Here at Skylarks we have a small, passionate team that supports the growing community of children and families. Staff are always approachable and willing to help any parent, carer, sibling or child with an additional need that comes through our doors.
To find out more about their experience, and how they can help, we have put together these short biographies:
Aaron Guiver, Development Manager
I am the father of unruly boys, including two with additional needs and disabilities. I work on Skylarks' grants, fundraising, reports, strategy, and most recently our new rebrand. I have worked within the charity sector for the past 8 years including at other Richmond upon Thames organisations such as Richmond Borough Mind and Richmond Carers Centre. I have a demonstrated history of working in the Health and Wellbeing industry and am skilled in operations management, small business development and managing client relations. Working at Skylarks is incredibly rewarding; being able to see the difference made to children's lives as a result of the work my colleagues, the volunteers, our Trustees and I do is a great privilege.
I can be contacted at email@example.com or on 07940 331 185
Fiona Morgan, Operations Manager
I am the mother of teenage twin boys, one of whom is profoundly deaf and has bilateral cochlear implants. I really appreciated the services of Skylarks when my children were small and found it a wonderful source of support. As a family we have experienced the frustrations and difficulties of the SEND system and battling for the needs of your child, both in education and the NHS. I have been involved in the background of Skylarks for some time and am relishing my front-line position, working with families to provide support for their wide range of needs.
I worked previously in management and marketing in the private education sector. Since having a child with a disability, I moved into the voluntary sector, working for a heritage charity and now a children’s charity. My experience includes being involved in organising events for CICS (the Cochlear Implanted Children’s Support Group), as secretary of the PTA for Mary Hare Primary School for Deaf Children; and Membership Secretary for Twickenham Twins Club. I was involved in establishing “Little Heaven”, a special church service for children with additional needs. I oversee junior church for children and young people and am churchwarden and on the PCC of the Richmond Team Ministry. I enjoy releasing both my creativity and tensions on clay in my ceramics class and using my languages (French, Italian, basic Spanish and BSL) in travel abroad whenever the opportunity allows!
I see my role at Skylarks as one of supporting other families along their journey as parents walking a path different from the one they were expecting to take; and as collaborating with a range of other organisations to provide the best support possible for families.
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07946 646 033
Sona Sharma , Partnership and Fundraising Manager
I am the mother of a lovely young man who has used Skylarks services for many years. I have also been volunteering massage therapy and yoga skills for the last 6 years to parents and carers. I joined the staff team in October 2018 and spends my time liaising with local companies, schools and other potential partners. I love representing Skylarks in a variety of ways, from using songs with Makaton signing at school assemblies to delivering after-dinner speeches. So if you know any school, company or organisation that might be interested in fundraising for us, please get in touch.
I can be contacted at email@example.com
Susie O'Kelly, Play and Information Leader
My background was in BBC radio drama and publishing until I set up The Bridge for Social Communication charity with two other parents (which ran from 2002-2013) as a direct response to the lack of suitable services and opportunities for children with social and communication difficulties and their families. I have been an active committee member of the Richmond National Autistic Society for over 10 years and was co-author of the first Richmond NAS Information Pack: an essential guide to services and support in the Richmond borough and beyond.
Having used the services of Skylarks in its early days, I went on to attend both a Makaton language programme and BSL course and started volunteering at Skylarks in the Friday sessions in 2014. I know from first-hand experience how important it is for parents and carers to find a non-judgmental haven of support, friendship and information, and a place where children with additional needs can play and enjoy activities. As a staff member, I enjoy working with the volunteers and offering support to all families who use the services of Skylarks and, most importantly, in making sure everyone feels welcome and valued whatever their age, circumstances and needs.
Siobhan Burn, Activities Leader
I've been involved with Skylarks every Tuesday (& occasional Fridays) for over 6 years now, initially as a volunteer and then as part of the staff team. During that time, I have just LOVED journeying with the families, sharing in great joys of hard fought milestones and supporting them through some of the challenges. I come home quite exhausted most weeks, but with a smile on my face, because I LOVE my job and all the people that I've spent the afternoon with.
I KNOW that Rice cakes are a healthy option, but no one can deny that they would be better off on the 'Art table', decorated with glitter & hung from the ceiling as a Sunshine!!! Chocolate Digestives are SO much nicer!!
Gabriella Stiles, Operations Assistant
I joined the staff team in April 2019 to help develop the new post of Operations Assistant. I have a background as an editor in social care and other industries but also have enormous experience of voluntary work as Chair, Treasurer and Secretary of Surrey Deaf Children's Society, organising and providing a wide range of activities for families with Deaf children. In my new role at Skylarks I run our play sessions and off-site activities as well as volunteer management.