Meet our Team
Sue Penna MSc, DipCOT, Dip.Couns, FRSA
Sue is our Joint Chief Executive Officer and programme expert. Sue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer and supervisor both within the NHS and independently.
She has specialised in writing psycho-educational programmes that promote trauma informed practice and a recovery model. Sue is passionate for the need for multi-agency working and committed to supporting front line workers to have the skills to support families with a trauma informed approach.
Sue has an extensive background in the domestic abuse sector and has written trauma informed domestic abuse programmes including the Inspiring Families Programme, Adult and Children and Young People Domestic Abuse Recovery Toolkit and the Sexual Violence Recovery Toolkit. Sue has also devised the ACE Recovery Toolkit written for parents and the ACE Recovery Toolkit for children and young people.
Sue is a member of both The UK Psychological Trauma Society and the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
Kirsty is our Joint Chief Executive Officer.
Kirsty started her working life with IBM as a marketing specialist before joining the public sector in 2004.
During her time in local government she successfully led multi agency teams, built new service provision and transformed failing practice, for which she was nationally recognised.
At Rock Pool she has operationally led the company to grow from delivering approx 35 courses a year in 2017 to approx 500 in 2021.
This has included pivoting the business to an online delivery model in 3 months during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Vashti is our Training Practice Manager.
Vashti's main role is to work alongside sue in the creation and development of trauma informed training and to ensure our content is up to date in line with new evidence and research.
In addition Vashti supports our ever growing pool of Rock Pool Associates trainers.
Vashti has a BSc Psychology and an M.A. in Social Work, and is Rock Pool's designated safeguarding lead.
Sally is our Training Development Manager and is the first point of contact for all training enquiries.
She provides course information and advice, as well as training dates and locations.
Before joining Rock Pool in November 2018, Sally previously worked in sales and marketing for 20 years, and most recently as an Independent Childminder.
She is finds the industry fascinating and loves talking to people about their training needs.
Claire is our Delivery and Operations Manager.
She ensures that the operational business of Rock Pool runs smoothly and efficiently so all of our customers new and existing have a great experience.
Claire joined Rock Pool in March 2021 and brings with her a wealth of experience in running medium sized businesses mainly in the food production industry.
She is enjoying working in this new sector and bringing her commercial experience to Rock Pool.
Laura is our Training Manager.
She is responsible for co-ordinating and administering all aspects of our training processes.
She is also responsible for administering our finance processes.
She has been working with Rock Pool since 2018.
Lucy is our Training and Evaluation Co-ordinator.
She is responsible for making sure all our training delegates receive their evaluation surveys and will monitor feedback.
She is also responsible for Rock Pool's delegate zone, making sure training delegates can access the information and all the content is up to date.
Kieran is our Data Co-Ordinator.
He is responsible for collating and reviewing data to produce meaningful reports that evidence the quality of our training and support the running of Rock Pool.
He also provides support to the training delivery team.
Meet our Associates
Jo was the Director of Practice and Development at Safer Places, a Domestic Abuse Support Service covering Essex and Hertfordshire. She is also an Associate Lecturer for the National Centre for the Study and Prevention of Violence and Abuse (NCSPVA) at the University of Worcester.
Jo completed her Masters in Dynamics of Domestic Violence with Distinction in 2015. She delivers all of Rock pool's training courses.
Jo is a qualified Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (ISVA) and an Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworker (ISAC). For eight years she facilitated therapeutic group work for survivors of domestic violence and oversaw over twenty groups per week across in the areas where she worked.
Leigh delivers Rock Poolâ€™s Recovery Toolkit training and is one of the lead trainers for the Working with Gangs and Exploitation Culture - Trauma Informed Approach Programme, which he co-developed with Rock Pool.
Leigh is a qualified Trainer, Youth and Community Worker and Parenting Practitioner with over 20 yearsâ€™ experience. He has worked as an Area Youth Work Manager, has taught in out of school provisions and works within Youth Justice as a Senior Youth Offending Service (YOS) Officer.
Leigh presently manages the Youth at Risk Matrix (YARM), team within the London Youth Offending Service which tackles gang and exploitation culture by working with young people and their families; and by working closely with agencies such as the Police, Education and childrenâ€™s services. He also manages the Parenting service where he delivers the Rock Pool ACES Recovery Toolkit to parents, and the Triple P, and Gang awareness parenting programmes.
Katie was previously a police officer in the Metropolitan Police for 5 years before becoming an IDVA in Dorset.
For 11 years Katie managed the domestic abuse service in Dorset and later in Somerset providing outreach, refuge, support groups, perpetrator programmes, support for children and young people and training. She is a qualified IDVA, IDVA Manager and ISVA Manager, developed and chaired the Stalking Clinic in Dorset as well as chairing MARAC and MARMMs.
Katie has been a panel member for domestic homicide reviews and is now a Domestic Homicide Review Chair, she also supports organisations in assessing their response to domestic abuse and stalking.
Katie has experience of delivering training of DASH, CCB and Stalking as well as being an Associate Safelives Trainer for DA Matters, she has also delivered different domestic abuse programmes along with ACEs Recovery Toolkit.
Mandy is currently a full time Foster Carer for children under the age of 10, in addition to having 16 yearsâ€™ experience of working with children and families. She started her career as a Family Support Worker within what is now Torbay Children Centres, working her way up to the Lead Practitioner of the Family Support Team.
Following this, she moved to Orchard House Family Assessment Centre in Taunton where she was the Team Leader running one of the residential houses, providing guidance and supporting her team.
She has a range of previous experience of facilitating groups for parents and providing training for Family Support Workers. She is due to start co-facilitating Rock Pool Groups in early 2022.
Amber is a qualified Social Worker with over 15 yearsâ€™ experience specialising in mental health and trauma. She has also worked as an Health IDVA.
She has been a trainer for 12 years and has extensive experience of delivering domestic abuse, ACEs and trauma informed practice training to multi agency professionals.
Karen has a BSc Degree in Psychology which she studied for while working in a South West Refuge. She first joined the refuge as a Support Worker, however progressed her career to Trust Manager, a role which involved her representing the Domestic Violence sector at a strategic level across Cornwall.
Karen has worked as an Associate trainer for a number of years and was one of the first people to deliver the Adult Domestic Abuse Recovery Toolkit.
She is Rock Poolâ€™s lead Associate for the SPACE programme.
April comes from a background of more than 25 years in Training, Personal Development, Womenâ€™s Motivational Coaching, Academic Coaching and Mentoring.
She has years of working in the communities of London and Northampton managing projects including SRB5, Tackling Race Inequality Fund (TRIF), Supporting Women Back to Work with Northamptonshire Womenâ€™s Network and looking at The Impact of Domestic Abuse for BME women in Northampton with Sunflower Centre. Currently she working with Eve as a Domestic Abuse Training Consultant.
She is a passionate advocate for womenâ€™s health and wellbeing and broadcaster on womenâ€™s issues on the Women with Soul Show and more recently Conversations with AprilsDawn on N-Live Radio. She is consistently encouraging women to work on their self-esteem and confidence to maintain their mental health and wellbeing.
April is a Director of Creating Equalz she finds meaningful solutions to health and race inequalities, especially of women. Delivering training to professionals who have experienced trauma in the home and work through abuse in the name of tradition, culture and institutionalised racism. April is also a Group Work Facilitator for women who have experienced domestic abuse.
Chris currently works within the Family Support Service for Birmingham Childrenâ€™s Trust; supporting children and families around issues such as domestic abuse, mental ill health, educational issues, substance misuse, exploitation and crime. Chris is also the DA and ACEs Programme Lead for the Family Support Service, co-ordinating practitioners in their delivery of Rock Poolâ€™s Recovery Toolkits. As part of Chrisâ€™ work, he also informs best practice and up-skills newly qualified Social Workers through the Trustâ€™s Practice Hub, and supports partner agencies including West Midlands Police, the NHS and the voluntary/charity sector, to increase their understanding of trauma to enable them to offer more holistic packages of support.
As well as delivering Rock Poolâ€™s Recovery Toolkits and the Inspiring Families Programme (IFP) to his client group, Chris is also RESPECT trained, and facilitates several other DA and Parenting-Specific programmes, including â€˜The Solihull Approachâ€™ and â€˜Promoting Happier Parentingâ€™. Chris holds an Award in Education and Training (AET) and has qualifications in â€˜Working with Families with Multiple and and Complex Needsâ€™, Motivational Interviewing and Solution-Focused Practice.
Chris has a BSc in Psychology, in which he specialised in Child Development, and is a member of the British Psychological Society. Chris has previously worked in both primary and secondary schools, Post-16 special provision, Childrenâ€™s Centres and the third sector; supporting children and families from diverse backgrounds to overcome adversity.
A Rock Pool Associate since 2016, Chris delivers on both the ACEs and DA Recovery Toolkits, and the â€˜ABC of Traumaâ€™.
Anoushka is one of the lead trainers for Working with Gangs & Exploitation Culture- Trauma Informed Approach Programme, which she helped develop with Rock Pool. She also delivers Rock Poolâ€™s ABC of Trauma training.
Anoushka is a Detective of 18 yearsâ€™ service with the Metropolitan Police. The majority of this time has been spent in criminal investigations and criminal justice, working closely with victims of crimes, offenders and their families.
Anoushka is currently attached to a Gangs Unit in East London, specialising in community engagement and educational workshops. She collaborates with the Youth Offending Service and delivers training to parents and professionals about Gangs and Negative Youth Culture Awareness.
Anoushka also delivers training to MPS Detective recruits on Gangs and educating them on how to take a trauma-informed approach.
Cindyâ€™s career began working with children and families and she saw first-hand the impact domestic abuse and trauma has on families and children. This became the driver for the work she went on to do.
Cindy has experience in delivering parenting programmes such as Triple P, Incredible Years and Emotional First Aid, ACES recovery toolkit, alongside delivery of Perpetrator programmes and the award-winning CARA.
Cindy began delivering Perpetrator Change programmes in 2007. From this she progressed to manage victim services across Hampshire providing refuge, outreach, support groups and childrenâ€™s support. More recently Cindy returned to perpetrator work to manage services across Hampshire and IOW including perpetrator change programmes and innovative new programmes such as Caring Dads.
Cindy is now undertaking further training to become an Ollie Coach and continues to work towards positive outcomes for children.
Roxanne has previously worked at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre Cardiff as an Independent Sexual Violence Advocate.
She has over 7 yearsâ€™ experience delivering training on areas including, Sexual Violence Recovery Toolkit, ACEs Recovery Toolkit, Trauma-Informed Practice, Domestic Abuse Recovery Toolkit.
Luke delivers all of Rock Pool's training courses. He is a Practice Advisor working on the DRIVE project, a RESPECT, Safe Lives and Social Finance collaboration for high risk/harm perpetrators of Domestic Abuse. He holds as Psychology BSc and is an accredited Trainer and Assessor.
Luke began life in the sector as an accredited IDVA who built experience establishing a gender responsive Domestic Abuse service, specialising in supporting male victims, but also supporting women at high risk of DA. Luke is also a member of the board of trustees for a Sussex based charity for offenders and a Restorative Justice Facilitator for sensitive and complex cases.
Luke is an accredited IDVA and ISVA and facilitates Rock Poolâ€™s Adverse Childhood Experiences Recovery Toolkits, as well as the ABC of Trauma, and the Coercion and Control Enquiry training courses.
He has worked on the 'Boys to Men' research, exploring the impact of domestic abuse on children and young people as well as the Home Officeâ€™s This is Abuse campaign.
Luke has a legal background, including a Masters in Law, Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights. He continues to lecture on menâ€™s experiences of abuse and is a guest lecturer for Goldsmithâ€™s University on MA Understanding Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse.
2016 saw the publication of â€˜Debates of Difference: Male Victims of Domestic Violence and Abuseâ€™ in Domestic Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Protection, Prevention and Intervention, published by Palgrave Macmillan.
Rosie Leigh is an experienced trainer, practitioner, coach, mentor and manager, specialising in the field of domestic abuse, high sensitivity, wellbeing, mental health and behaviour change.
Rosie has previously worked as Transformation Manager and High Harm Team Lead for a Domestic Abuse charity, working closely with the community high harm teams within the police.
Rosie has a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Forensic Psychology, is a graduate member of the British Psychological Society and a member of the BPS Clinical, Forensic and Crisis, Disaster and Trauma networks.
Rosie is a certified NLP practitioner and member of the NLP Association of Excellence (NLPEA) with a proven track record of working with those wanting to make a change in their life, for whatever reason, with a focus on holistic wellbeing and self-care. Rosie continues to train further, working towards continued positive support and outcomes for children through training as an Ollie Coach (Ollie and His Superpowers).
Mita is a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapist and Acupuncturist with 18 years of experience specialising in mental health and physical wellbeing. She has extensive experience of applying therapeutic practices for mental health and wellbeing in schools, hospitals and workplaces as well as delivering training.
Mita works with domestic violence survivors delivering Rock Poolâ€™s Domestic Abuse Recovery Toolkit and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). She has a BA Hons in Traditional Acupuncture and is a fully qualified MBCT Teacher. She runs her own private clinic for individuals and writes a regular newspaper column on health.
Hazel is a diligent and driven local government commissioner, with varied knowledge across a broad range of disciplines including the successful commissioning and management of domestic and sexual violence, childrenâ€™s safeguarding, serious youth violence, substance misuse, adult and youth prevention contracts.
She recently started a new role, leading special educational needs and/or disability (SEND) commissioning for Essex County Council.
Hazel has previously focused on domestic abuse and have been particularly interested in trauma-informed and trauma-responsive ways of working, and she is keen to keep a focus on these areas.
She has delivered the half day ABCs of Trauma sessions but have not delivered any of the toolkits as yet. As a new associate to Rock Pool, she is looking forward to meeting other associates and developing my own knowledge and passion for workforce development and strengthened communities.
Tracy Jean Thorn
Tracy Jean has 20 yearsâ€™ experience in the domestic abuse sector working directly with survivors and perpetrators across a range of roles including IDVA, Senior Probation Officer, VAWG Strategic Lead and Operations Manager for a national charity.
Tracy delivers the Domestic Abuse Recovery Toolkits, and Trauma-Informed Practice training.
John delivers training on Domestic Abuse, Inspiring Families Programme and Coercion and Control.
He served with the Devon and Cornwall Police for over 28 years and retiring as Detective Chief Inspector in 2016. He was responsible for the prevention and investigation of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child and vulnerable adult abuse.
For the final four years of his police career he was the Force Lead for Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment, Forced Marriage, Honour Based Abuse, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults/Adults at Risk. He was a member of the Local Safeguarding Children Board and Safeguarding Adults Board.
He is also an experienced Hostage and Crisis Negotiator and Coordinator.