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About Us

Staff & Trustees

From left: Claire and Samantha 

Isabelle , Jacquie & Heather


Claire Hall: is Chief Officer and arrived at Ryedale Carers Support in September 1994. Before that she worked for a number of voluntary organisations including NACRO (National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders) and the Ryedale Disability Action Group.

Heather Witty: Our newest member of the team having joined us in July 2023. Heather has lived in local area for over 30 years. Married with 4 children she went on to university later on in life to train as a teacher.                                 She has worked in education as a secondary school teacher since 2004.  In her spare time you will find her gardening, walking her two terriers or reading a good book. 

Isabelle Harrison:  Our rural activities Co-ordinator Isabelle runs the Lythe Farmers Breakfast event where they all share a bacon buttie and chat with friends on a Wednesday morning.
She also assists with the Virtual Walks and other various activities in the Ryedale Carers Support umbrella. 

When she hasn't got clean clothes and work hat on, along with her husband she runs a very busy, small, mixed, livestock farm near Ugthorpe. They try to farm in the most sustainable manner possible, growing their own hay and maintaining a closed herd/flock.

Samantha Berriman: Joined in November 2020 as Admin Support. Local to Kirkbymoorside, she is a married mum with two young children. Her previous work roles were in the travel & tourism industry.  In her spare time, She enjoys      diamond art, colouring and reading a good psychological thriller- and not forgetting spending time taking her 2 children out. 

Jacquie Cole: Joined as Development Worker in November 2020. Jacquies work background spans journalism,        community outreach, education and libraries.  When she's not juggling RCS work with her other role as programme    co-ordinator for Woodbrooke Quaker Training and Research Centre, she loves pottering in her garden, cuddling her black cat Bramble and singing in the village choir.  


David Brewster (Chairman): moved from Head of Park Services with North York Moors National Park Authority to working with Ryedale Special Families. He has lived in various locations, from Cape Wrath in Northern Scotland to Lizard, Cornwall. His hobbies are geology, wildlife and music.

Richard Coates (Vice Chairman): was a Quality Assurance Manager and H & S officer (NEBOSH trained) for an international company and before that he was an agricultural rep for BATA in Scarborough. He has been a Parish Councillor, Chairman of Burniston Show and is currently Treasurer of Kirkbymoorside in Bloom Society. He has cared for his father and his mother in law and over the years has been involved in cubs, scouts and mini rugby at Scarborough RUFC.  

Leisa Burniston: is Chief Officer of Next Steps and has over 22 years experience in mental health and social care

Elizabeth Davison: trained as a teacher at Ripon College of Education and latterly taught English and French in a local Prep school. She cared for her husband who was disabled following a virus. She became a trustee and volunteer visitor for Ryedale Carers Support following the death of her husband in 2009. Her hobbies include reading, gardening and attempting to learn watercolour painting!

Robin Lakin: qualified as a solicitor in 1965, after short spells in York and Hull he joined Barnet Ellis in Pickering in 1968. Robin retired in 2007. His hobbies include golf, classic cars and motor bikes.

Bob Polley: has been a volunteer for the Ryedale Carers Support since he moved to Swinton following retirement from a government laboratory. He has an Open University certificate in Health and Social Care and many years experience of employment and industrial relation issues.

Susan Sutermeister: lives in Barton le Street. She has been a volunteer with Ryedale Carers Support for a number of years. She trained as an SRN, has three children and is involved with various organisations including SSAFA and Meals on Wheels.

Keith Webster (Treasurer): is a medically retired chartered loss adjuster and chartered insurance practitioner. He lives locally and is involved with various local charities.

John Humphreys: is from a farming family in south Lancashire, and has worked in agricultural sciences throughout his career. Initially in Cheshire, then a move to East Anglia with ICI and Zeneca. Prior to retirement in 2018 and as the M.D. of Dow Agrosciences John was part of the team seeing through the merger with DuPont Agriculture In the UK and Ireland. He is now a member of one of the largest Lions Clubs in the UK which typically raises over £40,000 each year for good causes. His hobbies include family and local history, gardening (on sunny days!) and European travel. 

Ann Ferguson: has worked in social care for 25+ years in a range of different roles. Her work has required her to liaise with local authorities, housing associations, voluntary organisations but with the key aim of providing quality services for the people we support. Value of others and respect are central values and always hold them strong. In addition Ann enjoys volunteering and that too sees her support someone to continue to have a presence in their local community. 
Ann recently moved to the North York Moors and love being outdoors, walking in particular with her dog, a Dalmatian. Other hobbies include excessive knitting, and more recently, learning to crochet. Ann enjoys travel both in the UK and specifically France. 

Penny Ward: Has lived in Appleton le Moors for over twenty years and is actively involved in many local voluntary groups. She became a carer for her husband and welcomed the help and support they received from Ryedale Carers Support.  She is currently a volunteer and has recently been appointed as a Trustee.  She worked in the voluntary sector in North Yorkshire for many years in a training and development role for community groups.                       She enjoys walking, swimming and holidays in France.

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