Lincolnshire Rural Support Network

Investing In Volunteers

Helpline 0800 138 1710

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Staff

Alison Twiddy - Project Manager

Alison Twiddy - Project Manager

After a long career of more than 30 years in public service I gained much experience, managing local and central service teams with all the associated HR and budgets, as well as project management and managing major government policy changes. However I found myself working long hours away from home and spending a lot of time in railway stations, airports and motorway service stations and city hotels and decided to find work closer to my Lincolnshire home and family, but never for one minute imagined that I would find myself becoming the Project Manager for LRSN about 8 years ago.

I consider this the most rewarding work I have ever done. The ability to really help local people and businesses with the crises that can befall any one of us is both challenging and humbling. The LRSN team are a great bunch of people, with a real passion for all the services which we offer, including our one to one support, our drop-in  and health screening service at horticultural and livestock markets and our helpline. I am proud of the work we do and to be associated with such a worth- while and professional organisation.

Lea Schofield - Caseworker South of the County

Lea Schofield - Caseworker South of the County

After becoming head nurse in a neurological veterinary practice I spent the next 20 years working in local government. Those years gave me invaluable experience in dealing with adversity and problem solving despite what often seemed to an unsolvable problem, lateral thinking was a much used technique!

I worked long hours and found that as a single parent I was meeting myself coming back. During my time in local government I referred a number of farmers and their families to LRSN and was aware of the amazing and often unsung work that they do. Three years ago I made a lifechoice to do something I enjoy and applied to work for LRSN.

Some may say that I came over from ‘the dark side’…. And what a brilliant move that was; I love my job and am thrilled to be part of LRSN; the wonderful team that make such a difference to the farming families of Lincolnshire.

Gilly Steel - Health and Wellbeing Lead

Gilly Steel - Health and Wellbeing Lead

My name is Gilly Steel, I have been a qualified mental health nurse for 18 years, and five years ago I qualified as an Approved Mental Health Professional. I joined LRSN on 30 September 2019.

Over the past 18 years I have worked in the NHS in a variety of roles, from drug and alcohol work, community mental health and most recently I was the crisis lead in Grimsby. The main part of my career has been spent in Lincolnshire, covering rural areas, so I am familiar with the challenges rural families face.

I moved to Lincolnshire when I was 14 and went to school in Market Rasen. Wragby Young Farmers helped me find many friends at an awkward age in a new area. I briefly moved away from Lincolnshire to do my nursing training but decided city life wasn’t for me and shortly after qualifying returned to the “shire”, moving to Louth, where I helped set up Louth YFC. I remain on the advisory for the club now, despite now having moved up the road to Grimsby.

I married my wonderful husband Simon last year and am lucky to be step mum to his three daughters, Georgia 18, and twins Emily and Sophie, aged 15.

As my fortieth birthday looms, I decided that it was time for a change, and I jumped at the chance to join LRSN. It’s a really exciting time to be joining and am looking forward to helping to expand the services offered and support many more people in the county. I am looking forward to linking with the variety of organisations and individuals already involved with LRSN and bringing with me a vast network of organisations and resources to aid in the development of our service. 

Heather Dawes & Sandi Duffy - Health Screening Nurses Heather Dawes & Sandi Duffy - Health Screening Nurses

Heather Dawes & Sandi Duffy - Health Screening Nurses

Heather:

I have been in the nursing profession for over 30 years now, training in Sheffield and Nottingham and then working in Mansfield and Derbyshire once qualified.  I have worked in the hospital setting but most of my career has been as a district nurse caring for people in their own homes.

My husband and I moved to Lincolnshire in 2008 after we fell for its charms following several fishing holidays.  I joined LRSN in January 2009 and helped Alison to set up the health screening side of LRSN at Louth market.  Since then the service has steadily expanded and we now run clinics in 3 separate markets for the farming community in Louth , Newark and Spalding.

I still work in the NHS at times but not so many hours now as LRSN keeps me busy enough!  Recently my husband and I have discovered a shared love of Britain’s canals and rivers and now we have our own narrow boat and enjoy as much time as possible pottering about on the water.

Sandi:

I qualified as a State Registered Nurse in 1969 and following initial experience in general hospitals started work in the community in 1984, gaining my District Nursing qualification at Hull University in 1986. During my District Nursing experience of some 24 years in Louth and surrounding areas, I have gained insight into some of the health and social challenges facing rural communities, and have had the privilege of building relationships with a range of people in their times of both sadness and celebration. I count myself fortunate to work with LRSN, a compassionate, effective organisation offering an accessible, non judgemental service.

Sophie Dunn - Administration, PR and Events Manager

Sophie Dunn - Administration, PR and Events Manager

Following idyllic family holidays in the Yorkshire Dales as a child I have grown up with a love and appreciation for rural life together with the real challenges working in the agricultural sector can bring. My agricultural career started at Nottingham University where I studied Agricultural Science and following my marriage to a Lincolnshire farmer I have been involved with agriculture ever since.

Over the years I also developed an interest in event design and management which has equipped me well to tackle the work here at LRSN where I am responsible for keeping the charity “connected and informed” as well as supporting the work of the Project Manager and running our fundraising and PR events and activities. I feel privileged to work with LRSN, a charity dedicated to helping those in the rural community finding it tough to go on for whatever reason and I am pleased that I can contribute to helping Lincolnshire’s farmers and rural businesses by being a part of such a dedicated and committed team.

Alison Pratt - PR and Admin Manager

Alison Pratt - PR and Admin Manager

I am Alison Pratt, LRSN's second PR and Administration Manager. I joined LRSN in September 2018 and work alongside Sophie Dunn to ensure that LRSN runs smoothly. My tasks include coordinating the helpline personnel, keeping records of our calls and keeping the website, Facebook pages and Twitter stream up to date. I also help Sophie to arrange events and run projects that promote and raise awareness of our work.

I come from a farming family in County Durham, my brother now runs the farm, which today is an all arable enterprise. When I was young, Mum and Dad kept cattle, sheep, pigs and hens, as well as growing arable crops and potatoes. My earliest memories are of collecting eggs and "helping" my parents with the animals, especially the piglets and lambs. I attended school in Darlington, so would rush home every night to see what had been happening during my absence and school holidays and weekends were spent in the fresh air, often with school friends, enjoying the freedom of living on a farm.

University followed: I studied Soil and Land Resource Science at Newcastle, then, when I couldn't decide what to do next, I gained some very valuable secretarial skills at Upperthorpe Secretarial College in Darlington, learning to touch type and write in shorthand, a skill that has sadly disappeared. I can still type pretty fast, though!

I joined my previous employer, the National Farmers' Union in March 1987, some 31 years later, and six jobs held in locations around the country, I "retired" and have been lucky in being able to come and work for LRSN. My last job at the NFU was working as the regional communications adviser in the East Midlands, based at Uppingham. My role included editing the regional pages of British Farmer and Grower, writing news releases, training up and coming farming spokespeople through the NFU's Farming Ambassador programme and undertaking all sorts of promotions to showcase the wonderful work farmers and growers do to produce our food and look after our beautiful countryside.

I have been aware of LRSN and its work for many years, helping where I could through my role at NFU to promote the organisation and its work. I am so pleased to work with this wonderful team of staff and volunteers and, I hope, ensure that they can help more of Lincolnshire's rural families through difficult times.

"Here at LRSN we have a shared love and belief in Lincolnshire’s agricultural industry and we hope that this, together with our professional approach and dedication to our work at LRSN and everyone we work with, encourages people in need to come forward and ask for help because we want to help"

Talk to us on our helpline:

0800 138 1710