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Matthew Purves

New Beginnings Coordinator 

After qualifying as a social worker Matthew was employed as a family support worker in an early help and prevention team based in a Stockport SureStart children’s centre.  In 2015 he moved into statutory children and families social work, working alongside families in need, children subject to child protection and children who are looked after.  Matthew also spent some time working in Agile product management developing social work-related digital resources. 


More recently, Matthew was involved in a Stockport Family pilot funded by the What Works Centre embedding social workers in schools which underscored his passion for relationship-based practice and psychosocial interventions.  Over the period of his career, Matthew has further developed interests in parent advocacy, social justice and poverty awareness and hopes to bring these to his work with New Beginnings families.


Clare Western

Post Programme Support Worker 

Clare Western is the post programme support worker for New Beginnings. As a former programme graduate from Cohort 6 and peer mentor Clare uses her lived experience of the child protection system, mental health advocacy and SEND needs in children and adults to help support parents and families. Clare works with parents towards the goal of helping families proactively take further steps in their journeys after graduation and meet ongoing support needs. Clare is also currently studying towards a level 3 diploma in Counselling and uses her academic studies to help support a family's wellbeing.

Mellisa Hempenstall

Peer Mentor 

I currently work as a peer support for New Beginnings. I help facilitate and run the sessions. I also do 1:1 work.


I have been matched to parents because of my relevant experience of the child protection system. I work very closely with the team and the board in order to tailor my support individually to the parents I work with. My role is to help parents make the changes they want to make and support them to do this. I have walked a similar journey and come out the other side.


I take my role seriously and want to make a difference to the lives of those I work with. 


Michelle Castle


Michelle is a qualified psychotherapist with experience working with children and adults. She has a pluralistic and creative approach whilst remaining true to her Person Centred roots, creating a warm, open and nurturing environment and supporting her clients however they choose to express their feelings and emotions.


All of her work is client led, both in pace and content. She strives to work collaboratively with her clients and build a strong therapeutic relationship and to provide bespoke therapy experience. 


Andy Fear


I have had more than 20 years’ experience teaching and working in visual and creative arts with
adults with complex needs, mainstream classes, non-vocational, vocational classes, and family
learning. Enthusiastic and creative I can work with many different groups, to create artworks, and improve wellbeing.
I started with New Beginnings in February 2022, and it’s been a pleasure working with parents to

encourage wellbeing through art and seeing learners develop and have fun. The classes aim to develop existing skills and allows for parents to have a go at something completely different.
I will take you through a range of art techniques, in a calm and relaxing atmosphere where you can meet other parents and focusing on your abilities and strength’s. 
Andy Fear: Photography 


Zari Love

Energy Healer 

Zari is a holistic therapist, bodyworker and energy healer. She has been working in the wellness industry for over 12 years and works across the globe with a variety of modalities such as breathwork, energy healing, trauma release practices, meditation, hypnotherapy, EFT and spirituality. She is also working with women in sexual healing and empowerment processes. Her work is invitation to release and heal the past, reconnect back to the body, and open to more forgiveness and self love:


For more information see: 


Practitioner Profiles


Dr Jadwiga Leigh

Chief Executive Officer

Jadwiga is currently a senior lecturer on the Social Work programme at Lancaster University. She became passionate about giving parents the opportunity to turn their lives around when she was a social worker. She noticed that as a practitioner she expected parents to meet outcomes that satisfied plans which did not take into consideration parents own life experiences and understanding. The plans she created were not necessarily designed to give parents the support they needed because the intensive support they required was simply not available. In 2013. 


Jadwiga completed her doctoral research which compared the Flemish way of social work practice with her own. It was during this research that she stumbled across ‘Stobbe’- a residential unit which supported parents in an innovative and creative way. It was this experience which inspired her to return to England and develop a similar project but this time within the community. 

Advisory Board

Amanda Taylor Beswick
Jadwiga Leigh
Lisa Warwick
Rhoda Peckitt