Our Team is highly qualified and experienced in the provision of individual and group therapeutic work with vulnerable adults, children and young people. The Therapeutic Team includes qualified and experienced counsellors and therapeutic practitioners with many years combined experience in delivering one-to-one or group counselling, along with family mediation, play therapy, creative and practical therapeutic work.
In addition to the permanent staff, we employ extra sessional staff with a range of specialisms and expertise in working with attachment disorder, art-therapy, substance misuse, trauma recovery, loss and bereavement, child development and family functioning. They join our Team on a sessional basis when required. The Team is also supported by our very able volunteers.
To contact the team or refer a family, please see our referral page.
Meet some of our team and hear about their work, experience and commitment to Kent children and their families:
Carol, 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. Carol has studied at Master’s level, working with Practical Skills in Therapeutic Education. 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 CPD training programmes and is a Trainer on the Certificate course Nature, Craft & Family Systems.
Laura has been involved with Dandelion Time for over ten years, initially as a volunteer and then working for the charity to facilitate sessions for children and their families. Laura has loved sharing in the magic of seeing children’s faces as they hold a lamb for the first time, discover potatoes hidden in the earth, work with their families to crush apples into juice…and many other golden moments. Having previously worked in a Primary School and a Children’s Centre, Laura completed a degree in Early Childhood Studies (and a Dandelion-based dissertation entitled ‘How Nature Nurtures’) convinced that Dandelion Time offered the ideal environment and approach for all children but particularly for those most vulnerable in our society. Whilst working at Dandelion Time, Laura completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills as well as the Dandelion Time Diploma in Creative and Practical Therapeutic Skills. In her current role as Admissions Coordinator, Laura is dedicated to ensuring that Dandelion Time is accessible to the children and families who could most benefit from it. This involves taking enquiries, assisting professionals in making referrals, and supporting referrers in securing funding for Dandelion Time placements.
Tom grew up in Kent and went to Leeds Metropolitan University to study European Marketing. After university, Tom travelled extensively working and studying in Africa, Australasia and Japan developing a keen interest in interpersonal connection. While living and working in Brighton, Tom was learning Non-Violent Communication and volunteered as a Community Mediator. He also supported a charity called ‘A Band of Brothers’ to run life changing training and mentoring for young men on probation.
Tom initially joined the Dandelion Time team as a volunteer whilst working in the office for KCC Youth Services. In 2013, Tom was employed by Dandelion Time as a Family Case Worker and Session Leader. Tom studied and graduated Dandelion Time’s Diploma course in ‘Creative and Practical Therapeutic Skills’ and is also a Certified ‘Hand in Hand Parenting’ Instructor. Tom is passionate about supporting parents and caregivers as the experts of their family.
Recently Tom led on developing a programme at Dandelion Time for families with children who needed extra support in their transition from primary to secondary school.
Tom says “I believe that parenting is one of the under-served, under-resourced and under-appreciated jobs in our culture… and that when adequately supported, resourced and appreciated, parents and caregivers themselves can provide the strongest foundation for long lasting change and healing for the children they love and care for.”
Jayne is a retired social worker who lives in rural Kent. Following on from her training at St Christopher’s Training College she worked as a Nanny. Whilst bringing up her own children she managed her own playgroup. She worked closely with Social Services and other agencies caring for vulnerable children, in the local community.
Jayne was employed by Greenwich Social Services where she had a successful career for 17 years. During that time, she had numerous opportunities to develop her skills in all areas relating to child care. Jayne was paramount in organising and facilitating parenting groups for teenage mothers, positive communication groups as well as working with children with additional needs. Most importantly during that period of her life Jayne loved being part of the community in which she worked.
Jayne undertook her Social Work and Counselling Diploma, worked for the safeguarding team and managed the Sponsored child-minding scheme where she developed training for Child minders. This focused on attachment, safe guarding and resilience.
Because of the valuable experiences she obtained she later managed an Independent Fostering agency for 14 years. Jayne is particularly proud of the two ‘Outstanding’s’ she received during her career.
Jayne retired from Social work and management in 2014 and throughout her career she has gained a valuable insight, into parents, care givers children and young people’s behaviour and the issues that affect them.
During her retirement she has maintained links with a charity that she helped establish in Ethiopia. The Charity is responsible for building and maintaining a school for the most impoverished children. She has visited the school on several occasions and is involved in raising money for the school’s upkeep, and ensuring the welfare needs of the children are met.
Jayne loves gardening, cooking, keeping fit and generally helping anyone who needs help or support. She remains passionate regarding the welfare of children and their families.
She has been involved with Dandelion Time since 2017, on the family sessions, although she will undertake any tasks that she is given.
Jayne enjoys being with like minded staff and volunteers, she has experienced first-hand the difference that Dandelion Time makes to the children that attend. The positive experiences, nurturing attributes, alongside the sensitive thoughtful and effective support, not only to the families but to all the staff and volunteers ensures that it is an incredible community resource.
I have been a volunteer at Dandelion Time for many years and was working for Kent County Council as a social work assistant in the children and families team for 15 years prior to my retirement. My initial role was to support parents in the care of their children, offering practical support and advice to enable them to fulfil the requirements of the Social service Child protection plan. Subsequently I was part of the parenting capacity assessment team, again assisting in the process of assessing parents and for the final few years I was working with Virtual Schools in Kent supporting Foster parents and the children in their care to access the best possible education and to ensure their needs where fully met.
As a volunteer at Dandelion I initially helped infrequently, working in the kitchen during sessions and around the garden. Subsequently I was volunteering on a weekly basis, helping in the therapeutic session. I have also supported fund raising events, which I continue to do so.
As a social work assistant, I completed NVQ level 3 in childcare and have also completed the Dandelion Time Diploma in Creative and Practical Therapeutic skills.
I believe Dandelion Time is a unique holistic service for children and families and I enjoy working alongside session leaders and parents, supporting families in this therapeutic environment.
I was very fortunate to grow up in a rural area of Kent and most of my childhood was spent in many happy activities on a local fruit farm. After leaving school at eighteen, I worked for an international bank in London. Although this work suited me at that stage in my life, I longed for something more fulfilling to do with my time. My two wonderful daughters then came along and somehow, I fell into working at their nursery school. As I was responsible for collecting the daily fees, I found that I was frequently listening parents’ day to day trials and tribulations. I realised then that I was very interested in trying to help parents understand and manage their children’s behaviour, leading me to search for more in depth understanding of the multitude of issues that they faced.
Between September 1994 and March 2017 I worked for Kent County Council Children’s Services. During this time my roles progressed from unqualified Family Support Worker, to Social Worker and subsequently Senior Practitioner. During this time I gained a Diploma in Health and Social Welfare, a Diploma of Higher Education in Social Work Studies and then a Bachelor Science with Honours in Inter-professional Health and Social Care (Child Care). My roles frequently required me to work directly with children and their families, either individually or within group settings. To facilitate my work I regularly used art, crafts, play and cooking to promote more positive communication and relationships.
In 2017 I retired from my work with KCC for a multitude of reasons, but mostly to give myself time for the important things in life. Clearly a vital feature of my adult life has been working with children and their families, so becoming a volunteer at Dandelion Time has enabled me to continue with the work that I remain passionate about. All families need positive support and encouragement to fulfil their dreams but in our modern way of life this is sometimes difficult to find. Dandelion Time offers families time away from their day to day troubles to engage in a range of activities, rooted in the natural environment with dedicated staff to help them build their skills, confidence, self-esteem and relationships for a bright future.
In 2011, five years after retiring from my long career as a Primary School teacher and Deputy Head, I was fortunate to become a volunteer at Dandelion Time. I immediately felt a connection with the ethos and values of the staff and other volunteers, that was shown towards the families.
I began my teaching career in South London, where I had already worked in holiday and after school centres. Outdoor facilities were very limited but I was aware of the value of creativity and particularly outdoor free and imaginative play and I learnt to be resourceful.
Throughout my teaching experience in Kent schools I aimed to develop art and creative projects indoors and outside, particularly gardening. I felt these activities supported all children emotionally and improved their self esteem. I also recognised the importance of encouraging parents and carers to help, supporting their children and adding value to their community.
I have continued to enjoy gardening, walking and all aspects of art, and particularly ceramics and textiles and enjoy contributing to my own community.
Since qualifying as a counsellor in 2007, Rachel has worked in a variety of settings, delivering one to one counselling to young children in primary schools, throughout Kent.Rachel worked as a Children’s Counsellor for nine years for a domestic abuse charity within women’s refuges around Kent. She also delivered Positive Relationship sessions to groups of vulnerable teenagers in Kent schools.Prior to working at Dandelion, Rachel was a Pastoral Lead in a rural primary school, offering counselling and drop-in sessions to children, support and training for both parents and staff and was one of the Designated Safeguarding Leads.
In whatever spare time she can muster Rachel, loves to paint wildlife, dog portraits and play music. As a guitarist and whistle player, she belongs to both a folk band and an acoustic duo with her husband. They regularly play at music festivals and tour Finland several times a year.
Rachel says “Being immersed in the natural world, bird watching and mini-beast hunting is very much part of my life and it feels like such a gift to be able to support families in such a nurturing and creative environment, surrounded by trees and fields.”
Lauren first came to Dandelion Time in 2016 as a volunteer and had the opportunity to work with children and families on our therapeutic programme. Lauren became employed by Dandelion Time in 2017 to assist the referral department, helping families to access Dandelion Time for support.
During a 5 month break from work Lauren travelled through South East Asia, Bali, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. During her time in NZ Lauren spent a lot of time exploring the outdoors reaffirming her a deep connection to the natural world and passion to preserve and take of it, in the same way that it takes care of us.
Since returning to Dandelion Time Lauren spent over a year working as the Fundraising Coordinator and has enjoyed experiencing another side of working in a charity.
Lauren has as a BSc degree in Criminal Psychology and is studying Dandelion Time’s Certificate training course in Nature, Craft and Family Systems. An experiential and therapeutic approach to working with children and families coupled with Systemic Family Psychotherapy.
Lauren is a full time Family Case Worker at Dandelion Time and is passionate about giving children and families the support they need to heal, whilst creating special memories to take them forward in life.