Meet the Stripey Stork Team

Stripey Stork was established in 2013. We are a small charity based in Surrey started by a group of mums who wanted to see the items their babies and children no longer needed re-used in the local community.

We are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded 'The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service'

We couldn't have done it without our donors, funders, volunteers, fundraisers and corporate supporters. Read more...

Our Team

Nicola Dawes, founder and chair of trustees

Nicola Dawes, Founder & General Manager

As the General Manager, Nicola has responsibility for leading the organisation to fulfil its purpose and for reporting to the Board of Trustees. She acts as a spokesperson and figurehead for Stripey Stork and supervises the day-to-day operations. Contact Nicola

Nicola lives in Reigate and is a mum of two. She founded Stripey Stork after trying to find a good home for all the baby clothes, toys and other items her children no longer needed. It was clear there was a need for donations in the local area but the support agencies she spoke to said they had difficulty storing and sorting any items they were offered. She realised there was a gap for someone to act as the conduit between those who had items to give and those who so desperately needed them.

Nicola has always envisaged Stripey Stork as being a real community venture – local families helping local families – but managed and developed in such a way that other communities can adopt the concept in their area too.

Karen Lord, trustee

Karen Lord, Interim Chair of Trustees

Karen’s role on the trustee board is to ensure Stripey Stork meets its legal and commercial obligations. She acts to broaden awareness of the charity’s values and priorities; and increase its visibility across a wider audience.

Karen is a lawyer with 20 years experience and is a partner at Healys law firm in Brighton. Much of Karen’s work involves buying and selling businesses. Karen also works closely with start-up businesses, helping them with their ownership structures and early stage fund-raising.

She met Nicola when she was setting up Stripey Stork and couldn’t help but be caught up by her enthusiasm and drive. What she really enjoys about working with Stripey Stork is helping to give back to those in need as she feels strongly that those who are in a position to help, even if in small ways, should do what they can and sees herself very much as sitting within this group


Jenny Benfield, Treasurer and Trustee

The Treasurer oversees the financial affairs of Stripey Stork and ensures they are legal, constitutional and within accepted accounting practice. Jenny is a pensions actuary at Willis Towers Watson.

When her daughter started school, she decided to spend the spare hours she had working with a charity, and having previously donated to Stripey Stork, she saw they were looking for volunteers. After she had a chat with Nicola, she ran Santa Stork 2014, then became the Treasurer and hasn’t looked back since! She loves the fact that Stripey Stork is completely different to her day job and finds it provides a good balance. She also gets to express her creative side – turning our fabulous logo into a toy stork was great fun!

Her personal highlight has been Santa Stork, especially Santa Stork 2015 when she had almost 500 children’s presents in her house in the run up to Christmas. She felt a bit like Father Christmas when they went out to the referral sources! In addition, she is proud that her work with Stripey Stork means that her young daughter has a great understanding of charity, and enjoys having a good clear out of her toys and books, putting them into a Stripey Stork pile, as well as acting as a great ambassador for the charity, telling her friends and classmates about it.

Margarida Littlefair, secretary and trustee

Margarida Littlefair, Secretary and Trustee

As Secretary, Margarida ensures that board meetings are properly administered and keeps the Charities Commission records up-to-date. She also ensures all policies are fit for purpose and that the charity and its people are adequately insured.

Margarida holds a degree in Maths and Business administration and worked for over 20 years in the insurance industry as an actuary, working for a long period as a consultant for Willis Towers Watson. She has since left to dedicate more time to her young family but has been involved with several projects and organisations, including over three years as the Treasurer of the PSA at Holmesdale School. She was drawn to Stripey Stork as she wanted to ensure that some of her time was dedicated to the local community. As Stripey Stork was a local charity and dealt with children, it seemed like a perfect match! She feels the most rewarding part is knowing how much all the hard work put in is going to be beneficial for families who are going through a rough time and it allows her to take stock, realising how lucky most of us are with security we have in our lives. The best moments have to be Santa Stork related as the campaign gives such joy and a real sense of love to so many families.

Sarah Cape, trustee

Sarah Cape, Trustee – Human Resources

Sarah has responsibility for all HR matters including the development of policies and practice related to employee relations, recruitment, retention, reward and recognition as well as staff and trustee development.

Sarah has worked in Human Resources for many years, often in fairly small businesses requiring a hands on approach. She runs her own freelance HR consultancy which she dovetails into her commitments to Stripey Stork and home life. No two days are ever dull!

Having previously volunteered at East Surrey Hospital, she was on the lookout for something new and interesting to fit around family life. Once she found Stripey Stork she viewed it as a ‘no brainer’ to get involved on a practical level. Over the course of time, her involvement has increased and she now supports the HR elements that have evolved since the charity has taken on paid employees.

Her personal highlight from an HR perspective is providing local, part-time employment to a number of wonderful people. She’s also loved seeing a number of volunteers grow in confidence and develop new friendships borne out of their time spent volunteering with us.

Darren Cassidy, Trustee – Information Technology

Darren is the Chief Information Officer for ITW, a global manufacturing company, and is responsible for IT strategies and transformations that enable business growth.

Darren lives in the local area with his wife and two young children. He is also a member of the local Redhill and Reigate Round Table, which is how he was initially introduced to Stripey Stork. Darren and his family are keen supporters of our annual Santa Stork Christmas campaign, something which his children love to get involved with, so when the opportunity arose to make a continuous contribution he eagerly accepted. Darren is looking forward to helping us further our reach and provide even more essential services, and the incredible personal satisfaction which comes with this.


Lydia Beatty Donations Co-ordinator

Lydia is our Donations Co-ordinator and has a responsibility for stock management.
She develops the monthly wish lists and is the point of contact for anyone wishing to make a donation.
Contact Lydia on

She loves meeting the families who bring the items their families no longer need along to our donation events.

Before coming to Stripey Stork, Lydia had been working in magazine publishing for over 15 years and was the Production Manager on Good Housekeeping magazine. She began volunteering at Stripey Stork as she’d decided not to return to her job in London after having her 2nd child but wanted to do something worthwhile with her time. After looking at local charities and seeing what Stripey Stork do, she loved the fact they found a way to re-home pre loved baby and children’s items so was happy to spend her time helping out. After volunteering for several months she applied for the Donations Co-ordinator role and was thrilled to be successful. She feels really lucky in her role as she gets rewarding moments on a weekly basis, saying it’s always lovely to be able to re-home a more unusual item like a triple buggy or have just the perfect Peppa Pig duvet cover when the request comes in. She feels very fortunate that Stripey Stork always receive such great quality donations and that she can see the difference they can make to a family in need. She also loves being part of a team that makes a real difference to people’s lives.


Sonya Allan de Figueroa Referrals Co-ordinator

As the Referrals Co-ordinator Sonya is the first point of contact for all the referral sources who use our service. She is responsible for managing the end-to-end referral process including ensuring that orders are prepared ready for collection.
Contact Sonya on

Sonya has worked in the voluntary sector for  the last 15 years, starting with the Surrey Domestic Violence Project and then Surrey Women’s Aid before moving to Breakthrough Breast Cancer/Breast Cancer Now. After having children she started volunteering, first occasionally and then regularly, for Stripey Stork. Last November we were very fortunate that she applied for the post of Referrals Co-ordinator. She was certainly the right person for the job! Having had recent experience of a big national charity, she was keen to be involved in something more local. As a mother to two little girls, she has some understanding of the huge amount of ‘stuff’ you need to suddenly acquire when you have a baby and her work with Women’s Aid had given her an insight into the struggle when money for these things isn’t easily available. She hears of some stories of families in desperate need on a daily basis which can be challenging but feels lucky to meet incredible people doing incredible work to help them which makes it so rewarding. What keeps her inspired is hearing stories of what happened to donated items that we’ve sent out and the real difference it’s made to someone’s life.

Charlotte lightened

Charlotte Dance, Volunteer Co-ordinator

Charlotte is responsible for managing our volunteer sessions. She is the first point of contact for anyone looking to volunteer with us, and oversees the day to day activities of our regular volunteers. She also arranges and manages our weekly corporate volunteer sessions. Contact Charlotte on

Charlotte is mum to triplets, and first heard about Stripey Stork when she met our founder Nicola at a toddler group. Once her children were at school, she started regularly volunteering with us. She found it extremely rewarding not only as she was doing something worthwhile by helping families in the local community, but also as she really enjoyed working with the team of volunteers here. She was delighted to accept the role of Volunteer Co-ordinator and continue working on a daily basis with the fabulous volunteers who give up their time to help us. Charlotte has previously worked in the UK Trade & Investment team at British Embassy Doha where she managed and gave briefings to trade delegations, and helped to develop a network of local trade contacts. Prior to that, she worked as a qualified solicitor which helped her develop strong organisational skills ready for us to benefit from at Stripey Stork HQ.


Susy Moore, Communications Manager

As Communications Manager, Susy manages all channels of communication that we use to spread the word about the good work that we do. We use many ways to communicate, which is dependent on what we have to say and who we have to say it to, so as you can imagine this is a busy and varied role. All the while, checking that what we are communicating is true to the Stripey Stork brand. Contact Susy on

Susy came to us from a very interesting role, where she was the Social Media Manager of an international online doll company. As one of our prominent communication channels is social media, and with her recent experience being in the children’s market, she seemed like a natural fit. Susy also brings with her many years of experience as a marketeer, and is known to the team because of volunteering in the past at Stork HQ and for Santa Stork. Susy is experiencing first hand the amazing work Stripey Stork do and is encouraged everyday by the kindness of the community where she lives. Susy has two boys, loves riding to work using the local cycle track and is a do-er to anyone who knows her, which is great news for us!

Donna Pariser, Community Ambassador

Donna is our Community Ambassador, her role is to develop our relationships with the community and corporate groups who support us, and help us to expand our geographical reach so that we are able to help more families. Contact Donna on

Prior to working at Stripey Stork, Donna led the fundraising at Leigh Lollipops Nursery and was appointed Co-Chair of the Friends of St John’s Primary School in Redhill. She found these roles incredibly rewarding and enjoys being an active part of the community. A friend casually mentioned Stripey Stork and Donna came along to see what it was all about. Arriving for her first volunteers session during the Mum2Mum campaign, she spent the morning hand-writing cards and packaging up small gifts for mums who would otherwise receive nothing on Mother’s Day. She met some lovely people and was really touched by the stories she heard. Donna’s next session saw her helping to put together Stork Sacks – bags of essentials for children rescued from trafficking. When the role of Community Ambassador came up she jumped at the chance to be involved with such a worthwhile cause. Before starting a family, Donna worked as a Team Leader in Canon UK’s Central Business Operations. Donna lives in Redhill and is mum to two girls.

Sophie Funding Co-ordinator

Sophie Johns, Funding Co-ordinator

Sophie is our Funding Co-ordinator. Her role is to develop partnerships with our current funders, identifying new funding opportunities and building new relationships with potential funders. Contact Sophie on

Sophie has always had a heart for social justice, and is inspired by the work of Stripey Stork, helping vulnerable families across Surrey. She has worked for over a decade with international NGOs, fundraising and developing new programmes. Prior to that she worked as a buyer for FMCG retailers, negotiating contracts with suppliers. When her husband’s job took them overseas, she raised a family in Istanbul and Durban, and had the privilege of volunteering with organisations that helped some of the world’s most vulnerable. She has maintained her international interest by being Chair of a charity in South Africa for the last four years. Moving back to Reigate she heard many wonderful stories about the work of Stripey Stork, so was delighted to join the team. Sophie lives in Reigate and is mum to four boys.