Who we are
Vassos Alexander is one of the best known sports presenters in the UK. He’s heard by over a million people every morning as part of the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio. He’s covered seven Olympic Games and commentated on everything from tennis to triathlon, diving to darts.
A seasoned endurance runner with a sub-3hr marathon PB, he has completed some of the longest and most gruelling races on earth and he’s the author of two bestselling books on running, Don’t Stop Me Now and Running Up That Hill (both published by Bloomsbury).
He lives in London with his wife Caroline and three children.
Vassos has always been a passionate advocate of the positive impact of movement on mental health, and is thrilled to have been invited into the stormbreak Board of Trustees. He’s really excited about how this charity can help build mental resilience in many, many, many young people.
Niall is an organisational development and change management specialist. He has held senior roles across the health, leisure, communications and professional services sectors. A Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development Niall is currently the Managing Director of a global culture consultancy Dragonfish who help organisations to crack their culture code to transform performance.
A keen adventure sports enthusiast and outdoor pursuits instructor Niall has always been passionate about the benefits and links of movement and mental health and well-being.
Niall is a Trustee of stormbreak and is passionate about ensuring that stormbreak becomes a true 'movement' of its own as it grows and that everything we do is rooted in positive cultural change which will have a lasting impact on supporters, schools, teachers and young people.
Katy works in the NHS and is currently working across a number of organisations in Hertfordshire to transform how services can be delivered to better meet the health and wellbeing needs of the population. She has previously run Children and Young People’s community services and has worked in developing health policy at the Department of Health and in professional services.
Katy is a runner and personally understands the benefits of movement on her own wellbeing and how this can change how you feel long after the trainers come off.
As a Board Trustee, Katy is excited to bring her experience working across health and care systems to support stormbreak to bring its offer to more people and support healthier, happier children who can embed the benefits of movement into their lives now and into the future.
Sarah is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist who has worked in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) within the NHS since qualifying in 2009. She has post-doctoral training in several evidence based interventions for treating mental health problems in children and young people, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). As well as working clinically with young people and families, Sarah also has a professional leadership role overseeing the psychological professions & therapies workforce in her locality and contributing to the collective leadership of the organisation. She hopes to use her clinical expertise and experience of strategic development of children’s services to help Stormbreak to continue to grow and flourish.
Outside of work, Sarah is a keen runner and is working towards completing the 6 World Marathon Majors. She is proud to have used her running to support and fundraise for several charities close to her heart over the last couple of decades. Sarah is also an avid football fan and season ticket holder at Middlesbrough Football Club for over 30 years, which has presented some emotional challenges during this time!
Becoming a Trustee with stormbreak has given Sarah the ideal opportunity to combine her passions for children and young people’s mental health and physical exercise to benefit all aspects of health. As a parent to two young children, Sarah is also keen to promote resilience alongside physical and mental well-being in her own family, and is acutely aware of the challenges facing the current generation of young people.
Paul is the founder of parkrun, the free weekly timed walk, jog or run, managed by volunteers in local parks around the world and changing the health and wellbeing of the communities where you live. He is a husband, father, grandfather, runner, cyclist, and swimmer and he most enjoys spending time outdoors with his friends.
Paul believes that stormbreak is the natural extension to everything that he has strived for these past fifteen years. He has always wanted everyone to 'find their best' and felt this was most easily achieved through a number of interventions including activity, the outdoors, friends and community. Stormbreak addresses all these issues but targets their interventions at children, when we have a chance to prevent mental health and wellness issues from starting in the first place and allows children the opportunity to learn, from an early age, how to deal with difficult, often misunderstood and complex issues.
As a stormbreak Trustee, Paul is hoping to use his experience of building parkrun to help grow the organisation and its impact. He aims to bring all his experience and learnings to bear.
Paul is most excited about seeing the adoption of the stormbreak concepts at schools across the nation and witnessing the change this will facilitate.
STRATEGIC AND OPERATIONAL DELIVERY
School Engagement Coach
Anji is a qualified primary school teacher with 14 years of experience teaching in the North East of England. A specialist Early Years and PE leader, Anji moved into running coaching and communications in athletics, including for the Marathon Talk podcast. Her first book "Running in the Midpack", co authored by Dr Martin Yelling, was published by Bloomsbury Sport in February 2021.
Seeing the impact of running, movement and community such as at parkrun on her own mental health and that of others, Anji came on board with stormbreak initially as a communications volunteer before moving into the operations team.
Anji’s role at stormbreak is school engagement coach and community manager, supporting the delivery of work in schools and the management of marketing and community within stormbreak.
Anji thinks stormbreak is a real force of good in schools for both pupils and their teachers and is excited to be part of such an important movement in education.
Director of Coaching
After 10 years as a criminal defence lawyer, Kate left the industry to bring up her three children with husband Nick. Wanting to get back to fitness after children, Kate reignited her childhood love of running and eventually set up the Muddy Runners, a running club in Hampshire.
Kate qualified as a Leader and then a Coach in Running Fitness, became a Mental Health Champion for England Athletics and a Run Leader Mentor helping to support new running clubs. Now her main focus is on using running and movement to benefit and support mental health, in adults and children alike.
Kate delivers sessions in primary schools and secondary schools, a parent and child running session, adult beginner sessions and Running Fitness classes. Kate sits on the steering groups for both the #RunAndTalk and #RunAndRevise programmes with England Athletics, supporting people with mental health issues to experience the benefits of running, and to reduce stigma by encouraging conversations about mental health. Kate leads projects in secondary schools, using running and movement to provide stress-relieving activities and mindfulness practice for young people during exam time.
Kate is also co-event director at the local junior parkrun and regularly visits local schools to spread the parkrun message. Kate is mum to three junior parkrunners, one of whom has just beaten her 5k PB and is now grounded for life.
Kate is one of the team behind the creation of the stormbreak activities and as Director of Coaching is responsible for teaching schools how to deliver the activities to children.
Programme Support Officer
Beth is a Sociology student at Durham University, she has joined stormbreak as an intern this year, before returning to complete her degree. Whilst at stormbreak, Beth will assist the team in many ways including digital development and operational support, alongside a particular focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within the charity.
She is passionate about widening access to mental health resources, with a strong belief that opportunities should be equally accessible not just equally available. Beth is excited to develop her skills while working with a brilliant team and looks forward to seeing the impact of mentally healthy movement among young people.
Mark has many years of experience working with railway control systems, IT and web technologies. After many years of a sedentary lifestyle he took up physical exercise a few years ago and now loves the positive benefit that this has brought into his life.
Mark wants children and young people to have the benefit of healthy exercise to help them to deal with the stresses of modern life. While he is involved with the back office functions at storembreak he feels that he is doing something to help make this happen.
Mark is the stormbreak website content manager and he is the administrator of the web server that hosts the Stormbreak application.
Mark is looking forward to the time when as many children and young people as possible are given the ability to enjoy healthy exercise and use this to help them with the stresses of life.
Dr. Vicky Randall
Vicky has worked in education for over 20 years. She has been a physical education teacher, head of department, teacher mentor and regional subject adviser in Hampshire and south London before working in higher education as a teacher educator and researcher. Her own research interests include child health, curriculum development, teacher development, policy and professional learning and has published in a number of academic journals and books. Vicky has also worked across a number of national and European professional networks to promote and develop teacher education, including the Department for Education formed Physical Education Expert Subject Advisory Group, the European Primary Physical Education Network and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood.
Vicky is passionate about the crucial but often overlooked connection between movement and mental health. She loves moments at stormbreak where adults and children recognise that movement is something they can do each and every day. Vicky loves how stormbreak is changing how we see mental health and is putting young peoples' wellbeing at the centre of school culture.
Becky is a mother to two little girls and a wife to her husband Dan. She has worked in fundraising since leaving University and enjoys helping charities to grow through strategic development. She lives in Dorset and along with her husband enjoys running through the countryside and along the coast.
The cause is something that Becky believes is essential in today's world. Her two girls will soon be starting school and she wants them to feel equipped for the challenges they may face in years ahead. Becky has always been active and thinks that incorporating that at an early age leads to a healthier proposition on life overall.
Becky is leading the fundraising and development at stormbreak to help raise vital funds to ensure the stability and sustainability of the work.
Becky is looking forward to watching the growth of stormbreak both in terms of the projects it delivers and the reach it will have on children in the UK.
Director of Emotional & Mental Wellbeing
Victoria is a Registered Children’s Nurse, with over 25 years experience in the health service. Victoria is a Specialist Practitioner in Community Children’s Nursing, working as a CAMHS Practitioner and most recently as Lead Nurse for a Children’s Emotional Wellbeing and Support Service in a local district hospital. Throughout her career Victoria has been passionate about supporting children and young people with emotional wellbeing; believing that the earlier support is offered, the better.
In her role at stormbreak, Victoria is excited to see the impact of empowering children to develop emotional wellbeing through using movement. It is impossible to remove difficulties from day to day life. It is possible, however, to teach children the skills they need to live happy, healthy lives. Victoria helps to shape the work that stormbreak does, to ensure that it is impactful for improving emotional wellbeing and mental health for children, in childhood and beyond.
Director of School Operations
Darryl has over 20 years of teaching experience including 12 years as a member of Senior leadership teams and 5 as a Headteacher. In 2017 he was winner of the leadership award at the Bournemouth and Poole Daily Echo Teaching awards.
Building on his degree in Psychology Darryl is a trainee counsellor and has a diploma in trauma informed schools.
Darryl is passionate about stormbreak and the impact it will have on the lives of the children (and teachers) who regularly engage in stormbreak activities. With a strong understanding of the pressures faced in school Darryl is ideally placed to support the operational delivery and partnership in schools.
Darryl is married to fellow teacher Karen and together they have two children who are rapidly growing up.
Judy is a pharmacist who has spent many years working in both the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry. Her expertise in NHS policy and experience in marketing, communications and training led her to set up her own consultancy 17 years ago.
Judy has always enjoyed sport and is a keen runner, recognising the importance of being active to maintain a healthy balance in a busy life of work and family. She has a personal interest in mental heath and well-being in young people.
Judy helped to establish stormbreak and works across a range of activities and projects to support current operations and future developments.
She is proud to be part of the stormbreak family, to see our community grow and see the difference we can make.
CEO & Co-Founder
Martin is married to two-time Olympic marathon runner Liz and they have two boys and a daughter. Martin seems to spend most of his time trying to keep up with his wife running around the Dorset trails or trying to keep up with his children around the house. Martin is a former teacher, with a background in education and behaviour change. He was a former international runner and elite National duathlon champion, Hawaii Ironman finisher and Comrades finisher.
He likes creating opportunity, inspiring optimism, making an impact and doing good in the world.
Martin believes in that movement is an incredible mechanism for supporting and shaping mental health in children and adults. Movement and being active has certainly kept his path straight (er) on many occasions and now almost a grown up, moving supports his mental and physical health every day.
Martin is helping the direction and growth of stormbreak. As the founder he wants to inspire ways for movement to help children create calm and light in what can be otherwise complicated lives.
Martin is most looking forward to drawing on the expertise of amazing adults and children to help stormbreak realise its potential and help others find theirs.
RESEARCH AND EVALUATION
Claire is a Research Psychologist who undertook her training at the University of Bath and Harvard University, where she worked for five years as a Teaching Fellow and Research Assistant. In addition to her honorary role as a Research Fellow at the University of Bath, Claire is a member of the UK based Realist Research and Evaluation Group and lectures occasionally at Hartpury University to MSc. Sports Coaching students.
Claire has worked in a research capacity with vulnerable populations in the UK and in the USA and has an interest in people's mental health and wellbeing and physical activity and mentally healthy movement. Claire is based at Bournemouth University and is currently studying stormbreak in the context of leadership identity amongst teachers and children's social identities when they engage with the programme in infant and primary school settings. Her supervisors are Dr Lock, Professor Rees and Dr Harris.
Claire's key role on the stormbreak team is leading with an independent evaluation of each of the stormbreak programme strands. There are three aims to the work that Claire leads with. These are: 1. To understand who stormbreak can work for, under what circumstances and why it works - with a strong focus on a social identities approach; 2. To identify what the outcomes and impacts are for children and young people who participate in stormbreaks; and 3. To establish the learning can be taken from the approaches to influence programme development and further evidence building.