The Reach Group

Get to know us

Founded in February 2019, REACH Essex is an organisation that aims to support vulnerable children and young people whose behaviour, anxieties or other factors impact upon their wellbeing and achievements. REACH seeks to support them to realise their full potential and help them flourish. 


We support children and young people from five to seventeen years of age, including children with special educational needs and/or disabilities. 

Reach Essex ltd. office

Our experience

Our multi-agency staff have extensive experience in statutory Social Care, Education, Youth Offending and Emotional Wellbeing Services. We understand that every child is unique with different needs and personal circumstances. For this reason, we provide bespoke support, tailored to the individual needs of each child and young person, utilising the broad range of skills and knowledge held by our team. As an organisation, we adopt a strength-based model and incorporate a whole family approach to our interventions. 


We’re proud that our service has grown considerably since it was founded; we have achieved numerous positive outcomes for children, young people and their families, evidenced by tremendous feedback from children, parents and professionals. 

Thrive - We Embrace the Thrive approach in our setting

Thrive is grounded in established neuroscience, attachment theory and child development, the Thrive Approach has been developed over the past 25 years and draws on a wealth of experience in social work, psychotherapy and education.

Thrive provides practitioners with the tools, skills and insights needed to help children and young people become more emotionally resilient and better placed to engage with learning and life.

Thrive enables us to meet are young people and children where they are at and provide them with the right intervention at the right time that will give them the opportunities to grow and flourish, ensuring that they know they are special. It’s important to remember that Success is built upon belief.

Thrive with children

Using the Thrive Approach during childhood helps to support the optimal social and emotional development of all children. It also enables you to work in a targeted way with pupils who may have experienced interruptions in their development at an earlier stage, helping them to become ready for learning.

The benefits of Thrive in childhood

  • Offers simple changes to the way you work that will make a lasting difference to children

  • Provides practical strategies and activities to support optimal social and emotional development

  • Profiles emotional and social skills and creates personalised action plans for individuals who struggle to access learning.

  • Helps vulnerable or distressed children to feel safe, special and able to engage with learning

  • Provides simple and effective ways to help reduce exclusions and increase productive learning and achievement.

Thrive with adolescence

Young people experience a burst in brain development, a changing body and challenging transitions as they progress on their journey to adulthood. This phase of development offers an amazing window of opportunity to help them become more emotionally resilient and open to learning.

The Thrive Approach enables you to seize the opportunities of adolescence and create a safe and emotionally healthy environment for the young people in your setting. Through Thrive our practitioners are equipped with the skills to help young people, and there colleagues, understand and respond appropriately to the ups and downs of adolescence.

The benefits of Thrive in adolescence

  • Provides an in-depth understanding of adolescent brain development and the impact this can have on wellbeing and behaviour

  • Helps young people understand the changes happening in their brains and bodies during adolescence

  • Offers right-time and reparative support for adolescent social and emotional development

  • Provides action plans that can be implemented to support the needs of students who struggle to access learning

  • Creates an environment where young people and staff can feel safe, supported and able to thrive.

Our vision

For us, success means unleashing the potential of everyone we engage with. We strive to help young people become better versions of themselves by supporting their growth and development each day. We want to plant a seed of kindness and compassion in a generation that will produce resilience, encourage hope and enable them to fulfil their own destinies. 


Through our wide range of services, we aim to enrich the lives of children, young people and their families. We aspire to fill them with hope, offer support and stability during the times they need it most, and encourage them to envision a brighter future. Our team works tirelessly to provide children and young people with the social and emotional resources needed to help them fulfil their full potential. 

Our Values

Here at REACH, our values are grounded in our determination to be the change we want to see in the world. Through passion, commitment and integrity, we’re committed to helping young people flourish. It’s important that each member of our organisation truly believes in our mission and shares our values. This is why our values form a core part of our selection and recruitment process. 

  • Respect

  • Enthusiasm

  • Aspiration

  • Commitment

  • Hard Work

Our Principles

Combined with our fundamental REACH values, we have guiding principles that provide our staff members with a broad philosophy that emcompasses our personal beliefs. 

  • Child-centred Decision Making

    Here at REACH, the children we work with are at the heart of everything we do. We believe that it’s vital that each decision is made with a conscious consideration of what is best for the particular young person, or group of young people, that it affects. 



  • No Limiting Beliefs

    Limiting beliefs are the things that you believe about yourself and can ultimately place limitations on your abilities. They are subconscious thoughts that creep in and tell you that something is not possible. We help young people overcome any existing limiting beliefs and implement strategies that can help build self-esteem and confidence. 

  • Lead by Example

    It’s imperative that every staff member at REACH acts in a way that demonstrates the correct way to behave. We believe that this is especially important when it comes to respect, enthusiasm, aspirations, commitment and hard work. 



  • Growth

    Growth is an integral part of our mission which is why we have created a culture where both professionals and children are provided with opportunities to be the best version of themselves. 




  • Fearless Engagement with Children

    REACH staff will often find themselves working in a challenging environment. In these situations, it’s crucial that confidence is displayed at all times. In order to support members of staff, we have implemented structures and recommend different approaches to ensure that staff can operate without fear. 

Meet the team

Gemma Quantrill

Director of Operations

Gemma has worked across education services for 15 years with a particular specialism within children with SEMH needs. Gemma is held in the highest regard in Essex for her roles within Pupil Referral Units, mainstream schools, schools with moderate learning difficulties (MLD) and has previously been a head teacher of an independent SEMH school within Essex. Gemma has a vast experience of overseeing the delivery of bespoke packages of educational support to students with complex needs leading to outstanding outcomes for students within the organisations she has worked within. Gemma is also a Thrive Practitioner and has imbedded this approach within Reach Essex.


Gemma Quantrill

Director of Operations

James Bennett

Finance Director

Qualified accountant, James is the founder of J-Benn Finance Ltd.  James left the banking industry after 12 years to set up an accountancy practice providing effective, cost-efficient Accounting, Payroll, and Advisory services in Essex.

James Bennett

Finance Director

Alex Waterfield

Human Resources Consultant

A qualified HR and Training professional, Alex set up her own consultancy business, Absolute and HR Training Services, in 2017 providing HR and Training solutions to the everyday workplace dilemmas faced by business owners. With over 30 years experience, Alex specialises in offering sensible, real-life solutions to challenging employee and business related situations.  

Alex Waterfield

Human Resources Consultant

Sarah Ainslie

Business Manager

Sarah has sound background knowledge around business, administration, and children. She is a qualified dance teacher and has previously run her own business owning a stage school focusing on children ages 3 – 18 years, some of which had complex needs. She is patient, understanding, empathetic and a good listener.  Sarah covers all areas of the business side of Reach and is enthusiastic about what the future holds for the organisation.

 

Sarah Ainslie

Business Manager

Nicola Overland

Education Lead

Nicki has extensive experience of teaching across primary and secondary settings. She has undertaken Thrive training and imbeds this approach in all her work with children and young people. Nicki has vast experience of working with children and young people with SEND needs. 

Nicola Overland

Education Lead

Alex Brown

Project Lead

Alex has a recognised specialism in delivering mentoring and bespoke programmes to children and young people at risk of child exploitation. Alex has managed and delivered programmes in Essex and several London authorities and boasts and has outstanding outcomes for the children and young people he has supported.

Alex Brown

Project Lead

Shannon Montgomery

Therapeutic Lead

 Shannon draws upon her experience from a counselling and mental health background to support her in this role. She was awarded her BSc in Counselling in July 2021 and is soon to be a registered member of the BACP. She has worked with various education provisions and charities to provide counselling for young people suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD and OCD. 

Shannon Montgomery

Therapeutic Lead

Ahmed Khan

Mentor Lead

‘My experience is in coaching and managing high performing and diverse teams, particularly skilled in personal and professional development. I like to see the hope and opportunity in the people I meet. The focus on real change, real outcomes and real impact was what attracted me to help make a real difference with Reach Essex’. 

Ahmed Khan

Mentor Lead

Oliver Nash

Practice Supervisor

Ollie has a vast amount of experience working across both Social Care and Education settings. He has a specialism of working with children and young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs. Ollie also specialises in interventions and support with children with Autism and additional needs.


Oliver Nash

Practice Supervisor

Verity Boxall

Deputy Education Lead

Verity has a vast amount of experience in working with children across all age ranges in both primary and secondary education settings. She is a qualified teacher who has led several departments and she is passionate about trying to make a positive difference to children's lives. 

Verity Boxall

Deputy Education Lead

Melissa Etheridge

Learning Mentor

I am a qualified teacher and have been in the teaching profession for over 21 years. I recently chose to dedicate my time to my passion- providing bespoke approaches to education for young people.

Melissa Etheridge

Learning Mentor

Ewan Harding-Payne

Learning Mentor

I’m a tutor with experience on working with SEN, I feel passionately that everybody should be entitled to an education and to receive this in a way that suits them. I joined REACH to be part of the change in education that is strongly needed’

Ewan Harding-Payne

Learning Mentor

Simon Spencer

Learning Mentor

Simon Spencer

Learning Mentor

Jacqueline Brown

Learning Mentor

I studied a degree in Childhood and Youth whilst working as a Childminder and with the knowledge gained as a SEN parent I have worked with a variety of YP. I believe strongly that every child has the right to achieve their potential, to be supported and loved. I also volunteer as a family support advisor in between being a full-time mum.

Jacqueline Brown

Learning Mentor

Sue Beasant

Learning Mentor

Sue Beasant

Learning Mentor

Gloria Jordan

Learning Mentor

Gloria has experience as a Social Worker, Teacher, Bereavement Counsellor and Inclusion Coordinator. She has worked in both Primary and Secondary education, also serving as a Governor for Safeguarding and Teaching & Learning. Gloria's passion is to support children and young people who find school attendance challenging as a result of their Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs. 

 

Gloria Jordan

Learning Mentor

Emma Baldock

Learning Mentor

 I have worked in education for 17 years teaching creative art and design, I have taught in secondary schools, further education and specialist SEN providers. I am passionate about helping young people to achieve their potential. 

Emma Baldock

Learning Mentor

Yetunde Ajanaku

Learning Mentor

As a qualified teacher I have over 15 years teaching experience in the primary setting, working in public and private schools. Every child deserves a great start in life and providing them with the right setting and support will ensure that they fulfil their potential. My passion is to do the very possible best I can for all children in my care.

Yetunde Ajanaku

Learning Mentor

Hannah Leslie

Learning Mentor

Since graduating from the University of Lincoln with a first class Psychology degree, I have pursued my passion to support children and young people. I am keen to use my knowledge and experience working directly with students with Special Educational Needs to improve access to education and build self-confidence. 

 

Hannah Leslie

Learning Mentor

Natasha Magnus

Learning Mentor

I’m a Licensed Thrive Practitioner with a background in supporting young people within a Children’s Residential Home setting. I believe that with tailored, practical, in the moment learning everyone has an opportunity to excel.  I have huge passion for Equality & Diversity along with PSHE and enjoy promoting this within sessions. 

Natasha Magnus

Learning Mentor

Robin Hance

Learning Mentor

I have spent the last 30 years working within the Public Sector this involved numerous roles primarily providing support to the most vulnerable in the Essex Community. The last 5 years saw me working with young people providing support and engagement liaising with other Care providers.

Robin Hance

Learning Mentor

Emma Gardner

Learning Mentor

I am a qualified science teacher with over 10 years of experience working in both primary and secondary schools. I truly believe that with the right guidance and support, every young person can progress emotionally, socially and academically to achieve to their full potential. 

 

Emma Gardner

Learning Mentor

Virginia Smith

Learning Mentor

As a qualified teacher, I have experience in primary and secondary settings, working with students of all types of backgrounds, needs and personalities. I am passionate about young people finding enjoyment and pride in what they do and being a helping hand in allowing them to grow.

Virginia Smith

Learning Mentor

Ian Sinnott

Learning Mentor

I have been a teacher/mentor for the past 22 years and have taught English, maths, Functional Skills and English GCSE for the past five years.  If a child is given the right tools to carry out their studies, they will succeed in achieving their dreams.

  

Ian Sinnott

Learning Mentor

Keely Harrison

Learning Mentor

I am a dedicated and organised qualified teacher with 20 years of experience. I enjoy teaching and working with children to support their learning and increase their self-confidence and resilience. I have experience of working with students with identified SEN and will continue to support them.

Keely Harrison

Learning Mentor

Matthew Campbell

Senior Mentor

I have worked in an education setting for over 5 years teaching media and other subjects. I believe that every child deserves all the opportunities life has to offer and this is why I joined reach. I love working with our children to help them gain all the life skills they require in adulthood.

 

Matthew Campbell

Senior Mentor

Cheryl Steadman

Mentor

Cheryl Steadman

Mentor

Lara Badmus

Mentor

My Name is Lara, I work as a mentor in REACH, I enjoy working with young people and helping them fulfil their full potential. My favourite thing to do is create things using my hands and to help others explore different sides to them. 

 

Lara Badmus

Mentor

Ellie Shepherd

Assistant Mentor

Hi, I'm El and I run the Animal Care part of Thrive Provision! I have a true love for all animals and love being able to utilise them to help people. I really enjoy coming to work everyday knowing I am making a difference in our young peoples lives through mentoring!

Ellie Shepherd

Assistant Mentor

Arran Taylor

Assistant Mentor

Arran Taylor

Assistant Mentor

Libby Gilbert

Deputy Nurture Lead

My name is Libby, and I am Deputy Nurture leader here at REACH. The majority of my experience is in residential childcare. I have cared for children between the ages of 5-16 with emotional and behavioural needs and enjoyed being able to create and share positive experiences with them throughout their time in my care. I whole heartedly believe children need to feel safe and special in order to meet their full potential. This will be my main goal here at REACH.

Libby Gilbert

Deputy Nurture Lead

Chris Dabrowski

ASR Learning Mentor

I have been teaching with in Primary settings and  working within Secondary Schools since 2013. I have run mens football teams and enjoy watching Football and American Sports. Proud Dad and dog owner.

Chris Dabrowski

ASR Learning Mentor

Sally Carter

ASR Mentor

I have experience in running creative workshops and believe that everyone can enjoy being creative in their own individual way. I am invested in my journey with REACH and delivering bespoke interventions to meet the needs of each child.

Sally Carter

ASR Mentor

Roni Winch

ASR Mentor

I am passionate in supporting young people/students to REACH their full potential in their educational and personal journeys. I have experience of working and engaging successfully with children in pupil referral units and children with special educational needs.

 

Roni Winch

ASR Mentor

Lisa Judd

Business Coordinator

Lisa has extensive experience within administration, working in various sectors and prides herself on delivering the best service to benefit the organisations she has worked with, most recently in a secondary school setting which also incorporated SEN administration.  Lisa believes that all young people should have the opportunity to access education and that barriers to learning should not get in the way.

 

Lisa Judd

Business Coordinator

Darcie Bowyer

Admin Assistant

I have recently joined Reach Essex and bring my outstanding organisational skills which aids in providing the staff and students an excellent service. I have enjoyed the learning and development opportunities I have been provided at Reach which has undoubtedly supported me in providing such a high level of service support.

Darcie Bowyer

Admin Assistant