Trustees PDF Print E-mail

John Whitwell (Chair)

John has worked in the Social Care sector since graduating in 1969. He joined the staff of the Cotswold Community, a pioneering therapeutic community that helped emotionally unintegrated boys, in 1972. John took over from Richard Balbernie as Principal in 1985 and continued in that role until 1999. He worked alongside the consultants to the CC during those years, Barbara Dockar-Drysdale, Isabel Menzies-Lyth and Dr Eric Miller and learnt a great deal from them. John also did the Advanced Residential Work course at Bristol University under the direction of Chris Beedell and trained as a Group-Analytic Psychotherapist, qualifying in 1984. In 1999 John moved to ISP (Integrated Services Programme) as the CEO and later Managing Director. ISP was the first independent fostering provider in the UK and provides a multi-disciplinary wraparound service for children in need of specialist therapeutic services. John has recently retired and has published several papers over the years and given lectures in the UK and other European countries. John has also developed a website to act as a digital library of material relevant to the therapeutic care of children


Kath Rooksby – (Vice Chair)

From completing her Degree to her first job with the Alzheimer's Disease Society, the Health and Social Care Sector has offered Kath a rich career combined with voluntary overseas work.

Kath has been lucky enough to play a role in developing service user involvement work for Mental Health Services in Leeds, set up the Patient and Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), Lecture at SGS College in Health and Social Care and currently with NHS England. As part of the Nursing Directorate team Kath project manages the Friends and Family Test in primary care, supports the Commitment to Carers agenda and works with GP practices post CQC inspection. Kath has always valued the opportunity to contribute to positive change and passionately believes in service user involvement and empowerment of opportunity for all.


Nicola de Iongh (Trustee)

Nicola is an independent Management Consultant focusing on strategy, Organisational development and change. She has 20 years’ experience, mainly in the Financial Services sector, of delivering significant organizational, cultural and procedural change in complex organizations. During this time, she has built expertise in HR, Communications, IT and programme delivery. She is also an experienced coach, trainer and facilitator who has worked with executives and teams to develop their professional capability.

Nicola has a degree in French & Russian and an MBA. She is a PRINCE2 registered practitioner, a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Chartered Management Institute and the Institute of Directors.

She is passionate about mental health issues and the impact that counseling can have on individuals and groups, and she is excited about using her experience to help grow GCS as a Trustee.


Emma Payne (Trustee)

Emma is a corporate solicitor with over 15 years’ experience in private practice and in-house roles.  Her current role involves advising on a wide range of transactions including company and business acquisitions, restructurings, fundraisings and joint ventures. Emma has a sound business acumen and considerable expertise in working with a wide range of businesses to solve problems and implement change. Having personally benefitted from counselling some years ago, Emma is thrilled to have the opportunity to use her skills to assist GCS to make counselling available to a wider audience within Gloucestershire.


Svetlin Vrabtchev (Trustee)

Following his graduation from the Medical University in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in 1991 Svetlin worked as a doctor in training in Bulgaria until 1995 when he moved to the UK with his family. Svetlin joined the psychiatry training scheme in Bristol in October 1998 and trained in General Psychiatry and Medical Psychotherapy. He joined the 2gether NHS FT for Gloucestershire in 2009 and works as a consultant psychiatrist and medical psychotherapist in acute psychiatry and in collaboration with psychological therapy services. Svetlin’s clinical expertise and interest is in working with people who have survived complex developmental trauma.  The medical psychotherapy training is multimodality training and includes CBT, Systemic psychotherapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy. Svetlin also trained in mentalisation based treatment model of therapy. He is the medical psychotherapy tutor with the 2gether NHS FT and is involved in medical education and training. Svetlin chairs the accrediting Organisation for medical psychotherapist (ACOMP) within UKCP. He will make every effort to contribute with his clinical knowledge and expertise in the interface between GCS and NHS services.


Lynn Emslie (Trustee)

A career covering acute healthcare, mental health, health in criminal justice and Local Authority social services, Lynn originally qualified as a diagnostic radiographer and worked in large, acute hospitals before qualifying as a social worker and working in a wide range of community settings.

Focusing on mental health, criminal justice and people with complex needs, Lynn championed the requirement to improve access to services and reduce health inequalities.

Working strategically across the Department of Health and NHS, Lynn worked to inform policy by linking academic research into service development; including the voluntary and private sectors. She then led NHS commissioning and quality monitoring within NHS England and supported the establishment of local, regional and national governance structures.

Working as a senior manager, Lynn has gained in-depth experience of partnership working within and across all sectors and strategic development at Ministerial level and across Government departments.

Lynn now works independently and has published two childrens books.


Nigel Brabbins (Trustee)

Nigel has 35 years’ commercial business experience. He graduated in hospitality management in 1980 and enjoyed a long and successful career with Forte Plc. Nigel then completed an MBA and moved in to business services, holding executive positions in logistics & distribution, promotional merchandise and security services. Since 2002 Nigel has been Chief Executive of IT/software companies, utilising new technologies for service delivery and has significant knowledge in e-learning and data security. He led Ultrasis Plc for 8 years, a company providing Computer delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CCBT) for the treatment of mental health conditions and software programmes for physical health and wellbeing. These were used by the NHS as part of the IAPT programme and in organisations to support employee wellbeing. Nigel has maintained his interest in the field of mental and physical health and is looking forward to supporting GCS in its continued development.

Nigel is a Chartered Director and Fellow of the Institute of Directors.


Julia Jones (Trustee)

Julia is a fellow member of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of People and Development). She is an experienced HR professional who has worked at HRD/board level for a top 40 accountancy firm and top 200 law firm in Gloucestershire. Having set up her own HR and management training business she now works with, and advises organisations on HR strategy, Organisational change, management/leadership training development and coaching.

Julia has experience of working in challenging environments with multiple stakeholders at board level, she quite adept at dealing with differing opinions, negotiating, debating and bringing about consensus on the best way forward. A natural problem solver with a pragmatic approach.

In her work as a HR professional, Julia has come across many situations where professional counselling has helped and supported employees through difficult and challenging times in their careers and personal life. She is passionate about raising awareness of mental health in the workplace and is looking forward to working with and promoting GCS going forward.


British Psychoanalytic Council

GCS specialises in providing counselling and training of counsellors to professional standards. GCS was established in 1980 and has over 60 counsellors offering high quality affordable, counselling to the community of Gloucestershire in venues across the county including Stroud, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Cirencester. All our counsellors are supervised and managed within GCS and work within the BACP ethical framework. Some of our counsellors are counsellors in training; they work to the same standards as our qualified counsellors.