The Team

ROAD is hosted by Groundwork NE & Cumbria, and managed by a team of 6 core staff, working at the eco-friendly Greenhouse in Stanley.

The ROAD Management Team is:

Craig Drummond - Project Manager at Groundwork NE & Cumbria

With many years of Business Management experience at People Plus behind him, Craig joined ROAD as he was excited by the idea of working on a Programme that addresses real barriers and supports individuals to reach their potential. Craig’s proudest moment to date is when the Partnership received a result of 100 percent accuracy in our first National Lottery Community Fund audit shortly after the project launched. Always one to stick his neck out for his team, if Craig was an animal, he’d be a giraffe!

Philippa Golightly - Senior Navigator (Quality & Compliance) at Groundwork NE & Cumbria

Before ROAD, Philippa worked as an Advisor on the Community Work Programme at Groundwork NE & Cumbria, operating from Durham and Gateshead. Of working on ROAD, Philippa enjoys the challenge of delivering ROAD across the Partnership and keeping up with contractual requirements, is very proud of the success stories coming in from Participants with whom we work and enjoys hearing how people are progressing. Her love of rock music means Philippa travels around the UK to see the Foo Fighters whenever she can.

Vicky Wood - Senior Navigator (Management Information & Performance) at Groundwork NE & Cumbria

Vicky formerly worked at People Plus as an Information Advice and Guidance Advisor before joining ROAD and to date, has enjoyed working with a variety of Participants, helping them to gain the skills required to become job-ready, and currently, managing and reporting on the vast volumes of data linked to the Programme. Vicky loves holidaying in her caravan, far preferring luxury as opposed to camping in a tent, and woe betide you if you try to steal pens from her desk, as these are her favourite stationery item!

Rachel Vickers - Programme Finance & Marketing Officer at Groundwork NE & Cumbria

Having worked in numerous Data Quality and Finance roles in education prior to joining ROAD, Rachel joined the team at Groundwork NE & Cumbria after relocating from the Midlands. The variation of daily work, constant challenges and reward from overcoming them, and being able to add creativity to the Programme is what Rachel most enjoys about her job. Her proudest moment of working on ROAD to date is having the project’s social media channels presented as good examples at a Regional Building Better Opportunities meet. Rachel was once the owner of the largest collection of Sex Pistols badges (punk memorabilia) in the United Kingdom.

Fiona Hopson - Administration Officer at Groundwork NE & Cumbria

Fiona has had a varied career path over the years; she worked for the MPS Society and Child Bereavement UK based in Buckinghamshire, after a spell in the Royal Air Force watching Radar screens in underground bunkers. Fiona has been known to abseil from tall buildings, zip wire across the Tyne, and even walk over hot coals all in the name of charity! Fiona spends her free time stood out in the rain watching her eldest old son play rugby and trying to get her youngest son to sleep.

Diana Denbury - Financial & Claims Administrator

Di was delighted to join Groundwork NE & Cumbria as it presented the opportunity to be part of a progressive organisation, delivering tailored support and guidance to communities in the North East; an area she is incredibly passionate about, having been born and bred in the depths of Northumberland.
Following the move from Bristol back to the North East in 2012, Di supported the work of the Friends of the North Pennines, a new charity created to look after and celebrate the special qualities of the North Pennines AONB and European Geopark, and during her tenure, was involved in a number of fabulous projects. These included the Dukesfield Smelters & Carriers Project, North Pennines Walking Festival and the Peatlands Project led by the North Pennines AONB Partnership.
In 2017, Di worked as the Finance and Administration Manager for Generator North East; a significant part of this role being to monitor project finances for the European-funded Digital Futures Programme.
Di enjoys most craft-related activities, such as proggy matting, upcyling, renovating / developing old properties, and going on long walks with her dog.

ROAD Navigators are:

Chris Cowley

Christopher Cowley

An Employment Training Manager before ROAD, the Participants are what Chris likes most about working on the Programme. His proudest ROAD moment to date is guiding Participants into paid employment. Not one for superstition, 13 is his favourite number!

Julian Wilson

Julian came from South Africa to the UK about 24 years ago to work as a warden in the Quaker Meeting house in Darlington. People and working with people to improve their lives have been the focus of Julian’s life for a very long time. Before joining ROAD she worked in similar posts with the same goal. She gets excited and passionate at the idea of supporting people on their journey; into a more productive life, including employment possibilities. She spent many years studying people on the margins including people in refugee camps in East Africa, North Africa and Sicily. She fell in love with the south of Sicily and goes there often with her husband. She enjoys working in her garden and the company of her animals. Three cats, a mastiff and three hens. Julian once had a pet cheetah!

Lauren Atkinson

Before joining ROAD, Lauren worked as a Navigator in a similar role at another organisation, but is excited to be working in a new area. She enjoys meeting new participants and helping them to reach their goals. Outside of work she enjoys hanging out with family and friends, eating nice food and shopping!

07812 663 034

[email protected]

Chester le Street & Durham City

Hollie-Jo Chalmers

Before becoming a ROAD Navigator, Hollie-Jo worked with people within Changing Lives services to help them get into employment. She enjoy helping people work towards their goals and achieve what they thought they couldn’t. Of ROAD, Hollie-Jo is looking forward to starting new journeys with Participants to help them progress into employment. When not working, she loves to spend time socialising with friends and family – Duvet days are also big part of this, as Hollie-Jo think relaxation is key!

07812 672 668

[email protected]

Chester le Street & Durham City

Sarah Menday

Before joining the ROAD Team, Sarah worked for a number of educational establishments in a variety of roles, most recently for Centrepoint - working with young adults and homeless. Sarah is excited to be part of ROAD, a unique Programme which values each individual. Always creative, Sarah enjoys tattoos and upcycling furniture.

07715 201 689

[email protected]

South West Durham (excl. Newton Aycliffe)

Alison Soulsby

Alison Soulsby - Navigator

Alison was a Business Advisor before joining ROAD as a Navigator, and she loves working one-to-one with the Participants to help them to find their potential. In her spare time, Alison loves to shop for vintage dresses.

07803 079 644

[email protected]

Peterlee & Seaham

Kerry Whitfield

Kerry has worked in Admin for most of her career working as a Doctor's Receptionist prior to joining ROAD. Before that Kerry worked for several years for a well known Training Company. In her time there, Kerry did a few different roles varying from Information, Advice & Guidance Officer, signing learners onto the Programme, to Administrator in the Claims Team dealing with Data Quality and all administration tasks within the team. Kerry is also a Dance Teacher running her own school in Consett, teaching children to dance which keeps her busy. Kerry not only judges competitions on a national basis, but accompanies her school to participate in these events.

07584 171 886

[email protected]

Bishop Auckland, Crook & The Dales