Meet The Team

We are led by a Board of Trustees and senior management team. We employ around 35 people and are supported by a dedicated team of volunteers.

Senior Team

Chief Exec

Chris Stelling

Chief Executive Officer

Chris joined the charity in December 2019, having worked in a variety of roles across the public and private sector before joining another local charity, Autism Bedfordshire, nearly 10 years ago.

Here Chris worked in several roles supporting autistic children, adults and their families to navigate a fascinating but complex world. 

Chris wants Bedfordshire to be the best place that a carer can live.

An interesting note: Chris used to volunteer with young carers in the CiB office.

Tracey Gill

Finance Manager

Tracey joined Carers in Bedfordshire in mid 2018 after previously working for a firm of chartered accountants and two not for profit organisations.

Tracey has experience in all areas of finance, including budgeting, forecasting, management and year end accounts, and partial exemption vat, commercial and sponsorship agreements, management of company vehicles and equipment, management of staff, human resources and reporting to various stakeholders, and working with voluntary organisations.

Service manager

Harriet Opalinski

Operations Manager

Hatty joined us in December 2020. She previously worked for Age UK for three years, as their first their Strategic Development Manager and then Independent Living Service Manager.

Her specialist skills include leadership, people management and organisational strategic development. 

Harriet is committed to making a positive impact on carers lives and ensuring that CiB provide the best possible service.  

Trustees

Phil Taverner

Phil is the Chair of Carers in Bedfordshire.

He spent 35 years of his career in social work and 10 years commissioning health research for the NHS.  He chairs a NICE guideline committee, does some work with the Open University and volunteers for the RSPB.  

He has extensive experience of the voluntary sector, both as a senior manager and as a trustee. This included setting up and chairing a new family support charity.  

He has observed caring first- hand as his mother cared for his grandmother and, later, his father for about 20 years.

Emma Wilkinson

Emma was Chair of Carers in Bedfordshire from 2017-2020 and a board member since 2014. She works at the University of Bedfordshire and has a PhD in Public Health.

She is a carer for her brother who has learning disability. As a sibling carer all her life and with an interest in health, she is keen to promote the value, rights and wellbeing of carers through all her voluntary and paid work.

Graham Mills

Graham has been a director and trustee of Carers in Bedfordshire since 2014, acting as its Treasurer from 2016. He brings 40 years of broad industry experience to the Board, including as a strategy director for a major telecommunications company until 2014.

He contributed to several important innovations in digital media and communications, playing a leading role in the development of digital TV standards worldwide over 25 years until 2018.

 

He volunteers with the Cranfield Trust and the Institute of Advanced Motorists, where he coaches local people to pass their advanced driving test. Graham lives in rural north Bedfordshire and provides carer support to his elderly father.

Barry Wootton

Barry is currently Carers longest serving trustee. He is a member of the Finance Committee which oversees the charities financial stability.

A qualified accountant and retired finance director, he lives in Renhold with his wife, a retired teacher. 

Before retiring, Barry had a career with a major US based chemical company and has worked in Europe, the USA and Australia. He later served as a non-executive director for a UK government trading agency where he was chair of the Audit/Risk and Remuneration Committees.

Tania Palmariellodiviney

Tania is a Data Privacy Lead for City and Guilds Group, working internationally with education and the charity sector. Her specialist governance and data protection skills mean she can help with the compliance of standards and policies.

Her skill set ranges from strategic

to managerial and operational.  

She has been a carer since the birth of her middle child and through marriage to her step children. Carers in Bedfordshire provided her with much needed support and she wants to give that back.

Jacqui Fincham

Jacqui is a career Civil Servant, currently at the Cabinet Office supporting Government Departments to deliver value for money grant funding.

She is recognised as a grants expert, is an alumnus of the Government Commissioning Academy and a reviewer for the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. Her skills include project and programme management, leadership and strategic thinking. Her grants expertise has been honed both in Government and in the charity sector.  

She was a young carer herself and is passionate about making a real difference to the lives of carers in the county.

Helen Battersby

Helen has worked in Social care for her whole career, initially with adults with Learning difficulties and then for the last 22 years, as a social worker and manager within children’s services and the charity sector.

Her last role was in the charity sector working for the National Youth Advocacy Service which provides advocacy and befriending services for children and young people who are known to childrens services. She has managed contracts in over 10 local authorities and has management and leadership experience. 

Sue Lowe

Sue was elected as a director and trustee of Carers in Bedfordshire in 2017.Sue is retired from a career in Human Resources and hasover 30 years’ experience in private sector industry. She uses her knowledge and expertise to provide advice and guidance to the Board and more generally to the Charity. She brings knowledge on HR best practice and UK employment law ensuring CIB complies with its legal duties and is also a great place to work.

 

She lives in Bedford with Simon and has two grown up sons. She is a former carer for her mother who had a life limiting illness.

Heather Aylward

Heather has working experience in supporting carers over 20 years and personal experience of being a carer.  She has worked within a charity.

She currently works within an NHS clinical commissioning group as a public engagement manager. She is passionate about involving service users, patients, carers, clients at every level of an organisation.  

She understand the importance of clear communication channels, the challenges to ensuring information meets the needs of all clients and also the changing communication environment with significantly more digital systems. 

She is Prince 2 trained. Within her spare time and for the last 20 years she has run a summer performing arts project.

Nicola Kidby

Nicola is a qualified management accountant, a carer and lives with ME/CFS. 

She has volunteered widely in education and children’s social care in Central Bedfordshire. Currently she volunteers on a weekly basis with Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire as a volunteer accountant and have just finished a 3-year term as a lay member on the committee producing a new NICE guideline for ME/CFS.

She cares for her daughter who also has ME/CFS and her son who has Down’s Syndrome.

Over the years, she has often had to advocate strongly for both my children and when she feel something is fundamentally wrong or unfair she will (and have) challenge it.

Could you be our next trustee?

We are passionate about improving outcomes for carers of all ages and delivering a range of services to support carers. It’s an exciting time for CIB, with an ambitious strategy to build on our achievements to date.

Our Board of trustees has an important part to play in helping the charity to achieve its mission of supporting more unpaid carers to be recognised, respected and supported in their role.

If you join the Board, you can make a real impact and be part of our success story.

Our aim is to bring together a Board who are diverse in ideas, in background, in experience, in outlook and in the views they express. If you think you can make a difference and are willing to commit the time, please consider applying.

President

Rt Hon Alistair Burt

“I am proud to be President of Carers in Bedfordshire, a role I was asked to take on whilst MP for North East Bedfordshire, because I remain passionate about the needs of Carers and what they do”