I am responsible for leading the Network and managing the team of staff supporting the network. I draw on my experience of partnership working, my passion for addressing poverty and inequality and for fostering communities where people feel safe and that they belong, and have access to the support they need.
After gaining a Sports Education degree in which I focused on sports sociology and child protection within sport, I worked in Youth Work, Early Intervention for Children and Families, and Extended Services in schools. I also worked as a Teaching Assistant.
In 2009 I joined Oxfam GB’s UK Programme to work with local community groups, charities and the private and public sectors. I was responsible for Oxfam’s corporate relationship with Unilever, working to develop Trussell Trust Foodbanks in the North West, as well as FareShare and community development work in South Wales.
Jon Hitchen Part-time Project Coordinator Since October 2017
Since joining the Welcome Network in October 2017 I have supported community-led food activities aimed primarily at families in need whose children experience hunger during school holidays. I have also organised community engagement activities around health and budgeting for people in need. Currently, I work with West Cheshire Foodbank, one of our main partners, supporting their operations in Chester. After working for a global IT software company, I retrained and took up advice roles in schools and in the community with young people for Connexions. In 2011 I became involved with foodbanks and co-managed the establishment of the Rugby foodbank in Warwickshire. Upon moving to Chester in 2012 I began volunteering at the Chester foodbank in my spare time in order to continue my passion for working with people and families struggling with food poverty.
Kathryn Moorcroft Part-time Project Coordinator Since January 2019
I combine my part-time role at the Welcome Network with my work at West Cheshire Foodbank. Both these roles are highly complementary as I dedicate myself to supporting the development of the foodbank’s operations in Ellesmere Port and Neston into a Meeting Place where people can access additional services and advice in a warm, welcoming environment.
I work in close collaboration with Citizens Advice. My focus within the Welcome Network is to support community groups to develop activities such as affordable lunch clubs for older people, and food and craft activities for children. I also provide community groups with advice and support for funding applications. I was born and grew up in Ellesmere Port where I still live today. I am passionate about supporting the people of Ellesmere Port and am delighted to be able to do so through my current work. After qualifying in counselling, I developed a career in church youth work before becoming Chaplain at the Ellesmere Port Academy. I joined the West Cheshire Foodbank in 2018 and the Welcome Network in January 2019.
Lisa Denson Part-time Project Coordinator Since January 2020
I work closely with community groups in Ellesmere Port bringing them together to plan and prepare support to families during the school holidays, and to share experience and best practice. Recently I have been collecting this experience and best practice to include in the Welcome Network’s reports and Community Food Toolkit.
I draw on the experience, local knowledge and connections I have developed as the founder and leader of a community group in the Westminster area of Ellesmere Port and as local councillor for the ward of Westminster, to advise the Welcome Network on how best to support local community groups.
In 2013 I founded Westminster Families, a community group run by families for families to support each other in a deprived area of Ellesmere Port. My organisation was supported by the Welcome Network to develop activities around food when we realised that many children weren’t attending the activities we organised as their families couldn’t provide them with lunches. I continue to lead this group and we run activities throughout the year including during the school holidays.
In 2016 I worked on a Healthbox CIC project called the Wellbeing High Street which involved developing a community cafe.
Sylvie More Part-time Project Coordinator Since January 2020
I support the Welcome Network in the area of communications, partnerships and networking. I run our social media channels, manage our website and contribute to a variety of promotional documents including reports and our Community Food Toolkit.
My background includes supporting a variety of community groups in the UK and abroad. Previously I designed and led the Community, Youth and Education programming for Storyhouse, the library and cultural centre in Chester city centre. I also managed the Brixton People’s Kitchen, a community food and cooking project in South London. As a volunteer, I currently co-lead a community food growing project in Chester that is part of a global network of local groups called Incredible Edible.
Mark Gleave Part-time Project Coordinator Since early 2019
I work part-time for the Welcome Network coordinating and developing support to our partner community organisations in Northwich and Winsford. I also deliver food safety training to our partner organisations giving them the confidence to develop their food and cookery activities further.
As a Wellbeing Project Manager at Healthbox I manage and deliver nutrition, smoking cessation, sex and relationship education, physical activity and community development programmes. I have been delivering health promotion programmes, University lecturing and accredited training across Cheshire, Wirral, Liverpool and Staffordshire since 2010. I have a MSc in Public Health Nutrition and BSc in Sport and Exercise Science. I am an NCSCT accredited Smoking Cessation Practitioner and a Royal Society for Public Health accredited trainer.
Previous Team Members
Ashleigh Comber Coordinator From September 2018 to December 2019
As a public health nutritionist (Anutr) with an Msc in Public Health Nutrition and a Bsc in Dietetics, I have worked in a variety of settings within the community including leading garden and cooking programmes for children and making community food more accessible.
My role as Coordinator for the Welcome Network included working with local community groups and leaders to develop holiday activities centred around food for families. I particularly enjoyed the holistic view the Welcome Network takes by working with communities to create and build sustainable food provision tailored to the specificities of their particular area, involving everyone from local authorities, schools, community projects and volunteers to create a model that works best for them.
I now work in Brighton developing and delivering weight management programmes. Through both group facilitation and one-to-one clinics, I provide nutrition information and support people to make long-term behaviour change that will ultimately support both their health and wellbeing. I also volunteer with the Independent Food Aid Network.