Our history

Ormiston Families exists today because of one family’s tragedy.

A young woman, Fiona Ormiston Murray, died whilst on her honeymoon. Fiona loved children and it was no secret that she was excited about starting her own family. Her family, devastated by their loss, wanted to do something to honour her memory. They created a charitable trust, devoted to helping children and families in need. That trust is now known as Ormiston Families.

Our vision

“Safe, healthy, resilient families.”

Our mission

We support families in the East of England to build resilience and make choices to improve the life chances of their children.

Our values

Everything we do is guided by our values of collaboration, compassion and effectiveness. Whether you’re working with us as a family, a colleague, a funder, a volunteer or a supporter you’ll see us demonstrating these values every day in everything we do.

We’re collaborative

We work ‘with’, rather than ‘for’, families. We build supportive partnerships, communities and networks. We value each other’s strengths and we work together to drive results.

We’re compassionate

We listen so that we understand the issues people face. We treat people with respect – always supporting, recognising and reinforcing their achievements.

We’re effective

We monitor how our work, which focuses on prevention and early intervention, leads to the people we work with living safer, healthier and more resilient lives.

What we do

We take early and preventative action to support families to be safe, healthy and resilient: all our services help people to build stronger networks, learn from experience and feel in control of their own wellbeing.

Find out more

Our people

Our senior leadership team

Allan Myatt Chief executive

Allan joined Ormiston Families in November 2010 with over 25 years’ experience of working in the voluntary youth sector. Through his previous role as the operations director of Fairbridge, Allan helped to establish three other youth charities: The Youth Enquiry Service in Plymouth, Challenge for Youth in Belfast, and The Venture Trust in Scotland. He was also the first Chair of the Institute for Outdoor Learning.

Kate Higgs Director of income generation and marketing

Kate has more than 30 years of experience in marketing and fundraising in a number of high profile organisations, both private and not-for-profit.

“Joining Ormiston Families is a great honour and fantastic opportunity for me. I have always admired the work of the charity and its dedication and passion in supporting children, young people and families to manage the challenges they face. I want to ensure that through effective fundraising and marketing we maintain financial stability and continue to be a sustainable, growing organisation with the ability to invest in our services.”​

Derrick Louis Commercial director

Derrick Louis has held a wide range of senior-level operational and programme management positions in both the private and public sectors and is currently the chairman of a community health social enterprise.

He has also served in the Army Reserve for over 25 years, worked on a number of overseas aid projects, is a chairman of a primary school governing body and foundation member and fundraiser for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. He holds a MBA, is a member of the Institute of Directors and in his spare time enjoys sailing and horse riding.

Karen Moore Director of people and organisational development

Karen joined us in March 2019, while working as a self-employed HR consultant, coach and trainer. She previously enjoyed a long career as a corporate services director for several social housing providers in the region. Karen holds a MBA, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and is an International Coach Federation accredited coach.

Karen is responsible for people, organisational development and volunteers.

Mark Proctor Director of operations

With extensive experience in Probation, Youth Justice, international development and voluntary sector management roles, Mark joined us from the East of England Regional Assembly in 2008, where he was the social policy lead.

In his current role as director of operations, Mark has responsibility and strategic oversight for the services across Ormiston Families , ensuring they are sustainable and remain safe, effective and of the highest quality.

Duncan Turner Finance director and company secretary

Duncan joined us having previously held the role of finance director in a local specialist care charity and a countywide infrastructure support charity. Additionally, he brings with him six years valuable experience working with a national care charity.

Before entering the charity sector in 2004 he gained a breadth of experience within the public and private sectors including involvement with family businesses from which he feels he brings a balanced commercial perspective to his role.

Duncan said “I am delighted to have joined Ormiston Families and be able to contribute to a wonderful team that provides so much vital support to children and families in the East of England.”

Our president

Lady Xa Tollemache

Ormiston Families is privileged to have the support and involvement of Xa Tollemache as its President.

She writes: “It is vital that Ormiston Families shows the breadth and depth of the important work that it bravely takes forward in its many fundraising events held up and down East of England.”

Our trustees

Robert Parkinson Chair

Robert’s initial career spanned over ten years in marketing and sales in major FMCG organisations, culminating in senior international roles. He moved into general management in the early 1990s and was MD of a number of businesses in healthcare, security and outsourced support services.

Robert became a headhunter in 2004, focusing primarily on the recruitment of board level roles in the infrastructure, support services and defence sectors​. He now combines executive search consultancy and business advisory services with non-executive/trustee positions.

Robert became a trustee of Ormiston Families in 2014 and chair in 2015. He is also chair of a leading girls’ boarding and day school.

Robert has a MA (joint honours in modern history and modern languages) from Oxford University. He is married, with two adult daughters.

Simon Walker Vice chair and chair of the governance committee

Simon joins Ormiston Families with over 35 years’ experience as a lawyer.  During that time he has focused on advising fast growing companies, particularly those in the technology sector.  This work has often required him to assess the risk/reward of a particular transaction and to advise companies on governance issues.​ Simon is also non executive chairman of a technology advisory firm.

Steve Bennett Chair of Ormiston Families Enterprises Limited

Steve has 30 years’ senior international HR management experience in the manufacturing, FMCG, entertainment, technology, and healthcare sectors, within PLC, public sector, private equity, and not-for-profit contexts. He now operates his own HR consultancy services company.

Steve is a trustee of SEAX Multi-Academy Trust, a network of schools and colleges for students with social, emotional, and mental health needs, behavioural and communication challenges, and learning disabilities. He is also a non-executive director of Oaklea Montessori Community Interest Company that operates pre-schools in north Essex.

Steve is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.

Hannah Catchpool Treasurer and chair of the resources committee

Hannah joined the board in early 2014 and has nearly 20 years’ experience in corporate, public and third sector audit and advisory services. She specialises in charity assurance, financial reporting and governance. A Chartered Accountant and Member of the AAT she also holds the ICAEW Diploma in Charity Accounting and an MSc (Distinction) in Voluntary Sector Management from Cass. Hannah is a partner at RSM, working closely with many local and national charities, independent schools, academies and FE organisations.

She is the chair of the resources committee.

In 2016 she completed the 100km Thames Path Challenge and in 2019 the Ride London 100 raising over £6k for Ormiston Families.

Rosie Gutteridge MBE JP DL

Rosie Gutteridge, a journalist and former women’s editor of the Cambridge News, has a long association with the Magistracy. Appointed to the Bedford Bench in 1979, she is a past chairman of the Bedford Bench and the Bedfordshire Family Court. Specialising in family cases for 35 years, she has gained a wide understanding of troubled families and the agencies supporting the Family Courts’ Service.

Rosie is a former member of the Bedfordshire Police Authority and a school governor. She also has more than 40 years’ fundraising experience with a number of charities in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire and is currently President of Cambridgeshire Red Cross.

Appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire in 2011, Rosie was awarded an MBE in the New Years’ Honours List in 2014.​

Miranda Kendall

With a background in PR and marketing, Miranda now leads a portfolio career as a non-executive and consultant. Home is the family farm Maple Farm Kelsale, which produces organic eggs, veg and flour, and hosts young children through the Country Trust schemes. Miranda is a trustee and advisory council member for prison charity Fine Cell Work and a trustee of Snape Maltings with responsibility for the education/creative health advisory group which includes the organisation’s work in criminal justice settings.  She is an ambassador for The Woodland Trust, non-exec chair of Phipps Relations and governor of a secondary school in Lowestoft.

Catherine McLaughlin

Catherine has worked across health, social care and the third sector since graduating in 1995. She has held operational and strategic positions in a variety of organisations including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, The Kings Fund, Family Action and Voiceability. She is particularly interested in children and families, mental health and domestic violence.

She holds a BA Hons in Theology & Religious Studies from Cambridge University, a MA in Healthcare Ethics and Law from Manchester University and a Post Graduate Certificate in Social Care Leadership from the University of Birmingham.

Catherine is married with two children and lives in Essex.

James Murray

James has worked as a management consultant in the private, public and voluntary sectors helping organisations to grow sustainably over the medium to long term. He has helped charities for over 15 years in the fields of strategic development, effective operational management, evaluation and grant giving. Currently, he is chief executive of the Ormiston Trust.

Peter Murray OBE Founding patron

Peter Murray OBE is the founder of Ormiston Families, who wanted to keep the memory of his sister, Fiona Ormiston Murray, alive after her tragic death in 1969. Peter has worked tirelessly with young people and families across the East of England, having been involved in a diverse range of voluntary and charity-based organisations. Peter’s knowledge of the voluntary sector, strategic planning and financial management, have been a real benefit for us.

Julie Spence OBE QPM DL Chair of the income generation committee

Julie Spence was chief constable of Cambridgeshire Constabulary between December 2005 and September 2010. She was president of the British Association for Women in Policing between 2000 and 2010 and was also the head of the Association of Chief Police Officers business area for citizen focus before her retirement in 2010. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 80th birthday honours list. Her current roles include being chairman of the Police Mutual Assurance Society and chairman of Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust ( Community and Mental Health Trust).

In March 2013, she kindly agreed to become a trustee of Ormiston Families. Within weeks, she was instrumental in making our Jail & Bail event in Cambridgeshire one of Ormiston Families most successful ever, with more than £20,000 raised. Showing a determination and zest that was a hallmark of her career, she then threw herself straight into training for Ormiston Families’ London to Paris Cycle Challenge. She then went on to run three more Jail & Bails in Cambridge and Peterborough and cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats as a 60th birthday challenge – in total raising £100k for Ormiston Families.

Julie was proud to be appointed as Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire in April 2017, a role she will hold until 2030.

Gail Tolley

Gail Tolley is the strategic director, children and young people and statutory director of children’s services (DCS) for the London Borough of Brent.

The children and young people department provides services for children, families and schools together with services for the safeguarding and protection of vulnerable children and young people and all children in care and care leavers.

As DCS, Gail is also responsible for ensuring that all council services (including housing, environmental, cultural, sports and leisure) and all other public services in Brent, such as health and the police, work together to improve the lives of children. She chairs Brent’s Children’s Trust.

Gail began her career in teaching and was a secondary school head teacher before moving into local government in 2004 as assistant director Learning and School Effectiveness for the London Borough of Camden. Following this, she spent five years as director of children’s services for Milton Keynes Council before moving to Brent in 2014.

Gail is vice chair of the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services (ALDCS) and sits on the Council of Reference for the national Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS).

Steve West

A graduate in economics from the London School of Economics, Steve qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG, London, in the early 1980s. He has over 20 years’ experience as both a divisional and group finance director of large, multi-site, multi-national corporations in industries ranging from white and capital goods manufacturing, to printing and, latterly, agriculture.

Prior to retiring from executive roles in 2015, Steve was group finance director of the Shropshire Group, a mass producer of fresh produce (typically lettuces, radishes, spring onions, celery, onions and mushrooms) for the large UK retailers. The Shropshire Group employs over 5,000 people, and, as well as possessing extensive operations in the UK, is a major producer in Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Senegal and the USA.

Steve is a non-executive director of the Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB), based on the Norwich Research Park, and chairs QIB’s audit committee. He also chairs the strategy board for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales for the East of England. In 2016, he was appointed to the Board of NatCen Social Research, a major research and survey organisation based in London, and chairs their audit committee. He is advisor to the Audit and Risk Committee of the Company of Biologists, and Treasurer of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

Our patrons

Saeed Atcha MBE DL

This patronage adds to Saeed’s recent prestigious appointment as Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester; the youngest person to be appointed since their introduction in the 16th century.

He was awarded a MBE by Her Majesty The Queen in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List, and became Social Mobility Commissioner in 2018. As a teenager, Saeed developed a strong involvement with the media and set up Xplode Magazine, a youth publication which later became a charity which supports young people in providing training in employability skills and experience in the field of journalism.

“Ormiston Families staff and volunteers go above and beyond. What has stood out the most for me is their willingness, desire and motivation to do more to support more disadvantaged people. Growing up in care I faced many of the same barriers and difficulties Ormiston Families’ service users are going through, and I will be using my voice to help champion what the team does day to day. As Social Mobility Commissioner, the role of Ormiston Families is crucial to our aim of creating a fairer society; I am proud to be their Patron and am looking forward to getting started.”

Roger Graef OBE

Roger Arthur Graef OBE is a theatre director, criminologist and filmmaker. Born in New York, he moved to Britain in 1962, where he has made acclaimed documentary films with his ability to gain access to hitherto closed institutions, including government ministries and court buildings.

He is visiting professor at the Mannheim Centre for Criminology, a member of the Metropolitan Police Independent Advisory Group on race and an advisor to the Sentencing Council

Roger has made more than fifty films on criminal justice, and a number more on social issues like ‘Kids in Care’, and ‘The Truth about Adoption’.