Meet the Team


Cath Wakeman OBE

CEO & Trauma Therapist - Art Psychotherapist


Cath has been involved in working with survivors of Child Sexual Abuse since 1998, when she completed her training as an Art Therapist. She worked at “Number 28”, Action For Children, firstly as a practitioner and latterly as Project Manager. Cath ran a small private practice prior to establishing Imara and has trained as a Creative Arts Supervisor, EMDR practitioner,Couple counsellor and holds a diploma in Park Inner Child Therapy.  She has also provided specialist training regionally and nationally and works as a clinical supervisor and consultant to other professionals. Cath has a Degree in Nursing and worked as a nurse in hospital and community settings prior to becoming an Art Therapist.

Cath was awarded an OBE in 2015 for her services to Child Protection and is committed to supporting survivors and their families to move on from the trauma of Child Sexual Abuse. Setting up Imara was an opportunity to respond to the need of children and teenagers to receive immediate help once they had disclosed abuse, recognising that there was no comprehensive support to the individual and their family at this time.


Therapy Team


thumbnailChristy Clare

Senior Clinical Therapist - Play Therapist


Christy joined Imara in September 2016. She has a history of working with the Youth Offending Team and both secondary and primary schools for 15 years, mainly leading on Wellbeing and Nurture for children and families in Nottingham who appear vulnerable and would display challenging behaviours. Christy was also the schools Safeguarding lead and an Advanced Designated Safeguarding Lead with Nottingham City Council.

Christy is a registered and accredited Play Therapist (PTUK) and has practised with young people aged 5 years and up since 2009.

Christy will focus on the child's voice with a view to putting across the child's point of view to the adults around that child.

Play Therapists use play/sand/objects and art allowing the child to develop their situation or history through metaphor,the easiest and most comfortable way for a child to communicate. Christy also uses this model with adults.

Christy will train further this year in Filial Family Therapy in June 2017


 thumbnailNicky Carling

Trauma Therapist - PICT Practitioner, EFT Practitioner & Person-Centred Counsellor


Nicky draws on her knowledge of several different therapeutic disciplines to blend a unique approach for each individual; working together to help them to move towards what they wish to achieve and helping them to progress in a much more optimistic way.

Nicky is a qualified Further Education Teacher and Curriculum Manager, with comprehensive experience of teaching Life and Employment Skills to Adults with Learning Difficulties, predominantly Autism. Using her skills as a therapist, she also teaches Confidence Building Skills to adults experiencing mental health issues and delivers workshops and training to other service providers.

Professional Qualifications:
Diploma in Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy
Master Practitioner of Meridian Energy Therapies (Emotional Freedom Technique)
Diploma in Person-Centred Counselling
BFRP—Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner
Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector
University Certificate in Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Diploma in Hopi Ear Candling
Diploma in Parks Inner Child Therapy (PICT)


thumbnailSusannah Dirckze-Taylor

Creative Arts Therapist - Dance Movement Psychotherapist


Susannah joined the Imara team in December 2017. Susannah has previously worked in different schools and organisations in both therapeutic and pastoral roles with children, young people and adults who have faced challenges and/or experienced trauma.

Susannah is a registered and accredited Dance and Movement  Psychotherapist and previous to this training, completed a BA (Hons) in Physical and Dance theatre. Susannah has experience of working in the arts, particularly creative theatre and draws on dance, drama, music and art in her therapeutic work.

As people, it can be extremely difficult to simply ‘put into words’ how we are thinking or feeling. Dance and Movement Psychotherapy offers an alternative to those who may find it difficult to do this, using different artistic methods in the process.


thumbnailRachael Stonard

Creative Arts Therapist - Dance Movement Psychotherapist


Rachael joined Imara in July 2018. She is a registered and accredited Dance Movement Psychotherapist who has worked with children, young people and adults since her training commenced in 2011. Rachael delivers therapeutic support in a creative, flexible and original way including art, imagery, sound and play in her sessions.

Rachael has previously worked for other organisations and in private practice delivering creative therapeutic support for people who have experienced trauma. She has completed additional specialist training in New York and in 2013 was presented with an award for her humanitarian work within refugee communities.

Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) is a relational process which recognises body movement as an instrument of communication and expression. Body movement doesn't necessarily mean 'dance performance' as we often move without conscious awareness of our bodies. DMP supports the integration of aspects of self through increased body awareness and a focus on the inter-relationship between psyche and soma.


thumbnailVerity Danbold

Creative Arts Therapist - Dance & Movement Psychotherapist


Verity Danbold is a Dance Therapist specializing in trauma. As both a Dance Therapist and a community dance/social circus specialist, she has extensive experience working globally with survivors of sex trafficking and torture, as well as refugees in the UK. 

DMT uses movement as a diagnostic and healing tool, seeing in the body what is “too fine, too deep” for words. She draws from the Sampoornata method, a human-rights based methodology, she campaigns for your rights outside of sessions, while nurturing a creative, nurturing space to grow as your own advocate. She guides her practice as one of “working through the body what is done to the body.’’ Working in the Global South for over a decade, she celebrates the capacity for movement to transcend cultural and language barriers and to connect with non/pre-verbal clients. She integrates practices such as circus, yoga, and crafts to celebrate the creative, reflective and moving self. In working through the body and movement, she nurtures a practice of body-embedded self-care, encouraging people to reflect on themselves as a tool for healing, strength and growth. 


thumbnailMelanie Page

Creative Arts Therapist - Art Psychotherapist


Melanie joined the Imara team in August 2018 and is a registered art psychotherapist with HCPC and the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT). Her clinical art psychotherapy experience includes work with children in a post adoption support setting and with young adults diagnosed with learning disabilities. 

Prior to her art psychotherapy qualification Melanie worked for eight years for an award winning charity, where she pioneered the provision of creative support to unaccompanied asylum seeker teenagers and young survivors of trafficking. She has also completed specialist training in counselling children who have experienced trauma, receiving a certificate in counselling skills with children using the arts, from the Institute of Arts in Therapy and Education.

Art Psychotherapy is a safe way for children and adults to explore feelings using art materials, images and metaphor. This therapy can support recovery and the strengthening and reforming of self following trauma.


thumbnailHannah Grace

Creative Arts Therapist - Art Psychotherapist


Hannah Grace graduated as an HCPC registered Art Therapist in July 2018 and is a member of the British Association of Art Therapists.

Hannah has experience working with clients in a school setting, an NHS children's centre (CAHMS) and with a charity for homeless and vulnerable adults providing therapy for clients with a range of difficulties.

Hannah became an Art Therapist as she believes that creating a safe space free of fear or judgement can empower people, increase self-awareness and self-confidence and build self-esteem through the universal language of art. Hannah uses a largely non-directive approach which allows the young person to be in control of what they bring to the session. Building a relationship between herself, the client and the art enables the client to experience personal growth and a strong sense of self.


Kim Lewin

Creative Arts Therapist - Person-Centred Psychotherapist

Kim joined the Imara team in January 2020. She is a registered Person-Centred psychotherapist, specialising in working with children and young people (MA) also holding a  Creative, Expressive Therapies BA (hons) degree. Kim has over 20 years of experience of working with diverse populations of children and young people and holds the importance of empowerment and equality central to her work.

Kim has previously worked within education and healthcare settings, using the creative arts as therapeutic support for children, young people and adults. More recently she provided a counselling service within a provision for students who have been excluded from mainstream education and are experiencing a variety of issues.

Person-Centred psychotherapy is based on the belief that humans have the capacity to develop themselves through facilitative, empathic communication and expression that form the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist. This communication is invited in a variety of ways including the use of arts, movement and conversation. This process is client-led, allowing clients to explore aspects of themselves within a safe and supportive environment.

Stella Hurst

Sleep and Anxiety Practitioner


Mala Holland

Play Therapy Trainee

An accredited Play Therapist with PTUK and BACP and experienced parenting coach and mentor who have worked with children and families for the past 17 years.  Recently also trained as Parent-Child Attachment Play practitioner, she is passionate about the importance of play and creativity as part of a healthy childhood and help parents develop healthy bond with children through play and acceptance. She believes in creating safe space for children to utilise their inner strength and resources to begin the process of healing and self-growth.  

She has lived and worked in Indonesia and England, and worked with families with diverse cultural backgrounds which gives her a unique understanding, and respect of the complexities of raising families in a multicultural context.

Prior to her play therapy training, Mala managed and built a school in Medan, Indonesia from a small local school to an internationally accredited school which prioritise play and well-being at the core of the service. She was also involved in a charity that drives the special needs awareness campaign in Medan through school and communities involvements. 




thumbnailStephanie Atkinson

CHISVA Service Coordinator & Trauma Care Practitioner - ISVA and CHISVA



Stephanie joined Imara in April 2018. She is social work trained but much of her career has been devoted to supporting people who have been affected by crime or the actions of others, and she is experienced in providing practical support, emotional support and advocacy in this area. 

Just before joining Imara Stephanie worked as the East Midlands representative for a national project, where third sector representatives supported the Police to develop and deliver the prevention element of their child sexual abuse and exploitation plan. In this role she also wrote a toolkit around working with boys and young men at risk of or experiencing abuse and exploitation.

Steph is a qualified ISVA since July 2017 and qualified as a CHISVA, the children and young people's specialism of ISVA, in March 2019. In her own words "I really love my job and I’m passionate about providing the best possible support to children, young people and their families."


thumbnail Zoe Kukan

 Trauma Care Practitioner - ISVA and CHISVA


Zoe joined Imara in October 2017.  She has previous experience of providing advocacy support to vulnerable adults with mental health issues, who are also at risk of homelessness.  Zoe has volunteered and fund-raised for a number of charities who support vulnerable people such as Hope Nottingham, Tea & Company and Framework.  She is passionate about supporting and empowering vulnerable people to speak out and have their voices heard.

Zoe has a B.Sc. in Psychology with applied Criminology and an M.Sc. in Forensic and Criminological Psychology (by research). Whilst studying for her masters, she volunteered on the women's ward of a secure hospital, risk assessing and co-facilitating groups for offenders who have mental health issues. In September 2016, Zoe co-published a paper raising awareness of how low self-esteem can increase a person's vulnerability to abuse.

Whilst working at Imara, Zoe continues to take part in a monthly hand-out of clothes, food and toiletries for Nottingham's homeless.

In July 2018, Zoe qualified as an ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Adviser) which provided her with the knowledge and specialist skills to support victims of sexual violence to access the support they need, including throughout the criminal justice process. In October 2018 Zoe qualified as a CHISVA, the children and young people's specialism of ISVA.

thumbnailKyle Colton

Trauma Care Practitioner - CHISVA


Kyle joined Imara in August 2018 with years of experience working with vulnerable children and young people, both in the UK and in humanitarian roles abroad. From being a Deputy Manager at a children's home in Nottingham to having a crèche class and working with vulnerable teenagers in South Africa. Kyle taught English in China and enjoyed supporting local youth and a women's rights group in Honduras.

Kyle volunteered with the NSPCC for 8 years within the sexual abuse theme. Here he worked as an advocate, a campaigner, as a voice for young people, and got to go to the Houses of Parliament to launch a campaign. 

Kyle completed a BA (Hons) in Philosophy and always remained committed to his passion of working to support and empower children and young people.

In March 2019 Kyle qualified as a CHISVA (ISVA with the children and young people's specialism).


Emily Shelton

Trainee CHISVA

Emily joined the team in June 2020. Emily is a registered Social Worker and a trainee CHISVA. Emily holds a BA Honours in Social Work practice and has studied at post graduate level in Advanced Child Care Practice and is a level 2 Social Work practice educator. 

Emily has been practicing child protection social work for 14 years and has extensive experience in safeguarding, family court work and working directly with families and their children who have suffered significant harm. Emily has worked in a variety of settings over 20 years and this includes being the Senior Practitioner at Nottingham City’s Children and Families direct, the Domestic Abuse Referral Team and the Children Services representative at MARAC.

Recently, Emily was head of Youth Development and Engagement at a local alternative education provision, working the hardest to reach young people.

Emily is a strong advocate in supporting the needs and rights of children.


Lucy Smith

Trainee CHISVA

Lucy joined Imara in June 2020 after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with a B.Sc. degree in Psychology and Mental Health. During her time at University, Lucy completed a placement year as a research assistant. She worked on multiple developmental psychology projects including sleep, ageing cognition and pregnancy trauma. In 2019 Lucy attended the American Psychological Conference in Chicago where she won an international award for her work. Lucy also completed a summer placement at a mental health facility as a health care assistant working with vulnerable adults.  

Whilst studying Lucy volunteered as a personal and academic mentor to children in underfunded schools as part of the ‘children in classrooms’ scheme. Lucy also volunteered as a core support and data analyst for Operation Orphan, a charity who improve quality of life for orphans and vulnerable children. 

The research and volunteering sparked Lucy's interest in the charity sector and consolidated her passion of working to empower children and young people


Business Support Team


thumbnailAlice Hibbert 

Business Support Lead


Alice first joined Imara as a student intern in the summer of 2016 before becoming Imara’s Project Coordinator in November 2017.

Alice graduated from the University of Nottingham with a First-class Honours degree in Psychology in 2016 before completing her Master’s in Health Psychology, for which she achieved a Distinction in December 2017. Throughout her studies, Alice gained experience working within a range of charities, non-profits and services including Nottingham Nightline, Hope Nottingham Foodbank and an Abbeyfield Society care home for the frail elderly. She is passionate about the charity sector and using the skills she has developed in research and statistics to enable worthy causes to better understand the issue they are tackling, tell their story and evidence their impact in order to access the funding and resources they require.

Alice’s role now as Business Support Lead involves overseeing monitoring and evaluation, marketing and communications, fundraising and systems to ensure Imara’s sustainability and smooth running, enabling the practitioners to provide the best service possible for children and families.


Vimbai Mutimutema

Charity Administrator

Vimbai joined Imara in May 2020. She graduated with a bachelor’s qualification in Law from the University of Reading, a master’s in management from NTU and has a CMI Level 7 Diploma in Management and Leadership. While completing her bachelor’s degree she gained experience within family and criminal law while supporting solicitors, barristers and clients. Vimbai also engaged in volunteering activities during her undergraduate studies which ignited her passion for the charity sector. Since then she has volunteered with various charities working to provide business support to local and international teams. During her master’s studies, Vimbai focused on helping private and public sector organisations devise corporate, business and functional strategies and use resources effectively to create profit and social value.

In her role as Imara’s charity administrator, Vimbai is part of the business support team. She is a friendly port of call for our service users and external partners and provides resourceful support to our team of staff, volunteers and interns.


Helen Studholme


Helen joined Imara in June 2020. She has been working in Accounting and Finance for over 10 years in a variety of roles. Initially working in the corporate world, Helen made a move towards working in the charity sector in 2014.

Over the last couple of years, as a Freelancer, Helen has had the pleasure of working with a number of local charities. She is now looking forward to developing the Bookkeeper role and supporting the team at Imara.

Helen enjoys volunteering with a number of organisations. In addition to assisting with accounting queries and recruitment she has also run online children’s quizzes and helped at events. She currently assists a musical director with the running a community choir and is launching another community choir in 2021.

thumbnailMichael Bellamy

Premises Manager


Michael became involved with Imara back in 2016 when he did his first fundraising walk for the charity. He started volunteering for the organisation when Imara moved into the current premises.

Michael has a Zoology BSc and an HND in Applied Bioscience. These are reflected in his passion for gardening and his ability to carry out technical tasks. Michael has cleared the courtyard and turned it back into an enjoyable and usable space. Alongside the outside premises Michael also maintains the building, carrying out DIY and helping to make the project an inviting and comfortable place for clients and staff.

Michael has now transitioned from being a volunteer to a paid employee with Imara. He has continued with gardening and maintenance but has also progressed to running garden and craft groups for families supported by Imara's therapeutic practitioners.

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