw & bake!



Fundraising & Events Coordinator

With a background in the corporate world she has experienced fundraising & volunteering from the other side of the fence.  She is delighted to be working at Dandelion Time and supporting all areas of fundraising.  If you are interested in supporting us or taking on a challenge in aid of Dandelion Time please contact her!



Bid Writer

Prior to joining the team, Tora had worked in the voluntary sector for over 10 years in a wide range of fundraising roles within health, refugee & disability charities. Tora manages all aspects of our relationships with charitable trusts & foundations and other grant-making bodies. When not busy bid-writing, she enjoys volunteering at Dandelion Time’s events & helping out around the farm and with the animals.


Admin Team


Volunteer Coordinator

Alison worked for the NHS as a paramedic for over twenty years before leaving to spend more time with her young family. She recently re-trained as a yoga teacher and enjoys practicing and teaching yoga in her local community. Alison also enjoys reading, walking and spending time on her allotment.



Finance Officer

An accountant with love of children, nature & passion for sustainability. Ilona also helps at her local Cubs, as well as working on the allotment & foraging in her local woods! Her weekends are spent outdoors going for walks, cycling or camping with her husband & son. Love of creating, be it via knitting, sewing or baking. Her big passions are books & chocolate, ideally together! 


HR Manager

Having worked at Dandelion for over twenty years, Viv has enjoyed seeing the charity grow and develop.  Her role now focuses mainly on HR & internal training. Viv is also Clerk to the Board of Trustees. Viv is passionate about crafting & loves nothing more than experiencing some of Dandelion’s activities such as green woodworking, willow weaving & wet felting.  


Statutory Agency Coordinator

Sarah is a qualified social worker with over 40 years’ experience working in front line Children’s Social Services. She has delivering statutory services to children in need and their families, looked after children and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. She is committed to the work of Dandelion Time and is passionate about the work we do working with vulnerable children and their parents or carers. 

Our Patrons

Sir Michael Andrew Bridge Morpurgo OBE


Michael Morpurgo is one of Britain’s best-loved story makers. We were honored to have Michael write the forward for our book ‘The Fields that Heal’, written by John Hunter which tells the story of how Dandelion Time came to be.

“When, in 2013, I was invited by Dr Caroline to become a Patron of Dandelion Time I was immediately struck by her warmth and enthusiasm. I instinctively felt in tune with the aims of the charity and the hugely important work it was doing. Dandelion Time chimed so perfectly with the work Clare and I had been doing with groups of inner-city children since 1976. The wonderful team of staff and volunteers working with Dandelion Time shine a ray of hope that the world we will find when we come through will be a kinder, better and greener one.”

Isabel Hardman


Author and Journalist, Isabel Hardman, has been a patron of Dandelion Time since 2021. 

She is assistant editor of the Spectator and presenter of Radio 4’s Week in Westminster. Her book, The Natural Health Service, highlights the enormous benefits of spending time in the great outdoors and how fresh air and activity has helped transform her life. 

“I am honoured & delighted to become patron of Dandelion Time. Since 2003, the charity has transformed the lives of hundreds of children and families, providing support and comfort during their bleakest moments. Dandelion Time’s nurturing environment allows children to build self-belief, strengthen relationships and develop the skills and aspirations for a brighter future. Connection with the natural world is a key component with Dandelion Time’s approach supporting families to heal and recover and something I feel so passionate about. I can’t wait to work with Dandelion Time to help raise awareness of their remarkable work.”


Dr Caroline Jessel

Founder & Chairman

As a former local GP, Caroline has a strong commitment to improving the health and emotional wellbeing of children by supporting families & promoting healthy behaviour. She founded Dandelion Time in order to offer children something more engaging  & holistic to address their problems. She is also chair of the  Kent Nature Partnership and trustee for Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wealden Literary Festival.

Gilly Wilford


Gilly is a chartered accountant with extensive auditing experience. She joined the NHS as a finance manager & 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 has served as a Trustee of Crossroads and Guideposts, both charities which help people with complex care needs.

Helen Stevens


Helen has previously attended Dandelion Time to support a family member. She is now very honoured to be a Trustee, & to be able to use her first-hand experiences to guide the development & expansion of the charity. Helen also runs a construction company & is a member of her Parish Council. In her spare time, she enjoys paddle boarding &  walking her dog.

Karthikeyan Vijayakumar


Karthik is a technology entrepreneur. He founded Twenty19, an internet platform, which pioneered internships & online courses for indian college students in India. 

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

Dr Lesley Hanney


Dr. Lesley Hanney is a Consultant Systemic Family Psychotherapist registered with United Kingdom Council Psychotherapist (UKCP) and the Association of Family Therapy (AFT) with over 25 years’ experience in the area of Child and Adolescent Mental Health services, both in the private and public sector. She also trained in Art Psychotherapy and is an AFT Registered Systemic Family Psychotherapy supervisor.

Lesley has a specialist interest in the impact of adverse childhood experiences on children’s neuro development, attachment and developmental trauma, having published several articles in this area and provides consultation to fostering agencies and Local Authorities in this area.

Sir Paul Carter CBE


Paul Carter was elected to Kent County Council in 1997 & was the Leader of the Council from October 2005 to October 2019. Paul has been the Chairman of the County Council’s Network & sat on the LGA Leadership Board. Paul has been a successful entrepreneur, having established & run a number of businesses in Central London, primarily in construction, property and retail.

Richard 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. Currently Richard is Founder of VenueDirectory.com which he started in 1991. He is now semi-retired.

Simon Norman


Simon Norman worked as a technology product manager & 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 technology 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.