Reggie Blennerhassett - Patron

We are delighted to receive the support of Reggie Blennerhassett as Patron of Free2B Alliance.

In 1984, along with his partner, Ray Aller, Reggie joined Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners, a support group established to raise funds for striking miners and their families in the South Wales.  The story of the group has been recently portrayed in the film Pride.

Reggie works for the University of Roehampton and joined in 2007. He was appointed as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Director of Finance in 2011, following his previous appointment as Director of Finance.

Prior to this Reggie was based at the Royal Veterinary College, where he had been Director of Finance and a member of their Finance Office since 1991. Reggie has responsibility for Finance, Human Resources, Estates and Campus Services, Legal Services and the University Library and IT and Media Services. Before joining the Royal Veterinary College Reggie worked for the London Lesbian and Gay Centre from Sept 1985 to Dec 1987 as Finance Officer.

Reggie is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce.  And when he is not working he enjoys sailing and has recently taken up marathon running, running 6 marathons in 3 years!

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Lucie Brooke  - Director & Co-founder

Lucie has over 12 years experience working with vulnerable young people and adults, raising aspirations and empowering individuals to achieve their potential.

In this time Lucie has developed, delivered and managed numerous creative projects together with 1:1 work to address complex needs and barriers including: social anxiety and isolation; housing; mental health; sexual health and relationships; learning difficulties; drug and alcohol misuse and unemployment. 

With a passion for equalities Lucie champions LGBTQ+ rights and in 2010 initiated and launched The Gap LGBTQ+ youth club for Wandsworth Council, drawing on extensive project management skills and experience to ensure the successful delivery of this now well established and essential service. 

Lucie has a degree in Psychology & Counselling and a level 4 diploma in Advice & Guidance as well as completing a post graduate certificate in Inclusive Education and most recently gaining her PTLLS qualification (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector).

Lucie is motivated by the continued need to improve LGBTQ+ inclusion within education and employment (and a strange fondness for spreadsheets!).

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Nicki Ryan - Director & Co-founder

Nicki has a similar background with over 10 years experience of working with disadvantaged young people and has delivered this work in a number of different settings including: secondary schools; colleges; community hubs and careers 
centres.

Nicki takes a family centred approach and is also a qualified parent worker supporting families to set and maintain appropriate boundaries, utilising sensitive mediation and negotiation skills.

She is a trained facilitator of the accredited Strengthening Families Strengthening Community programme (SFSC) and has supported newly trained facilitators to achieve their accreditation.

In 2010 Nicki was appointed the Lead Youth Worker for The Gap LGBTQ+ youth club and she remains passionate and committed to delivering the weekly sessions as well as supporting members on a 1:1 basis and offering Information Advice and Guidance to parents and carers of club members.

Nicki holds a level 4 diploma in Advice & Guidance as well as in Parent Work together with her SFSC accreditation. Alongside her passion for LGBTQ+ equalities she is also the cupcake queen with a fondness for fondant!

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Colin Wimsett - Director 

Colin contacted The Gap in 2013 keen to offer support and initially attended a youth club session as an LGBTQ history month 'Role Model' in Feb 2014. Colin was also proactive in exploring funding opportunities for The Gap and has remained a source of support and advice ever since.

Colin qualified as a Chartered Banker and subsequently spent 25 years investing in Private Equity. In 2012 he took early retirement from his professional career and is now a Licensed Pastoral Minister with St Mary's Church Battersea. 
St Mary’s has a long standing involvement in community care within the Battersea ward where The Gap youth club runs and Colin’s ministry places him at the heart of the community. As a member of both the LGBTQ and Christian communities, Colin offers advice and guidance to those who may struggle with what are often sadly seen as conflicting elements in their life. Colin is also proactive in forging multi-faith links within the wider community.

Colin therefore has a valuable combination of deep commercial experience and diverse community involvement. This, together with his extensive professional network, brings strong and complementary skills to support the development and growth of our community interest company. 
To add to the diversity in Colin's life, his Civil Partner is Chinese. Their life together including spending time in China, brings a whole new set of experiences and challenges to being Gay and a Christian, as well as managing cultural divides! Colin's Licensed Ministerial role includes pushing the boundaries of where the church can go, which seems to suit him well!

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Emily Cookson - Youth worker

Emily has volunteered at the Gap youth club for the past 5 years and has been instrumental in helping us shape and develop the service. Emily has been a key volunteer at so many of our milestone events such as our annual birthday BBQs, our first ever LGBT prom, marching with us at Pride and leading two film projects. Last year our youth club members nominated Emily for the Jack Petchey Leader Award, in recognition of her outstanding contributions. 

It is therefore with great pleasure that we welcome Emily on board and she joins Free2B as our Gap youth worker. 

Emily has extensive experience working with young people in colleges and via the Princes Trust Team Programme, providing 1:1 and group support. She holds a level 4 Mentoring qualification and a masters degree in Drama and Theatre Studies, enabling her to bring a fabulous energy and confident communication style to Gap sessions. 

Alongside her challenging roles and commitment to Gap, Emily has also somehow found time to build her own house!!


Jane Hughes - Treasurer

Jane is a professional qualified accountant. She worked for twenty years in a  variety of accounting and senior management roles, mainly in financial services. She then moved into teaching and training, becoming an accredited university lecturer.  Jane specialised in teaching finance to business managers and continues to work at the Open University, supporting part time distance learners in business education.  
She is a Fellow of:
  •       The Chartered Association of Certified Accountants
  •       The Higher Education Academy
  •       The Royal Society of Arts
Jane enjoys yoga and dance, and spending time with her family.  As a parent of a gay child, Jane wanted to work with Free2B as an organisation that supports the young LGBTQ community.  

Emrys Lloyd-Roberts - Communications and Assistant Treasurer

Emrys worked for about twenty years in the British court service, ending up in the Court of Protection, before moving to California. In California he worked for non-profit organisations and also for a private professional fiduciary. He has dealt with finances for both individuals and nonprofits. His undergraduate degree is in English from the University of Toronto. He also has a Graduate Certificate in Education from London University (Institute of Education) and a paralegal qualification from San Francisco City College. He enjoys being retired and keeps busy as a volunteer at his church and at a local theatre company. He especially loves spending time with his children and grandchildren.

As a gay man and also a parent of three children, he is naturally drawn to the work that Free2B is doing. He has expressed the regret that a similar organisation was not available to him in his formative years to help him through his own experience of discovering who he is.


Please support our work and help us achieve LGBTQ+ equality through inclusion: