Our Team

Our friendly team is committed to providing caring, safe and effective services, working collaboratively with families, teachers, healthcare professionals and organisations, and to constantly improving and developing our services. Our clinicians are chosen for their skills, expertise, compassion and dedication to providing evidence-based exceptionally high quality services and support.

Joanna Brett Dip COT, RCOT

CEO, Paediatric Occupational Therapist and Neurofeedback Practitioner

I set up Starjumpz in 2011 to build on the work of the Jill Christmas and the Christmas Children’s Clinic which had been providing therapy in the South East since 1989.  Throughout my 28 years working as a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, I have been passionate about providing holistic integrated services which contribute to a young person’s health and development, including their mental health and wellbeing as well as to providing support for parents and carers.     

From early in my career, I wanted to create a centre, like Starjumpz, where a wide range of services could come together to increase the opportunities for children to overcome challenges and vulnerabilities with a whole person integrated approach to health and wellbeing. At Starjumpz our services continue to expand and evolve driven by the shared vision and passion of the team, as well as by collaborating with and listening to wisdom and insights shared with us from the amazing children and families we serve. 

Early intervention and prevention are very important, getting a diagnosis and/or clarity on why a child is struggling can be helpful for gaining support and understanding. We believe we must take care to not allow anyone to feel defined by or limited by a diagnosis or label. There is so much we can do to overcome challenges with the right attitude and support. 

In collaboration with parents, carers and teachers we strive to inspire and empower children to develop their self-esteem building on their strengths, unlocking their potential, learning new skills and strategies for success, and to support their health and well-being, develop their resilience and to enable them to enjoy their precious childhood.  Playing and having fun is at the heart of everything we do at Starjumpz.

Raising awareness of how to support children to become happy, healthy and resilient and to unlock their potential is very important and we strive to contribute to this through social media, educational programmes and workshops. 

Personal experience of overcoming both acute and chronic health conditions using a nutrition, lifestyle and mind body approach has strengthened the value I place on using a holistic approach and so at Starjumpz we bring Functional Medicine and Nutritional Consultancy as well as a range of Psychological services and Neurofeedback together with Paediatric services.

As a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, I have worked in a variety of NHS and independent settings including nursery schools, schools, hospitals, Therapy Centres and residential children’s homes. I have been responsible for setting up and developing occupational therapy and multi-disciplinary services. This has included work as Head of Paediatric Occupational Therapy Community Services in Islington, Consultant OT at the Portland Hospital, Senior OT at the Wolfson Assessment Centre and running my own independent practice in London. 

I have worked in South Africa and in Japan where I was chairman of Tokyo International Learning Community, a charity working to set up a school for foreign children with special needs. I have experience of training therapists and speaking at educational events and conferences.

I have worked with children with a wide range of conditions including Sensory Processing Difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Developmental Coordination Disorder/Dyspraxia, Attachment Disorder, Developmental Trauma, Cerebral Palsy, mild to severe Learning Difficulties and children with complex needs.

I have training in many therapeutic approaches including Sensory Integration Therapy, Sensory Attachment Intervention, Portage, Bobath Neurodevelopmental Therapy, Neurofeedback and the Integrated Listening Systems. I am also a trained International Montessori teacher.

I am a member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists RCOT, and the Sensory Integration Network and am Registered with Health and Care Professions Council HPCP.

 

Consultant Neurodevelopmental Paediatricians

 

Dr. Georgie Siggers BSc (hons), MBBS, MRCP, FRCPH
Consultant Neurodevelopmental Paediatrician

My undergraduate medical training was completed at Guy’s Hospital where I qualified as a doctor in 1993. Since 1995 I have been working as a paediatrician, specialising in neurodevelopment since 2001. I have held several NHS Consultant posts in London and the South East and have received specialist training in undertaking developmental assessments, assessments of children for autism spectrum disorders (including DISCO, ADI and ADOS) and assessments of children for ADHD. My other area of work is associated with adoption and fostering. I have lectured widely, including to an international audience.

From 2013 to 2016 I was employed as a Consultant Community Paediatrician for Kent Community Health NHS trust based at the Homeopathic Hospital in Tunbridge Wells. My NHS duties included general paediatric developmental clinics, assessments of children presenting with a range of behavioural conditions, diagnostic assessments for children with ADHD and or Autism Spectrum Disorders, follow up of children with ADHD, diagnosis and follow up of children with complex disability and safeguarding, Designated Doctor for Looked After Children, Lead for ADHD and Medical Advisor to Adoption. I also had day to day lead clinical responsibility in two local special schools.

I am a member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and an executive and council member of the British Association of Community Child Health (BACCH), member of the British Paediatric Mental Health Group and member of the George Still Forum for ADHD.

Dr Veronica Leclezio MBChB DCH MRCPCH
Consultant Neurodevelopmental Paediatrician

My undergraduate medical training was completed at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, where I qualified as a doctor in 1994. I worked in paediatrics at Red Cross Children’s Hospital and as a GP, in Cape Town, until coming to the UK in 1997. Since 1998, I have been working in paediatric training posts in several specialist hospitals in London and the South East. I completed my specialist training as an acute general paediatrician with an interest in allergy in 2012, since when I have been working as an NHS consultant paediatrician.

I have a special interest in paediatric allergy, and was the paediatric allergy lead for East Sussex. I am a member of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) and the Surrey and Sussex Paediatric Allergy Group Network.

I have been working as a neurodevelopmental paediatrician in the NHS since 2013, seeing children for developmental and autism assessments. I have had specialist training in undertaking developmental assessments and assessments of children for autism spectrum disorders (including ADI and ADOS). I have knowledge and interest in ADHD, including training through the George Still Forum ADHD Masterclass workshops.

I am a member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the British Association for Community Child Health (BACCH).

 

Occupational Therapists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olivia Luke
Senior Paediatric Occupational Therapist

I am thrilled to be joining the Starjumpz team in January 2024 as Lead Occupational Therapist.

 I come from South Africa and have just emigrated with my family in December 2023. I owned my own private practice for 18 years and have learnt so much about children, along with having two boys of my own, now aged 15 and 13 years.

 At my practice, I have been involved with assessing and treating children from a variety of backgrounds and diagnoses: sensory integration disorders, developmental delay, neurodiverse children, children on the autistic spectrum, cerebral palsy, motor delays, specific learning disabilities, congenital and genetic disorders and failure to thrive.

 I use treatments methods such as Ayres Sensory Integration, DIR Floortime therapy, NILD Educational therapy, Search and Teach therapy, visual perceptual and visual motor therapy, motor (gross and fine) and play therapy. Building rapport and a connection with a child with the aim to help them reach their full potential is of utmost importance and priority as a therapist. Working alongside relevant allied health team members, parents and school staff are vital aspects of collaboration.

 I have also gained experience in working at a school for children on the autism spectrum on a weekly basis over the last 6 years as well as 10 children with physical and developmental therapeutic needs on a weekly basis at an orphanage over the last 5 years. This experience has led me to learn more about children that have been removed from their homes due to trauma and abuse.

 My husband, a Family Physician, with an Honours Degree in Theology, is unable to work due to having muscular dystrophy. This experience has equipped me to care for and build patience and creative ways to assist someone with permanent disability in the home environment on a daily basis.

 I now look forward to taking up a management role and giving guidance to those under my care.

 

Jessica Forge
Paediatric Occupational Therapist

I joined Starjumpz in Summer 2021 after qualifying as an Occupational Therapist BSc (Hons) from the University of Liverpool. Throughout my three years of training in the NHS I completed several clinical placements in mental health, neuro-rehabilitation, learning disabilities and long term conditions. These placements provided me with the knowledge and evidence base for goal setting, rehabilitating and supporting individuals to live meaningful lives.

I have always had a passion for working to support children and young people to reach their potential. I am trained and qualified in Sensory Integration Module 1. This provides me with the foundations of Sensory Integration Theory to work with parents, caregivers, and teachers to encourage and empower children to develop their fine & gross motor skills, sensory processing, emotional regulation, wellbeing and self-esteem.

I have experience in assessing and working with children and young people with a wide range of conditions including Sensory Processing Difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Developmental Coordination Disorder/Dyspraxia (DCD), Developmental Trauma and mild to severe learning difficulties. I am experienced in goal setting, producing therapy plans/reports and supporting children’s wants and needs in school and at home so they can fulfil their potential.

I continue to work in Early Intervention with Speech and Language Therapists to develop a childrens’ fine & gross motor skills, regulation, and speech/language output. This multidisciplinary working widens my understanding of the different skill sets vital to supporting young people.

At Starjumpz, my mission is to build on a child’s existing abilities, realise their full potential, impart new success skills, promote their health and well-being, foster resilience, and give them the opportunity to have happy childhoods.

I am a member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists RCOT, and am Registered with Health and Care Professions Council HCPC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Alex Hayford

Paediatric Occupational Therapist

I have trained as an occupational therapist, gaining a Master’s degree at the University of Brighton. Here, I worked within various teams, including in Neurorehabilitation, Adult Mental Health, and Primary School settings. I am a member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapy (RCOT) and recognised by the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC). I joined Starjumpz in 2022.

Before joining Starjumpz, my undergraduate in Psychology and working within schools sparked my attention and passion for tackling health inequity, particularly for ethnic minority groups’ access to care services; seeking to improve the ways in which barriers can be overcome.

I have worked with children in schools between 2 to 15 years old, who have anxiety, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and sensory processing difficulties. I also have experience creating psychoeducation resources for schools, including the fabrication of a sensory circuit programme.

I have a propensity for hard work and enjoy using creativity to empower children and young people to support them reach their potential and improving their overall wellbeing.

 

Shelley Whybourne
Paediatric Occupational Therapist

I worked in a local hospital as an Occupational Therapy Assistant for 10 years in the areas of A&E, Stroke Rehabilitation and Trauma & Orthopaedics.  During this time, I began my Occupational Therapy training at the University of Brighton and qualified as an Occupational therapist in 2009.  Since then I have worked extensively in the field of Paediatric Occupational Therapy, assessing, and treating children aged between 2 years and 19 years.

I have worked in an Independent Special School for Children with Speech, Language and Communication difficulties and complex needs for 10 years where I was a Lead Occupational Therapist and Sensory Integration Specialist.

I currently work as an Independent Occupational Therapist and work in a Consultant role in an School for Primary aged children with Social, Emotional Mental Health.  I have a special interest in Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  I have experience in assessment of children for EHCP plans and in tribunal work.

I am passionate about my work and am always keen to continue to further develop my skills and knowledge.

 

Dr Deanna Gibbs
Paediatric Occupational Therapist

I trained as an occupational therapist in Sydney, Australia and since 1994 have worked predominantly in paediatric and neonatal settings in Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom. I have worked in a mixture of acute and community paediatric settings working with diverse caseloads such as neonatal intensive care units, growth and development clinics for infants and young children at risk of delay, and children with acute brain injury. During that time I have spent 4 ½ years working in a community context with children 0-16 years with a range of neurodiverse conditions including attentional concerns, sensory differences, developmental co-ordination disorder and autism spectrum disorder.

In the latter part of my career I first moved into leadership roles, managing occupational therapy services at two tertiary children’s hospitals in Ireland and Australia. I then pursued further research training and undertook doctoral work exploring parenting occupations in neonatal intensive care settings. I remain involved in post-doctoral research focusing on parent well-being, engagement in caregiving and parent self-efficacy in the NICU. In 2018, I was awarded a Merit Award from the Royal College of Occupational Therapists UK in recognition of the contribution of my work to neonatal occupational therapy.

I joined Starjumpz in 2019 to remain engaged in the delivery of direct occupational therapy clinical services to children and families alongside my research work, and very much enjoy being part of a vibrant multidisciplinary team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa Spurling-Purkis

Occupational Therapist

I joined Starjumpz in 2020, and worked for two years here until the call of travel drew me away to South America. I am now back and looking forward to working within the close multi-disciplinary team again as an associate. I have worked as an Occupational Therapist now for 7 years with children who are neurodiverse and with a variety of mental health and physical conditions. I have worked as an OT within an NHS community paediatric team on the south coast, and worked in India covering two specialist schools with over 100 children at each site.

During my career I have worked closely with paediatricians, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists carrying out home, school visits and clinic work. I have experience creating comprehensive therapy plans, reports and EHCP recommendations.

When working full-time at Starjumpz I worked with lots of children who’d been adopted, and also those who’d experienced trauma at school. I learnt the real importance of building a strong, trusting therapeutic rapport. I also honed my sensory integration skills, and really recognise the importance of working in a child led way. This often leads to a big boost in confidence and internal motivation for the children and young adults who are involved with Starjumpz. I also learnt how to deliver fun Zoom sessions during the pandemic.

I have training in the following: Sensory Integration Level 1, Goal setting approaches (GAS, SMART, COPM, PEGS, COOP), Beacon House Developmental Trauma Level 4, Sensory Diet training, Safeguarding Children Level 3, Motivational Interviewing, Alert Programme, Speed Up handwriting programme and Yoga for Children.

 

Speech and Language Therapists

Liz Van Graan
Lead Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

I joined Starjumpz in 2014 and I have enjoyed contributing to the development of the services as Lead for the team of therapy specialists. I have extensive experience working with a wide range of children including Autistic children with moderate learning difficulties, Dyspraxia, articulation/ phonological disorders, language disorders, attachment and anxiety difficulties, ADHD and acquired brain injuries. I have also worked with children with Dysphagia, training staff and setting up eating and drinking programmes. I am trained in the SOS sensory feeding approach. I have run social communication groups and Lego Therapy groups and now work with children and young people to develop their understanding of neurotypical social skills and communication, perspective taking and self advocacy. I have experience working within both mainstream and specialist schools and nurseries.

I have experience in assessment of children for EHC plans and in writing reports for tribunals. I have also worked as a registered intermediary, assessing vulnerable witnesses, with or without difficulties to inform and support the police during interview. I also supported witnesses during court proceedings whilst giving evidence.

I am always seeking new challenges to develop myself. I enjoy seeking solutions to problems and difficulties and supporting others through them. I like finding new ways to work to benefit my practice and my clients.

I have worked as a Speech and Language therapist since qualifying in 2001. I am a member of the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice (ASLTIP) and the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists (RCSLT). I am also recognised by the Health Professions Council (HPC).
BSc (Hons), MSc, post graduate qualification in Dysphagia.

 

Florence Fanthome-Hodgson
Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist

Before joining Starjumpz I worked at in a Specialist Independent School for children and young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties including ASD, ADHD, Anxiety and Attachment difficulties. Since a young age I have always had a passion for working with children and young people with complex communication needs and have a particular interest in working with people with learning disabilities.

I am trained in the ADOS assessment for Autistic Spectrum Disorders and I conduct these assessments alongside Neurodevelopmental Paediatricians as part of the Diagnostic Assessments at Starjumpz. I have been responsible for planning and running the Starjumpz social communication and Sensory Groups with Melissa OT at Starjumpz.

I have experience assessing children and young people with speech, language or social communication difficulties; Devising and delivering therapy plans and supporting student’s language needs in schools so they can access the curriculum fully; Running 1:1 and small group sessions as well as in-class support/observations; Engaging in a multi-disciplinary team to create shared goals and enable students to reach their potential in school; Contributing to EHCP annual reviews and writing regular reports to show therapy progress.

I have worked as Manager of Maidstone Mencap’s Youth Club responsible for: Organising and running of the youth club, staff and activities; Safeguarding and liaising with parents/carers; Carrying out daily risk assessments and individual behavioural plans; Creating a communication friendly environment with visuals, PECS and ensuring all staff have a basic knowledge of Makaton.
I qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist BSc (Hons) in 2019 from Birmingham University.

 

 

Clare Lucas
Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist

 

I am a highly specialist Speech and Language Therapist, working at Starjumpz, primarily assessing children with complex neurodevelopmental conditions, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. I have also developed a role, over the past 5 years, supporting families, pre and post diagnosis.

I have been working at Starjumpz since 2017 and I enjoy working closely with the Specialist Paediatricians, providing joint ADOS assessments and follow-up support sessions to children and their families.

Until last year, alongside my work at Starjumpz, I worked part-time in a mainstream school and as a consultant Speech and Language Therapist for East Sussex Education authority, supporting Autistic children and other communication difficulties.

I qualified with a BSc (Hons) in Speech and Language Pathology over 25 years ago and initially worked for the NHS in West London for seven years. In 1999 I took a post in Hong Kong working for a renowned charity, Watchdog Child Development Centre and helped to set up the Rainbow Project, a school and therapy service for English Speaking children on the Autistic Spectrum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amelia Edmondes
Specialist Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist

I am Specialist Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist with diverse skills and experience working with children and young adults with speech, language and communication needs. I joined Starjumpz in April 2024. Previously working for the NHS, I have a wide range of experience working with children age 3-16 in mainstream schools, specialist educational settings and healthcare centres. My experience particularly focuses on early language development, Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), Speech Sound Delays/Disorders, Autism, and complex communication needs.

I am skilled at conducting thorough speech, language and communication assessments in order to identify need, support differential diagnosis and provide bespoke recommendations. This has included initial and review assessments, and assessment for EHCPs and annual reviews. Previous assessments have been fundamental in identifying unmet need and children going on to receiving the support that they need in order to flourish.

I am experienced with supporting educational settings to ensure inclusive communication environments for all students, providing bespoke recommendations to support children with their speech, language and communication development, upskilling and coaching families and school staff, and providing direct speech and language interventions on a regular basis.

I have been developing valuable skills and experience with children and young people since I was still in school myself, starting with volunteering at a Kent nursery, and teaching English and GCSE Biology to Burmese refugees in Malaysia. Since then, I have been involved in a wide range of part-time voluntary and paid roles, including working as a camp counsellor for a summer camp in the USA for children with physical disabilities, running day trips with the Phab charity, teaching English and delivering recreational activities for people with disabilities and mental illness in Sri Lanka, working as a Play Worker, mentoring students from disadvantaged backgrounds with the Into-University charity, and supporting NCS programmes for teenagers.

Having realised that I wanted to channel my passion into a career, I qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2021. I hold a MSc in Speech and Language Sciences from UCL and a BSc in Psychology from the University of Nottingham. I am active in continuing to pursue professional development opportunities to stay abreast of the latest advancements in the field.

Eunice Chrysolite
Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist

 

Physiotherapists

 

Elke Mondeh
Paediatric Physiotherapist

I have worked as a Physiotherapist specialising in Paediatrics for 28 years in a variety of settings. In addition to working at Starjumpz, I currently work at the Cromwell Hospital in London, as well as working for the West Sussex Community Trust in a special school. I have worked with Starjumpz and formerly Christmas Children’s Clinic for more than 12 years. I work closely with parents and teachers to maximise the benefit of therapeutic input and I enjoy working within a multidisciplinary team.

My experience includes: General Paediatric Physiotherapy based on neuro-developmental intervention covering a variety of conditions; Cerebral Palsy and any diagnosed and undiagnosed syndromes; Global and developmental delay; Orthopaedic problems; Juvenile Arthritis; Dyspraxia; Experience of treating SDR (selective dorsal rhizotomy) including use of Functional Electric Stimulation and Galileo Therapy to strengthen muscles and close working relationship with Paediatric Orthotist for appropriate provision of orthotics post-surgery; Galileo therapy to enhance bone density and counteract Osteoporosis in children with Cerebral Palsy and Brittle Bone Disease; Assessment for suitability of Lycra garment as part of treatment; Integration of Sensory Integration in order to enhance sensory processing in children with reduced and less physiological gross motor mobility which is the case for all children with the diagnosis within the Cerebral Palsy spectrum; Occupational Therapy/ Physiotherapy joint assessment / treatment
I am experienced in a wide range of therapeutic approaches including the Bobath neurodevelopmental therapy, Psychometric Treatment, Sensory Integration Therapy, Dyspraxia, Othotics, MOVETraining and treatment of Neonatal Clubfeet. Muscular Skeletal approaches; Manual Therapy, Functional Kinetics, Scoliosis Treatments by Lehnert-Schroth and Vojta, Myofascial Release. Electrotherapy treatment; Advanced FES by Otto Bock, FES for facial paralysis.

Other approaches; Reflective Breathing by Scharschuch-Haase, Stemmfuehrung by Brunkow, PNF Foundation Course, Halliwick Hydrotherapy, Feldenkrais, Reflexology, Kinesiotaping. I have studied Acupuncture completing a Foundation Course.

My professional memberships include: British Association of Bobath trained Physiotherapists; Medico-Legal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists; Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists; Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Neurology; Sensory Integration Network.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Crockford
Paediatric Physiotherapist

 

I trained as a physiotherapist at Cardiff University and graduated in 2019 with a First Class Honours Degree. I then started as a paediatric physiotherapist in a community-based team within the NHS in 2020.

I currently hold a varied caseload within the field of neurological paediatric physiotherapy. I have a wide range of experience with children and young adults between the ages of 0-19, covering a wide range of conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, neuromuscular conditions. I also have a wide range of experience in prematurity and developmental delay.

I work within a variety of settings in my current NHS role, including nurseries, schools, clinics and patients’ homes. I support schools with the implementation of exercise programmes and provide recommendations about the school environment and accessibility for children with complex needs.

I am highly enthusiastic about the field of paediatric physiotherapy and am passionate in helping children with additional and complex needs achieve their potential.

 

Neurofeedback

 

Becky Day
 Neurofeedback, Clinical Assistant and Assistant Practice Manager

After completing my Psychology BSc degree in London, I joined Starjumpz in April 2017 initially as a Practice Coordinator, later transitioning to an Assistant Practice Manager and leading the coordination of post-adoption multidisciplinary services. I have always been passionate about neurodiversity and mental health, and from the start of my degree knew I wanted to work in a role supporting children and families within a healthcare setting.

In 2018, I began my role as a Clinical Assistant at Starjumpz, supporting our therapy and assessments services. In 2018, I set up a new ADHD Screening Service using the Qb Check to determine likelihood of ADHD-like symptoms to help support families consider best next steps for assessment and to provide interim support strategies. In September 2021, I completed training in the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) and since 2022, I have been supporting Paediatricians and Speech and Language Therapists at Starjumpz with Autism Assessments and Full Paediatric Assessments.

I also assist with the development of Starjumpz clinical services and policies and love working as part of a multidisciplinary team.

In the past, I have worked as an Honorary Assistant Psychologist within the NHS adult Neurodevelopmental team is Surrey, auditing and working on a research paper on gender differences in ASD presentation and masking behaviours.

 

Functional Medicine

 

Dr Liz Corcoran MBBS MRCPsych
Functional Medicine Practitioner

I have a passion for empowering people to restore their health through changing how they interact with their world. Through my own and family members’ struggles with health I was led to Functional Medicine. I graduated from the Royal Free University College London in 2005 and am a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. I pursued further education in Functional Medicine as a means to ‘come alongside’ my clients to help them make changes and improve their health. I am the chair of the Down’s Syndrome Research Foundation, the UK’s only medical research charity for the needs of people with Down(‘s) syndrome. My drive to help people with Downs Syndrome is from her love of her brother David who has DS.

My medical specialities are Lifestyle Medicine, Psychiatry, Public Health and Preventative Medicine. Functional Medicine aims to help people with chronic (long term) conditions providing guidance to improve their global health (mental and physical) through changing their lifestyle. Working in conjunction with a Clinical Nutritionist and other specialists where appropriate such as Health Coach and Psychotherapist we can deliver a complete package to improve long term health through diet, lifestyle and therapy if needed. I can also refer to other specialists at Starjumpz such as OT, SALT, Neurofeedback Specialist or others as needed. My service is not a replacement for the individual’s primary care GP or Psychiatrist but is an ‘add-on’ to improve health in the long term.

I have professional memberships with the GMC, Royal College Psychiatrists, Independent Doctors Federation, International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research and the British Society for Ecological Medicine.

 

Clinical Nutritionist

 

Abir Hamza-Goodacre
Clinical Nutritionist & Naturopath BSc (Hons), MSc, mBANT, CNHC Registered

I have 12 years’ experience in the field of nutrition and I offer a personalised, evidence¬ based approach to health through Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine. My areas of special interest are gut health, nutrition interventions for children with developmental challenges, autoimmunity, Type 2 Diabetes, energy disorders and health issues associated with lifestyle factors such as stress and poor sleep.
I offer consultations and follow ups and nutrition and lifestyle packages. I am also able to offer and deliver nutrition/cooking courses and talks/ workshops. I gained my degree in Nutritional Therapy from the University of Wet London and I hold an MSc in international poverty and aid work, specialising in community-based projects. In 2019 I was appointed Director or Community & Partnerships at the British Association of Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy (SANT), and was also awarded the Volunteer of the Year. I am also a 200-hr YogaWorks Certified Instructor.

 

Psychotherapists, Play Therapists and Cognitive Behaviour Therapists CBT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrie Bartlett
Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist

I am a registered member of the BACP as a Psychotherapist specialising in work with children and adolescents. I have worked with children for over 15 years in both educational and private settings. The psychological well being of the children I have cared for has always been at the centre of my work, and this interest led me to train for a masters in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Children & Adolescents at Birkbeck University. The therapy sessions that I provide create a regular and safe space in which young people can use a range of creative resources to express themselves without fear of judgement. Each of our sessions are child-led, and together we can think about and explore difficult emotions in order that the client can begin to make sense of their experiences.

I have worked with children who experience anxiety, low self esteem, poor peer relationships, bereavement, divorce. I have also worked with adopted and looked after children. I provide therapy within schools around Kent and Sussex. It is the cornerstone of my practise that no matter what is brought into the therapy room, each child and young person is treated as an individual and the therapy space can become a place for growth, understanding and change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helen Cruthers

Parenting Practitioner and Integrative Arts Psychotherapist

 

I am a registered member of the UKCP as a Psychotherapist working with children, young people, and adults – including those impacted by adoption. I have worked therapeutically with children and their families for over 30 years in a variety of settings. This includes parenting work, family work, working with young people and their parents together and Therapeutic Life Story Work. My in

terests include developmental trauma, neurodiversity, attachment styles, and sensorimotor systems.

I like to work in ways that are collaborative, creative, and family-friendly. I value multi-lens thinking with parents and professionals about the needs, challenges and strengths in a family. This supports identifying the therapeutic approach/intervention most likely to be productive at any given time. Building relationship is at the heart of all of my therapeutic work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clare Bell
Counsellor

I qualified as a therapist in 2019, gaining a diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. My way of working is grounded in concepts from Person Centred Counselling, meaning the therapeutic relationship is at the heart of everything I do. I work with children aged 5 to 18 using a range of approaches, including talking therapy, play led therapy and creative materials to meet the individual needs of each client. Sessions can be used to explore and understand any issues they are struggling with, and for those that would like strategies to make changes, I use cognitive behavioural therapy to focus on a current problem and how thoughts, feelings and behaviour may be maintaining it.

I established my private practice in 2021 and prior to that I worked for a company offering counselling and play led therapy to children and young people in schools across Sussex, as well as volunteering for Cruse Bereavement Care and Place2Be. Prior to becoming a counsellor, I was a Family School Link worker offering emotional and practical support for families with children who have complex needs including SEN, developmental trauma, and attachment issues. I have a strong awareness for the importance of professional and respectful communication and extensive experience of working holistically with parents, carers, and external agencies to improve the emotional well-being, mental health and educational attainment of children, young people, and their families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia Evetts
Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist  

I am a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist – using the arts, which means that I get the opportunity to combine my love of all things creative with my passion for children. I have over 12 years’ experience working with families, across a range of settings, including educational and private. It was this experience and concern for the wellbeing of children and families I worked with, that led me to train at the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education in London. I am a registered member of the BACP, working with children and young adults from the ages of 5 to 25 years old, helping them to explore and express concerns they have about themselves, education or work, relationships, and family life.

My sessions are client-led, and aim to provide a safe, non-judgemental space to help make sense of difficult emotions and situations. As a parent myself, I love the opportunity of finding creative ways to see parents and kids connect and thrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Suddes
Play and Creative Arts Therapist

I qualified as a Primary School Teacher in 1998 and taught in mainstream schools for twenty years.  Throughout that time my passion and desire to understand each individual child increased, I wanted to be able to nurture and support them in a more personalized way and eventually this led me to training to become a Play Therapist in 2018.

As a certified Play Therapist, and member of Play Therapy UK (PTUK), I conduct child led therapy sessions with individuals who have been through a challenging single experience or those who have suffered multiple difficult events in their life such as parental separation, bereavement, or attachment and other relationship-based issues.  I often work with children who are struggling with; anxiety, low self-esteem, interpersonal issues and those who are finding it difficult to process or express their feelings and emotions.

The Children I work with are invited to select and explore from a wide range of creative arts and play based equipment within their sessions as play is often the vehicle for them to communicate their difficulties. Whilst they have the time to focus on themselves and their needs, my role centers around building a consistent safe space and strong therapeutic relationship with the child so they can be themself and work through what they need to at their pace.

 

Pete Naude
Play Therapist and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy CBT Practitioner

I originally trained as a teacher in South Africa in 2001 before moving to the UK. I worked in teaching for 13 years and through my work, recognised that a lot of the children and teenagers had emotional and mental health needs and that these were just as important as their educational needs. My passion for this topic inspired me to further my training and become a counsellor. I received my BA in counselling in 2012 in person centred therapy, and then went on to train in Therapeutic Play Skills in 2014, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in 2018.

I have experience working with children, teenagers and adults who experience challenges including: anxiety difficulties, attachment, stress, self-esteem issues, interpersonal relationship difficulty, depression, emotional abuse, behavioural restructuring, trauma and grief counselling.

I am also a trained Anxiety UK and Crisis Line counseller, as well as a certified clinical supervisor, and am currently undertaking advanced level training in CBT. I am a member of the Accredited Play and Creative Arts Therapistist (PTUK), The National Counselling Society (NCS), and the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zoe Egerton
Craniosacral Practitioner

I am a registered member of The Craniosacral Therapy Association (RCST) and trained at The College of Craniosacral Therapy in London, graduating in 2022. I continued my postgraduate training, both here in the UK and in the USA, working with babies and children, including those with birth trauma, learning difficulties, ADHD, autism, hyperactivity disorder, high functioning neurodiversity and complex needs. I work both with individuals, as well as family members, to benefit healthy co-regulation in the child’s immediate environment.

 

Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle hands-on approach, engaging primarily with the autonomic nervous system, cerebrospinal fluid and fascia to enable the body to release physical, mental and/or emotional tension and trauma from the system. The approach is equally suitable for babies, children and adults and results are generally seen over a period of treatments, as the body adjusts and realigns itself on its individual journey back to optimum health.

Clinical Assistants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hollie Straker-Taylor
Clinical Assistant 

I joined Starjumpz in 2022 as a volunteer clinical assistant, assisting Becky and the wider paediatric team with child assessments and behavioural observations. I hold a Bsc Psychology degree from the University of Leicester, receiving 1st class grades in my clinical and child development modules and knew this was an area I wanted to work in.

I approach my work with children and their families with empathy and patience and try to create a nurturing, non-judgemental space when listening to their concerns.

I hope to one day qualify as a clinical psychologist, delivering evidence-based interventions and therapy to children facing emotional and behavioural challenges.

I am a member of the British Psychological Society.

 

Practice Management Team

 

Melanie Perks
Service Development Manager

I joined Starjumpz in 2016 as Practice Manager. Prior to this, I worked within the NHS Community Paediatric Team in various roles for 8 years, enabling me to have a wider understanding of existing services available for young people and families in the community and private sector.

In 2023 I moved to a Service Development role to be able to continue developing the services on offer to our Starjumpz families, welcoming Lauren Taylor into the role of Practice Manager.

I am passionate about supporting the children, young people and families who we see at Starjumpz, and strive to ensure we provide outstanding services and customer care so that families can feel comfortable, supported and have their voices heard. I continue to support the practice management team and clinicians who have direct contact with families, and who provide valuable insights and feedback, helping inform the development of our services, from improving the client experience, developing efficiency and help expand our holistic therapy options.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauren Taylor
Practice Manager

I joined Starjumpz in 2023 as Practice Manager. Prior to this, I worked within the private healthcare and aesthetics industry as a CQC Registered Practice Manager. I have management experience across a range of industries from branch banking and finance to operations and project management. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I came to realise that I had a strong need to help and support people. This led me to study for my Level 5 diploma Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care, and eventually to qualify as a CQC Registered Manager. I am passionate about working with the team to support children and their families, as well as working towards expanding our services, accessibility, and reach, whilst always striving for excellence.

As a mum to a neuro-diverse child myself, I understand first-hand the impact on children and families. I also understand that no two days are the same, no two children are the same, and that everyone needs a bit of support and a friendly ear sometimes. The Starjumpz team are all so welcoming and friendly, and have made me feel extremely welcome and supported.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Cairns
Practice Support and Projects Manager

I joined Starjumpz in 2023 as Practice Support and Projects Manager, following a long career in the non-profit sector, overseeing service growth and improvement, most recently providing support to children and young people.  I believe that all young people should be able to access the support they need to thrive and understand the pressures in the public system and the barriers this creates to accessing services.  I am committed to ensuring that the outstanding services that Starjumpz provide are widely available and accessible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becka Edmonds
Practice Coordinator

 

 

Jordan Ayling
Practice Coordinator

I joined Starjumpz in 2018 as an apprentice and became a Practice Coordinator the following year. I am passionate about helping people, especially children and young people. I seek to provide kind and compassionate support and the very best customer care. Being part of a caring team who seek the best outcomes and support each other has been wonderful. In addition to being a practice coordinator, I am the Health and Safety Officer at Starjumpz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Maunder
Practice Administrator

I joined Starjumpz in 2024 having previously worked as an administrator in both a mainstream school and a special educational needs school. I strive to provide the best service I can to all I come into contact with, in a kind and caring manner and take great pleasure in seeing children and young people overcoming their own personal challenges and reaching their highest potential with the help and support of those around them.

 

 

 

Amanda Biddle
Finance and Events Manager

I joined the team in 2013 to manage the accounts and finance. I have worked with the team organising events both large conferences, workshops and online events using my experience of running events and in marketing. I have many years’ experience of business and accounts management, of planning and running events and in marketing.

I have previously headed up marketing for Laurent Perrier and Billecart Salmon Champagne houses, set up and managed a wine bar in Leadenhall Market, run a franchise promoting small businesses in Suffolk and have set up and run the ITV Restaurant Awards.

 

Gail Thomas
Strategic Development Consultant

I joined Starjumpz in 2018 as strategic and governance advisor. Following a corporate career which included working at Thomas Cook, Boots the Chemist and which culminated in a board position at Whittard Of Chelsea, I decided to set up my own business in 2001. Virtual PA Co is now 20 years old and following a number of other business start-ups, acquisitions and sales across the retail, tech and hospitality sectors, I now dedicate a proportion of my time to working with small business owners in an advisory capacity on matters such as finance, strategy, operations, investment and exit.

 

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