MEET THE TEAM
Founder & CEO
After successful careers in both retail and the education sector including owning three of her own shops. Sally decided to move into the charity sector in 2017. In her first role she designed, setup and ran a boutique shop for First Days Children’s Charity. Following on from this she moved to Trinity Homeless Projects as their grants manager helping to raise funds for their partner organisation Slough Homeless Our Concern. She has three children, two that are grown up and now working and one currently at University.
In May 2018 she set up The Cowshed with her husband after identifying a need in the local area and it was registered with the Charity Commission in January 2019. In March 2020 she stepped down from her role with Trinity and took over the running of The Cowshed full time. Sally is passionate about supporting those in most need in our society in a practical and loving way.
Referrals Supervisor - Hurst
Nikki Pond is a dedicated Referrals Supervisor at The Cowshed, where she oversees the running of the Hurst Referrals Centre. Nikki’s passion for the work done by The Cowshed began when she volunteered at the organisation’s inception. Her enthusiasm for the cause caught the attention of the management, who offered her a job as the Referrals Coordinator, which she excelled at, leading to her promotion to her current role.
Before joining The Cowshed, Nikki worked as a nursery assistant at a local school for over twenty years. This experience gave her a deep appreciation for working with children and taught her how to be patient, empathetic, and understanding, traits that she brings to her work at The Cowshed. Nikki is also an advocate for sustainability and recycling, which she practices both at home and at work. She keeps everyone on their toes by ensuring that everything that can be recycled is recycled, and The Cowshed is more eco-friendly due to her efforts.
In her spare time, Nikki loves to travel and cycle with her husband, Nigel, who also volunteers at The Cowshed. Nikki is a warm and friendly person who is always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need, making her an invaluable asset to The Cowshed team.
Craft Co-Ordinator - Reading
Distribution Centre Supervisor
Ruth has worked in several industries throughout her career including marketing, the travel industry and as a primary school teacher. She has also enjoyed having many different voluntary roles within the community.
Being part of an inspiring team is what drives her and that is exactly what she has loved about working at the Cowshed, where she has volunteered since January 2020.
Ruth enjoys travel, hiking, reading, gardening and is passionate about music. She loves nothing better than sharing good food and laughter with family and friends.
Rebecca practiced as a Family Law Solicitor for 14 years before taking time out to raise her two young daughters. For the last few years Rebecca has volunteered for a local Domestic Abuse Charity and last summer she joined The Cowshed as a volunteer.
Working with charities has sparked a desire to change direction and in September Rebecca began a part time college course in Counselling Skills. Alongside her studies, Rebecca now co-ordinates fundraising on behalf of The Cowshed.
“The last few years have really instilled in me a desire to work within the community and supporting those in need. I am just so happy to be a part of the Cowshed Team”.
Originating from South Wales, Rebecca travels back home as often as she can to see her family and she is also a member of a strong and supportive fitness community which she has been a part of for nearly four years and which she credits for her feeling stronger and healthier than ever!
Donation Centre/Hygiene Bank Supervisor
After feeling like a change of direction in life, but not knowing quite what to do, Liz started volunteering for The Cowshed, and she hasn’t looked back!
Coming from a Customer Services background, she loves nothing more than meeting new people and bringing order from chaos.
“I am pleased to bring my experience to help a charity that I have come to feel very passionate about.”
In her spare time, Liz enjoys playing the Ukulele, doing Jigsaw Puzzles and going on Country Walks ideally finished with a Country Pub Meal!
After graduating from university with a PHD in economics I worked as a university lecturer for 10 years before a complete change of direction into a retail outlet ownership which was thriving right up until the invasion of my country. I was then forced to seek refuge in the UK for the safety of my children so after a long journey through Europe we relocated to Reading.
One of my first experiences in the UK was a visit to The Cowshed in Hurst to collect some vitally needed aid that they had so kindly collected for all the Ukrainians who came under such difficult times. So, when the opportunity came up to apply to work with such a wonderful organisation, I jumped at the chance as I knew I would have the opportunity to repay some of the kindness and generosity the people of the UK had shown to me and my family. I’m married with two children. When I am not working, I like to spend time with my family and take long walks into the countryside surrounding my new home. I also enjoy evenings at home with a good book, a cup of tea and my cute Chihuahua on my lap.
Referrals Co-ordinator - Hurst
Claire joined The Cowshed in November 2022. After having worked in her previous HR Administration position for 9 years she was looking for a change and a role where she could make a difference. She was introduced to The Cowshed by her mother who volunteers for the charity on a regular basis. Claire’s cousin now also regularly volunteers too. Claire is married with two children. One at University and one at senior school. During her free time Claire enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She also enjoys watching her son compete in athletics and play football. Claire also loves to go on holiday and enjoys walking her 2 dogs.
Referrals Co-ordinator - Reading
After qualifying as a mental health nurse in 1990, I worked in several different areas of care, both here and Australia, before specialising in community nursing with early onset dementia. I left nursing in 2003 to spend time raising my children and to set up an electrical contracting business with my husband, being responsible for accounting and staff management. I also volunteer at our local scout group with the catering at all camps. Now my children are older and more independent, I decided to look for something to do for me and my time so began volunteering for The Cowshed in March 2022, after being in awe of their philosophy and care shown since they started, and I was delighted to be offered a permanent role a few months later. I feel honoured to be part of such an amazing charity and a fabulous, dedicated team. Our work covers all the reasons why I went into nursing originally, to help people and make a difference to their lives. In my spare time I enjoy music, films, camping and hiking as well as spending time with family and friends sharing meals and laughing.
I left college straight into the first lockdown with an A level in Fine Art, and once the world started to open up again, I spent two years training and working as an apprentice in a small tattoo studio. A good friend suggested I join her for a few hours a week volunteering for the Cowshed, and before I knew it, I was there pretty much everyday! I completely fell in love with the charity and the people while volunteering, so, as soon as the admin position was advertised, I went for it. I’ve loved every day since. In my spare time, I still draw and paint, and enjoy helping my mum run a children’s art and craft group in our back garden cabin.
Craft Co-ordinator - Hurst
As a young teen Audrey started collecting silver paper for the Guide Dogs for the Blind and has always had an interest in charity work.
Audrey worked in customer service and latterly in a local Art Gallery and mixed with Artists and a lot of creative people. She has always loved sewing but not to a high standard and was looking for sewing lessons when she discovered The Cowshed. The combination of sewing and recycling fabric was enough to pique her interest. She joined 3 years ago. Now she’s learning on the job.
Originating from Scotland she has 2 daughters and a family spaniel called Stanley and a cat called Arthur.
Referrals Co-ordinator - Reading
Katy has been working in the NHS as a doctor (mainly in the Emergency Department) for the last 10 years. She needed a change of scenery and some time to focus on her young daughter which is when she discovered The Cowshed and started volunteering.
Having spent the last 3 months on sabbatical in the USA with her family she is now back at the Cowshed 3 days a week and loving it. She is passionate about helping others and organisation, so this is the perfect fit.
In her spare time Katy loves hiking, running, cycling, and swimming and is currently in training for a Triathlon! She also sings with a choir in Windsor and is often found in a cafe with some cake and a good book.
First Trustee & Founder
Kester left school at 18 and began a career as an officer in the Army serving in a number of overseas roles, Northern Ireland and Iraq. After 8 years he left the Army to study a Psychology degree at York before spending 15 years in the Defence Electronics Industry.
In 2012 he made a major career change moving in to the education sector. He is currently the Director of the Enterprises Company for Bradfield College and has also become a Director for their International Company and is assisting with the efforts to establish International Schools for the College in a number of countries including China.
He helped his wife Sally to set up the Cowshed in 2018 and continues to support the charity operationally and strategically in his spare time.
Abbie grew up in the local area before studying International Relations and Global Issues at the University of Nottingham, with a brief stint at the University of Western Australia. After moving back to Reading after graduation, Abbie now works for KPMG specialising in transaction services and is currently studying to become a chartered accountant.
Having volunteered at The Cowshed for 2 months over the summer of 2019, Abbie brings an in-depth knowledge of the day-to-day running of the charity and is excited to support and encourage the charity as a trustee.
In her spare time you can normally find Abbie either on a netball court, socialising with friends or booking flights for her next adventure!
Nimisha Overton from a refugee background herself as a Ugandan Asian arrived in the UK with her family as a baby with only the clothes on their person.
With a degree in Business Information Systems & Marketing Pursued a 20+ year career in sales, business development, marketing and now HR leading diversity, equity & inclusion.
Met her lifelong partner Ian at university with whom she has 2 active teenage boys.
Carried out multiple charity roles across including:
- National Childbirth Trust (NCT)
- Guide Dogs for the Blind
- NHS Responder
- Mental Health Counsellor
- Parents Association Member
Susie is a Pioneer curate with Emmanuel Church in Woodley, training to be a vicar in the Church of England. She has a particular interest in connecting with folk who don’t go to church, and developing their spirituality outside of the structures of established church and is currently studying an Ma in Theology and Mission. Before training for ministry, she worked in pastoral care with the Royal Navy, in media production, and making wedding cakes as well as volunteering for a marine conservation charity in Indonesia. You can usually find her having 10 extravagantly creative ideas before breakfast, dreaming of the ocean and trying to spend more time listening well to others and the world around us.
She has a degree in Accountancy and Finance and an MBA.
Chelsea lives in Berkshire with her 3 children.
Mervyn had a varied career with scientific and management roles in both the steel and pharmaceutical industries, initially in the UK before working internationally. At the end of his career he worked as a management consultant coaching people on their management and marketing skills along with helping to develop and improve their strategies.
He has been a Rotarian for many years and for the last three has worked closely with The Cowshed providing support to them. In his spare time he enjoys travelling, spending time with his Grandchildren and following a wide range of sports.
Emma has an extensive career in the public and voluntary sectors, having worked as a senior manager for local and regional charities in strategic, programme and operational management.
Following her BSc in Geography at Sheffield University, Emma spent the earlier part of her career volunteering with a conservation charity and wildlife trust, moving to the Countryside Agency where she managed a lottery funded programme to create a lasting legacy of community greenspaces.
Emma then worked for over 15 years in the charitable sector to provide support and promote the inclusion of people with learning disabilities, from children in their early years through to adulthood.
Having lived in Wokingham over 20 years with her husband and two boys, Emma takes pride in supporting the local community and was elected as a Parent Local Advisor for The Emmbrook School in 2023. Emma has previously held positions as a non-executive director at Support Horizons and volunteered for the Emmbrook Infant and Junior Schools.
In her spare time Emma enjoys being outdoors, playing netball, surfing and watching her boys play football.
Sheila has worked in senior HR roles for over 30 years for companies including BAA (Heathrow), Centrica and Avis Budget Group. More recently she has undertaken contract work supporting company restructures and change programmes for Swissport, Three UK, Astellas Pharma and Coty Inc and now delivers training in employee relations issues. Sheila was a Trustee for Citizens Advice Bracknell and District for 12 years and has also volunteered with the Covid Community Response team and vaccination centre in Bracknell since 2020. She has lived in Bracknell for 25 years and enjoys walking in the Chilterns and Newbury Downs as well as in the local area.