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 3 days a week. Outside of ActivLives I am kept very busy by also being a magistrate, school governor, trustee of another charity, exam invigilator, health walk leader and volunteering at St Elizabeth Hospice.

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

Sam Thurlow

ActivLives Communications & Assistant Administrator

I am the youngest of the team, born in 1992 and left education in 2010. I got my job here at ActivLives in 2012 and was initially supposed to work here for 3 months, but I showed promise, so was given a 3 month extension, then a year…..then a permanent position! Since then I have taken on numerous roles, namely designing posters, leafets and the newsletter, as well as managing the website and social media…and generally helping in any way I can – including organising The Big Garden Birthday Party (every year from 2013 – 2018). 

When I’m not at ActivLives I’m a professional percussionist, and spend most evenings and weekends gigging and recording with bands around East Anglia and in London.

Susannah Robirosa

ActivGardens 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.

Lindsay Bennett

ActivHub Development Officer

After 7 years in the British Army and with a real passion for ‘health, fitness & wellbeing’ I went on to gain various advanced level qualifications within the fitness industry. Working for 13 years teaching numerous fitness disciplines and evolving from there to gym management, before progressing on to setting up and managing my own health club. Wanting to work more ‘sociable’ hours I joined the Town & Bridge Project in July 2008 and spent the next 5 years working on the ‘Fit as a Fiddle Project’ a nationwide project funded by the Big Lottery. This gave me the experience and aspiration to want to continue working with adults aged 45 plus and a real motivation to work specifically around ‘falls prevention’ activities. I look forward to developing the ‘falls prevention’ program and introducing new and exciting activities such as Nordic Walking to help individuals reduce their risk of falls and decrease the number of people who are re-admitted to hospital due to an injury resulting from repeated falls.

Kim Bilner

ActivHub Development Coordinator

After working in the corporate world in England and then Australia I decided opt out and follow my heart.
I retrained and have now been working in the health and fitness industry for 25 years. My work has always involved working with specialist populations, far removed from the world of leotards and lycra!
I am passionate about encouraging older adults to participate in physical activity to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. We are never too old to take up a new activity!
Outside of work, I love the great outdoors……often to be found walking around the countryside or hopping on a train or plane to explore further afield.

Mike McCarthy

ActivIpswich Project 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

ActivHubs 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.

Julie Seager


I have been involved with ActivLives since around 2011 when I began volunteering once a week at one of the lunchclub venues at which I am now the main cook. For me, being involved in ActivLives has literally been life changing….. when I had the chance to take redundancy from the Insurance Industry where I had worked for the last 26 years, it was being involved with ActivLives that made me believe I could take a complete change of direction, which I did….. and I love it!

I now work for ActivLives a couple of days a week as a Moving Forward Project Co-Ordinator, in addition to my voluntary lunch club role.

No two days are the same and I really enjoy being in a job where I can go home feeling like I may have made a positive difference to someones day.

Sophie Barber

ActivIpswich ActivAtor

I began working for Activlives as part of the ActivIpswich hub in September 2016.

After my ‘A’ Levels I went to De Montfort University Bedford to study a BEd (Hons) degree in Physical Education and Geography (Secondary).  I then proceeded to spend 12 years as a teacher in Education, firstly at a Private school in Ipswich, then six years at Westbourne Sports College where I was responsible for ‘A’ Level PE and finally five years at ‘One’ Sixth form College, teaching ‘A’ Level Sport Psychology and BTEC Sport before deciding on a change of career.

In 2015 I began working self employed as a sports massage therapist and also helping a young lady with a spinal injury to learn to walk again. In September of 2016 I began working for ActivIpswich three days a week as well as continuing my sports massage and a little bit of teaching too!

I thoroughly enjoy every minute of working for ActivLives and tell everyone I have the best job in the world!  It is so rewarding to see people happy, smiling, having social interaction and a support network around them, and of course keeping active. I will never forget a participant saying to me that he wished he could bottle the feeling he gets from coming along to the sessions, so he could share it with others and also for those lonely times at home. It is so rewarding to know you are part of making a positive difference to peoples’ lives.

In my down time I enjoy playing sport and keeping active by playing cricket for a local ladies team and Stand Up Paddle Boarding (preferably at the beach)!  I also have two boys that keep me on my toes… especially when I’m freezing cold on the side-line at their football matches!


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.