Meet the Team
WHO ARE WE? As you’ll soon realise, we’re a group of ordinary people: none of us are millionaires or big business leaders, but we are passionate about the things we believe in; and one of those things is that mentally ill people should receive the same respect and treatment as anybody else.
Everyone involved with 5 Quid for Life is a volunteer and most of us may be contacted via facebook: names are linked directly to facebook profiles where available. Alternatively, please get in touch via our Contact Us page.
Karen Bester, Press and Social Media Officer
Karen, alas just a few breaths short of 30, is a cat ownee who resides in a bland little house with her long-term partner. She has significant work experience in the voluntary sector.
Unfortunately, mental illness rendered her unfit for work at the age of 25, so she has a particular passion for what 5 Quid for Life is doing. Karen suffers from chronic, severe clinical depression and complex post-traumatic stress disorder with episodes of dissociation and psychosis. Thanks to her extensive personal experience and plenty of research, she tries to raise awareness on and help combat the stigma of mental ill health. This is achieved mainly through engagement on social media, but also through real life encounters. It pays to talk!
A Criminology graduate who maintains an interest in the area, Karen enjoys science fiction, her X-Box and PS3, classic rock, theatre, reading, politics/current affairs, and Indian cuisine. She is passionate about animal welfare, mental health advocacy and swooning at nerds and geeks everywhere.
When 5 Quid for Life is fully up and running, Karen will be responsible for press queries, the writing of regular newsletters and, jointly with Phil, the management of the blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Phil Groom, Founder / Acting Finance Officer*
Phil is, in the words of one of his critics, a “vociferous blogger”. It wasn’t intended as a compliment but Phil takes it as one: he believes in speaking out when he sees things that are wrong, and he believes that the treatment meted out to mentally ill people in the UK is all too wrong all too often. You’ll find him blogging, facebooking and tweeting his opinions in far too many places, but that’s what happens when you give a subliminal loudmouth a laptop and a smartphone.
He’s an ex-boatman turned ex-bookshop manager turned ex-supermarket-shelf-stacker turned charity fundraiser and Christian book trade publicist who believes in equal rights and fair treatment for all. He’s seen the debilitating effects of mental illness on friends and family and is determined to see those affected by mental illness adequately supported. He’s the one your mother warned you about and, right now, he’s either after your money or wants to give you some.
* Phil took on the role of Acting Finance Officer after our meeting on 15th Oct 2011 following Paula’s resignation; please see this post for a report on that meeting: Challenges and Changes.
Karita Razzell, Admin & Moral Support
Karita works as an office administrator and loves nothing more than chasing recalcitrant colleagues around with a whip if she notices them slacking. When she’s not doing that you’ll find her studying verses from the Qu’ran or the Bible, whichever takes her fancy at the time, but always in the original languages. She is fluent in Arabic, cookies, scones and blogging, is capable of much more than she thinks she is and enjoys frequent cuddles with her hubby, Baz.
Karita also has personal experience of mental illness herself, striking a fine balance with perfect aplomb between working, studying, living and being a bit mad. She is passionate about providing support for those people with mental illness, with a compassion borne out of experience.
Boudicca Rising, Project Manager
What Boudicca—Boudie to her friends—does for a living is pretty indescribable and mostly unpublishable but falls under that great category of Facilities Management. She claims to have been in more mens’ toilets than the average male sex worker. In her spare time she is a Mad Cat Lady/ activist/ rescuer/ blogger and now project manager for the 5 Quid For Life Campaign. She loves people, nature, creepy crawlies, cats and cannot abide cruelty in any form. Short and black-haired with a ridiculous dress sense on occasion, she is very nice until she is annoyed senseless. Is usually accompanied by a large, long-haired man, the cats tend to stay at home and destroy things.
She believes that not standing against injustice is the same as supporting it, hence her involvement in this campaign.
Johnathon Tinsley, IT Officer
Johnathon, in his early 20s, is a Linux Systems Administrator / Support Technician, best at trying to keep websites online, email flowing, and customers happy. When he’s not working, he spends his time reading or gaming, and likes nothing better than to curl up on the sofa with a good film and a mug of tea.
Johnathon hates injustice and suffering, of any kind or type, and will work heartily if he thinks he can help. Having seen the bad side of the benefits systems running against family members, and internet friends, he jumped at the chance to help those on the wrong side of the red tape.
Paula Ann Walker
Due to personal circumstances, Paula resigned her position as Finance Officer at our meeting on 15th Oct 2011; please see this post for a report on that meeting: Challenges and Changes. She has since resigned from the Committee altogether, as noted in our November 2014 News Update: where we are now and where do we go from here? We take this opportunity to thank her for all her hard work, support and encouragement: Paula, you rock, and we love you!
Kate White, Compliance Officer
Kate is a writer, poet and mental health activist. Formerly London-based she continues to support 5 Quid for Life from her home in Australia.
There are a few others involved, working away behind the scenes: we hope to add their details to this page in due course…