The Purple Elephant Project


Senior Management Team

Jenny Haylock, MA, DSL

Founder & CEO
Founder, CEO, BAPT registered Play Therapist, Supervisor, VIG Practitioner and Therapeutic Parenting Trainer with adoption support, attachment and developmental trauma specialism. Jenny has worked locally for many years with extensive knowledge of problems families face. She is a passionate advocate for children believing every child has the right to access the help they need. Jenny enjoys long walks, photography and visiting remote Scottish Islands, searching for puffins. Whilst exploring Shetland, contemplating puffins, the vision for The Purple Elephant Project took shape!

Anita Sheehan

Acting COO
Anita comes from a background in finance and has been working within the charity sector for the past eight years. Prior to this she worked in finance and facility management in a secondary school. She is a retired personal trainer and fitness instructor and while her children were young, was a childminder.  In her spare time outside of the office, she is a keen walker, cyclist and climber and volunteers as a Triathlon coach. She also helps train search & rescue technicians in London. Anita is passionate about making a difference to young peoples lives, being a Pilot Officer in the RAF Air cadets she strives to educate and encourage young people, helping them to become independent, confident, happy individuals

Katie Lyall

Head of Fundraising
Katie has worked in fundraising roles in various national charities for 17years, most recently as Head of Fundraising at NASS. Katie has a Diploma in Fundraising Management and full membership of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising. As a local parent Katie is passionate about the work of the Purple Elephant Project, and hopes to assist in enabling the charity to reach more and more children in the future. Katie is an active member of the parent association of her local primary school. In rare time away from her children, Katie enjoys walking, travel and reading.


We are delighted to be supported by a dedicated trustee team who oversee the running of The Purple Elephant Project and provide valuable advice and experience

Andrew King

Safeguarding Trustee
Andrew is an education consultant and former headteacher of two contrasting schools working with a diverse range of communities. He has worked as a senior inspector and advisor for local authorities, managing projects and supporting headteachers and governors in a wide range of primary, secondary and special schools. In addition, he has worked in OfSTED teams inspecting schools. Andrew has a specialist interest in primary school mathematics and has written and edited series of books for publishers such as Cambridge University Press. Music is a passion and in his spare time he loves performing whenever and wherever he can!

Ali Newman

Chair of Trustees
As an accountant Ali has worked in senior finance roles across many businesses. She brings a wealth of commercial experience as well as being an effective Chair, having led the Big Issue Foundation Board for six years. From her work with the homeless Ali knows how important early interventions are for children and their families, enabling them to overcome challenges and lead happier lives. Her knowledge of charity governance and ability to build successful businesses will support PEP to grow sustainably, delivering more services to more children. Ali finds happiness in travelling, rowing, running, walking her dog and spending time with her two adult children and her husband.

Aysen Norton

Fundraising Trustee
Aysen is a senior fundraising professional with over 20 years’ experience within the charity sector. She has a passion for health and disability causes having held positions at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) and the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) for 14 and seven years respectively. As a mother, Aysen is an advocate for the importance of children’s mental health. She believes passionately in the importance of addressing the emotional needs of children, giving them voice and space to be heard and supporting them to live happy, confident and healthy lives.

Jane Pickerden

Jane is an independent children's social worker, and has worked in the public sector for the past 10 years. She has worked with children and young people living in care, as well as with families who have adopted children or who care for children under a special guardianship arrangement. As a result, Jane has seen how loss and trauma can impact children and families and knows how it is vital to have consistent and appropriate mental wellbeing support. Jane believes that supporting families as a unit is essential to help children grow up to lead happy and healthy lives.

Kate Walker

Kate has worked as an HR Director in a number of charities over 20 years, both as an employee and when running her own business. She has two adult children and is passionate about supporting families to give the best possible opportunities to their own children . She has worked as a volunteer for many years in a primary school with children from challenging backgrounds who need additional emotional support.

Therapists, Trainers & Staff

We are fortunate to have a wonderful team of therapists and staff who are dedicated to delivering our services to the community

Gemma Kelly

Art Therapist
Gemma is a practising artist and qualified Art Psychotherapist, registered with BAAT and HCPC. She has worked in social care for over 2 decades, and brings a commitment and passion to improving people’s lives - providing a safe space for each unique child to explore and express their inner world and improve their mental wellbeing. As a sculptor herself, Gemma, understands the power of the creative process in helping people to uncover their deepest feelings and emotions, and to reveal what is not easy to put into words. She particularly enjoys helping children and young people to experience the freedom to explore their previously hidden world.

Sam Boyle

Play Therapist
A BAPT registered Play Therapist and MBACP. A practitioner in Child- Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) and DDP (L1). I am passionate about my work offering evidence-based therapeutic mental health support for children and young adults who struggle to communicate their problems with traditional types of therapy. I provide specialist support to families and schools utilising trauma informed approaches to build on attachments and relationships. I believe working in partnership is at the centre of supporting every child’s mental well-being and development.

Claire Mitchell

Play Therapist
Prior to achieving a Masters in Play Therapy, Claire was a Development Manager for the NSPCC working with ChildLine and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) gaining insight into issues impacting children today. She has a range of experience working therapeutically with children and families who have experienced trauma, neglect, bereavement and loss, sexual abuse, behavioural concerns, and those in foster care or looked after.  She has experience in Therapeutic Life story work; Marschak Interaction Method (child/parent relationship assessment) and Theraplay.

Ailbhe Howard

Play Therapist
Ailbhe has ten years' experience working with children providing Play Therapy for those with a range of communication and emotional needs in a variety of settings. She has a master’s degree in Play Therapy from Roehampton University and is a registered member of BAPT. Ailbhe is passionate about her work and says she particularly enjoys giving every child and family the opportunity for space, expression and support. She believes that "every child is wonderful in their uniqueness and that Play Therapy allows for the celebration of this through a child-centred approach".

Charlotte Cowley

Play Therapist
Charlotte has over 10 years of experience working with children and young people in a variety of roles. Completing her Bachelors in Education with Psychology at the University of Bath, where she engaged in a placement at a Creative therapeutic centre, she became passionate about working therapeutically with children and supporting their families. Charlotte completed an MA in Play Therapy at the University of Roehampton, qualifying as a registered BAPT Play Therapist. ‘I find it a privilege to enter a child’s world through play and be alongside them as they work to understand and navigate their experiences in a space where they can innately express themselves

Tracey Harrison

Play Therapist
Tracey has worked with children for more than 25 years, and is passionate about supporting those who are most vulnerable. Before qualifying as a play therapist and Theraplay-based practitioner, she worked as a learning support assistant, teacher, SENDCO and nurture group teacher. Tracey has a MA in Play Therapy from the University of Roehampton and is a registered member of BAPT. She understands the importance of working with the child, family and supporting professionals. She endeavours to build relationships built on honesty and a genuine desire to work collaboratively. She believes all children should have the opportunity to realise their potential and enjoys enabling children to gain confidence and autonomy.

Archana Chatterjee

Play Therapist
A BAPT-registered Play Therapist, passionate about emotionally supporting children and families through adoption, trauma, neglect, abuse, ASD and anxiety. Previous human rights work for global charities meeting vulnerable communities led to wanting to support families to thrive, rather than cope. She has worked in local and specialist schools, leading interventions, providing 1:1 support and mentoring refugee students. 'For me, the beauty of Play Therapy is connecting with a child in many ways; play, draw, music and dance to explore feelings and feel better about who they are."

Gráinne Nash Farrai

Play Therapist
A BAPT registered Play Therapist with an interest in children’s care and development. Her commitment to helping children achieve their potential led to 15 years’ experience in primary teaching reinforcing her belief in the importance and therapeutic value of play. Understanding the significance of play in social and emotional well-being prompted a Masters in Play Therapy. Her new career enables her to support children and families holistically as she works with those experiencing anxiety, low self-esteem, loss, attachment difficulties, domestic abuse and developmental trauma.

Kate Farrow

Play Therapist
Having worked with children in educational settings over the last 8 years, Kate is passionate about supporting the emotional wellbeing of children and helping them to reach their full potential. Kate has worked with children with varying levels of verbal communication in both Special Educational Needs and mainstream schools. This has helped her to recognise the importance of play as a way for every child to explore their emotions and to communicate their needs. Kate has a master’s degree in Play Therapy from Roehampton University and is a BAPT registered Play Therapist.

Tracy Evans

Play Therapist
Tracy is a BAPT registered Play Therapist with over ten years’ experience of working with children. As a teaching assistant, Tracy experienced a high level of need in children struggling with their emotions and feelings. These experiences led to a deeper interest in supporting children with their mental health. After gaining a degree in Psychology, Tracy trained as a Play Therapist at Roehampton University. Tracy feels it is a unique privilege to join each child throughout their play therapy journey, which provides the optimum therapeutic space and time they need.

Matt Knight

Play Therapist
Matt is a BAPT registered Play Therapist with a Masters degree from the University of Roehampton. He has over 10 years experience working with children in a range of different educational settings. Prior to training as a Play Therapist, Matt has worked as a teacher in both mainstream and specialist settings. Within these roles, he has seen how play can facilitate and strengthen relationships and allow children to express their creativity. As a Play Therapist, Matt is passionate about giving a voice to children and supporting their emotional wellbeing.

Claire Crosby

Art Therapist
Claire, a registered Art Therapist with BAAT and HCPC, considers being trusted to hear peoples stories a huge privilege. She is passionate about supporting young people, working in schools with those experiencing trauma, anger, bereavement, low self-esteem and ASD. Her passion is rooted within creativity, strongly believing in the strength art can bring to help with communication. Claire is excited to use various art materials that speak most clearly and are most satisfying in the moment. As we are surrounded by images, colour and shape; it is interesting to consider how we orientate ourselves amongst that, and how we use and feel about it. Art therapy is allowing the art process to unravel and the medium to support and challenge or help reveal thoughts

Laura Reader

Play Therapist
Laura has completed a Masters in Play Therapy from the University of Roehampton and is a registered member of BAPT. Laura has an undergraduate degree in Social Policy from the University of Bristol which relates to social issues including human wellbeing. During her play therapy training, she spent two years at a large primary school where she completed her placement. She worked with children who experienced anxiety, school difficulties, low self-esteem, and had witnessed domestic abuse. Laura says, ‘play therapy is such a rewarding career and enables children to access a safe space to share their inner worlds and process their difficult life experiences.’ Prior to her Masters, Laura has experience working with children with autism at a charity providing early years support for pre-schoolers and their families.

Charlene Fernandes

Play Therapist
A BAPT registered play therapist with experience in working therapeutically with children and families who have experienced trauma, bereavement and loss, abuse, self-harm and suicidal ideation. She has experience working with children who have profound and multiple complex needs, and is very aware that children need to be listened to and heard in both their verbal and nonverbal communications. ‘I love that play can transcend barriers and I am so passionate about being with children through some of their difficult experiences, and nurturing that sense of self belief, self-worth, autonomy and empowerment’.

Harriet Bingley

Play Therapist
Harriet is a BAPT-registered play therapist with over 10 years of experience working with children and families in educational settings. This experience highlighted to her the importance of supporting the emotional wellbeing of children. Harriet believes every child is unique and that play therapy can provide the opportunity and space for children to express their feelings in a safe, child-led way. Harriet has a Masters degree in play therapy from the University of Roehampton.

Clayton Anderson

Trust Fundraising Manager
Clayton has over 17 years of experience working with charities in support roles, on the front line and as a consultant. Clayton has generated over £2.8 million for charities , primarily via grant and trust fundraising. He is able to draw on a wealth of experience, not only in fundraising but in other roles including researching and developing, budget, event and project management, training design and delivery, networking. Clayton believes that everyone should have the opportunity to be treated equally and fairly and given opportunity to resolve any situations they find themselves in which is one of his key reasons in choosing to work with The Purple Elephant Project. Outside of work, Clayton runs a football group for people that are as bad as it as he is but enjoys it nonetheless! He has a love of old Italian cars and enjoys going to gigs to see live music.

Rebecca Mills

Centre Coordinator
Rebecca has worked in various roles within retail buying and licensing at a number of leading brands and more recently she set up her own lifestyle business. She obtained a Psychology degree at University and has always been interested in the positive impact different therapies can have, which has led her to go on and study counselling. She hopes to be able to support the Purple Elephant Project to enable it to grow and benefit even more children. In her spare time, Rebecca loves to practice yoga and pilates and enjoys long walks with family and friends.

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