Meet the ActivLives Team

Julie Stokes

ActivLives CEO

After leaving Manchester Polytechnic with a BA Hons Degree in Textile Design, my career path changed course when I joined a Psychiatric Unit as an OT helper at Fairfield Hospital in Bury, Lancashire, working with older people with mental health problems and/or dementia. Since then I have worked with Health Authorities, Social Care Services, Age UK’s across the country, Probation and the voluntary sector. Most of my roles have been in community/project development, day care for older people with dementia, fundraising and research. In September 2006 I joined the Town and Bridge Project funded by the Local Strategic Partnership – One Ipswich to develop initiatives to motivate and support people to improve their health and well-being, reduce loneliness and health inequalities. The project has now grown into an exciting independent charity, with an excellent team of staff, volunteers and Trustees.

Call Julie on 07810 801316

Cynthia Glinos

ActivLives Finance & Office Manager

After working for nearly 30 years in the electricity industry and then 7 years with Suffolk County Council I decided to leave working full time in Project Management and take up more voluntary work. That’s how I came to be involved with ActivLives in January 2011, starting as a 1 day volunteer then soon progressing to working as the Finance & Office Manager 4 days a week. Outside of ActivLives I am kept very busy by also being a magistrate, trustee of another charity, exam invigilator and health walk leader.

When I want to relax, I enjoy going scuba diving in exotic locations such as the Maldives and Caribbean.

Susannah Robirosa

ActivGardens Fundraising & Development Manager

I have spent the past 10 years developing two redundant urban green spaces into creative, innovate and diverse community resources offering volunteering and training opportunities in horticulture, the natural environment and other related areas. The People’s Community Garden includes a community apiary, CRESS community hub and ActivSheds construction project, while Chantry Walled Garden is a plant nursery growing 25,000 plants for Ipswich parks and open spaces, together with an accessible Garden for Older People. I also manage outreach projects in Ipswich and, currently, our main outreach project in Sudbury. My job with ActivLives represented quite a career jump – as an English graduate, I worked for many years as a journalist in London and Melbourne before settling on the Essex/ Suffolk border with my husband and three children in 1995. While working as a sub editor at the East Anglian Daily Times, I decided to study for an RHS Diploma in Horticulture at Writtle College. I briefly ran a gardening business with a colleague, before landing a job with the Town & Bridge Project, now ActivLives, in 2008.

Mike McCarthy

ActivSport's Development Manager

I have been working with ActivLives on the ActivIpswich project since August 2014. I love the job – the people who come along to our sessions are brilliant and despite being a project for people who don’t think of themselves as being ‘sporty’, so many of our participants realise that they really enjoy sport and physical activity once they start to get involved. After completing a BA (Hons) in Human Movement and Education at Christ Church College Canterbury I was lucky enough to work for the YMCA in London and Ipswich on their Sport, Fitness and Play programmes. During this time I completed an MA in Recreation and Leisure Studies at the Polytechnic of North London. From 1991 until 2009 I was a Lecturer in Sport and Leisure at Suffolk New College, a job that I really enjoyed and in 2010 I took on the Project Officer role as part of the Suffolk 2012 Volunteering Legacy Project – another great job!

I like to travel and I have been lucky enough to be able to spend short periods of time in South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia volunteering on various sport and education projects.

Alison Pearson

ActivLives Community Engagement Officer & Friday Friends Co-ordinator

Having worked in the commercial world in sales and marketing for many years, in London, Wiltshire and North Yorkshire, I moved to Suffolk in 2001 and met my husband and stayed in this lovely county.

I decided to completely change industries in 2013 as I had always wanted to work in the charity sector, and enjoyed success in services promotion and fundraising for other local charities before starting my role in October 2017 as Community Engagement Officer for ActivLives, which I am delighted about.

I like the challenges of a blank canvas, meeting new people and making a difference, working in the local community is my dream role, which I really enjoy and every day is so different. I can honestly say I love my job and the work that ActivLives does in Ipswich and throughout Suffolk makes such a difference to people’s lives, something I see every day. 

When I am not out and about I like to relax at home in Woodbridge with my husband, dog, and friends. I love any excuse to cook and love to experiment with new recipes from all over the world, Suffolk is such a great county, a foodie’s paradise and I feel very privileged to work and live here.

Del Keeble

Step by Step (OTAGO) Coordinator

I have been working for ActivLives since May 2015 and I enjoy my job because I can make a difference to the quality of peoples lives. Before that I worked in the fitness industry as a Personal Trainer at DW Sports and Gym and Trim. Other jobs have been as a Post-lady and a Support worker for Mencap .

My hobbies are watching Ipswich Town and keeping fit.  My claim to fame is that I was one of the first triplets born at Ipswich Hospital in 1972.

Clare Macdonald

Step by Step Develpoment Officer

I am really pleased to have joined ActivLives in November 2020.   My background is in occupational therapy having graduated from Nene University college, Northampton in 2000.  My main work experience has been working for the NHS, most of which has been working with people who have mental health difficulties and then more recently, I worked in a community team with people who were living with dementia.   I really like to be able to get a sense of satisfaction from my work and  make a positive difference to people, no matter how small and working for ActivLives allows me to do this.

I grew up in Sussex near Brighton but have been living in Ipswich for over 20 years.  I live with my husband, our 3 children and our pet dog. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and I love to get out in the countryside for a nice dog walk.  I also enjoy gardening and I like to have a wander around charity shops and car boot sales.

Lesley Hartley

ActivGardens Project & Site Co-ordinator

I have been working for ActivLives since 2013, delivering community projects across both gardens, Chantry Walled Garden and The People’s Community Garden and also outreach projects in schools, care homes, community groups and in Ipswich town centre.

 I enjoy working outside with diverse groups and individuals and being creative with natural resources. I have grown plants since childhood and am passionate about locally grown organic food and flowers.

My background includes retail management, and working as a display artist in London in addition I have considerable experience working alongside disabled people and people on the Autistic spectrum.

I really enjoy the nurturing element of project sessions and seeing people grow in confidence and progress with their personal development. It’s great to be able  to work in a green environment, and to observe the benefits of this on others alongside me.  

I have Royal Horticultural Society Training, a TQUK Trainer Certificate Level 3, and an Open University Degree, BSc in Environmental Studies.

My interests cover Art, Science, Music, Craft, Architecture, and Environmentally Sustainable Design.

Bev Baker

ActivGardens Project Officer

I have worked in education for around 22 years.  In 2015 I was awarded the prestigious CDI National award ‘Career Educator of the Year’ for my work with young people at risk of disengagement, I achieved a post graduate qualification in careers guidance to support people of all ages in 2016 and recently a ‘working with people with learning disabilities’ qualification.  I have experience of working with young people as an Akela for Cub Scouts; I enjoyed root scouting activities and arranging camps.

I am married to Ian, we moved to Lavenham in 2012, we have an allotment at the end of our garden; I like nothing better than to disappear for hours into the greenhouse to experiment with new seed varieties and plant cuttings.  We believe in gardening organically, companion planting and encouraging a range of wildlife to our garden by feeding them, planting suitable vegetation and providing nesting areas around the garden.

In August 2019 I applied for a part-time position with ActivLives at Belle Vue Park in Sudbury, this quickly developed into a job role in Ipswich.  As a careers adviser for a number of years, I didn’t expect to find myself as a project officer, however my skills and experience of working across the community match well with the required expertise in the Community Garden.   I still cannot believe that I have been able to combine my two passions in life; supporting people and gardening.  I feel very lucky to work with a range of people in the community and actually look forward to going to work each day. 

Benjamin Willmott

Marketing and Communications Officer

My role with ActivLives began in April 2021 and I look after all things marketing! It’s very exciting to be working for a charity that does so much good for the people of Ipswich and Suffolk. I’ve been blown away with the huge variety community work they do. Prior to taking up my position with ActivLives I’d worked in the theatre industry for over 10 years mainly in marketing but also taking on admin and front of house roles too.

I’ve lived in Suffolk since 2009 and have fallen in love with its rural beauty, my favourite places are Walberswick Beach and Rendlesham Forest and I think my dog would agree with me. My two main passions in life are the theatre and football, I love going to watch shows and I try to make the Edinburgh Festival every year, I’ve also been know to dabble in a bit of Am-Dram now and again.

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ActivLives is a local charity, which relies on grants, trusts, donations, fundraising activities, sponsorship & commissions to enable us to provide & develop our services across Ipswich & Suffolk.