Our steering group provides clear advice and guidance to support us in meeting our business plan objectives and outcomes. We currently have a vacancy for a parent representative. If you can spare a few hours a month attending our steering group meetings and supporting the work we do please get in touch with Linda Markey on 01253 344398 or email linda.markey@urpotential.co.uk

 > Linda Markey


I am a qualified Youth and Community Worker with a BA (hons) Degree from St Martins College Lancaster. I have 25 years experience of working with children, young people and families in the Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre areas, including Mereside and Grange Park. I managed the Millennium Volunteers Programme for 8 years setting it up from a standing start when it was first introduced to Blackpool in July 2000. Previously I had worked at the Tate Gallery Liverpool as their Community Curator working with a variety of diverse groups.

I engaged community groups in workshops, training and exhibitions reflecting their own community needs. I planned and delivered workshops in Bail Hostels, Mental Health Hospitals, Elderly Residential Homes, Community Centers, Local Prisons engaging the socially excluded members of society. I engaged with the Afro-Caribbean Community, Chinese Community, Asian Community, Adults with learning disabilities and the Elderly. I undertook research, and delivered high quality community events, ranging from talks and workshops to conference and symposia, for Tate Liverpool adult visitors, coupled with Community Exhibitions in collaboration with the communities I had worked with.

I have also delivered Community Development training and Youth Work training for Blackpool; Fylde College after I gained my teaching qualification from the same college. I have worked in many schools across Blackpool & the Fylde and considerably in Highfurlong School. I am a volunteer myself with My Town Tiggers a local charity that supports children and young people with autism. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve their true potential and be able to offer their families a good quality of life. I also believe that education is the route to change and a cohesive society will create sustainability for generations to come.

> Lynne Brayne

Qualified trainer, assessor and verifier

I previously had worked in the B&I sector of the hospitality industry for 30 years where I gained numerous skills from ground to senior management level. These skills included managing budgets, financial and strategic planning, Personnel recruitment and retention, HR, Training, Sales and Marketing

This allowed me to have a pragmatic approach to the realities of running all aspects of business with the restrictions they each faced and therefore have the ability to view things from many angles.

I worked as a Tutor/ Assessor/ IV in the Voluntary sector and for an awarding body as an EV. I was instrumental in rolling out the first Certificate In Community Volunteering ( CCV) as well as helping to write its successor.

I developed the URPotential Assessment and IV strategy by designing a system that was robust and fit for purpose and ensuring it was kept up to date.My main role is that of IQA – Internal Quality Assurance where I oversee the whole of the Assessment and Verification process, working alongside Debbie Terras and the Awarding bodies representatives.

I also act as a Mentor in training and developing URP staff to deliver these systems to meet the high levels of Quality required. I am responsible for carrying out standarsisation meetings with Tutors, and assisting them to deliver assessments with positive and concise feedback to learners, which in turn motivates the learners to continue on their path to actually reaching their full potential.

I  also deliver training in Food Safety, Train the Trainer, Health & Safety, Nutritional Awareness and Assessment and Verification.

My personal qualities are kindness, tenacity, empathy, determination, an excellent sense of humour, passion about what I do, and a good work ethic.

> Jo Shepherd

Claremont Community Centre Chief Exec

My name is Joanne Shepherd; I have been on the steering group for a number of years now.

I worked in stock control for many years with a corporate firm before realising I needed a change in 2001. That’s when I began working for our Local Council as an Outreach Worker; where I worked for a year.

I then moved over to the third sector working with communities in Mereside for 3 years. From there I began working in my current role as Chief Officer at Claremont First Step Community Centre and have never looked back.

I have been on an exciting journey and picked up some skills along the way. I am responsible for the running of the Centre, and management of staff as well as all funding applications that are submitted; the success of these applications have enabled us to continue working with our community for the past 12 years as we are not subsidized by any authority.

I have excellent communication and networking skills which is extremely important when working with a diverse range of individuals and agencies.

I enjoy my time working with URPotential acting as a ‘sounding board’ and giving advice and guidance when required.

> Mark Relf

Strategy Consultant

Mark brings a wealth of experience from the Corporate  sector, with 25 years of experience in the Defense environment.  He worked for BAE Systems for 18 years before moving into consultancy providing strategy and leadership services to 3rd sector, SMEs and corporate clients.  He is currently working in the Middle East as a Vice President of an aerospace company.

Mark has worked with URPotential on a number of bids, bringing his expertise from the business environment to benefit the organisation by providing a fresh perspective with key techniques. He continues to support URPotential with key contributions to its strategy and development of staff.

> Judith Davitt

Advisor to the Steering Group & Communications

Judith is a Senior Communications Manager with over twenty years’ experience delivering internal and project communications. For the past ten years she has run her own consultancy working across a variety of sectors including Government departments, NHS and other public organisations; IT, financial services, retail banking and retail distribution and services. She also works with businesses to raise their profile in the local community and forge business and education partnerships. Judith is a highly effective communicator with excellent leadership, relationship building, organisational, and project-management skills. She has provided support to us as a member of our board since the inception of URPotential.

 Ian Ashton

Equality & Diversity Officer for Lancashire Police

I am a serving Police Officer with Lancashire Constabulary and I am currently the Community Cohesion and Hate Crime Officer for West Division. I also chair the Lancashire Police LGB&T Staff Support Network. I am openly gay and live with my partner of 10 years Andy in Preston.  I have a 17 year old son Oliver who has severe physical disabilities and I am passionate about all aspects of difference and diversity.

> Jake Adams

Social Entrepreneur

I am Jake Adams, the Member of Youth Parliament for Blackpool (Feb 2015 – March 2017) and the Chair of Blackpool Youth Voice as well as this i am also the Director of Creative Print North West Limited.

My background… i started volunteering with URPotential in 2011 and have gained a wealth of experience and qualifications from them, in 2014 i started my own printing company called Creative Print North West, i still continue to volunteer with UR Potential in a variety of different ways, in 2016 i became and #iWill Ambassador for the young people of Blackpool.

My role on the steering group of URPotential is to give my opinions on aspects of the company from a social entrepreneurs perspective and help with any overall problems and give strategic feedback.

> Denise Davies

Parent Rep/Legal Advisor

I am a qualified solicitor but no longer practice, my specialty included clinical negligence cases with a particular emphasis on birth injuries. I dealt with many general personal injury cases involving children particularly the more serious cases of catastrophic injury involving life long care. I sat on a national steering committee of solicitors advising parents , other solicitors and funding bodies of potential claims of compensation for vaccine damage injuries. I am a mum of 2 crazy but adorable teenagers and wife of a crazy but adorable husband.

> Nicola Dawber

Representative of Blackpool Youth Council

I am 17 and have been a young carer for my mum and other members of my family since I was 10 years old. I am a member of Blackpool Youth Voice and have been involved with Blackpool Make Your Mark campaigns, MYP Elections and attended youthforia events. I was also involved in the planning and delivery of two Blackpool Youth Summits. I am a member of Blackpool young carers and attend a young adult carer group to be part of activities and meetings with other young people who have a caring responsibility. I have also volunteered in my community at events such as International Women’s Day and fundraising for local causes.

This year I was nominated for the Fylde Coast Young Woman of the year and was successful in gaining this accolade. I am an I Will ambassador for URPotential whilst also sitting on the URPotential steering group representing young people’s voice. I have also recently been appointed as a young Director of the company to support the companies’ future.

> Andrea Kay

Lancashire County Councillor

Councillor Andrea Kay is a  Lancashire County Councillor representing Cleveleys East and is Chair of the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee and the  Lead Member for Children and Young People / Armed Forces Champion

> Linda Turner

Social work assistant with Blackpool Council

I work closely with Social Workers developing CP plans and I hold CIN cases.  I am resourceful and always finding new ways to approach my families. I am the go to person when someone needs help or support be this my colleagues or families that I work with. I have developed excellent partnerships with charities and agencies and regularly input to team meetings arranging for outside agencies to come in and deliver awareness about their services to provide a multi-agency approach to the service, we deliver at level 4 of the continuum of need because I am passionate about providing the best services for our families. An example of this is The Young Carers Team and UR Potential has been integral to engaging hard to reach families at a child protection level.

>Elaine Walker

Integrated Emotional Health and Wellbeing Manager for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals

Elaine Walker is the Integrated Emotional Health and Wellbeing Manager for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals. Elaine manages YoutherapY Casher (Child and Adolescent Support and Help Enhanced response) and CAMHS (Child and Adolescent MH services)