Meet the team
All the team at Youth Talk are committed to our determination to provide the best possible mental health support to young people in St Albans and the surrounding areas.
Meet the team: Our Trustees
Jackie Fowler (Chair)
I’ve worked with charities for nearly 30 years, helping them to develop support, move people to action, and build long-term relationships with donors. I bring experience across a range of causes, large and small, from individual giving to building legacy support.
I’ve always believed that when you reach out to people with the right messages and stories to connect with them, you can build relationships that benefit both the cause and the supporter.
As a local resident and a Mum to three children in their teens and twenties, I know how important the work of Youth Talk is.
Having headed up a fundraising agency for many years, and been a trustee of a local charity, I am delighted to bring my experience to the board of Youth Talk.
Christopher Clulow, PhD
I was a former probation officer and currently work as a consultant psychotherapist.
For nearly two decades I was Director of the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships and have spent a professional lifetime researching, trying to help and teach others about troubled family relationships.
With two daughters and four grandchildren, the concern to give children the best chance in life is both personal as well as professional.
Margaret Thirlway – Company Secretary
I have worked as a Solicitor for many years and then joined the Civil Service as a government lawyer, currently working on international fisheries issues. I have been involved in Youth Talk since its inception, and having two daughters in their twenties, am very aware of the stresses young people face and the crying need for early intervention to alleviate mental health difficulties.
I am a digital specialist with 10+ years experience in marketing agencies and the charity sector. Working for the NSPCC and Childline, and as a mother to two young children, I can say that I am truly passionate about supporting young people. As someone born and raised here in St Albans, this is a community I have a deep connection with.
As a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, I have much experience of working with children and their families in a variety of settings including NHS child mental health services, education, voluntary sector and currently in private practice.
I have known about the important work of Youth Talk for many years and have published widely on the subjects of psychotherapy, art therapy and related areas.
I am a long standing resident of St Albans and am now retired from career industry – predominantly in HR. I have two adult children – educated in local state schools and am keenly aware of the need for mental health support for young people.
Meet the team: Our Staff
David Barker – Chief Executive
David joined us as our (part time) CEO in April 2019. He has over 25 years’ experience in a variety of senior management and leadership roles within a number of UK charities – including the British Heart Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, RNID and the Scout Association. Prior to joining Youth Talk David was CEO of Crohn’s and Colitis UK where he led a significant programme of modernisation, change and growth, doubling the size of the organisation in his five-year tenure. David also runs his own Consultancy business helping charities of all sizes across the UK to develop, grow, prosper and Thrive. In his spare time David is a volunteer, a fundraiser and also is a Trustee for the Scouts.
David describes himself as – Determined. Energetic. Short.
Kaz Underwood- Operations Manager
Kaz is joining Youth Talk in February 2022, with over 17 years experience working in Care and Supported Housing, Managing Women’s Refuges, young people’s semi-independent housing and specialised accommodation for unaccompanied asylum seeking young people age16-18. Kaz is a people person, she is friendly, approachable and down to earth, as a mum of two, she has a passion for working with young people, and was inspired by Youth Talk. Her role as Operations Manager is to oversee the smooth running of the service. Kaz would describe herself in 3 words as: kind, creative and honest
Gill Walker – Clinical Reception
Gill might be your first point of contact, whether that be in-person or via phone, arranging your appointments, taking messages for staff, booking you in, confirming that your contact details are correct and directing you where to go next.
Rachel Simkin – Corporate & Community Fundraiser
Our Corporate and Community Fundraiser Rachel has worked in the charity sector for over 12 years. Rachel is a local resident in St Albans and joined Youth Talk in October 2020 as our first ever fundraiser. She’s determined to help grow Youth Talk’s presence in the local community and raise vital funds so that we can be there when times are tough for our local young people.
Rachel’s passionate about bringing people together and strives to put the fun into fundraising! Her goal is to ensure our supporters and volunteers have the best possible experience fundraising in aid of Youth Talk. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, looking for inspiration or have a question about our work and how to get involved, Rachel is always happy to chat and help. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fact – Rachel loves cake, cats and a run or walk in the countryside!
Yvonne Masters – Clinical Reception
Yvonne is a clinical receptionist and may also be your first point of contact. Yvonne may be able to answer your questions or provide general information, or direct you to someone who can provide more direct and specific information.
Both our receptionists are responsible for keeping, updating, and maintaining records by getting the appropriate information from those that come to Youth Talk, therapists and counsellors.
Margaret Smallbone – Clinical Supervisor
As our Clinical Supervisor, Margaret provides clinical leadership and support to our counselling and administrative team. She works with all of our counsellors directly supporting them with their caseload and also chairs the weekly clinical team meeting.
Tara Bowen – Clinical Reception
Tara might be your first point of contact, whether that be in-person or via phone, arranging your appointments, taking messages for staff, booking you in, confirming that your contact details are correct and directing you where to go next.
Tara is a proud Aussie who has lived in the UK for 25 years, loves all sport, mostly cricket, tennis and rugby.
We currently have a team of 11 professional counsellors – all of whom are specialists in working with and supporting young people.
Meet the team: Our Youth Panel
Our work is informed directly by young people through regular engagement with our active Youth Panel. They advise us on a range of projects and issues.