Chief Executive Officer
Paul has more than 25 years’ senior management experience in the charitable not for profit sector.
A career focusing predominantly on health and youth development including as CEO of Mentor International, which has implemented projects in over 80 countries to prevent drug use and substance abuse. During this period he was a member of the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs, a Board member and Treasurer of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs and a speaker at a variety of international meetings and events including the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs and the UNODC Technical Consultation on the Evaluation of Drug Prevention.
He has undertaken numerous voluntary and representative roles in the sector and is currently a trustee of The Skateboarding Foundation. He has an MSc in Voluntary Sector Organisation from the London School of Economics and is an alumnus of the Henley Business School Leadership Programme and a Fellow of the Clore Social Leadership Experienced Leader Programme.
Paul has two sons, aged 19 and 17 and lives in Reading. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, running in the countryside and riding his motorbike, on sunny days.
Operations & Services Manager
Chris has more than 20 years’ experience in the charitable not for profit sector.
During this time he has managed, co-ordinated and supported several successful projects, including within drug, alcohol, and gambling support services, bereavement services, the homeless sector and services supporting victims of crime.
Chris was already aware of the work of Drugfam, having been touched by Elizabeth’s book and previously signposting clients to the service. He was therefore delighted when offered an opportunity to join the team.
In his spare time, Chris enjoys hiking, cycling, festivals and wild camping.
Heather found her way to DrugFAM as a very part time admin assistant, following a career spanning 26 years with the HMRC.
She brings to DrugFAM a wealth of volunteering experience in a variety of rolls. Taking care of the admin needs of the team and our clients is where Heather feels she fits in best. She is delighted to be back in an office environment after missing the team spirit and companionship of office life.
Heather always enjoys meeting friends, cake decorating classes and anything else where she can create something.
Natalie Archer ACA
Finance and Fundraising Manager / Board Secretary
Natalie is a chartered accountant who qualified with PriceWaterhouseCoopers specialising in audit, compliance and financial reporting.
She has worked in a variety of organisations, including two other charities, and is honoured to bring her experience to her role as Finance and Fundraising Manager at DrugFAM.
Natalie joined DrugFAM in April 2020 and has enjoyed being part of such a dedicated, compassionate team. Every task, however, small, is important because it matters to her colleagues and ultimately to the charity’s clients. DrugFAM’s work is crucial both in local communities and nationwide, and Natalie has been impressed by how quickly the charity adapts to meet new challenges. In her spare time Natalie likes hiking, cycling, reading and baking.
Gill Owen-Conway BEM
Helpline Training Facilitator
Gill manages the training of staff and volunteers at DrugFAM and works with bereaved clients who have suffered the loss of a loved family member through addiction.
Gill previously worked with Samaritans, Chiltern Branch for 16 years, the last 3 years of as its Director. In her time there she also ran their training programme and worked closely with the prison team at Aylesbury Young Offenders to establish a listening scheme for distressed and suicidal prisoners.
Gill joined DrugFAM in 2014, initially facilitating a support group and as a Helpline Volunteer before taking over as the Head of Training in 2019. Before Covid she also regularly spoke at talks in support of Elizabeth Burton-Phillips the Founder of DrugFAM with whom she now works closely supporting bereaved family members.
Gill is married with two children and was made A Point of Light in 2018 by the then Prime Minister, Teresa May. She was also awarded the British Empire Medal in the 2022 Honours List in recognition of her charitable work over nearly 25 years.
Family Support Worker
Dawn’s first contact with DrugFAM came several years ago, by which time she had spent many years trying to cope with the devastation of a family member affected by addiction and mental health issues.
Contacting DrugFAM was a lifeline for her and over time she was able to find a way of coping better and looking after her own wellbeing.
She has since worked for the charity for a number of years and she has been a Family Support Worker since 2018. Dawn could never have imagined that something good might come from her own experience and she feels fortunate to be part of an amazing team who truly do make a difference, one person at a time.
Peter PlaistoweFamily Support Worker
Peter joined DrugFAM as a volunteer in 2013, helping out with various administrative tasks in the office, before being asked to join the team on a part-time basis in 2014.
Peter currently works three days a week covering the helpline, providing email and 1 to 1 support and doing some administrative work.
He qualified as an integrative humanistic counsellor in 2017 and in addition to his work at DrugFAM he also volunteers as a general counsellor at a local agency. He has a strong interest in addiction and in particular the impact it has on the families and friends of the substance misuser.
Sandi BloomfieldFamily Support Worker
Sandi joined DrugFAM’s team to seek to help those suffering the roller coaster journey of living with someone affected by substance and alcohol use.
She is also a volunteer peer supporter for the Wandsworth Early Intervention Team.
Sandi has been inspired by the work of Elizabeth and the DrugFAM team and is proud to be a small link in the chain which supports and enables individuals and families to cope and move forward at a time in their lives, surrounded by chaos and despair.
Beccy WhiteFamily Support Worker
Becky joined the DrugFAM team as a Family Support Worker in March 2021. She has experienced addiction from all angles.
She was a drug user herself in her late teens and 20s and then later was the partner of a heroin addict. During that time she read Elizabeth’s book ‘Mum can you lend me £20’ and she felt inspired by it. She now feels lucky to be working for the charity that Elizabeth founded.
Beccy has been working in the field of addiction since 1998 and during this time she have mostly been working with and supporting those in active addiction. Having experienced the stress and helplessness of caring for someone caught up in addiction she understands the importance of services like DrugFAM, where families and carers have somewhere they can turn to and someone they can talk to who will understand, not judge, and can offer them a safe place to talk through their worries. Addicti0n destroys lives and not only the addict’s but all who care for them. However, Beccy knows first hand that recovery is possible for all involved and she delighted to have joined DrugFAM where she hopes to share her experience and knowledge to help and bring hope to others.
Belinda SladeFamily Support Worker
Belinda came to DrugFAM as a volunteer, in the hope of one day working for the charity.
Belinda’s previous experience comes from working in the Early Years Sector, she has 10 years’ experience as an Early Years Practitioner at a local preschool.
Belinda has overcome her biggest battle with cancer for the second time and subsequently set up a Facebook support group called Supportive Souls for people in need of some friendly, non-judgemental support. Belinda also volunteers for the breast unit in High Wycombe, showing ladies awaiting surgery her own breast reconstructive surgery. Belinda was also nominated for a “Pride of Bucks” Award for her volunteering during COVID.
Belinda feels privileged and proud to be accepted into the DrugFAM family and recognises the stigma that is attached to substance misuse, and hopes to not only help clients, but to educate others to reduce the “Addict Stereotype”, as this disease really does not discriminate.
In Belinda’s spare time she spends it on country walks with her crazy cocker spaniel, or simply enjoying family time.
Karen GoldenFamily Support Worker
Karen’s background has been in the nursing profession for over 25 years, which she has enjoyed very much.
She first became involved with DrugFAM several years ago, when she called the office in a somewhat desperate state following the discovery of a family member’s serious drug use.
The kindness, empathy and understanding she received from DrugFAM at this time was invaluable. She started attending a support group and with a mixture of the group, telephone and one-to-one counselling she found herself getting stronger little by little. DrugFAM helped her cope with a heartbreaking situation.
Now through her experience she helps other families and gives them the strength they need to carry on with their own lives. She is now employed as part time telephone support worker every week.
In 2017 the then Prime Minister, Theresa May presented her with the “Point of Light Award” for voluntary services to DrugFAM. This was presented at Downing Street during a reception hosted by the PM in recognition of the charity’s achievements.
This award was introduced in the USA by President Obama and adopted by David Cameron when he was PM.
Louise NearyFamily Support Worker
Louise has worked in learning disability services, mental health services and various management positions.
This has included in the NHS where she was the Operations Manager of a CAMHS Inpatient Unit.
In 2020, she started working with GamCare, supporting those affected by problem gambling, initially as a senior adviser on the National Gambling Helpline and then as part of the Treatment Team.
Outside of work Louise enjoys playing tennis, live music and travel.
Family Support Worker
Cathie started her career as a psychotherapist.
She began working as a Bereavement Counsellor in the prison system delivering one to one bereavement counseling to prisoners and facilitating grief support groups. She then became a Lead Therapist for an Essex wide Gamcare project, planning and delivering gambling awareness presentations and one to one support to members of the parachute regiment and affected others, which involved liaising with chain of command to up-skill staff. She was then a Gambling Awareness Consultant in the construction industry and an expert witness providing clinical court reports for clients within the criminal justice system due to harmful gambling.
Prior to joining DrugFAM Cathie was an Alcohol Practitioner working with patients presenting with alcohol related harm in Accident & Emergency settings. She is a SMART Recovery Facilitator and has facilitated both gambling and alcohol support groups.
Knowing she would always return to the sector; she is pleased to be working with DrugFAM and its partners to support those effected by a loved one’s harmful gambling.In her spare time Cathie paddle boards and walks, a lot!