Centre News: Team And Centre Updates

December 2017

As everyone knows we sadly waved goodbye to Angela Foll, our Chief Executive Officer, at the end of July. She led Relate Beds and Luton for several years demonstrating great foresight and leadership and we thank her for all her work done here and wish her well in her new role at Emmaus.

It's not all bad thought because we have an Interim CEO in the form of Carolyn Benjamin who landed in the deep end just as RBL began its due diligence process. She showed herself up for the task and has been settling in well. In her own words: "I have to say that I am amazed at the level of professionalism, spirit of teamwork and general great vibes that I get from everyone I have met thus far."

Her door is always open if people want to talk. Sometimes not literally, due to the cold, but you can always give it a knock.

We have some counsellors who have joined/are joining us: Laura Smith started as a Children and Young Persons Councillor at Tokko in October. Hayley Price & Leigh Grigson starting couples conversion course today in Birmingham and Diane look's forward to meeting them in December at the combined group in December.

A new safeguarding policy has been issued by national Relate and we are currently looking at ways to keep abreast and updated on local protocols as well as making sure all members of our agency are aware of helpline numbers especially volunteers. Diane is recommending that everyone in the team looks at the NSCPCC website and bring their thoughts to supervision and in groups.

June 2017

I hope everyone is enjoying the longer day light. Summer is on its way (hopefully). Unfortunately, Kayleigh will not be rejoining the team after her maternity leave. Daisy May is now six month old and is a beautiful baby! We wish her well in family life.

Sadly we are also losing a valued member of Staff in June. Yasmin is leaving Relate. She will be very sorely missed by us all. Over the last six years she has done great work in securing funding for our young people’s counselling and family counselling services as well as running Education and Learning. She has been a great support to us all. We all wish her well for the future.

And we are saying goodbye to Counsellor Sally McGrath who has been with us for 10 years providing a range of services from family, young people, relationship, telephone and skype. We are sorry to see her go and wish her well in her next lifestage. Continuing the leaving run! A goodbye needs to be said to Anne Devine who has also left this month.

We continue to be a very busy centre in all types of counselling and in all venues across Bedfordshire and Luton. We have however been particularly busy in Bedford. Ever looking for ways to reduce the work load, from 2nd May, we are introducing a Payments on Line System for all clients attending counselling in outposts. All clients will be asked to pay by this method but can opt out if required.

We will be continuing our work with The King’s Arms Project. The course aims to develop the life skills of people living in supported housing so they can achieve what they want in life.
The project has been funded by The Lloyds Bank Foundation since May 2015.

March 2017

Heather, is leaving us after many years as a Meet and Greeter at Crombie House in Leighton Buzzard. She was previously with Relate Luton but joined Relate Bedfordshire when Relate Luton and Relate Bedfordshire merged in 2002.

Heather has been a great asset to Relate Bedfordshire and Luton and we thank her for her valued commitment to Relate. She will be sadly missed by us all and we all wish her well in her ‘retirement’.

Tasha, who has been covering as a Meet and Greeter in Pastures Way, Luton, and Beacon House, Dunstable, is also leaving us. Tasha stood in at short notice when we found ourselves without cover at these centers and stayed for a year! We thank her for her time and commitment during this time and will miss her athletic prowess which came in useful when she had to gain access to a venue through a window!

We are pleased to welcome new members to the Relate team. Deepika, Lesley and Glynis started as Meet and Greeters in Dunstable in February. Glynis is also ‘meet and greeting’ at Pastures Way, Luton.

We also have a new person starting in March. Doreen will act as a Meet and Greeter at Crombie House in Leighton Buzzard. We thank them all for their support of Relate.

We have many volunteers helping counsellors in venues around the county including Leighton Buzzard, Dunstable, Luton and Flitwick and are very appreciative of their support and commitment. We still however have vacancies for volunteers in Leighton Buzzard and Flitwick.

Daphne Turner has joined our Adult Relationship counselling team and Emma Hillard our Young People’s practice team. We also congratulate Jayne Hale on successful completion of her IFT course.


November 2016


Daisy May

We had some good news – Kayleigh has had her baby! Daisy May was born on Saturday 22nd October at 5:50am. She weighed 7Ib 14oz. Mother and baby are both doing well. Kayleigh and Daisy have just visited us. Daisy is beautiful and is a very good baby!

Two of our receptionists have recently left. Sue who worked alongside Kathy at Shefford has been with us a number of years and has help out at other venues when we have been short of cover. She will be greatly missed by us all. Christine who also volunteered in Shefford is now working abroad for a number of months in the year. Although she has not been with us for long, she covered many weeks for us at Shefford and will be missed by the counsellors and admin staff. Her offer of volunteering with us when she is in the country was greatly appreciated!

We welcome Gill Terry to our team currently delivering young people’s work at The Tactic Centre, and say thank you and farewell to Jackie Simmons who has worked with us since 2001, and who is now taking up grandparenting duties alongside work for Relate Milton Keynes. Susannah Bradley has sadly left us after a short spell at Flitwick as she has become a trainer for PTUK.


September 2016

As you may know Kayleigh has now started her maternity leave. Her last day was 2nd August and she will be returning mid-September next year. We are sorry to see her go but happy that it is due to such a happy event! We all wish her well with the new addition to her family.

Just before she left Kayleigh found out that she had passed the Customer Service Intermediate Apprenticeship that she had been studying for. This included a BTEC Diploma in Customer Service Level 2 , Functional Skill in Maths and English Level 2 and Personal Learning and Thinking Skills. Kayleigh studied very long and hard for this qualification and we are all very pleased for. Well done Kayleigh!

Kayleigh’s departure has left a vacancy on the desk and Sue Walker – Education and Learning Skills Adminstrator - has agreed to cover some of her hours. Sue will be covering Monday from 3.00 till 9.30 p.m.and for an hour on a Wednesday afternoon to cover lunch hour. Ann and Louise have also increased their hours.

Since the last newsletter, we have said goodbye to Jayne Newman and Helen Balfe – as part of their own transitions, and welcomed Ian Black as placement student for couples, and Jayne Hayle, also newly recruited as a trainee for Adult Couple Counselling and Family Counselling services.


May 2016

We welcome...

Susannah Bradley has been recruited as a Children and Young People counsellor. She has many years’ experience of delivering play therapy to children and counselling to young people in schools and community venues. Susannah will start in the Rufus Centre, Flitwick at beginning June.

Bharat Panchal has been appointed as our new Treasurer. Bharat is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has many years’ experience of working at a senior level in the private sector. Bharat is also the chair for a local PTA, a Trustee for a UK community organization and is involved in various committees within his local community.

Robin Smith has been appointed as a new Trustee. Robin has many years’ experience of working at a senior level in the private and public sectors. Previously Robin was been the chair of Mind BLMK and is currently the chair of Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire.


Sadly John Dixon has retired from Relate after spending many years with us as both a trainer and counsellor. We thank him for his great contribution to the centre and we are sad to see him go.

We also say goodbye to Ellie Goodman who has been counselling and studying for her MA with us. We wish her all the best for the future.


February 2016

We welcome...

Welcome to Gavin Muge who is a qualified Trainer and has his own consultancy business and extensive experience in the recruitment industry. Eileen Scott also joins as a Life Coach to support our project for people living in supported housing.
Jayne Hale has been recruited as a Children and Young People counsellor. She has many years’ experience of delivering counselling to individuals and groups of young people in schools and community venues. We have already started Jayne in TOKKO, Luton!

Pam Cruse, Desylee Colomb and Malika Peters are the new placement students who have started their training with Relate.


Helen King one of our children and young people counsellors retired from the Centre at the end of December. Helen worked in a number of schools and venues since joining the Centre in September 2009. She will be sadly missed.

Carolyn Boyd, one of our Trustee’s has sadly decided to leave due to personal reasons. Carolyn was a valued member of the Board and brought an analytical and measured approach to many issues. Hopefully if circumstance change, she will return!


November 2015

We welcome...

Chris Wise and Maggie Rich to the Education and Learning  team.  Chris, one of our Children and Young People’s counsellor  has a wide area of expertise in lecturing, writing and training.  Maggie joins us from CRSP where she was responsible for recruiting volunteers to befriend ex-offenders to support them in transition into the community.  Maggie is a qualified teacher and is experienced in teaching ESOL.  Welcome to the team!


September 2015

We welcome...

Anne Devine returns to the centre as a qualified relationship, family and children and young people counsellor. Anne was with us for a short time back in 2010 as a placement student. Anne has extensive experience in working with children and families, including social work, family support and work with children with a learning disability. We are delighted to welcome Anne back to the team.

Victoria Garratt as a trainer and coach. Victoria left the centre late 2013 to work full time at Brook. She brings useful skills and experience and has previously worked as a clinical lecturer, drama/performing arts teacher, project manager and training manager for the health service. We are delighted to welcome Victoria back to the team.

Carole Scarlett as a children and young people counsellor. Carol will deliver sessions at TOKKO in Luton and Barnfield West Academy starting in September. Carole has many years’ experience of counselling and is very passionate about supporting children and young people.

And we welcomed a new receptionist who will be starting there this month called Christine, also Claudette who has started at our Pasture Way outpost.

We thank all our volunteers for their continuing hard work.


Sadly we said goodbye to Gillian Ormston a Trainer with us since January 2013. Even in her short time with us, Gillian made a huge impact on our service. She will be sadly missed. We wish her well for the future.

We also said goodbye to Jummai Castle. Jummai started in the centre as a placement student in 2010. She successfully completed her MA in Relationship Therapy and 240 hours counselling to become a qualified relationship and family counsellor in August 2014. Jummai recently fostered two siblings and has decided to stop counselling and social work in order to concentrate on their current needs. We wish her all the very best for the future.

And we say goodbye to Alex, who was a volunteer at Shefford.


May 2015


Sadly we are saying goodbye to Colette McAlpine who has been a Trainer with Relate for over 10 years.  She has decided to pursue other opportunities and will be greatly missed. We wish Colette all the best for the future.


February 2015

We welcome...

Welcome to Peter Law our new Business Development Manager. Peter has really got stuck in with some great new ideas and he has already embarked on some interesting marketing activities. Watch this space for more to come!!

We welcome John Dixon back to counselling in the centre, offering face-to-face and telephone relationship counselling and sex therapy.

Helen Balfe, one of our placement students, has recently started sessions with clients.

Welcome to all our new volunteer receptionists; Alex Rowland, Polly Thompson, Beatrice Ashley, Barbara Davies, Donna Burbige, Tayler Tookey, Kathryn Patrick and Mikaela Callaghan.

It’s good to see Maureen Gumn, Vicky Ewan and Daphne Burrows back in Sandy and Sheila Anderson back at Flitwick fit and well.

Thank you to Katrina Mummery for helping out at very, very short notice and to all our long standing receptionists around the county who we could not do without.


Harry Sullivan one of our relationship counsellors who had been with the centre for nearly seven a-half years has decided to step down. Amazingly in that time Harry delivered 2,585 hours of counselling! He will be sadly missed and we wish him well for the future.

Sadly one of our Trustee’s, Pauline Stewart, has decided to resign from the board due to other commitments. Pauline will continue to be a strong a supporter of Relate and will continue to raise the profile of our services through her work/involvement as a Magistrate, Soroptimist, Bedfordshire & Luton Community Foundation Associate Director, UK Ambassador and certified instructor for the De Bono Foundation (UK) to name but a few!!

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