Meet the Team
Claire Taylor – Service Co-Ordinator
I'm Claire and I have been lucky enough to work at Star since 2011. It's the biggest privilege to work together with children and young people when they need our support. I have always felt that the needs of children and young people experiencing bereavement and loss are too often over looked. We are here to change that in the Wakefield District. I have a BSc hons in Psychology and a certificate in management and leadership. I have completed lots of different training including attachment narrative therapy, understanding children and young people's mental health, research methods and many more which all helps me to ensure my practice is the best it can be to support positive outcomes for children and young people. At the moment I am training to be a Neuro Linguistic Processing (NLP) Practitioner and a children and young people's yoga teacher!
The children and young people at Star inspire me every day. At home I'm mum to my daughter and 4 fur babies, 2 dogs and 2 cats. I like walks, having fun, nature, the sea and chocolate biscuits amongst many other things as there are so many great things in the world 🙂 I don't like being cold, big moths or green beans.
Helen Elford - Bereavement Practitioner
I am Helen and I have been a Bereavement Practitioner with Star since 2017, where I help support children, young people and families when somebody special has died. Grief is a complicated, messy process and my aim is to gently guide families through this painful journey whilst providing them with the skills necessary to better manage their feelings, which in turn will enable young people to move forward in a healthy way and empower them to achieve their goals.
I have a background in Psychology and Counselling and I have also been a Samaritan’s Listener for many years, working in suicide prevention. More importantly I have a deep empathic understanding of personal bereavement and its impact on families as my husband died suddenly in 2015, leaving me a widow with young children. I feel that this has equipped me with an invaluable insight into the work of Star and what can be achieved when children and young people are given the time, space and support needed to journey through their grief.
Star Bereavement is a remarkable and inspiring organisation to be a part of and I love being a part of such a great team. There is such a shortage of bereavement organisations specifically aimed at children and young people within the Wakefield area, which means that Star’s work is vitally important. Furthermore, our Star families make this such a rewarding role as you can witness the life changing, positive impact our work has on young people across the district.
Jayne Field- Service Operations Manager
Jayne is new to the Star team and joins us as our Service Operations Manager having previously worked for the NHS. Jayne is providing administration and project support to the whole team which can be anything from keeping on top of the finances, managing the office and helping to plan events.
“I am very excited to join the Star team and am looking forward to getting involved. My family lost someone extremely close to them very suddenly and I know how hard it affected my children so working for such a dedicated charity who help children and young people in Wakefield with their bereavement journey is a privilege”
Out of work Jayne enjoys spending time with her family and is a volunteer for Yorkshire Netball, she will often be found on the netball court as an umpire or playing socially with her friends.
Rachael Wright - Bereavement Practitioner
I’m Rachael and I have volunteered for Star for 5 years, supporting bereaved children and young people. I am very excited to say that I am joining the team in a full-time role from December 2020 as a Bereavement Practitioner! It is my passion to help children and young people find a way to navigate through the difficult healing process of grief. My aim is to give hope to the young people I work with and to encourage them to fulfil their potential. I am currently close to completing my counselling diploma becoming a qualified counsellor and I use my skills in enabling the young people I work with in achieving a happy and fulfilled life, where they feel empowered, listened to and valued.
Children and young people often have the answers to how they are feeling, my role is to enable them to express themselves and to help them understand and cope with a disorganised and unsettling time in their lives. I believe no one should be at a disadvantage due to suffering from the unpredictability of events that trigger grief. I love working for Star, it is filled with wonderful, experienced and caring people, who work hard in providing a service to support young people across the Wakefield district.
Jessica Norfolk- Community Fundraiser
I’m Jess, I am new to Star Bereavement as of December 2022 and work as a community fundraiser.
I have worked in alternative education provisions and have a background in education. I studied psychology and grief at university and have a huge appreciation for the important services Star are providing for children and young people navigating grief.
Through personal experiences and my research into social support and bereavement I have seen such a need for the services Star Bereavement are providing, tackling the taboo often surrounding bereavement. I am excited to be joining Star in their fundraising journey and hope to spread Star’s important message across the Wakefield district. Hopefully reaching the young people and children who need it most.
Abbie Grice- Sessional Bereavement Support Worker
I’m Abbie, and I’m a trainee counselling psychologist. I have both a BSc (Hons) and a Masters in Psychology, and alongside my work with Star I am currently undertaking a doctorate in Counselling Psychology. I’ve been working with Star since October of 2021, and I have loved every bittersweet minute of it.
Bereavement can be a scary, lonely, and impossible experience, but it doesn’t need to be. There is no one size fits all to grief, or to the support that they might need. I aim to help support and guide young people through this challenging time by following their lead, listening to them, getting to know their needs, and providing care that is personalised to them and their situations. To be able to help and support so many wonderfully bright, creative, and brave children and young people during one of, if not the most, difficult periods of their lives is a privilege that I am incredibly proud to be a part of.
Sarah Parton- Senior Bereavement Practitioner
Hi, my name is Sarah and I am really pleased to be returning to Star having previously worked with them for five years from 2011-2016. I am passionate about supporting children, young people and their families in the Wakefield area and have been fortunate enough to be able to do this for over 30 years.
I have a background in early years and education and studied working with bereaved children and young people at university with the amazing charity Child Bereavement UK. I have also volunteered for both NSPCC and CBUK for several years.
Star is a very special place to work, and it is a real privilege to be able to offer support and guidance to families at such a difficult and confusing time in their lives. As a bereaved child myself I can understand how devastating the death of a parent/loved one can be and how isolating this can feel. I am constantly amazed at the bravery and sheer strength of the young people we support and I love watching them grow in confidence. I am looking forward to seeing how the service grows and develops so we can reach more young people who need our bespoke service.
Kate Bilska- Bereavement Practitioner
I’m Kate and I’ve been working with children and teenagers at Star since August 2021. I help children and teenagers to get a better understanding of their grief processes. I believe that grief is an unpredictable thing and that it affects everybody in different ways, and this is why I work with the bereavement process of each person in a unique way. My aim is to help children and young people to understand that their grief is a natural response to their loss, and that they can experience all kinds of difficulty and unexpected emotion. At the same time, I aim to encourage them to find a way to move on with their life and achieve their goals with the memory of the person they’ve lost.
I am a fully qualified Clinical/Counselling psychologist and alongside my work with Star I have completed a diploma in Systemic Practice. In addition to this, I have completed lots of different training courses, including Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Rational Behaviour Therapy.
Star Bereavement is a unique place for children and young people where they can find a supportive and friendly team who create a safe space to help them to process their grief. I love working for Star as this place has been shaped by the unique experiences of each child and teenager.
Amie Sharp- Volunteer
I'm Amie and I am just starting out on my new adventure with star bereavement. I believe we should live in a world where children and young people are showered in love and support and given all the ammunition they need to be the best versions of themselves, regardless of what life throws at them.
I am so excited to be part of this fantastic team and hope that I'll be able to bring some light into the lives of children and young people who are going through such tricky times and help to navigate them through this chapter of their lives.
I am an incredibly proud Mum to my 5yr old boy, I love dogs, I enjoy reading, I love being outside and nothing beats being by the sea!