James Stafford


James has worked in special education for 8 years as a teacher and currently as Assistant Head Teacher at The Children’s Hospital School in Leicester. James has experience in safeguarding, pastoral care, family support and has directly supported hundreds of children with Education, Health and Care Plans along with family and friend with additional needs.

James has a wider knowledge of charitable governance and is passionate about ensuring every young person has access to a great adventure and a chance to develop skills for life.

Nigel Farrow


Nigel was a Social Worker, Social Work Manager and Children’s Services Manager, working in a number of different Local Authorities; his last role was at Assistant Director level. He has managed social care services for disabled children and commissioned children’s services with extensive experience of project planning, service improvement and quality assurance.

As well as being secretary of the Trustees, Nigel volunteers for Umbrella providing management support, in particular, helping to respond to Tenders and writing bids for funding.

Ruth Pownall


Ruth worked as the first Activity Schemes Development Worker at Umbrella from 1991 to 1994. She is the Mum of a complex adult with autism and severe learning disabilities and has worked professionally with disabled  children, young people and their families for over 30 years. Ruth set up Fairplay  in North Derbyshire after leaving Umbrella and then the Inclusion Service for Derbyshire County Councils Children’s Services until December 31st 2016.

She is now Registered Manager of her family owned and run Home Care Support Company for vulnerable adults.

Ruth says that being a Trustee of Umbrella is wonderful.

Janet Holland


Qualified NNEB in 1986 and has had various positions within childcare, including eight years in under 8s child protection before joining Derwent Stepping Stones in 1998 as Nursery Manager.

Janet returned to education and completed BA Hons Degree in Business and Voluntary Sector Management in 2005 and a post graduate certificate in Early Childhood Studies in 2006.  Janet is passionate about supporting families and creating the best possible environment for children to thrive. Janet has led a wide variety of initiatives whilst at Derwent Stepping Stones bringing much needed resources into the community.

John Russell


John joined Rolls-Royce in 1968 as an engineering graduate, but spent most of his working life in Financial/commercial management. Following early retirement in 2002, John spent several years as a part-time business consultant before joining Umbrella as Finance Manager in August 2006. He retired from Umbrella in April 2012, and joined the Board of Umbrella as Treasurer.

John was a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, and is a Chartered Management Accountant. FCMA . CGMA.

Suzanne Parry Jones


Suzanne is a full time Mum of a 12 year old diagnosed with Autism. The family moved to Belper in 2008 and became involved in the complexity of the system which surrounds special needs education.

Suzanne has had dealings with many professionals since the identification of her son’s special needs. She attends the Umbrella parent carer groups and finds it invaluable for information and meeting others with similar circumstances. Being part of the Umbrella Voice group, she enjoys feeding back to help improve the services that Umbrella provides.

More recently Suzanne has been a parent representative on interview panels for Umbrella staff. She is passionate about getting the best care possible for children and adults with special needs and their families and hopes to further this as a Trustee of Umbrella.

Catherine Moseley

Cat is Chief People Officer at Motorpoint plc, prior to taking this role in 2017, she has held a number of other senior HR positions within the hospitality sector. Cat is passionate about delivery through people, creating great cultures and working environments that allow people to be the best version of themselves everyday. Cat acts as a Cornerstone employer in the D2N2 network and as a result has been involved in a number of work based learning schemes for SEND students across the region, supporting meaningful work placements and employment opportunities. Cat also offers a parent voice to our board of trustees, as she has a young daughter with Down’s Syndrome.

Our Team

Umbrella has a varied team of staff including Coordinators responsible for the day to day planning of services, Family Support workers who offer advice and organise support groups, the Administration team supporting everyone,  and of course, our Activity Support Workers who deliver services directly.

We have a wonderful team and wouldn’t be here without them. Every person is here so that we can offer the assistance and support to as many families as we can ensuring that each service, activity or one to one runs as smoothly as possible.

Ann Rowlands

Chief Executive Officer

Ann joined Umbrella as a Play and Leisure Development Worker in 1996 and became Chief Executive in 2000. She is now Chief Executive with responsibility for the overall Management of Umbrella. Ann’s duties are very varied and she is very passionate about improving services for disabled children and their families.

Jenny Lucas

Operations Manager

Jenny originally came to work for Umbrella in November 2001 and now oversees four projects which are Children’s, Adult’s, Play & Leisure, and Volunteer services. She also manages all of Umbrella’s frontline staff who support our children and young people to access their chosen activity.

Laura Beresford

General Manager

Laura has recently joined Umbrella in January 2022, prior to this Laura lived in Australia for 11 years where she gained invaluable experience in human resources, recruitment and people and relationship management.  Laura oversees the day to day aspects of Umbrella, varying from recruitment and payroll to Health & Safety, marketing and fundraising.