Meet the Board
I am the founder and a director of Lily’s and Lily’s is the reality of an idea I had for many years while working within the social care industry. I have spent the last 25 years working in a variety of social care and education settings but with a real interest in working alongside autistic people and understanding their talents and the challenges they face. I came to realise the lack of real work opportunities that are available for this group of amazing people and so took the plunge and set up Lily’s to try and address this gap.
As the organisation has developed I have realised all the other groups of people who also face barriers to meaningful, paid work and so it has been a surprise but exciting to also look at how we can expand our remit and encompass these individuals in our project.
With total love and dedication from my family, friends, trustees, volunteers, paid staff and of course amazing customers, we’ve worked hard to build a project which I hope brings joy to everyone and helps them find their ‘tribe’.
After all – “The noblest art is that of making others happy‘ P.T. Barnum
Gordon has recently retired and had a varied career. He joined the Armed services (Royal Engineers ) as a seventeen year old where he met his wife during the period he was completing his trade training as a carpenter and joiner. On leaving the services in 1977 Gordon worked as a self employed carpenter and joiner for some twenty years. For the past twenty three years Gordon had worked in construction management and retired as a Senior Project Manager. Gordons interests include reading, walking, sport and working in the family Bistro.
Gordons role in the Bistro/ community kitchen is giving support to Zoe’ and the team wherever needed. This includes washing up, maintenance, external deliveries reviewing grant documents, assisting with events.
Nicky runs her own people consultancy, supporting organisations of all sizes on change, leadership development, coaching and all things related to people and organisations. Over her career she has worked with businesses of all sizes and in all sectors, from start-ups to international corporations.
Nicky is deeply passionate about participating in the movement for change that gives everyone a chance or second or third chance to build a successful life. This ethos is absolutely at the heart of Lily’s Social Kitchen.
Nicky, who lives with her family in Canterbury, is the current chair of the Board of Directors, having been appointed in July 2018. Her son is one of the current trainees at Lily’s Social Kitchen.
Willie comes from a background of Fundraising and was a member of the Institute of Fundraising. She has been successfully involved with fundraising appeals as a volunteer launched on behalf of many charities, which include The Samaritans, Relate and The Cyrenians. Marketing and Public Relations have been a major part of her working life. She was Director of Canterbury Samaritans for six years. She was Chair of East Kent Relate for ten years and spent nine years on the National Council of Relate. She is also Chair of Herne Bay Improvement and Conservation Trust. Completed a journalism course with the London School of Journalism. She has twice been a judge on the RTS Education Television Awards. She is also Treasurer of Music at St Peters in Canterbury. Chair of Herne Bay Philanthropic Society and a Trustee of the Astor Theatre in Deal.and The Changeling Theatre Company, Willie now works as General Manager for Deal Music and Arts.
Her role at Lilys is to help with funding, marketing and working in the bistro when time permits – she cannot make Cakes!
Hi! I’m Clare and I started off my “Lily’s” life as a customer but soon became a volunteer and subsequently a member of the board. I suppose I fell in love with Lily’s ethos very quickly! I too believe that employment should be inclusive for all who wish to work, regardless of any barriers they face. I admit that I have a vested interest in the success of Lily’s because my son is autistic, and I really want him to be able to have the same opportunities as everyone else. I have been employed in a rather eclectic array of roles, such as a care assistant in a nursing home, an alexistrator in the probation service and a play leader at a children’s summer play scheme. However, I loved being employed in my dream job, as a broadcasting engineer in television, it was what I’d always wanted to do. If I had the chance to pursue my dreams, then I think my son should have the chance to pursue his too, and how employers view his diagnosis shouldn’t stand in his way – so that’s why I’m so passionate about Lily’s.