Our Lead and Trustees

We are very lucky to have such a wide range of skills and experience in our wonderful trustees.

Rachel Gardner

Founder and Lead of Forging Families

rachel_gardnerI am the very proud Lead of Forging Families and Lead of Sheffield Maternity Services Liaison Committee.  My great passion is supporting families through pregnancy, birth and the first years after baby has been born.

I am a very proud Mummy to two wonderful children, Ossie (7) and Annabel-Rose (9).  I suffered with life changing Post Natal Depression after the birth of both my children.  I was the woman in the baby group that pretended everything was perfect but went home sobbing, I even took home-baked cakes to “show that I was still a good Mummy”.  I am now so passionate about helping woman be more honest and open with each other and share experiences and support each other.

Several years ago I was asked to join Sheffield MSLC, and three/four years ago I become Lead of the MSLC.  Sheffield MSCL has gone from strength to strength becoming one of the most effective and active MSLCs in the country.  As lead of Sheffield MSLC I have helped improve services for women and families by collecting the voices of many Sheffield parents in my surveys and reports. A typical survey of ours has over 1000 respondents. My main area of interest has been perinatal maternal mental health.

The success of the MSLC in Sheffield has been so great that our work exceeded the limit funding available so Forging Families was created.  Forging Families is a newly registered charity, with a fierce group of Sheffield families supporting and strengthening our work with the MSLC. The main aim of Forging Families is to provide support to, a voice for and a signposting service for Sheffield families in the perinatal, and with external funding the sky really is the limit.

I have been recognised nationally for my research studies into perinatal mental health and more recently my work looking at what families want from their maternity health care professionals.  I also work with Professor Hora Soltani on a variety of research projects at Sheffield Hallam University to further improve experiences for families in Sheffield.

Laura Neasmith

Trustee and Treasurer of Forging Families

I am a 33 year old mum and wife to Ben who has lived in Sheffield for over 10 years. Originally from Lincoln I moved to the city for work, fell in love with it and stayed ever since.

My professional background has always been about working with people. I started as an Education and Outreach worker for a charity called Turning Point, going on to work with young people at in a variety of senior roles at Sheffield Futures, Hallam Students Union and Sheffield City Council. This experience led to be becoming Head of Student Services at Barnsley College where I managed a large budget and team of staff.

At the turn of the year I made the difficult decision to leave this role for a more family friendly position. I now work three days a week helping to manage the counselling service at The University of Sheffield. The extra days off are to spend with my 18 month old daughter Georgia.

I love being a Mum and am excited about the work of Forging Families, especially the education aspect of its work. I am looking forward to being part of such a relevant and supportive charity

Rachel Siviter

Trustee of Forging Families

rachel_siviterRachel Siviter is a mum to one and lives in Sheffield with her family. She loves everything about Sheffield, including the wonderful Sheffield Slings Community. She is a qualified mental health nurse and currently works for the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service.

Rachel is passionate about contributing to, and improving her local community by ensuring that families in Sheffield are supported at the right time, by the right people and service.  She is particularly interested in supporting the development of positive perinatal mental health.

Rachel believes that we are very fortunate in Sheffield to have Forging Families as a stepping stone between families and maternity services. She looks forward to building on the invaluable work already done and encourages the Sheffield community to get involved.

Alice Farina and Louis Pringle

Trustees of Forging Families

alice_farina_louis_pringleOur lives went upside down in February when our little girl Astrid was born, As any new parents since becoming pregnant we got interested in birth and parenting, and talking to mothers and fathers around us, we realised how we all need help and support whatever our situation and our choices.

We discovered that pre and post natal depression were a lot more common than we thought, and Alice herself had to seek help during her pregnancy and we learnt that close members of our families struggled with mental health around birth.

We also took an interest in “alternative” ways to give birth, such as home birth and hypnobirth, the latter got us to meet Rachel and join her wonderful charity as trustees.

Alice is French, and during her pregnancy she got to compare perinatal care in France and in England, and noticed the over medicalisation of pregnancy and birth in France, and the little choices and support parents-to-be have over the channel, she hopes to be able to bring a little bit of Forging Families back to France when she returns, and with the help of Louis, to use their experience with the charity to help families in Toulouse and beyond.

Laura Watkins

Trustee of Forging Families

Details coming soon…

Jodie Booth

Chair or Trustees of Forging Families

jodie_boothAge: Real or Feel?

Children: Girl born August 2015

Favourite colour: Changeable – I really like grey and luminous yellow as a combo but I also like a pink turquoise mix. But if I had to say one colour it would be blue

Interests: Science, Music, Photography, Dance, Travel, Community, Games

Career: Teacher of Science, Subject Leader

Motto: Work smarter, not harder

Education: PGCE Secondary Sciences, BSc Hons Human Biosciences

Background: I live in Sheffield. I love Sheffield. I’ve been a teacher for 10 years, working in both state and independent  schools. Prior to teaching  I worked in the NHS in GP surgeries. I am a music photographer and have also been in charge of visuals for a local record company. Currently I run a community Facebook site for my local area.

I’m excited to be involved with Forging Families. I like to be involved in community issues and feel strongly about the maternity services that Sheffield provides. I feel that new parents need a voice and that our experiences are a valuable part of making maternity care significant and useful.

Lizzie Rolls

Trustee of Forging Families

lizzie_rollsLizzie is a mum of 2 who lives in Sheffield. She is a qualified health visitor and previously worked in Sheffield. She now worked for the Family Nurse Partnership in Doncaster supporting vulnerable first time teenage parents. She is passionate about ensuring that all patents feel supported and empowered on every step of their own unique journey.

She is delighted to be a trustee of Forging Families and is looking forward to helping the families of Sheffield make their voice heard.

Melanie Rogers

Trustee of Forging Families

melanie_rogersI’m Melanie & I’m 39 years old. I was born & raised in Sheffield. I qualified as a midwife in 1998 at Sheffield University & worked at the Jessop Hospital for Women & then the Jessop Wing when it opened in 2001.

I have 3 children. Ellie is 14 & Beth & Josh are 12. Josh is my best friends son but both her & her husband sadly died when Josh was 8 & he came to live with me & the girls.

After my daughter was born in 2001, & then my second in 2003, I suffered from severe Postnatal Depression. I only started to recover from this in 2013 & up until this point spent a lot of time on inpatient psychiatric wards.

My heart is now in Maternal Mental Health & I believe that every mum & their family deserve the best care. I campaign for improvements in Mental Health Services and I volunteer for Sheffield Light.

I’m so excited to be a trustee of Forging Families & looking forward to being involved in improving services for Sheffield families.