Our Staff

We are privileged to have a team of dedicated and hard-working staff who will always go the extra distance for the young people they are working with. Many of our staff have a broad range of qualifications so they are often popping up in different places working with a range of groups. 

Here are some of our lovely colleagues telling you about their backgrounds and some of their most rewarding moments working with young people.

Mike King, Managing Director

Mike King, Managing Director

BEd (Hons) Secondary – Physical Education MiDAS, First Aider, Summer Mountain Leader, Single Pitch Award, MIAS Level 1 Mountain Bike Leader, BCU Level 3 Coach Inland, RYA Keel Boat/ Dingy Senior Instructor, RYA Dingy Instructor, RYA Level 3 Powerboat, RYA Day Skipper Theory, Accredited Practitioner Institute of Outdoor Learning

Mike created Releasing Potential in Jan 2000, because he wanted to bring the benefits of outdoor education into the everyday experience of young people in the South East Hants and West Sussex area. Having worked as both an Outdoor Education Instructor and a teacher he was keen to able to bring a wide range of experience, qualifications and experience to Releasing Potential.

Mike is keen on all aspects of Outdoor Education and has qualifications in climbing, walking, paddlesport, sailing and mountain biking. His main passion is a love of sailing and mountaineering in equal measure, both grown after living and working in the Lake District in his youth.

As director of Releasing Potential Mike provides the passion, energy and vision to an organisation that is committed to seeing Outdoor Education change the lives of some of the most disadvantaged young people in our community. As he is often heard to say: "It is the passion that we pass on to the young people that can make a difference, if I was passionate about pottery, I would be doing the same thing but as it is I love the outdoors and hope to pass that on."

Katy Green

Katy Green

BA (Hons) Childhood, Youth & Society, First Aid, MiDAS

Katy has a background in youth work and education. She began working for Releasing Potential as a student placement, and is now Co-ordinating the Engage programmes in Havant.

Katy notes: "My most rewarding moment in my work so far was receiving an email from a student I had previously taught in Botswana, Africa. This student came from a very underprivileged background with little opportunity or encouragement to continue with education past the age of 12. He sent me his email from the college library that he now attended. He had remembered my name and wanted to thank me for inspiring him to succeed."

Mikey Pearce

Mikey Pearce

BSc (Hons) Sport Science MiDAS, First Aider, Basic Expedition Leader, Indoor Climbing instructor, Level 2 Level 2 Kayak and Canoe coach, RYA Keel Boat Assistant Instructor, RYA Level 2 Power Boat,

Mikey Pearce has worked for Releasing Potential since its earliest days, having joined the organisation as a student. Mikey led the Chichester Near to School programme for several years. He recently qualified as a Level 3 Forest School Practiioner, and is currently heading up our Forest School provision, based in Slindon, West Sussex.

Mikey comments: "My most rewarding moment or moments is when the young people that I teach make the choice to behave better and engage at school. Once they have made this choice you see them respond more positively in school. In turn this improves their self esteem and they become more confident young people with an aim and purpose for their lives."

Chris Rinaldi

Chris Rinaldi

BEd (Hons) Outdoor and Science Education MiDAS, First Aider, Summer Mountain Leader, Single Pitch Award, MIAS Level 1 Mountain Bike Leader, BCU Level 3 Coach Inland, RYA Level 2 Powerboat

Chris Rinaldi is Head of Outdoor Education at Releasing Potential. He joined the organisation in 2005, having previously worked at outdoor centres in the north of the country. Chris co-ordinates our outdoor provision, and delivers outdoor activities to groups and individual young people across Hampshire and West Sussex.

Chris notes: "My most rewarding moments have to be from the many residentials that I have run over the years. Seeing the young people exposed to wilderness and mountain areas, overcoming all their fears and doubts to get to the top of a mountain or paddle a stretch of white water."

 

Steve Skinner

Steve Skinner

MiDAS, First Aider, Basic Expeditionary Leaders Award, Climbing Wall Award, MIAS Level 1 Mountain Bike

Steve Skinner has worked for Releasing Potential since 2005. Steve is an engineer by profession, and also an experienced sailor. Steve delivers boat building and design technology to young people on our Engage and One to One courses, as well as those from partner schools. He delivers sailing courses across our provision, and runs the Sailing Academy for Looked After Children during the school holidays. As Transport Manager Steve also has the responsibility for maintaining our growing fleet of vehicles. He is a trained MiDAS instructor and assessor and ensures that our staff are qualified and competent when taking to the road.

Steve observes: "My most rewarding moment was seeing the look on a young person's face as we launched and paddled an open canoe that he had built by hand in the workshop."

Kerry Buckley

Kerry Buckley

Advanced Diploma in counselling and Group work, Accredited Mediator, MIDAS, First Aid, Open Country Award, RLSS Water Safety Management Award

Kerry runs the Near to School provision in Portsmouth. Kerry qualified as a counsellor in 1995, and has worked with young people and families in the Portsmouth area for many years. Kerry is also a qualified mediator for education, and leads our Independent Mediation service. 

Kerry remarks: "My most rewarding moment has to be seeing my family's faces when I received my second brown belt in Kick boxing!"

Catherine Brennan, Operations Manager

Catherine Brennan, Operations Manager

PhD, MA, BA (Hons), Diploma in Brief Solution Focused Therapy, Substance Misuse Interventions Tiers I, II, III, Certificate in Teaching Basic Skills, Life Coach, Coaching for Management, First Aid

Catherine joined Releasing Potential in September 2012. She has a background in education, having taught across a range of levels including secondary, tertiary and higher. Catherine also has many years experience working with vulnerable young people, and has managed a number of day services and residential programmes in Hampshire and West Sussex.

Catherine's role as Operations Manager involves a range of responsibilities across all sites and in all areas of the business. She also leads on delivering Challenging Behaviour Management training; Catherine developed the NVQ 3 course and co-delivers it with a colleague.

Catherine notes: "My most rewarding experiences working with young people have been watching them develop skills in managing their emotions effectively. They can then go on to access opportunities which would otherwise have been closed to them because of their behaviour. Being part of Releasing Potential has shown me so many new ways of engaging young people and supporting them to do this."

Fran Short

Fran Short

BA (Hons) Latin American Development Studies, Open Country Award, BCU 2* , RLSS Water Safety Management Course, MiDAS

Fran has worked for a number of years with emotionally vulnerable young people in school settings, and as a carer in the Hampshire Intensive Fostering Scheme. After working with us as a colleague at a school where we deliver Outdoor Education, Fran joined Releasing Potential in Septembr 2013.  

Fran is now co-ordinating our one to one provision. Since Fran took on this role our one to ones have increased from nine young people in 2013/14 to more than 20 so far in 2014/15. Fran is a very resourceful organiser, who works wonders with the logistics of our fleet of vehicles.

Fran's most important skills, though, are in working with young people. She remarks: "I love the feeling in our work  when a young person achieves a goal they have set themselves."

Wayne Peters

Wayne Peters

BA (Hons) History, MA, Gym Instructor, Team Teach, Open Country, BCU 3*, RLSS Water Safety Management Trainer, GNAS Archery Leader

Wayne joined Releasing Potential in February  2011. Wayne has been working with emotionally vulnerable young people for seven years, including a spell with a PRU in Portsmouth, and as a carer on the Action for Children Intensive Fostering Scheme. 

Wayne brings to his work with groups and individuals, the expertise in fitness development gained through his 5 year career in the Royal Navy. At RP Wayne previously led a successful year long programme for young people with symptoms of Autistic Spectrum Disorder. He is currently running, across all our programmes, personal development modules he has developed using physical and mental challenges. 

Wayne enjoys working in Alternative Provision because of the freedom it gives him to be creative in his delivery. Wayne describes his most rewarding experiences working with young people: "I enjoy this work because It's great to see real, lasting progress. I love watching the learners grow and mature into  young adults - it feels as if we're having a positive effect in the wider community."

Milly Joseph

Milly Joseph

Bsc (Hons), RYA Race Coach, Powerboat Level 2, RYA Ppwerboat Senior Instructor, RYA Safety Boat, 1st Aid

Milly joined us in 2012. She began working with us as a student, and is now leading one of our Engage groups in Havant. Milly also works in our Sailing Academy for Looked After Children during the Summer months.

Milly is an accomplished sailor - she competes at national level in the Laser Radial class. Milly is also a voluntary sailing coach at her local sailing club, and has established hew own women's Laser training programme.

Milly most enjoys working with young people when the benefits of taking part in outdoor activities pays off in their enjoyment, sense of achievment and improved decisions around behaviour.

Phillip Allen, Admin Support

Phillip Allen, Admin Support

Phil  started work with Releasing Potential in 2013 as an Apprentice in Business Administration. The post was made possible by a grant from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Fund. Phil passed his apprenticeship with flying colours and is now employed on a permanent full time contract. Phil is very much part of the team at Releasing Potential, and everyone gains from his administrative skills and his expertise in IT. 

Phillip is enjoying his role, which includes some work supporting groups and individual young people. Phil notes that he is finding it rewarding "to notice young people become more comfortable in the RP environment, and their behaviour improve as the term progresses."

Joan Joseph

Joan Joseph

BA Education Support, Counselling Skills 1, 2, Teaching Assistant Diploma

Joan joined Releasing Potential in January 2014; she previously worked at a PRU in Farnborough as a Learning Support Assistant.

Joan has many years experience in working with young people who face barriers to full inclusion because of their emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Joan finds the most rewarding aspect of working with young people to be "seeing them learn and develop confidence as their knowledge and experience grows."

Jane Skinner, Finance Manager

Jane Skinner, Finance Manager

Jane has worked with Releasing potential since its very early days. Jane began as book keeper for Mike King when he was a sole trader, and her role has grown to that of Finance Manager for a charity operating out of six sites and employing 30 people.

Jane enjoys working in this environment because the young people, whilst sometimes challenging, are also warm, funny, and lively to be around. As Jane says: "There's certainly never a dull moment!"

Tom Belcher

Tom Belcher

BSc Sports Development and Coaching Sciences, BTec Nat Dip in Sport

Tom joined Releasing Potential in 2014 as a part time Assistant on Engage and One to One programmes. He has since built his role to full time on completion of his final year at university. Tom's current role involves delivering sports activities to students at each of our sites.

Tom gained experience in working in SEN through a full time placement at a local special school, which was part of his degree course.

A keen sportsman, Tom is particularly interested in rugby union - he plays at semi professional level  for a local team.

Tom  thoroughly enjoys working in SEBD, and looks forward to sharing his love of sport and the outdoors with young people at RP.

Jackie Cleall

Jackie Cleall

NNEB, Forest School Practitioner Level 3, First Aid

Jackie joined Releasing Potential in April 2015, her background has been in pre-school provision, and she has recently finished her Forest School Level 3 qualification. Jackie hopes to be able to use this specialism at Releasing Potential, and contribute to our Forest School provision.

Jackie is currently enjoying her role with Engage in Chichester, and says that her favourite part is seeing young people achieve something they never would have imagined possible, like sea kayaking, which was an experience Jackie and the group took part in during the Spring term.

Will Hoare

Will Hoare

RYA Powerboat Level 2, RYA Safety Boat, First Aid,

Will joined Releasing Potential in January 2015, and is based at our Chichester site delivering one to one mentoring and the Activation programme. Will has recently taken on responsibility for co-ordinating one to ones in Chichester, which will enable us to grow this provision. 

Will enjoys the variety in his role, and he finds it most rewarding when young people, who have struggled to engage with anything outside their own home, are able to take part in activities and meet goals they set themselves. 

Richard Smith

Richard Smith

BA (Hons) Adventure Education, Mountain Leader, BCU Level 2 Coach, RYA Powerboat Level 2, First Aid, DofE Gold, DofE Expedition Assessor

Richard joined RP in November 2012. He has a background in Outdoor Education, and has been an active leader in the Scout Association for many years at national and local levels. 

Richard works across our programmes delivering a range of activities, and leads on the CDT curriculum area.

Richard chose this career because it enables him to provide positive opportunities to young people who need the space and support to achieve big things.

The most rewarding moment for Richard was seeing  a young person develop over their two years  with RP, and create a fantastic final project in CDT - a working metal framed go-kart!

Karen Thakore

Karen Thakore

Karen joined Releasing Potential in 2014 as Referrals and Bookings Adminstrator. She has brought some much needed order to our systems and our office!

Karen's background is in business and administration, and her most recent role was in the Reprographic Department at a local college. 

Karen finds her work busy and interesting, and enjoys the challenges posed by the fast pace and the need to respond quickly to whatever comes up. 

Garry Buckley

Garry Buckley

MiDAS, First Aid, RLSS Water Safety Management, Countryside Leader Award

Garry has been working for Releasing Potential since 2013, supporting Engage programmes and delivering one to one mentoring across all our areas. Garry's background is in working with vulnerable young people in a range of residential and day settings, including a period  as a long term foster carer.

Garry enjoys adventurous outdoor activities - he is a keen and experienced surfer, kite surfer and snow boarder. Garry brings his enthusiasm for the outdoors to his work with young people, and loves taking them fishing, kite flying and biking.

Garry's most rewarding moments come when he sees a young person who had been able to communicate only through a locked bedroom door, begin to enjoy interacting with the outside world and see a better future for themselves. 

Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewart

BA (Hons) Broadcasting Production, SPA, Mountain Leader, RYA Powerboat Level 2, First Aid, RLSS Water Safety Management

Jeff joined Releasing Potential in 2014; his previous post was working with young people with EBD in a Berkshire-based Outdoor project. Jeff is now delilvering one to one mentoring in the north of Hampshire.

Jeff enjoys being able to share his skills and interests - in the outdoors and in creative activities - with young people who would not otherwise have opportunities to explore different positive experiences. 

Jeff's favourite moments with young people come when trusting relationships are built, which means we can spend relaxed positive time and achieve more than the young person would have thought possible.

Mark Francis

Mark Francis

BSc Animal Science, CELTA

Mark joined Releasing Potential in September 2015, having previously worked as an Inclusion Support Mentor at a local school.

Mark is now leading an engage group at our Havant base. Mark was attracted to working with Releasing Potential because he finds our needs based approach as '...a dynamic and personally fullfilling way to motivate, inspire and embolden young people with challenging behaviours'.

Mark enjoys the outdoors, and is a keen cyclist. He also studies martial arts.

Lydia Miles

Lydia Miles

BSc (Hons) Outdoor Adventure, Mountain Leader, BEL, DofE Assessor, DofE Gold, Climbing Wall Award, Fencing Activity Leader, BCU Canoe and Kayak 2*, RYA Powerboat Level 2, RYA Sailing Level 2, First Aid, MiDAS

Lydia has been working with Relasing Potential on a freelance basis since 2014. Between overseas trips, Lydia makes a consistent contribution to our one to one mentoring and Engage programmes, as well as delivering Outdoor Education to schools groups. In 2015 Lydia has agreed to deliver a Primary project which will help disadvantaged children explore their own potential and develop their aspirations.

Lydia has a strong  background in Outdoor Education and enjoys introducing young people to the challenges and rewards of adventrous activities. 

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