Sir Peter Vardy DL
Chair of Trustees
Sir Peter built up his family’s car dealership group Reg Vardy plc into a £2 billion national business, employing 6,000 people. In 2006 he sold the business to concentrate his efforts on The Vardy Foundation which he founded in 1987. He has helped sponsor and develop four successful schools through the Emmanuel Schools Foundation and The Vardy Foundation has also donated millions of pounds towards international aid projects across the world.
Sir Peter has brought Safe Families to the UK having seen for himself the amazing success the project has had in the USA. As Chair of Safe Families Sir Peter works closely with the Trustee Board and Chief Executive, as they extend the project beyond the North East.
Keith has spent the majority of his professional life in senior strategic management having professional qualifications in financial administration. He joined Safe Families in July 2012 after more than 20 years’ experience in the Christian charity sector. He served as Chief Executive of the UK Christian distribution Send the Light and latterly was International CEO of Biblica. Keith established the initial start-up in the North East of England, and has now taken on the wider role of leading the roll out of the charity nationwide.
Director of Safeguarding and Quality Assurance
Before joining the Safe Families for Children team Ann worked as Service Manager in Quality Assurance for Gateshead Council’s Adult and Children’s Services Department.
North East Programme Director
Mark has more than 10 years’ experience as a Project Manager within the insurance, banking, financial services and education sectors, in both an IT and operational capacity. He has worked for Sir Peter previously at the Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF) where he was recruited to lead key development and transformation projects. Mark also has a professional qualification in project management as a PRINCE2 Practitioner.
Within Safe Families, Mark has lead the development and implementation of strategic projects, including the central database, which is used to notify volunteers of needs and hosting requests and is now acting as Operations Director and North East Programme Director.
Midlands Programme Director
Kat started her working life overseas in the charity sector, delivering sustainable projects for refugees, IDPs and communities in disaster settings with relief and rehabilitation organisation, Medair. More recently she ran a multi-purpose community centre in SE London and prior to that was was Head of the William Wilberforce Trust: local, a charity tackling the needs of the vulnerable and marginalised in the community; specifically working with the homeless, ex-offenders, those in debt and those struggling with addiction, to provide them with a firm foundation from which to re-build their relationships, practical circumstances and emotional wellbeing.
Mersey Programme Manager & Community Volunteer Director
Martin Dickson joined the Safe Families team in January 2015 having spent 12 years leading a successful youth work charity in Merseyside. Martin is an award winning social entrepreneur who has helped launch all manner of voluntary sector organisations and initiatives over the past 18 years. As well as his expertise in the voluntary sector he also has a 1st Class Degree in Theology and so is well placed to lead our work with local churches. He lives in Wirral, is married to Joanna, and they have three young sons, Jacob, Matthew and Samuel.
Greater Manchester Programme Manager
With a BA (Hons) in Business Studies, Matt worked for a White Goods manufacturer for 7 years before switching full time to his passion – youth work. This successful local work led to supporting other youth work across a wider region including Midlands & North Wales and then to running a full time leadership academy in Sheffield and Manchester.
Having led groups for years on overseas trips to Poland, Matt and his wife Lyndsey spent a year abroad living in Krakow, pioneering a local project and teaching English. Matt loves languages and so picked up some of the difficult lingo and has since also had a dabble with Italian. He has worked the last 5 years for a Housing Association in the North West, ensuring vulnerable families sustain their tenancies and is delighted to be working with stakeholders in Greater Manchester to improve the lives of families in crisis. Matt has been married to Lyndsey for 15 years and loves watching and playing football as well as racquet sports.
South Coast Programme Manager
Chris has 15 years of experience working in the voluntary sector, firstly as a youth worker before moving into a senior management position with a large regional youth charity in Hampshire. The charity delivered a wide range of projects from working with ‘looked after’ children to young people at risk of exclusion from school. Chris has experience of managing and delivering large scale youth projects for both local and national government programmes. Chris joined Safe Families in May 2016 to establish and develop Safe Families’ work on the South Coast.
IT Project Manager
Stuart oversees IT nationally for Safe Families for Children. He has worked for 13 years with a multi-national chemical company. Stuart is an active dad of two and loves watching and playing a variety of sports. He has run 6 Great North Runs and in 2013 he walked 62 miles continuously with three friends to raise money for Oxfam.
Ian oversees the finance function for Safe Families. Previously Ian worked for a housing association for 11 years, and the Fire Service for 3 years. More recently, Ian worked in London for a spirits distribution and brand development company. Ian is married to Claire and enjoys all sports, particularly golf.
PR & Communications Manager
Lydia looks after all areas of communications for Safe Families for Children across the UK. Lydia ran a small digital signage advertising business in Brazil and has worked in communications since she graduated with a MA in Cross-Cultural Communication & Media from Newcastle University in 2007. She loves learning new media techniques and creating video stories to share Safe Families for Children’s vision and impact.
Anthony managed his own computer game and software development company before coming to work at Safe Families for Children in 2015.
His current role revolves primarily around ensuring the integrity of information recorded against volunteers and families, creating reports from this information and testing the usability and reliability of any new features added to the Safe Families for Children database.
Outside of the office, Anthony loves a mix of random adventures with his three lovely ladies: wife Hannah, baby Eleanor, and little Jack Russell Rosie. He also likes a bit of friendly competition: computer games, board games or sports of some kind.
PA to the Chief Executive
Natalie began her working life at the Emmanuel Schools Foundation as a business apprentice within the Executive Support Team. She took on her current role at Safe Families for Children in 2012. The role is extremely varied, including organising all aspects of Keith’s busy schedule such as diary engagements, meeting times and travel arrangements as well as assisting with the payroll preparation and pension. Besides being a frequent suffer of IOS (inbox overload syndrome), there’s little that goes on in Keith’s business and personal life that Natalie hasn’t helped organise.