Meet the Team header


Kate Blakemore

Founder and Chief Executive

Kate is the founder and CEO of Motherwell Cheshire; Kate heads up all the day to day charity operations as well as working with the Board of Trustees to implement the 5 year strategy. 

Kate works with local and national funders to generate funding for the charity as well as working closely with the local Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership to identify the needs of local women and girls in order to implement clear referral pathways for statutory services into the Motherwell services. 

Kate is also the founder of the Crewe and Winsford Women’s Days that take place annually in line with International Women’s Day and in 2020 sees the introduction of an additional event in Ellesmere Port. The events bring together all women’s services, women in business and women speakers to celebrate and Inspire the local community. 

Kate hosts her own radio show on 107.9FM This is the Cat, with her show “The Motherwell Show”, where each week Kate invites guests to talk about topical issues around Mental Health. 

Kate is a counsellor and trainer and is a passionate advocate for mental health and she has her own website should you wish to get in touch. 


Nadine Lewis

HR Co-ordinator

I am a mother of two young children, two very independent, head strong girls. 

I started at Motherwell volunteering about a year ago, just a couple of hours a week to get me out of the house.

I wanted a couple of hours to myself, to think about something other than being a mum. I didn’t realise how much of myself I had lost being a stay at home mum, I didn’t think mentally I needed anything more, I was wrong! Previous jobs I would say, I didn’t enjoy but went to, just to make a living, we all can get stuck in a rut career wise.

Motherwell made me realise work isn’t just a job, it is a place I enjoy coming to and a place I am proud to say I work for.

My role is as the HR Co-ordinator, I am based within in the office, but that is the best place for me! The women I work with are some of the kindest and most supportive women I know, their acts are only to help people and to support them.

Freya O'Brien

Fundraising & Events Co-ordinator

I’m a Mum to 2 young children (I had two under two!) and for the most part have been a stay-at-home mum. I have done a few work from home businesses but am very pleased to have found Motherwell. 

Pre children, I spent time studying history, as well as fundraising and organising events for a charity run by students; I have been involved in Girlguiding for a while.

I’m enjoying rediscovering my passion for charity events, and the more behind the scenes fundraising too. As a mother who had various difficulties herself, I’m very pleased there is a charity like Motherwell around.

Marise Astall-Palin

Business Compliance Co-ordinator

I work alongside a passionate team on projects that really make a difference to individual’s lives and it is great to be a part of this.  I get to see projects from planning right through to reporting on their outcomes and I love seeing how they evolve and deliver more than anticipated.

I have two children, and following the arrival of my first in 2016 I joined a mums group organised by Motherwell.  I am a qualified chartered accountant and auditor as well as being a mum, and I wanted to keep these professional skills so looked into volunteering.  Volunteering at Motherwell was one of the best things I have done since becoming a mum.

I became a staff member in 2017, and in that time have been supported by the charity to continue to develop my skills and work on exciting projects with inspiring women.

I am passionate about empowering women and girls, ensuring they all get a voice.

Alison Hollingshead

Inspire Team Leader, Young Person's Counsellor

I am a Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Supervisor and work with children, young people and adults. I am a Registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and enjoy regular training and supervision to ensure my knowledge and practice is ethical, up to date and above all beneficial to my clients.

I am proud to be the project leader for the Inspire Project within Motherwell as I am passionate about promoting women’s wellbeing and empowering young women to reach their potential. The Inspire project provides counselling for teenage girls aged 14 to 19 years old and we hope to expand this to mentoring and peer support.

I have a Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. I work creatively with my clients to help them process their experience in order to promote a more positive state of mind. I offer a safe and comfortable space, working with clients to make sense of their experiences and process.

Outside of work I am in constant awe of my daughter and we enjoy lots of outdoor activities as a family. I love the outdoors and luckily my partner and daughter do too. We take every opportunity to go camping, walking, bike riding and there’s nothing better than refueling at  a pub on route. I also enjoy ceramics and pottery, reading, and always have music playing. I have travelled through Asia and lived and worked in Australia and love the opportunity to see new places, explore cultures and meet new people.

I feel that my life experiences, both negative and positive, have created the person I am today. I wanted to be a counsellor from the age of 15 but knew I needed to be ready for it, and once I was, there was no stopping me. I love my job and I love offering a nurturing space for others to find themselves.

Debbie Sharred

Well-being Co-ordinator

I am a mum of 3 beautiful children, all mostly grown up, that does not mean I’m not wanted! In my experience it’s a job for life! I’ve been a mum for 28 ½ years and experienced all the emotions, highs and lows, of being a mum! Looking forward to the next chapter!

I’ve worked as a teacher in some shape or form all my working life. I also worked as a Nanny to 3 young boys. I used to work with young women in supported accommodation, supporting them back into education, work, volunteering and training, so I’m very aware of the ‘Mothering Journey’.

I work mainly behind the scenes, coordinating the Well-being Days, Workshops and courses, but love to be front of house, interacting with our mums on the Well-being!

Ginette Ward

Believe Support Worker

I am mum to two daughters of my own and two step children, all adults now. I also have a very energetic grand daughter. All of my children have taught me something different as they were growing up about life how we view it.

I have had a varied career starting out within the equine industry, moving into hospitality before studying to become a counsellor. As a qualified and registered counsellor, the counselling path has also taught me the diversity and complexity of people as individuals and the individuality that brings.

I feel proud to be a part of the Motherwell team working as a support worker for the Believe project and the mums I work with. My role involves supporting mums as individuals in a variety of ways such as working on wellbeing and self esteem. As well as supporting at meetings such as core groups, child protection plans, social workers and other agencies.

I am passionate about supporting others and helping them to find the best of themselves which I feel the Believe Project underpins.   

Wendy McCandless

Believe Support Worker

My name is Wendy and I have been involved with Motherwell Cheshire since December 2018.

I have lived in Crewe all my life.  I have just celebrated 30 years of marriage. I have 2 children aged 23 and 19 and a beautiful 2 year old cockapoo. In my spare time I love cooking, baking cakes, holidaying and going on lovely walks with our fur baby.

I was a teacher for over 25 years in a local school and after taking early retirement I wanted to find a role where I could use my experience as a mum and teacher to help others.
So I was very interested to hear about the support Motherwell offer across Cheshire and initially I enrolled as a volunteer Brightstar Mentor. This is an intergenerational mentoring programme where older ladies offer support to younger ladies who are struggling in their mothering journey.

Being a mum and a teacher meant that I had a lot of experience of working with children and their families. One of my roles during my career in education was the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead Teacher. This role involved offering support to children and their families and being part of multiagency meetings where a child or children are seen as being vulnerable or at risk.

In April 2019 a vacancy was advertised within the charity for a Support Worker on the Believe project I decided to apply. My experience working alongside Children’s Social Care meant that I had a good understanding of the situation some of our service users are in and the prospect of being an advocate for or giving support to these ladies resonated with me.

I am really enjoying helping our Believe clients to make changes to their lifestyles so that their children may be able to stay in their care or by helping them to find a way to move forward in their lives if their children do go to live out of their care.

Dave Corp

Chair of Trustees

I have enjoyed a career path that has taken me from managing national logistics businesses, a volunteer for Mind, the Princes Trust, the Outward-Bound Trust & supporting vulnerable people as an Advocate.

I have a firm belief that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

I hope that my business and people experience will contribute to the skills & enthusiasm of the Motherwell Team, supporting the charity to the next level of its future development.

Outside of work, I have a busy family life with 6-year-old Sami, wife Roxi, grown up daughters & a gorgeous granddaughter, as well as my 2 allotments to keep me busy!

Tracey Farleigh

Trustee & Treasurer

I have worked for Barclays Bank in IT since 1985 in various roles and locations. I spent the first 18 years in technical roles and for the past 13 years I have been in team leading roles. I have enjoyed every role and had some fantastic experiences along the way. A particular highlight was the opportunity to build out teams in Singapore and India a few years ago, and visiting the teams a number of times; enjoying the cultural experiences that brought.  One of the aspects of team leading I enjoy most is developing people and seeing them grow in their careers and personal lives.

I became involved with Motherwell via two routes in September 2016 – 1) through our chair-person Shirley and 2) through Cheshire Connect via Barclays.

I have been able to use business and life skills to help Motherwell as part of the newly formed Board with the specific role of Treasurer. Going forward I also want to help in a more hands on way and not just attend monthly meetings as I have reached another stage of my own mothering journey.

I am married with one son who is now 18 and a signed player at The New Saints, Oswestry. I am an immensely proud Mum and for me, this has been my biggest achievement in life. I also love swimming, reading, travel and spending time at our caravan in North Wales.

Another big part of my life is supporting and visiting (at least once a year) an orphanage in Kenya – the children and community are part of my extended family.

So… why Motherwell?  Having (very unexpectedly) suffered from Post Natal Depression 18 years ago after my son was born and there being very limited – actually no – support, I really felt drawn to Motherwell.

Being emphatic is key to truly understanding the challenges that women can go through as a Mum and my own experiences are a massive driver to be part of an organisation supporting Mums to ease or overcome a number of issues.

I believe in the goals, strategic direction and brand of Motherwell;  and the desire to help Mums at various stages of their own journeys.

Jayne Pullar


I am a careers mentor, with many years experience of supporting people choosing how to work towards their chosen career. Linking in with a local charity who find successful women from the business world to mentor young women to raise their aspiration. 

Most recently I joined a local housing trust setting up a new project as an Employability Adviser/Mentor acting as an Interim Team Leader to support the development of the service, now with a permanent position of Senior Adviser. This involves offering information, advice and guidance to support customers into sustainable work. 

I am a mum of two grown up children, grandmother of one and have been married for 30 years. Working full time as my children were growing up, I understand the difficulties involved in juggling a career and a family life. I have met crossroads in my life where the time to change careers has been right for me. I am passionate about the importance of exploring yourself and career ideas to create a future you want. 

Carly Leese


Staffordshire born and bred I made the migration across to leafy Cheshire some 3 years ago, I was always taught to give something back to my local community, which is what brought me to become a Trustee for Motherwell.

My career in Human Resources has always led me to believe that people are the heart of any organisation, they truly make the difference. I’ve worked for large and small organisations mainly in retail and have held a number of different role, spanning all the different disciplines in HR – learning & development, training, recruitment and of course, HR. I hope to support Motherwell in recruiting, developing and retaining the very best talent in order to help grow and sustain the charity.

When not at work I spend my time with friends and family, I am married and have a little dog (with a big personality) Buster, we enjoy walks around Cheshire and holidays across the UK

Amanda Pullin


I am a mother of two and grandmother of five, from Crewe. 

I have worked in a variety of roles in Social Care for 28 years including working for the British Red Cross for the past 4 years. 

I am passionate about preventative local service which are responsible for supporting local needs.

My role is helping to equip people to understand and use self care in everyday life. 

Jackie Hodgson


I retired a couple of years ago but have over 30 years experience of working in social housing.  I have a B. Soc Sc (Hons) degree from The University of Birmingham and a Post Graduate Diploma in Housing Administration from Sheffield Polytechnic.  I am also still a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

I have spent the majority of my working life in mid-Cheshire and hope that my skills, together with my work and life experiences, will help to further develop Motherwell.

I am married with a grown-up step-daughter and an 18 year old daughter who is studying in her second year at University.  I feel that I can understand and appreciate the many issues facing mothers and the services that are needed to support them. 


Sir John Timpson


Sir John Timpson was educated at Oundle and Nottingham University.

The Timpson family business, founded by Sir John’s great grandfather in the 1860’s, was taken over in 1973, but 10 years later Sir John led a £42m management buyout.  In 1987 he sold the shoe shops and concentrated on building the shoe repairing and key cutting business, which has diversified into engraving, watch repairs, dry cleaning and photo processing.

Timpson now has over 2000 branches nationwide, including the Max Spielmann, Johnsons the Cleaners and Snappy Snaps brands. The Group has a turnover of over £300m and profits of over £20m.  It is a private business wholly owned by Sir John Timpson and his family. Timpson is recognised for its creative approach to employee engagement and innovative work helping ex-offenders – it is the UK’s most active employer of people from prison.  In 2018 Sir John chaired an expert panel that made recommendations to government on future plans for Town Centres.

Recently widowed, Sir John was married to his wife Alex for 47 years.  He has five children Victoria (50), James (46), Edward (44), together with Oliver (43) and Henry (30).

Sir John and his wife were also foster carers for 31 years, during which time they fostered 90 children.

In 2000 he wrote ‘Dear James,’ which passes on to his son James, now Timpson’s CEO, the lessons learned in 25 years as a Chief Executive.  A management maverick, he describes his business philosophy in ‘How to Ride a Giraffe’, ‘Upside Down Management’ and ‘Ask John’. ‘High Street Heroes’ was published in 2015 and ‘Under Orders’ is the diary of a racehorse owners’ husband.  His latest book, ‘Keys to Success’ gives 50 tips from a management maverick.

He has a weekly column in the Daily Telegraph.

In 2004 he was awarded the CBE in the Birthday Honours List for Services to the Retail Sector, and in 2017 he was awarded a knighthood for Services to Business and Fostering.



We also have a team of volunteers that help support the peer support groups, counselling service, drop ins, social media support, office duties, Well-being Days and all the admin work. 

If you wish to find out more about being a Motherwell Volunteer, contact us for an informal chat.