HomeAbout usThis is us

This is us

We are a registered charity, governed by a Board of Trustees responsible for our strategic direction. Our trustees, staff and volunteers come from all walks of life, all with a passion for sustainable wellbeing for all. You can meet some of us here:

  • David Davies

    Chair

    The current approaches to support people when they face challenges with their mental health don’t work. That’s why we transformed our strategy and why we plan to be constructively disruptive when we look at the current system.

    I am the Managing Director of Cardiff-based café bars, Kin+Ilk. I’ve also been working with Platfform since 2011 and am Chair of the Board of Trustees.

    I’m from a small village called Bedwas and worked as a qualified solicitor for twenty-two years before becoming an entrepreneur. Despite having a successful career I have experienced difficulties with my mental health. Not many people would have been aware of these difficulties because I was able to hide them but as time went on my struggles with OCD became worse.

    A lot of people associate OCD with cleaning, or hoarding but for me, it’s intrusive thoughts. Ironically, the thoughts seem to spike when good things happen; during extremely happy milestones or when new responsibilities occur.

    I was able to push through to a certain point but following a particularly difficult time I looked into talking therapies. Once I found the right therapist this quite honestly saved my life.

    Talking therapies and mindfulness are my go to tools when things get on top of me – I think it’s so important that people don’t ignore the signs of mental distress. There are tools and coping strategies that can help you to feel better. Mindfulness is brilliant for OCD. You can’t have two thoughts at once. If you continually live in the moment, you can’t look forward or back.

    In October 2018 I helped open Platfform’s new counselling and wellbeing centre called Breathe. Based in Cardiff, it’s a unique space that allows people to access counselling and wellbeing activities.

    All profits are reinvested into Platfform’s work meaning that Breathe can offer low-cost counselling to people who are on low incomes or are unemployed. Not everyone can afford counselling but everyone should have access to its benefits, we should all be able to get the help and support we need to look after our mental health.

    My main aim for being Chair for Platfform is to leave a legacy. The current approaches to support people when they face challenges with their mental health don’t work. That’s why we transformed our strategy and why we plan to be constructively disruptive when we look at the current system. We have no restrictions on our ambitions, it’s a very exciting time to be a part of the movement for change.

  • Nadine Holloway

    Deputy Finance Director

    My name is Nadine and I have worked in Finance for over 20 years.

    I am a qualified Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA) and have a vast amount of finance and payroll experience. I have worked at all levels of the finance department and have worked within the Insurance, Manufacturing and, for the last 10 years, Charity sector. I also volunteer as a treasurer for the local swimming club.

    I am passionate about helping people. I live a very busy life bringing up 3 young children, as a family we enjoy traveling, camping and spending as much time together enjoying life. I relax by playing the piano and most recently I have taken up mountain biking.

  • Liz Mander

    Director of Operations

    My name is Liz and I’m the Director of Operations.

    I live in West Wales with my husband, two teenage children, a border collie called Ethel and a cat called Missy Moo Moo Cat!

    I spent my childhood growing up in Porthcawl which is where my love of the beach is rooted. There is nothing like a long walk on the beach to clear my head and feel refreshed.

    I graduated from Swansea University 2001 with a Sociology degree, still uncertain about what career I wanted, although I knew from spending time growing up with a family member with an addiction and health issues that I wanted to work with people.

    Over the years I have worked in a number of support roles within Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Youth Offending. I found my forté in 2003 when I joined a third sector charity Caer Las and spent 10 years working within supported housing. I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to meet and spend time with so many amazing people who shared their stories and inspired me with their strength and determination. The memories and people I met will always have a place in my heart.

    In 2016 I joined Platfform (formerly Gofal) as Head of Service in Gwent to continue my passion of working with people. I have truly enjoyed the three years I have worked here. I have met some fantastic people and continue to be blown away by the compassion of colleagues.

    There have been times during my life that I have experienced my own mental health struggles, in particular following the birth of my son. During these times I found the importance of making time for myself whether that was out walking, swimming, reading or talking to friends and family.

    I am always keen to explore new ways of managing the stresses of a busy life and have found a new buzz from high intensity training. I have enjoyed attending spin class for a few years and more recently I have started circuit training. I balance this with spending time with my husband and children.

  • Natasha Withey

    Media and Campaigns Officers

    I’m Natasha and work as Media and Campaigns Officer for Platfform (previously Gofal).

    I’m from Cardiff and have also been lucky enough to live in some other great places for study and work; Exeter, France and most recently, Italy.

    I’ve worked in various roles within the Public and Third sectors since graduating in 2010, starting off as European Officer at the Welsh Language Board through to working as Communications Officer at walking and cycling charity, Sustrans. I’ve been working at Platfform since September 2018.

    My interest in mental health and wellbeing started in school when a few of my close friends experienced difficulties, and I’ve come to learn that mental health issues really can affect anyone. I’ve also had my own struggles with anxiety and OCD and so I’ve always loved learning and reading about ways in which we can support and enhance our wellbeing. I also love a good self-help book!

    Working at Platfform has helped to reinforce my understanding of why people struggle and what can be done to help us all lead better lives. I love the focus of connection with others, and the emphasis on the importance of leading a meaningful life for our wellbeing. I’m also continually inspired by the stories of how people that we support turn their lives around under really difficult circumstances.

    You will usually find me cycling from one place to another, turning up at our offices either drenched or complaining about a hill I’ve just had to cycle over. I like to squeeze exercise into my every day routine as much as I can, it helps me to de-stress and keep as fit as possible. I also love to read and have the occasional Netflix binge in my downtime.

  • Ewan Hilton

    Chief Executive Officer

    I don’t always find it easy keeping the right balance - but I always do my best

    I’m Ewan, and I’m Chief Exec of Platfform.

    I have worked in the charity and housing sector in Wales since I moved to Cardiff when I was nineteen. I love what I do and have always worked for organisations with a social purpose. I became aware of the gross lack of equality and social justice as a kid and this has driven what I do and how I live ever since.

    I live in Cardiff – a proud Splott resident, and enjoy lots of trips to Spain where my partner lives.

    When I am looking after my physical and emotional health you’ll see me getting lots of exercise, particularly, cycling. I don’t drive so I get around on my bike and public transport. I’ll also be eating healthy food, spending lots of time with friends and family and walking in the mountains.

    I always know when I’m tired, stressed or need a break as these things slip away – I don’t get enough exercise, eat unhealthy food, drink too much wine and shut myself away.

  • Andy Terwee

    Service Manager, Swansea

    My name is Andy and I have over eighteen years’ experience managing and developing tenancy/floating support schemes and supported accommodation services.

    From 2006 until 2018, I managed a floating support scheme and specialist accommodation service for vulnerable adults with complex needs within Swansea. From 2015 to 2018, I was also responsible for running supported accommodation services across Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend and Carmarthenshire, alongside tenancy support services in Llanelli and Carmarthen.

    Since January 2019, I have been with Platfform (previously Gofal) where I manage and develop the services in Swansea.

    My passion for this type of work comes from my own personal experiences. I lost my mother at a very young age and consequently was cared for in care homes and foster families. From the age of 15 to 20, I personally experienced homelessness and lived on the streets of Amsterdam.

    In my spare time, I like to spend time walking my dogs on the beach, keeping healthy in the gym, enjoying holidays, skiing in the winter and exploring the Mediterranean in the summer.

    I also enjoy visiting cities to pursue my hobby of street photography, Indonesian cookery, and spending time being a granddad. I’m also fluent in four languages, English, Dutch, German and Spanish!

  • Sarah Wills

    Head of Business Development

    My name is Sarah and I’m so proud to work for Platfform (previously Gofal) and feel very lucky to work with some incredible people. My role is now Head of Business Development, after being a Head of Service since 2017 and having various operational roles since joining as a Case Worker in 2012.

    My role in Business Development involves meeting new people and organisations, developing our external relationships and getting Platfform’s name out there.  In line with Platfform’s vision and mission, the role is about identifying opportunities which contribute to the transformation of mental health services across Wales and beyond. I lead on tendering and bid writing for new and existing contracts, furthering Platfform’s reach and influence wherever possible in collaboration with others.

    Prior to Platfform, I worked in low-secure mental health units and 24hr residential homes for people with complex mental health and learning disabilities, including forensic backgrounds.

    It’s where I found my passion for working with people, particularly in the field of mental health, and where – in truth – I became incredibly frustrated at the situation many people found themselves in. People were stuck in the system where they were powerless to make real changes or have a say.

    It drives me to do better – to ensure people have as much choice as possible over their lives, have their stories heard and have the opportunity of a meaningful life.

    I grew up in Derby in the East Midlands, but went to Cardiff University to study English Literature and History. I liked it so much here that I decided to stay, and met my now husband Tom and moved to Taff’s Well.

    Outside of work I can be found doing a combination of running, cycling and swimming (separately or together!). I’m a member of a running and triathlon club, and it’s an amazing form of stress relief. I’ve made some great friends and it’s mainly how I socialise now too (work hard, train hard, play hard – right?).

    It’s taught me about perspective and not taking yourself too seriously – in a race, and in life, there’s always someone behind and someone ahead so it’s best to focus on what you’re doing and not worry about the rest.

    I love yoga too, and finding a form of stress relief through stretching and breathing that doesn’t involve a ridiculously hard session has been useful and kinder to my body!

  • Chris Loughran

    Trustee

    My name is Chris Loughran and I have 10 years’ experience working in the non-profit sector in the UK and overseas. I am currently Director of Policy and Evaluation for MAG, an international charity specialising in landmine clearance and conflict recovery.

    I’m responsible for MAG’s strategic influence and advocacy work, leading policy engagement with the United Nations. I also oversee approaches to impact measurement. I joined MAG in 2006 following various roles in the UK civil service and a volunteer role in community-based projects in Uganda and Bosnia.

    Outside of work, I enjoy running, cooking and spending time with family and friends in England and South Wales.

  • Christine Hawkins

    Lead Counsellor at Breathe

    My name is Christine and I’m the Lead Counsellor at Breathe.

    I use CBT and Transactional Analysis models in my practice to help people understand the meaning and reasons behind their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. I hope to help people see that counselling isn’t scary – it’s about treating the mind.

    I became a counsellor after I received group therapy for my weight issues and became inspired to help others too.

    I love to walk my dog in our local parks as I find it a very mindful practice.

  • Debbie Green

    Trustee and Vice Chair

    I’m Debbie Green and I’m a Trustee and Vice Chair of Platfform. Actually I am now the longest serving trustee although it doesn’t feel like that long, because Platfform is an organisation that is ambitious and continuously wanting to do new things. I’m originally from London, but after university moved to Cardiff with my partner who is from North Wales. I now live in Mumbles while doing up a bungalow in south Gower. I have one daughter who is in her final year at university.

    My first proper job was training to be an accountant, because I didn’t know what to do with a history degree. Having left one of the big four accountancy firms, I spent some time travelling in India, SE Asia and Australia, before returning to the UK and accidentally discovering that my passion is for working in the not for profit sector. I spent some time at the Arts Council before moving to Chwarae Teg, the women’s’ economic development charity. Currently I am Chief Executive of a housing association, Coastal Housing Group based in Swansea.

    I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I don’t have a massive amount of spare time. However I am enjoying living close to the sea, and get out for walks along the coast whenever I can. I am looking forwards to some slightly warmer weather so I can get into the sea, as swimming, particularly outdoors, is something I have always loved. Our rescue dog died quite recently and once we move to our own property we are thinking or getting another dog; the house feels a bit empty without one.

    I’ve always thought I am quite a “strong person” which is actually nonsense, and when my mother died, relatively young, and not that long after I’d had my daughter, I carried on regardless for a few months and then hit rock bottom. Both that, and some subsequent stressful work situations, have made me re-evaluate my priorities, and how I take care of myself. Around this time I also developed a keen interest in Buddhism and meditation as a way of thinking differently about myself and the world. That doesn’t mean I don’t get side-tracked by bottles of red wine and cake from time to time.

  • Evee Freitag

    Project Coordinator

    My name is Evee and I’m a Project Coordinator with Platfform (previously Gofal).

    I was born in north Poland, although I spent most of my childhood in Berlin. I speak three languages - it gets confusing sometimes to be honest!
    I moved to beautiful Wales when I was 19 to go Swansea University and finish my BSc Psychology and MSc in Abnormal & Clinical Psychology. I currently live in Cardiff and am loving it.

    I had an early interest in mental health as I grew up with family who have lived through struggles and had to go into hospital several times. I’ve held a few roles as support and care worker within learning disabilities and mental health services.

    Until my work with Platfform, my most important role was as a volunteer within Swansea Mind. I helped run self-help courses and drop-in sessions for three years. I’ll never forget the amazing people I met, their inspiring stories and the immense diversity of their experiences.

    At a certain point, I realised I was struggling with my emotions. It was really hard for me to accept because I’d always wanted to be the ‘supporter’. However, I now take medication to help me manage my mental health as well as counselling during stressful times. I make a daily effort to not give in to my fears and doubts that could otherwise put my life on hold.

    In many ways I feel lucky that my experiences and education provided me with a firm foundation for developing coping strategies. It led me to learn about mindfulness, self-awareness and cognitive exercises such as diary keeping and positive self-talk.

    I appreciate taking breaks, the power of a good cuddle with a loved one and a brief escape into nature – Wales has some stunning drives and walks. It’s taught me how important it is to connect with others with similar passions so I’m an avid attendee at anime-conventions and work conferences (yes, they’re equally important to me!). I also exercise my body and mind through yoga, running and Zumba classes.

    Most importantly, I now know that it is necessary, enjoyable and not selfish to make time for all those things. I hope that I can pass the message on.

  • Heidi O’Driscoll

    PA/Exec Support

    My name is Heidi. I was born and raised in Bridgend and currently live in the beautiful village of St. Brides Major in the Vale of Glamorgan, with the lovely beaches of Ogmore and Southerndown just on my doorstep. I live with my husband Darren, 16 year old, x-box obsessed son, Jack and two very naughty Jack Russells.

    In my spare time (when I’m not being my son’s taxi driver), I enjoy walking my rather unruly dogs around the coast, eating out with friends and, best of all, enjoying a good karaoke session (I’ve been known to slaughter a good Celine Dion song!).

    My work background is a little brief as I enter my 25th year with Platfform (previously Gofal) in my newly established role as PA/Exec Support! My previous roles in the world of admin have included working in the manufacturing industry and a travel agency.

    My work with the organisation over the years has helped me immensely in terms of supporting family members who’ve experienced their own personal battles with anxiety and severe depression.

    Platfform has been an extension of my own family at times, especially when I’ve needed support and understanding around family issues. I’m grateful to be able to work with such truly lovely people and look forward to the coming years and the exciting journey that lies ahead of us all!

  • Huw Davies

    Trustee

    My name is Huw and I joined the board of Platfform in December 2015 after returning to the UK following 3.5 years working in the Middle East. I am now Finance Director of CPS Group in Cardiff, one of the UK’s leading IT and Technical recruitment companies.

    I have gained significant financial experience through working for a number of large multinational corporations across Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia. A decade of finance leadership commenced at Deloitte and I have held positions within the UK telecoms industry as Finance Director and a number of senior finance roles within the Oil and Gas sector. The most recent positions included GardaWorld, International SOS and CFO of Stirling Group.

    am a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and hold an Economics degree from the University of Manchester.

  • Nicole Webber

    Project Coordinator

    My name is Nicole. I was born and raised in Rhondda then moved to Caerleon to study. After graduating, I decided to return to my roots.

    Music and travel is a big part of my life I enjoy going to festivals and city breaks with my friends. In my free time I love walking along the Welsh costal path with my dog.

    Before joining Plattform (previously Gofal), I was studying in university and worked part time as a support worker for a charity. As part of my degree, I completed an ethnographic study which looked at how the Sikh community were integrating into British society, more specifically within an area in Cardiff. This study was fuelled by my curiosity for people and cultures.

    When I moved to Caerleon I started experiencing sleep paralysis, which was very scary first. After some research and reflection I was able to identify that I would experience this when feeling stressed or anxious so I found several ways to help manage it. This mainly involves being outdoors and connecting with nature, but also chatting to my family.

    Supporting people to find their own ways of coping which helps them to live a full life gives me a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction.

  • Neil Hapgood

    Trustee

    My name is Neil Hapgood. I moved to Swansea in 2003 after a period of working abroad. I have since spent over 12 years working in Youth and Community Services.

    I have developed the delivery of services in my local authority by 400% over the last 10 years. My interests lie in the development of products and services that have the depth and quality to have a long lasting impact on people’s wellbeing, and how these services can be monitored and improved.

    In 2006, I was fortunate enough to survive a brain haemorrhage whilst surfing in Cornwall. After a few weeks in a coma, I made a good physical and cognitive recovery but it was the beginning of a spell of struggling with mental health. It is this experience which has inspired me to become involved with Gofal.

    In 2007 I was the Welsh winner of the ITV 'feel good factor' award for his work with young people and attended the pride of Britain awards.

    I also hold a degree in Management, and MA in Health and Community Development from Demontfort University.

  • Matt Cole

    Commercial Director

    My name is Matt Cole. I was born in West Wales and now live in Cardiff.

    After graduating with BA hons in Geography, I spent time working in local authority planning enforcement before joining Groundwork Caerphilly. Over the seven or eight years there, I held a number of positions covering operational and programme management along with business development functions.

    After that, I joined Platfform (previously Gofal) as Head of Business Growth, and after short spell as Managing Director of Gofal Enterprises Ltd, I’m now Commercial Director across Platfform and GEL.

    Time away from work is spent with my wife and son – and where possible we try to do sporty type things. As I’ve retired from rugby, I try marathons and triathlons, and I am always looking for something to push myself on. A few holidays in the sunshine is always good too.

    Staying well for me is a combination of family, work and exercise. Exercise has helped immensely since my son was born in 2012 when he suffered a brain haemorrhage at birth. He’s got very complex health conditions and whilst hugely challenging, it’s truly rewarding to see his development against the odds.

  • Kieran Towler

    Housing Manager

    My name is Kieran Towler and I am the housing manager for Gofal. I’m originally from Cornwall but have lived in Wales for 19 years. I have three daughters, two of whom are Welsh speakers and the third lived in Cornwall.

    Since leaving school in 1991, I have worked in health and social care as a graduate of the old youth training schemes. As a support worker, I helped move adults with learning disabilities out of long stay hospitals. I was then assistant manager of a respite service with people aged 14 to 65.

    I moved to Wales in 2000 and continued working with people with learning disabilities until 2003 when I joined Taff Housing and then moved to United Welsh as direct support services manager.

    In 2012 I joined Platfform (formerly Gofal) as a project co-ordinator and have enjoyed varied roles in my time here. It’s the first time I haven’t been looking for other jobs and have no intention of either.

    Outside of work I’m a keen walker and still love to mix records (even if not professionally). I am a bit of a vintage bus geek and regularly attend vintage bus rallies. I’d love to restore a vintage bus for the community to enjoy.

    Like many people, I have experienced my own difficulties which led to bouts of depression and anxiety. At times the anxiety was crippling and the thought of leaving the security of my space was difficult. Getting through this time took tough love from a friend who told me to ‘practice what you preach’!

    It was overwhelming but these wise words helped me to start making changes. I reduced my alcohol intake, improved my diet and even lost weight. However, the most important thing was talking to people about my difficult times. I decided to talk about my anxiety in the same way I would if I had broken my leg or hurt my back.

    The response from friends, family and colleagues was fantastic and it gave them permission to talk to me about my struggles when they previously hadn’t felt able to. They now feel able to tell me I’m doing OK or that I need to slow down.

  • Jules Weston

    Director of Marketing and Communications

    My name is Jules Weston. I’m from Edinburgh and moved to Wales in 2011. Nowadays, I live in beautiful Carmarthenshire with my partner, young son, 2 dogs, 2 horses and 2 hens.

    I’ve had a diverse career, always in some form of creative communications, as it’s peoples’ stories and creative ideas, along with nature and animals, that are my passions.

    After studying Film, I was an Editor in Publishing for several years. A move to London to “follow the dream” led to over a decade as a TV Director/Producer working around the world on factual, entertainment and travel programmes for BBC and Ch4, including The Big Breakfast, Survival programmes, Watercolour Challenge and Driven.

    Aged 40, I needed a much healthier and quieter life, so in a radical life change I moved to the West Coast of Scotland to pursue my passion for nature - and became a Countryside Ranger. Nature and wildlife keep my soul intact. When a role came up with WWF Scotland, I became Senior Communications Manager and set up a unique values-based culture change programme called The Natural Change Project.

    I moved to Wales, just for a year, in 2011 to study a MA in Anthrozoology. Life didn’t turn out as planned and here I still am!

    Communications and Marketing Manager roles with Lluest Horse Rescue Charity and A Prince’s Charity in Wales followed until I moved to Platfform (previously Gofal) in 2018. I can honestly say I love working here. I love the brilliant people, the exciting pace, the innovative outlook, the passion and the compassion of my colleagues.

    In my life I’ve come across many people struggling with their mental health and have faced my own issues too. I think many of us do and feel unable to share about it due to fear of people’s responses.

    For me the best things I can do to take care of myself are – take time out, go for long walks with my border terriers, observe nature, be around horses, play with my young son, talk openly and laugh with friends and colleagues - and keep exploring the world, even if it is just round the corner!

    I try to lead a healthy life these days, but equally a good binge on Netflix and takeaway food helps keep the balance.

  • Jon Dix

    Director of Finance

    My name is Jon and, following a short spell as interim Finance Director at Gofal, I became full time FD in March 2018.

    Prior to this I was director of my own practise assisting a small portfolio of clients with their management accounts function and offering independent advice and a monitoring facility to a number of financial institutions across South Wales. This followed a 10 year spell working within Corporate Recovery at Deloitte, during which time I gained qualification as an ACA.

    Outside of work I am married with three children. I enjoy all sports particularly rugby, football, boxing and swimming.

  • Jane Evans

    Deputy Director Human Resources & Organisation Development

    My name is Jane and I was born in Bridgend, but spent a large part of my childhood living in Leicester in the Midlands. I currently live in Bridgend with my husband and Penny, our dog. I also have two grown up sons.

    Before joining Platfform (previously Gofal) I’ve held a variety of HR roles spanning almost 20 years, starting at the bottom and slowly progressing through to manager level. I have worked for a number of organisations including Local Government and more recently a Social Housing provider in Cardiff where I held the position of Head of People Services. I’ve always held a generalist role which includes a huge variety of work which keeps me on my toes, and I love it that way.

    I’ve experienced mental health issues myself, as have members of my family and friends, and it’s something that is close to my heart. Losing my mum and brother to cancer within a short period of time 20 years ago, I found myself struggling to see a positive way forward. My supportive family and friends gave me the strength to carry on and live life to the full.

    I really enjoy crafting and taught myself how to sew a few years ago. I find it helps me to switch off and relax. Along with this, I spend a lot of my spare time with my husband and Penny in our caravan in West Wales where we enjoy walking along the beach and socialising with friends who also have caravans on the same site.

    I must admit that I love the sunshine and try to have at least one trip to Majorca each year to take in the sun and relax completely with a good book.