Who are we?
The Schoolreaders model is very simple and cost-effective due to the high ratio of volunteers to staff. There are over 200 volunteers per staff member. The charity is run by a board of Trustees and senior management team.
The most important people at Schoolreaders are our volunteers who give up their time to go into schools and support children's reading. Schoolreaders come from all sorts of backgrounds - the thing that unites them is their genuine passion for inspiring children with a love of reading. Many of our volunteers have been with the scheme since it started, and say that their school visits are one of the high points of their week.
Click here to go to our 'All About Volunteering' page where you can read profiles of some of our volunteer readers.
The day-to-day administration of Schoolreaders is run by a small team of paid staff who are based at our offices in Bedford. These full-time staff are assisted by a management committee of volunteers, and by a nationwide network of voluntary county teams.
Follow these links to read about our:
We're very lucky that many
wonderful writers and illustrators
are supporters of the Schoolreaders scheme and endorse our efforts to make good literacy skills available to every child.
Read about our 'Author Supporters'
by clicking here.
OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
JANE WHITBREAD, Founder and Trustee
Jane started Schoolreaders in 2013 and has been delighted by the way it has been welcomed in the educational field. Jane’s early career was in marketing and product development with Unilever, United Biscuits, Johnson& Johnson. She subsequently set up an NGO in South Africa in 2001 in the health and welfare field and a related trust in the UK. Jane was President of the British Red Cross in Bedfordshire for 7 years. She lives in Bedfordshire, has four children and enjoys natural history, travel and sunshine.
ALICE GARNETT, Fundraising Director
Alice has worked in the voluntary sector for almost 30 years. She began fundraising at the RNID (now Action on Hearing Loss) before becoming Assistant Director of Fundraising at Sense where she was responsible for Corporate, Trusts, Events and Major Donor Fundraising. In 2001 she completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Voluntary Sector Management at Cass Business School then worked as a freelance consultant for 16 years, advising charities on their fundraising strategy as well as mentoring and coaching their Directors, particularly in issues related to fundraising. Past clients include Breast Cancer Haven, Thomley Activity Centre and St James School Durban. Married with three daughters, Alice is a keen flautist and a Founder Member of the King John Orchestra in Cambridge.
JO HAWKINS, Finance Director
Jo has worked as a Chartered Accountant for over 20 years, working in the City of London for many years and now in private practice in Bedfordshire. As a mother to three young children Jo is particularly passionate about literacy and education. She serves as parent governor in her children’s school and is active in local governance and education. She loves travel, music and the arts and spending time with her family.
LUCY COPEMAN, Communications Director and Trustee
Lucy is a mother of two and runs a cut flower farm in Bedfordshire. For ten years before that she was a Director of Public Relations in a City agency. She is an active fundraiser and organiser for charities, and serves on the Bedfordshire county committees of the NSPCC and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. Her interests include music and choral singing.
SUE LOUSADA DL, Senior Management Team
Although trained as a bio-chemist, Sue’s career has seen her working primarily in business. Sue sits as a non-legal member of the First-tier Tax Tribunal, and is also Vice-Chair of a research ethics committee in Oxford. Sue is active in a number of local and national charities and is a Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire. Sue is Schoolreaders' Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead.
VICTORIA DIGGLE, Senior Management Team
After leaving Cambridge, Victoria spent 10 years working in the art world, initially as editor of a fine art periodical, ‘Christie’s Magazine’ (produced by Christie’s Auctioneers), and latterly formulating business-getting pitches for Christie’s. She won a scholarship to study garden design in 2000, and set up a successful garden design business, working in London and Bedfordshire. Victoria now lives in Bedfordshire and is active in a number of local charities. Victoria runs the Schoolreaders website, and edits our Newsletter.
OUR TRUSTEES AND SPECIAL ADVISERS
Founder and Trustee
See Jane's biography in
'Our Leadership Team'
See Lucy's biography in 'Our Leadership Team'
MICHAEL SCOTT, Trustee
Michael Scott is a founder Trustee of Schoolreaders following 8 years as Finance Governor at a village Lower School in Bedfordshire. He was a partner at Grant Thornton, Chartered Accountants, for over 26 years, and is delighted to be helping more children improve their literacy and life chances. In his spare time, Michael enjoys tennis, skiing, theatre, France and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
STEVEN BRYAN, Trustee
Steven is a partner at the international law firm Paul Hastings LLP specialising in Corporate Law. He is a trustee of Room For Work, a charity focused on employability skills and networking for mature professionals, and is Church Warden of the parish church of St John's Hampton Wick in Hampton, Middlesex. He lives in Surrey, has three adult children and enjoys tennis, sailing, cycling, skiing, travel and art.
SHANNAN STEVENSON, Vice-Chair of Trustees
Shannan is a Senior Advisor at the international management consultancy firm McKinsey. Previously he was President & Company Officer at Procter & Gamble (P&G), leading organisations on the ground in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Asia. Throughout his business career, Shannan has had a keen interest in furthering the provision of core education skills amongst young people. Whilst living in China, he led P&G’s work with the China Youth Development Foundation in the provision of “Project Hope” schools for disadvantaged children. Shannan is married with four adult children and lives in Norfolk and London.
HARRIETT MATHER, Trustee
Harriett is a Managing Partner of a thriving criminal defence solicitors in Milton Keynes. She is also a Trustee of the Bedford-based community charity, the Harpur Trust. Harriet has extensive experience of safeguarding and has special responsibility for this area in her role as a Governor at Bedford Girls' School. She is also Safeguarding lead at Stony Stratford Cricket Club.
RORY LANDMAN, Trustee
Rory was Senior Bursar at Trinity College Cambridge until 2021. He was a Trustee of the College for over 14 years. Rory has a degree in Law from Cambridge University and qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG. He is an experienced investor in public markets, private equity and property. Among other positions, Rory has been a member of the Cambridge University Finance Committee and is a Trustee of a number of educational charities. Rory has four sons and enjoys open-air activities and music.
ALEX MOORE, Trustee, Education and Safeguarding Advisory Group
Alex is a Year 3 class teacher at a prep school in High Wycombe, having moved there after several years working with disadvantaged children at a local school with specific responsibility for boosting the children’s self-esteem as well as raising their numeracy and literacy levels.
She is married and has 3 adult children. Alex is an active member of her local church where she helps to lead the women’s work. She also enjoys playing tennis, skiing and spending time in Cornwall.
HELEN LONG, Education and Safeguarding Advisory Group
Having worked in education for almost 30 years Helen is currently a SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) in a primary school in Central Bedfordshire. She is also an advisory teacher for pupils who have Down's Syndrome, a role which enables her to work across a number of counties and to work with pupils of all ages. Helen is very involved in the Bedfordshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group and was Chair of the charity for approximately 10 years.
GILLY RIACH, Education and Safeguarding Advisory Group
Gilly is a Headteacher of fifteen years standing and has led four Bedfordshire schools, some of them in challenging circumstances. All have made rapid improvements. Gilly describes her primary aim as a Headteacher as the enhancement of learning for all. She particularly enjoys working in Church Schools, developing a spiritual ethos and embedding Christian values at the heart of each school. Gilly has taught at all stages of primary school, and has also taught Hearing Impaired and Language Provision children. She has spent time working as an Education Consultant, coaching and mentoring staff in schools, and leading Primary National Strategies at a local level.
SUZANNA D'OYLY, Education and Safeguarding Advisory Group
Suzanna is a teacher working with children up to the age of 13 years old. Having worked in Investment Banking in London and New York, she retrained and first stepped into a classroom 15 years ago. Specialising in literacy, Suzanna understands the critical importance of exposing children to the world of books and reading as early as possible. She is an avid reader herself and is a member of two book groups. Married with twin sons, Suzanna enjoys walking, cooking and choral singing.
KATE FULFORD, Special Adviser
Katie has spent nearly 30 years in the publishing industry and for 25 years was at HarperCollins in a variety of roles including Group Rights Director, Managing Director of Collins non-fiction and senior positions in William Collins and 4th Estate, Fiction and Children’s. She now works as a Literary Agent at Bell Lomax Moreton. Katie has been involved in promoting good literacy for many years and was a founder member of the Publishing Association’s Reading For Pleasure initiative and also ran HarperCollins Literacy Project in partnership with The National Literacy Trust.
ED SCOTT, IT Systems and Fundraising Consultant
Working closely with the Management Committee, Ed has worked with the charity since 2014, helping us expand the scheme from very small beginnings to its present scale, and championing the use of new technologies to streamline our operations. With a background in IT consultancy and operations management, Edward has special expertise in developing systems and programmes aimed at improving partner engagement. Edward's earlier experience included designing a unique training programme which encouraged digital creativity in schools, in order to improve children’s literacy and pupil engagement. In his spare time, Edward is a keen runner and he recently completed the Royal Parks Half Marathon on behalf of Schoolreaders.
BEHIND THE SCENES
ALISON HUBBARD, Development and Compliance Manager
Alison, who joined Schoolreaders as Development Co-ordinator in 2017, has been Chair of Governors at her local primary school for 13 years, and sees first-hand the benefits of having Schoolreaders in the school. Alison was previously Chair of the local pre-school committee and is also involved with local Brownie and Guide groups.
LESLEY SOLOMON, Office Administrator
Lesley joined Schoolreaders when we opened our head office in Bedford in November 2018. She grew up in Scotland, and attended Aberystwyth University in Wales where she earned a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Whilst at university she was involved in a charitable society which raised funds for Breast Cancer Care and CoppaFeel! Lesley now lives in Bedfordshire and spends most of her spare time reading, writing short fiction and baking celebration cakes.
ANNABEL COX, Operations Manager
Annabel manages the team who deal with our reading volunteers and schools on a day-to-day basis. Her background is in customer service, training delivery and logistics. Originally from Yorkshire, Annabel now lives in Hertfordshire and has two children at primary school and is also the chair of their PTA. Annabel is Schoolreaders' designated Safeguarding Lead.
LAURA ABBAS, Operations Co-ordinator
Laura works in the Operations team, dealing with the volunteers and schools on a daily basis. Her background is in retail buying and customer engagement, and she has a degree in Forensic Science. Laura lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and young daughter.
VICKY JOWETT, Operations Co-ordinator
Vicky's background in bookselling made a move to Schoolreaders a natural progression. Having spent 14 years as a shop manager for three branches of Waterstones, and provided Operations Support for 15 others Waterstones outlets in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, Vicky has a comprehensive knowledge of the book trade, and is an office all-rounder with experience of payroll and rota administration. In their spare time, Vicky and her partner enjoy messing around on the river in canoes and on paddle boards.
SARAH LAMPLOUGH, Operations Co-ordinator
Sarah is an Operations Co-ordinator in the Schoolreaders team. She interviews the volunteers and matches them to schools. Sarah has a degree in psychology and her background includes social work, customer service and working with offenders. Sarah lives in Northamptonshire with her husband and two daughters.
CAROLINE DOWSON, Operations Co-ordinator
Caroline joined Schoolreaders, as an Operations Coordinator after a career in education, where she specialised in Autism. Originally from North Yorkshire Caroline now lives in Bedford with her family. She enjoys reading classic literature, going to the theatre, and travelling.
FIONA GODFREY, Fundraising Officer
Fiona joined Schoolreaders as the Fundraising Officer in November 2019 working on corporate and community fundraising. Previously, her experience is in fundraising for a family support charity and event management and she has a degree in Business. Fiona lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and son. In her spare time Fiona likes horse riding, travelling and reading. Fiona joined Schoolreaders hoping that even more children might get to enjoy the same love of reading that she experienced as a child.
NATALIE SCALES, Fundraising Manager
Natalie joined Schoolreaders in 2019 and manages our relationships with trusts and foundations. She has 13 years’ experience within the voluntary sector with 11 years in management roles, covering the fields of housing, homelessness, health & social care and mental health where she has been responsible for leading on fundraising, marketing, service development and organisation strategy. She has a degree in Psychology and Post Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy. She is a mother to two young boys. She is also Chair of Governors at her children’s school. Natalie enjoys yoga, fishing and travelling.
VOLUNTARY COUNTY AMBASSADORS
EMMA ALTHAUS, Somerset Ambassador
Emma grew up in Ireland and has been living in the UK for over 25 years. With a background in marketing, she ran events in the charity sector before working in the advertising industry for 12 years. She joined forces with her husband to run their landscape business in 2007 and the family now lives in Somerset. Emma has a teenage daughter and is closely involved in running village and community events.
KAREN BROMHAM, Norfolk Ambassador
Karen lived in Eastern Africa for a number of years before settling with her family in Norfolk where both of her children attended secondary school. She has a background in Marketing, Development and Fundraising and was one of the first cohort in the UK to complete the Certificate in Fundraising for Schools. Karen is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. She has a strong interest in literacy having worked in schools as both a relief teacher and Director of Development.
SUZANNE BUCKLAND, Nottinghamshire Ambassador
Suzanne spent a decade working in London in Marketing before moving to Nottinghamshire. She became involved in fundraising and charity events for her children's school, and was active helping the younger children to read. She also learnt Sign Language to Level 2 and became a volunteer in a school to help a child with hearing difficulties. She has also been a volunteer in a Nursing Home as an Activities Co-ordinator.
SALLIE COOLIDGE, Suffolk Ambassador
Sallie was inspired with a love of reading by her father who lectured on English Literature at a University near their home in Boston, Massachusetts. Sallie herself read English at University and spent a year studying in Italy before joining a large New York publishing house. She worked her way up to become a General Editor, but left the US to marry her English husband. She initially worked in the London publishing world but went freelance when her three children were born. Sallie says 'Books and reading have been close to my heart all my life, and so it's a particular pleasure to help Schoolreaders.... And it's a wonderful way to connect to local communities and meet new people'.
ROSIE CUNNINGHAM, Dorset Ambassador
Rosie works in Public Relations, promoting brands to the press. She lives near Sherborne, Dorset, and has children at primary and secondary schools in the area. She has spent four years as a Governor of a local primary school, and has, for three years, worked as a reading volunteer with children in Key Stages 1 and 2. Rosie has witnessed first-hand the importance of reading with children daily, and says that ‘the lightbulb moment when everything falls into place for a child who then takes off into what was a daunting world is fantastic!’
CHRIS DOWD, Ambassador
Chris left home at 16 and trained as a nurse, progressing through practice to teaching, and ending up as a senior university lecturer. Having been made redundant he came across an advertisement for Schoolreaders and joined the scheme as a reading volunteer. He comments 'To say that it changed my life is an understatement. I volunteer in a small school in a rural area that has a high level of social deprivation. It has the most dedicated, skilful and caring teaching and support staff... I have been welcomed, and dare I say, valued by them all'. Chris continues to volunteer in school as well as being one of our Ambassadors, and says that 'every visit is a joy!'
VICTORIA DUNLOP, Hertfordshire Ambassador
Victoria has a degree in History and French and worked in retail and investment management. She has lived in Hertfordshire for 25 years and is married with 2 children at university. She helped as a reading volunteer at her children's primary schools, and raised funds for charities at their secondary schools. She supports the Hertfordshire NSPCC, and has helped organise fund raising events for the Bedfordshire NSPCC. She enjoys tennis, yoga and reading.
BUMBLE GAMBIER, Suffolk Ambassador
Bumble has been involved in numerous charitable and fundraising projects in Suffolk, many of them focused around the junior school attended by her three children. She says, ‘I am delighted to be involved with Schoolreaders because I am passionate about reading and love the idea of local children benefitting from our volunteers and the Schoolreaders service’.
JO GAMMELL, Hampshire Ambassador
Following a career in the City, Jo moved to Hampshire where she runs her own small bespoke stationery business. She has been a Governor of an infant school, and has helped as a reading assistant and with other activities at her local school. Jo is married and has two grown-up children. She shares her home with her dogs, chickens, and some rescue donkeys.
AMANDA GERRY, Essex Ambassador
Amanda has lived in Essex for the past 20 years and is the mother of four grown-up children. At one time, she ran her own restaurant in Spain before going on to manage a restaurant in the City of London for several years. She then qualified and worked as a TEFL teacher. Since 2008, Amanda has worked for International Justice Mission UK (an anti-slavery/trafficking NGO) as a volunteer on the Business Operations team and she regularly gives presentations on their work. For the past 15 years she has also enjoyed her work with the charity ‘Riding for the Disabled’.
MANDY KELLAGHER, Cornwall Ambassador
Mandy has lived in Cornwall for over 30 years, 25 of which were spent working as a vet before diversifying into teaching English to adult foreign language students and some part-time ceramic work. She was a primary school governor for 8 years when her now adult children were pupils and was invited back onto the board 3 years ago, so maintains an active involvement with the school. She is also trying to make time to do more travelling as well as a variety of watersports, walking, snowboarding, tennis and is struggling with being an adult beginner cellist.
LAURA KENYON-SLANEY, Oxfordshire Ambassador
Overseas postings to South Africa and Australia before a return to the UK meant that Laura’s three children grew up experiencing a number of very different educational systems. It was obvious to Laura that whatever the system used in local schools, the one-to-one time spent with a patient adult was tremendously helpful in building their confidence and improving their reading. Laura’s family has now settled in Oxfordshire, where they have built their own house, and Laura is a Schoolreader in her local school.
NICKY RAMSDEN, Leicestershire and Rutland Ambassador
Nicky has lived in Leicestershire for 20 years. As well as having taught yoga for the last 15 years, Nicky is active in a number of voluntary roles, acting as secretary of the church council, and fundraiser for VIP Companionship for older people. Nicky has three children, four dogs and lots of chickens. She grew up in Kenya, and has spent time living in Madrid. Nicky believes strongly in the power of the Schoolreaders approach, ‘It's a clever idea to match volunteers with the young - and I know that reading is fundamental to my life’.
TRACY ROGERS, Suffolk Ambassador
With a Master’s Degree and a business background in consumer marketing, American-born Tracy has spent the last 15 years in the voluntary sector, principally in her local area, Suffolk. In 2003 she started ‘Young Art East Anglia’, an art exhibition for primary school children, which raises funds for Cancer Research UK. Tracy is enthusiastic about being a Schoolreaders Ambassador, saying 'improving literacy gives children a better start and helps them in life - good for them and good for society'.
LORNA ROLFE, Essex Ambassador
On graduating, Lorna joined Marks and Spencer, and became their first female commercial manager. After ten years with M&S, Lorna moved on to work as a management consultant, and ultimately became Managing Director of a family business, a position she still holds. At the same time, she was appointed a Justice of the Peace, and has been closely involved with the Magistracy, chairing training and development groups in Essex. Lorna has also been a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for nine years. Her other interests include choral singing, and she supports a number of heritage projects in Essex. Lorna was High Sheriff of Essex in 2016-2017, and was appointed Deputy Lieutenant in June 2017.
SERENA WHITBREAD, Wiltshire Ambassador
Serena works as a property manager looking after residential and commercial property in Wiltshire, and has three grown-up children. She has a level-3 qualification in Counselling, and has volunteered at the Rainbow Trust in Swindon. The Rainbow Trust supports families who have a child with a life-threatening or terminal illness and need special support; Serena’s role was to talk to both children and parents about their day-to-day worries and fears. Serena’s interests include sport, travel and reading.