Meet the Staff
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.
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
Senior Creative Arts Therapist – Art Psychotherapist
Melanie joined the Imara team in August 2018 and is a registered art psychotherapist with HCPC, and a member of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT). She is passionate about supporting children, young people, adults and families who have been impacted by the trauma of child sexual abuse. Melanie has completed specialist training in trauma therapy, dyadic art therapy, child counselling skills and she is a trained LTFI practitioner.
Prior to her role at Imara, Melanie’s clinical practice included post adoption support and work with young adults diagnosed with learning disabilites. She also 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.
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 your sense of self following trauma.
Senior Creative Arts Therapist – Art Psychotherapist
Hannah Grace is an HCPC registered Art Therapist and a member of the British Association of Art Therapists.
Hannah has been working for Imara for two years and has previous experience working with children and young people in school settings and CAHMS. She also provided an art therapy group for a charity for homeless and vulnerable adults.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Sleep and Anxiety Practitioner
Stella joined Imara in February 2020. She is a qualified Advanced Rapid Transformational Therapist, Certified Hypnotherapist, Biology Teacher and qualified Children’s Sleep Practitioner. She has over 12 years’ experience of working with children in an educational, pastoral and, more recently, a therapeutic setting.
Early on in her teaching career Stella realised that students would often be drawn to seek her advice and guidance on a variety of issues, more often than not around sleep and anxiety. Having experienced sleeping issues and severe anxiety first-hand, Stella could provide pastoral support and empathise, but very little beyond. Consequently, this gave Stella the drive and motivation to gain further qualifications that would enable her to work with children suffering from these issues in a therapeutic setting. Stella now teaches her clients and their families the very same knowledge and tools that led to her own recovery many years ago. Furthermore, where appropriate, Stella uses Rapid Transformational Therapy as a powerful tool to help her clients to free themselves from the root cause of the anxiety and sleep issues that they currently experience
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.
Creative Arts Therapist – Dramatherapist
Ellie is a Dramatherapist, working full time at Imara. Prior to joining the team in July 2020, she achieved a First Class Honours degree in Creative Expressive Therapies from the University of Derby, before going onto complete her MA in Dramatherapy, also at Derby, and graduating with Distinction in 2019. She is registered with the HCPC and is a member of the British Association of Dramatherapists.
Ellie has significant experience of working with children and young people in various settings, including those who have experienced complex trauma, abuse and attachment disruption. Additionally, she has worked with adults in mental health services, providing therapy and creative support for clients with a wide range of needs and difficulties. Furthermore, Ellie has completed research into aspects of her work that she is particularly passionate about, predominantly focussing on working with the effects of trauma on children and young people. Alongside Dramatherapy, Ellie is a confident actor, performer and storyteller. As a reflective practitioner, she is also committed to looking within, as she believes that developing personally allows her to develop professionally.
Dramatherapy provides the client with a non-judgmental, playful and empowering space to create, connect, heal and reflect, where what is explored is done so through the safe container of metaphor. Ellie became a Dramatherapist because she is passionate about creating this space for clients and empowering them to give voice to their stories and ultimately live the healthy and fulfilled lives they deserve.
Creative Arts Therapist – Dramatherapist
Ukeila joined the Imara team in July 2020. She is an HCPC registered (MA) Dramatherapist who specialises in working with children and young people. In addition to holding her (MA), Ukeila holds a Community and Applied Performance Ba (Hons) degree. Ukeila has over ten years of experience working with young people within the youth justice system and individuals struggling with identity issues. She believes that life has many end destinations, but through patients and support, we can all learn to re-write them.
Over the last ten years, Ukeila has dedicated her time to providing support to young people and adults. Her recent employment within the healthcare sector consisted of her providing therapeutic support to young people and adults struggling with ill mental health and substance misuse. In the past, Ukeila has travelled internationally and around the United Kingdom, making use of her training at Identity Drama School, National Youth Theatre and Birmingham School of Acting. She has performed as a Spoken Word artist to raise awareness around sexual exploitation and domestic violence, collaborating with known organisations such as ‘Women’s Aid’ and ‘Young inspirations.’
Dramatherapy allows people to express without words, breaking down the divisions of race, culture, religion and Politics. Dramatherapy uses the healing aspects of both drama and theatre within the therapeutic process. It is a method of working and playing, which uses an action to facilitate creativity, imagination, learning, insight and growth. Ukeila uses a person-centred approach, empowering her clients to be in control of their wishes and feelings. Using movement, art, role play and reflective practice, she enables you to start telling your story.
Creative Arts Therapist – Art Psychotherapist
Amanda qualified as an art psychotherapist in 2018 and joined the Imara team in September 2020. Her clinical art psychotherapy experience includes working with adults and children at a charity for people affected by domestic abuse (providing individual and group art therapy) and for an arts therapies organisation providing therapy in primary and secondary schools.
Prior to qualifying as an art therapist Amanda worked as a creative mentor with looked after young people in care, and as a freelance artist providing art workshops within different settings. This included working towards increasing participants self-confidence, social inclusion and well-being with groups in hospitals, art galleries, museums, schools, youth clubs and across the community.
Amanda is registered with HCPC and the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT). She is a regional coordinator for BAAT.
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication. Within this context, art is not used as diagnostic tool but as a medium to address emotional issues which may be confusing and distressing (BAAT 2020)
Creative Arts Therapist – Art Psychotherapist
Sue joined the the team at Imara in September 2020. She is a HCPC registered Art Therapist and a member of the British Association of Art Therapists. Her clinical psychotherapy experience includes working with loss, bereavement, physical and psychological illness with adults, young people and children.
Prior to training as an Art Therapist, Sue has worked as a Pharmacist in various roles within the NHS and has always had an interest in psychological wellbeing and holistic health. She has also been a practising artist since 2011 and has worked and volunteered in schools and charitable organisations in the East Midlands, delivering and facilitating workshops, as well as exhibiting her work locally and nationally.
She became an Art therapist so she could combine her two passions of creativity and health and believes that working in a client-led, non-directive manner in a safe, non-judgmental setting, helps build the foundations of a therapeutic alliance which can help clients to facilitate change and growth in their lives.
Creative Arts Therapist – Art Psychotherapist Trainee
Maja joined the Imara team in September 2020 as an Art Psychotherapy trainee. She is currently studying the MA Art Psychotherapy Practice at the Art Therapy Northern Programme in Sheffield.
Maja’s career and interest revolves around working with children – she started as a youth worker in Forest Fields, Nottingham and has since worked with children in other areas as well – as a circus skills tutor and a language tutor, she worked for Nottingham City Council’s Shortbreaks services that provide support to children with additional needs and their families, and was part of the Nottingham City Council’s Play & Youth Service in different parts of the city for four years. She is now working for Wild Things, an ecological education collective, that provide learning experiences in the natural world for children in need of additional support.
Art therapy, with the use of our innate imagination and creativity can help to create a supportive and healing environment for children who have experienced abuse and are suffering from traumatic symptoms. Maja is hoping she will be able to contribute to the work Imara are doing with the children they are working with.
Volunteer Art Therapist
Beth first came to Imara in 2019 as a trainee art psychotherapist, where previously her passion for volunteering with vulnerable children and adults led her to notice the connection between creativity and resilience. Beth’s previous therapeutic experience came from working alongside young people within a hospital school who had encountered a range of difficulties such as trauma and attachment disruption. Beth then went on to graduate her Masters with a Distinction and return to Imara in 2021 as a volunteer art therapist.
Beth focuses on providing a nurturing and creative space that allows room for the clients voice to grow and be heard. By using art materials to explore feelings and sensations through metaphor, this allows a safe distance to unpack the harder to reach parts of self. Through exploring these parts of the safe in a creative and non judgemental way, we’re able to begin building resilience and self esteem following trauma.
Creative Arts Therapist
Amanda joined the Imara team in November 2020. She is a registered child counsellor and a member of BACP. She began her therapeutic training with an advanced diploma course where she learnt to facilitate therapy through seven different art forms including art, movement, sand-tray and clay. This led onto further postgraduate therapeutic study, specifically working with children. She qualified with a Postgraduate certificate in Child Psychotherapeutic Studies as well as her Diploma in Child Counselling. Her training was integrative in its approach, drawing together attachment theory, psycho-dynamic thinking and neuroscience as ways to understand complex and relational trauma within child development. This was complemented by completing an infant observation module over two years.
Amanda’s previous experience includes working as a counsellor within primary schools across Nottinghamshire since 2013. She feels privileged to have worked therapeutically with children who were impacted by relational trauma and loss as well as neurodiverse conditions such as Autism and ADHD. She has also worked closely with young people and adults living with additional needs over the last ten years. This role has provided wonderful opportunities to build relationships with them and their families in ways that are beneficial for their social and emotional development. Her creative practice as an artist has also enabled her to work within inner city schools in Nottingham running art projects to enhance the young peoples’ learning within their curriculums.
Amanda’s therapeutic approach is centred around building a warm relationship with the young person and is largely non-directive. She enables them to explore forms of expression that feel comfortable for them by drawing on play, the creative arts and metaphor. She believes that attuning to our nervous system’s survival responses helps to better understand our coping strategies. In recent years she has developed a mindfulness practice which has enabled her to integrate self-regulatory activities into her therapeutic work.
CHISVA Service Lead
Stephanie joined Imara in April 2018, where she worked alongside Cath to get the Children and Young People’s Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (CHISVA) service up and running. After two years working as a CHISVA at Imara, she has taken the plunge and is now the Senior Lead for the CHISVA service. Steph qualified as an ISVA in July 2017, and qualified as a CHISVA, the children and young people’s specialism of ISVA, in March 2019.
Steph’s career has focused supporting on children, families and adults 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. Steph has worked in the criminal justice specialism of the charity sector for over 10 years, with an interlude in the middle to train and work as a Social Worker.
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 the East Midlands CSE Prevention Strategy, alongside a toolkit to support agencies working with boys and young men at risk of or experiencing abuse and exploitation.
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.
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.
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 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 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
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.
Project Co-ordinator – Mentoring and Participation Programme
Lily joined the team in March 2020 to set up a Mentoring Programme at Imara. She has been coordinating this project to recruit, train and supervise volunteer mentors at Imara to give service users the opportunity to further work on their confidence and fulfil their potential. As the initial programme has thus far been a success, Lily is working to further develop and expand the mentoring scheme to offer it to more young people.
Lily has also established and facilitates Imara’s Participation Group where service users come together to feedback, co-design and co-produce Imara’s service to ensure they are best meeting the needs of young people.
Lily has developed her project management skills from working as a project coordinator at Nottingham Bikeworks and as a volunteer coordinator at a Meditation & Yoga Retreat Centre on a farm in Taiwan. Lily did her BA in History with Chinese from Newcastle University including a year abroad in Shanghai. She’s volunteered for charities supporting young people, predominantly in teaching roles, including a school in Shanghai for the children of migrant workers and at Sevalaya in India, a village orphanage and local school.
Alongside her work at Imara, Lily also runs a Community Interest Company called Women in Tandem that aims to support and empower more women to ride bikes and is a yoga teacher.
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.
Bookkeeper and Fundraiser
Helen joined Imara in June 2020. She has been working in Accounting and Finance since 2005 in a variety of roles. Initially working in the corporate world, Helen made a move towards working in the charity sector in 2014.
She started volunteering in fundraising and events roles in 2013. She completed a 4 month internship with a national charity and continues to volunteer in her spare time. Taking a break from finance in 2014 Helen was employed as a fundraiser for a couple of years.
She is looking forward to developing the Bookkeeper and Fundraiser roles and supporting the team at Imara.
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.