Our Board is made up of 5 members, who are all volunteers with a mix of skills. Most of us have direct experience of dementia, either from our families or our working life.
What we all have in common is our enthusiasm for Chrysalis and our pride in what we have created.
The development of the Board has been supported by Northumberland County Council Social Enterprise staff. Their expertise has been invaluable, and we are very grateful for all their support.
Rosie’s interest in dementia support developed initially from her previous career working for Alzheimer’s Society and then Dementia Care Partnership in Newcastle upon Tyne in various roles. In 2009, an opportunity arose when a local art group formed by three families and run by an Occupational Therapist was unable to continue: the group needed to expand and be taken out into the community in order to thrive. This was just Rosie’s cup of tea so she persuaded two former colleagues to join her and, working with those three founding families, Chrysalis was born! At the start Chrysalis had no funding, no constitution and no premises but the team had a determination to succeed which remains until this day. Rosie is, and always has been, the Chair. Since its inception, Chrysalis has built a board of trustees with extensive practical experience of operating a business and in dementia, mental health and physical therapy, along with a talented and experienced team of staff and volunteers. Chrysalis is now in the process of delivering a 5 year strategy for development which included the acquisition of our own premises in Hexham in 2021 and which focuses on continuing to expand our services within the Tyne Valley community to support those living with dementia, their families and carers.
David has been the Treasurer at Chrysalis for over 11 years, having worked with our trustees Rosie and Liz at Dementia Care Partnership where he was the Senior Finance Manager. He has had a varied career working in practice, corporate engineering, construction, social housing, social and health care and manages all financial matters for Chrysalis. In his spare time, he is also the treasurer for a local cadet squadron.
Volunteers and IGP
Sheelagh joined Chrysalis in 2019 as a volunteer after retiring, quickly becoming a lead volunteer and then joining the board as a trustee in 2021. She previously worked as a Biochemist and then as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant at The Sele First School in Hexham. A keen gardener, Sheelagh often provides tutoring sessions at Chrysalis, helping our members to create beautiful pots of bulbs and hanging baskets to take home.
Liz started volunteering with Chrysalis in early 2020 and became a trustee a year later. She has worked for over 40 years as a physiotherapist in the UK and abroad, including specialist roles within adult rehabilitation and driving assessment for drivers with disabilities. Liz undertook a postgraduate course in dementia studies at Bradford University and was keen to use the skills and experience she had developed. As a physiotherapist, she has a particular interest in exercising to maintain mobility and often incorporates short “exercise snacks” into sessions. Liz has led the development of the Prudhoe and District Group which meets in Wylam once a month.
Young people and carers
Mike first became involved with Chrysalis when his wife Anne-May, who at that time had moderate Alzheimers, joined as a member. Chrysalis provided Mike and Anne-May with help and support throughout the Covid lockdowns when contact with other people was very limited. After Anne-May moved to residential care, he became more involved with Chrysalis and was invited to become a trustee. Mike has many years of experience in strategic delivery as a project manager at a multinational company. He assists Melanie with our Carer Support Group and our Young Persons Group for those diagnosed earlier in life who may face different challenges. In 2022 Mike completed a gruelling sponsored bike ride from Lands’ End to John O’ Groats, raising over £10,000 for Chrysalis.
Gina is our office manager and lead coordinator and keeps our wheels turning day to day. Mel is our admin, premises and carer support officer. Janet runs our trips. All bring a wealth of professional experience to our team.
Office Manager and Lead Co-ordinator
Gina is a qualified Mathematician and Engineer and worked in the industry for many years before changing career path. Having worked as a lecturer at Northumberland County Council, she joined Chrysalis in September 2021 as Lead Co-ordinator. Gina leads on the co-ordination of our Monday and Wednesday sessions and is our main liaison for volunteers and members. She is a also a qualified squash, cricket and gymnastics coach and acts as Treasurer for Tynedale Cricket Club Junior section.
Premises admin and carer support officer
Melanie is a professional potter and has run her own business for almost 30 years. Melanie initially joined Chrysalis as a tutor, providing regular tuition to our members over the years in her very popular pottery sessions, before joining the staff of Chrysalis in February 2022. Melanie has two posts with Chrysalis, as both our Administrator & Premises Officer and our Carer Support Officer. Melanie has held Artist-in-Residence posts at Barnard Castle School, Uppingham School and Pangbourne College, has exhibited in group and solo shows around the UK and has run ceramics/pottery workshops in schools, museums and community venues.
Trips and Friday Co-ordinator
Janet became involved with Chrysalis through a friend who is a regular volunteer. She later worked as a carer for her neighbour who was diagnosed with Alzheimers and got the impression he was lonely and could really benefit from the social side of Chrysalis. With the agreement of his family, she started bringing him to sessions and it is now the highlight of his week! In 2022, Janet was appointed to the new role of Trips Co-ordinator and leads on the planning and delivery of a busy and exciting calendar of events through the year for our members, their families and carers.
In addition to our board and staff, we have a fabulous band of volunteers, who provide our sensitive 1-2-1 support, but also help with behind-the-scenes activities, such as administration, gardening, fundraising and lots more. To find out more about our volunteers and volunteering at Chrysalis, click on the link below.
A number of these are "specialist" volunteers, including lead volunteers with expertise in supervising our sessions.
Heather is one of our "lead volunteers," and as such, plays a crucial role in our sessions, pairing volunteers with members, and ensuring everything runs smoothly. Heather has previously worked as a nurse, but her most valuable experience comes from caring for her mum, who had alzheimers and vascular dementia, for 5 years, keeping her active and independant, and out of residential care for as long as possible.
Elisabeth joined Chrysalis in January 2024 having taken early retirement. Her commercial experience has been gathered from various industries, internationally, and focuses on business development and customer service. She helped her father to care for her mother who suffered from Alzheimers and vascular dementia for many years. Both her parents benefitted from Chrysalis’ activity sessions and Elisabeth has long wanted to get involved with the organisation. She is helping us with a variety of administrative tasks, including events organisation.