Who we are
Vassos Alexander is one of the best known sports presenters in the UK. He’s heard by over a million people every morning as part of the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio. He’s covered seven Olympic Games and commentated on everything from tennis to triathlon, diving to darts.
A seasoned endurance runner with a sub-3hr marathon PB, he has completed some of the longest and most gruelling races on earth and he’s the author of two bestselling books on running, Don’t Stop Me Now and Running Up That Hill (both published by Bloomsbury).
He lives in London with his wife Caroline and three children.
Vassos has always been a passionate advocate of the positive impact of movement on mental health, and is thrilled to have been invited into the Stormbreak Board of Trustees. He’s really excited about how this charity can help build mental resilience in many, many, many young people.
Niall is an organisational development and change management specialist. He has held senior roles across the health, leisure, communications and professional services sectors. A Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development Niall is currently the Managing Director of a global culture consultancy Dragonfish who help organisations to crack their culture code to transform performance.
A keen adventure sports enthusiast and outdoor pursuits instructor Niall has always been passionate about the benefits and links of movement and mental health and well-being.
Niall is a Trustee of Stormbreak and is passionate about ensuring that Stormbreak becomes a true 'movement' of its own as it grows and that everything we do is rooted in positive cultural change which will have a lasting impact on supporters, schools, teachers and young people.
Paul is the founder of parkrun, the free weekly timed walk, jog or run, managed by volunteers in local parks around the world and changing the health and wellbeing of the communities where you live. He is a husband, father, grandfather, runner, cyclist, and swimmer and he most enjoys spending time outdoors with his friends.
Paul believes that Stormbreak is the natural extension to everything that he has strived for these past fifteen years. He has always wanted everyone to 'find their best' and felt this was most easily achieved through a number of interventions including activity, the outdoors, friends and community. Stormbreak addresses all these issues but targets their interventions at children, when we have a chance to prevent mental health and wellness issues from starting in the first place and allows children the opportunity to learn, from an early age, how to deal with difficult, often misunderstood and complex issues.
As a Stormbreak Trustee, Paul is hoping to use his experience of building parkrun to help grow the organisation and its impact. He aims to bring all his experience and learnings to bear.
Paul is most excited about seeing the adoption of the Stormbreak concepts at schools across the nation and witnessing the change this will facilitate.
STRATEGIC AND OPERATIONAL DELIVERY
Anji is a former primary school teacher with 14 years of experience teaching ages 4-11 in the North East of England. A specialist Early Years and PE leader, Anji moved into running coaching and running event communications. Anji is a writer and content creator as well as the area trainer for GoodGym in Newcastle.
Seeing the impact of running on her own mental health and that of others, Anji is looking forward to seeing the effect of Stormbreak on the lives of young people. Anji is excited to be making a return link to education after a few years away.
Anji’s role at Stormbreak is social media content and communications - helping to shout a little louder about the wonderful work of Stormbreak.
Anji thinks Stormbreak is a real force of good in schools for both pupils and their teachers. She is excited to be part of such an important movement in education.
After 10 years as a criminal defence lawyer, Kate left the industry to bring up her three children with husband Nick. Wanting to get back to fitness after children, Kate reignited her childhood love of running and eventually set up the Muddy Runners, a running club in Hampshire.
Kate qualified as a Leader and then a Coach in Running Fitness, became a Mental Health Champion for England Athletics and a Run Leader Mentor helping to support new running clubs. Now her main focus is on using running and movement to benefit and support mental health, in adults and children alike.
Kate delivers sessions in primary schools and secondary schools, a parent and child running session, adult beginner sessions and Running Fitness classes. Kate sits on the steering groups for both the #RunAndTalk and #RunAndRevise programmes with England Athletics, supporting people with mental health issues to experience the benefits of running, and to reduce stigma by encouraging conversations about mental health. Kate leads projects in secondary schools, using running and movement to provide stress-relieving activities and mindfulness practice for young people during exam time.
Kate is also co-event director at the local junior parkrun and regularly visits local schools to spread the parkrun message. Kate is mum to three junior parkrunners, one of whom has just beaten her 5k PB and is now grounded for life.
Kate is one of the team behind the creation of the Stormbreak activities and as a Stormbreak Coach is responsible for teaching schools how to deliver the activities to children.
Rebecca, has over 20 years marketing experience combined with a passion in behaviour change. Currently Managing Director of Cubo, one of London's longest standing independent creative agencies based in Soho.
As a passionate runner and adventurer Rebecca knows first hand how the power of movement can create better, emotional health and well being. Running for over 18 years, Rebecca has completed over 70 marathons and 20 ultra marathons across the world from the Alps to Nepal and Jordan.
Rebecca and Cubo are supporting Strombreak through designing and productising the tools for teachers to use everyday to create the Strombreak intervention so it becomes a positive habit and creates ongoing change.
Rebecca is looking forward to working with a great team of talented and passionate people to make a difference and see first hand the impact they can create together.
Kit is a partner at global law firm, DLA Piper, and has been happily married for nearly 25 years, with two wonderful daughters.
Kit believes that mental health is an essential issue for our society, and you can never start a programme to help safeguard it early enough. Stormbreak's endeavours offer a priceless opportunity to contribute to the future of our children and their generation.
Kit will be looking to help Stormbreak with legal and contract advice, as and when required.
Kit looks forward to seeing Stormbreak's offering take shape and fly!
Mark has many years of experience working with railway control systems, IT and web technologies. After many years of a sedentary lifestyle he took up physical exercise a few years ago and now loves the positive benefit that this has brought into his life.
Mark wants children and young people to have the benefit of healthy exercise to help them to deal with the stresses of modern life. While he is involved with the back office functions at Strombreak he feels that he is doing something to help make this happen.
Mark is the Stormbreak website content manager and he is the administrator of the web server that hosts the Stormbreak application.
Mark is looking forward to the time when as many children and young people as possible are given the ability to enjoy healthy exercise and use this to help them with the stresses of life.
Dr. Ashok Patnaik
Ashok is a sociologist and health services researcher. He has an interest in applying sociological perspectives to understand the relationship between physical activity, sport and mental health.
Having experienced the benefits of physical activity and sport for his own mental health and character development, especially in his teenage years, he believes passionately in the power of movement to improve children's and young people's mental health.
Ashok is assisting Dr. Martin Yelling and the Bournemouth University Academic Steering Group (Professor Michael Silk, Dr. Daniel Lock, and Dr. Carly Stewart) in carrying out research to evaluate the impact of the Stormbreak programme in terms of improving the mental wellbeing of pupils and in changing the climate for mentally healthy movement in schools.
Ashok is looking forward to seeing Stormbreak improve the wellbeing of children and young people who need help with their mental health, supporting them, through movement, to be happier and emotionally balanced, and to realise their full academic and human potential.
Dr. Vicky Randall
Dr Vicky Randall is a Senior Fellow in Knowledge Exchange at the University of Winchester, training teachers in primary and secondary education. Prior to working in higher education, Vicky was a physical education teacher and regional subject adviser for physical education in south London. Her research interests include: child health, curriculum development, teacher development, policy and professional learning and she has published in a range of academic journals and books. Vicky has worked across a number of national and European professional networks to promote and develop initial teacher education, including the Department for Education formed Physical Education Expert Subject Advisory Group, the European Primary Physical Education Network and the All Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood. Outside of work, Vicky is a Local Authority Governor at St John the Baptist RC Primary School in Hampshire and a keen runner.
Vicky is passionate about the crucial, but often overlooked connection, for the place of movement in supporting mental health. All too often we place a premium on movement that is sporting or competitive. Young people need to be reassured and learn that their body is much more than that. Stormbreak bucks this trend and teaches children to value all forms of movement. It promotes an agenda to engage the whole school to support mental health through movement. She feels that Stormbreak is innovative, it’s unique and understands the needs of children as well as the challenges schools face.
Vicky is Director of Teaching and Learning for Stormbreak
Vicky is looking forward to see those moments where teachers and children recognise that movement is something they can do. Each and every day. To see a change in how we see mental health and to start a movement that puts young people (their mind and body) at the forefront of school culture.
Samar is a Doctoral Researcher, at Bournemouth University in the Department of Sport and Physical Activity, Faculty of Management. She is originally from New York City and recently graduated from Harvard Medical School, earning a Master’s in Bioethics. Prior to earning a higher degree, Samar worked as a Lead Clinical Research Coordinator, at Columbia University Medical Center. Presently, while pursuing her Ph.D., she is also working part-time for the British Medical Association as an Education Development Executive.
Samar’s medical background and her personal passion for running have led her to travel across the pond to collaborate with Stormbreak - a mental health and well-being school-based program project that perfectly aligns with her own positionality: valuing the significance of physical activity in upholding positive mental health and well-being.
Samar’s Ph.D. research project hopes to contribute to the wider Stormbreak project, specifically by understanding how education providers’ perceptions and embodied experiences may impact upon Stormbreak.
Samar is thrilled to be a part of a proactive initiative that aims to promote happy and healthy children, and she looks forward to witnessing real-time Stormbreak impact across the UK!
Becky is a mother to two little girls and a wife to her husband Dan. She has worked in fundraising since leaving University and enjoys helping charities to grow through strategic development. She lives in Dorset and along with her husband enjoys running through the countryside and along the coast.
The cause is something that Becky believes is essential in today's world. Her two girls will soon be starting school and she wants them to feel equipped for the challenges they may face in years ahead. Becky has always been active and thinks that incorporating that at an early age leads to a healthier proposition on life overall.
Becky is leading the fundraising and development at Stormbreak to help raise vital funds to ensure the stability and sustainability of the work.
Becky is looking forward to watching the growth of Stormbreak both in terms of the projects it delivers and the reach it will have on children in the UK.
Darryl has over 20 years of teaching experience including 12 years as a member of Senior leadership teams and 5 as a Headteacher. In 2017 he was winner of the leadership award at the Bournemouth and Poole Daily Echo Teaching awards.
Building on his degree in Psychology Darryl is currently a trainee counsellor and a mental health champion for his running club, Muddy Runners.
Darryl is passionate about Stormbreak and the impact it will have on the lives of the children (and teachers) who regularly engage in Stormbreak activities. With a strong understanding of the pressures faced in school Darryl is ideally placed to support the operational delivery and partnership in schools.
Darryl is married to fellow teacher Karen and together they have two children whom they love to spend time with.
Clare began her career as a primary teacher in East London and went on to become an Adviser for an East London Behaviour and Advisory Team before qualifying as an Educational Psychotherapist. This crystalised for her the relationship between mental health, learning and the impact of school culture. Clare has since worked within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), leading a programme of training on emotional and mental health but her work has been mainly within schools aiming to shape approaches that support and develop cultures that hold the well-being of children, staff and the whole school community at the heart.
Clare has led a number of Local Authority (LA) and multi-agency initiatives and has written and created Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) materials for schools. She has a range of experience in training and consultative work having been a facilitator and trainer at National Conferences and a consultant trainer for the Institute of Education, and Children’s Centre for Mental Health, London, where she holds a current role as a senior trainer and consultant for Trauma Informed Schools UK.
Clare is proud to be part of Stormbreak and works as the Mental Health Lead. She is passionate about children and young people’s well-being and how movement enhances our mental health, enabling self-belief and the motivation to reach our own potential.
Judy is a pharmacist who has spent many years working in both the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry. Her expertise in NHS policy and experience in marketing, communications and training led her to set up her own consultancy 15 years ago.
Judy has always enjoyed sport and is a keen runner, recognising the importance of being active to maintain a healthy balance in a busy life of work and family. She has a personal interest in mental heath and well-being in young people.
Judy works in a project management role at Stormbreak to help keep things on track.
She is proud to be part of the Stormbreak family and looks forward to the day when we can roll Stormbreak out across the nation.
Martin is married to two-time Olympic marathon runner Liz and they have two boys and a daughter. Martin seems to spend most of his time trying to keep up with his wife running around the Dorset trails or trying to keep up with his children around the house. Martin is a former teacher, with a background in education and behaviour change. He was a former international runner and elite National duathlon champion, Hawaii Ironman finisher and Comrades finisher.
He likes creating opportunity, inspiring optimism, making an impact and doing good in the world.
Martin believes in that movement is an incredible mechanism for supporting and shaping mental health in children and adults. Movement and being active has certainly kept his path straight (er) on many occasions and now almost a grown up, moving supports his mental and physical health every day.
Martin is helping the direction and growth of Stormbreak. As the founder he wants to inspire ways for movement to help children create calm and light in what can be otherwise complicated lives.
Martin is most looking forward to drawing on the expertise of amazing adults and children to help Stormbreak realise its potential and help others find theirs.