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 DL, Founder & Chief Executive

As the Chief Executive, 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 is focused on our mission to alleviate the impacts of childhood poverty by providing a practical way for families to help each other with kindness and purpose. Email Nicola.

Nicola lives in Reigate and is a Mum of two. After university she settled into a career in banking and financial services that saw her live and work in Australia and Norway as well as in various cities in the UK. The roles she held always had a focus on transformation and change, and she brings that appetite to challenge and connect to her work in the voluntary sector. 

She founded Stripey Stork after trying to find a home for all the baby clothes, toys and other items her children no longer needed. 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 be inspired to adopt the concept in their area too.

In June 2021 Nicola was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for Surrey. More details about the Surrey Lieutenancy can be found here.

Karen Lord, trustee

Karen Lord, 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 fundraising.

She met Nicola when Nicola 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, and realise 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.

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.

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Lynn Turner, Trustee – Human Resources

Lynn is our HR Trustee, advising on the practical and legal implications of employing our amazing staff and looking after our hardworking team of volunteers.

Lynn has extensive experience of HR within professional services organisations but recently had itchy feet to put her knowledge and ideas to even better use, in a charitable capacity. She has supported Stripey Stork for a number of years, initially donating her young children’s outgrown toys and clothes, but more recently as part of the Caterham WI, who supported Stripey Stork as their chosen charity for two years in a row. When an opportunity arose for Stripey Stork to appoint another Trustee, Lynn found her calling and now relishes being part of such an engaged Board of Trustees, for a cause that is close to her heart. 

Charlotte trustee

Charlotte Walker, Trustee – Commercial

Charlotte is our newly appointed Commercial Trustee. More information coming soon…

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Sara Beadle, Operations Manager

Sara is our Operations Manager, leading the growing team of Team Stork staff and volunteers  in our warehouse. Her job is ensuring that the day-to-day operations are delivered effectively, and helping to plan for the organisation’s future. Contact Sara on [email protected].

Sara has worked in the not-for-profit sector for almost twenty years as a manger of projects and people. From running festivals and managing events, she eventually moved into team and programme management, being a key part of the development and growth of a number of charities and their diverse teams of staff and volunteers. During her career she has worked extensively with under-represented groups including LGBTQ+ artists, refugee groups and those from low income or working class backgrounds. She is passionate about alleviating childhood poverty and supporting families, and for the last three years she has been a Trustee for another small baby bank in West Sussex. This experience introduced her to the fantastic work of Stripey Stork, admiring the way they offered their support to other organisations. She is absolutely delighted to be leading the Operations Team at Stripey Stork, and feels privileged coming to work every day knowing that she is having a real impact on the lives of local families. Sara lives in West Sussex and has two young daughters. She loves reading, plants, and drinking too much coffee.

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Sonya Allan de Figueroa, Referrals Co-ordinator
(job share)

Sonya – along with her job share Elaine – are the first point of contact for all the referral sources who use our service. They are responsible for managing the end-to-end referral process including ensuring that orders are prepared ready for collection. You can contact them both on their shared email [email protected] or Sonya individually on [email protected].

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.

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Elaine Arnell, Referrals Co-ordinator
(job share)

Elaine – along with her job share Sonya – are the first point of contact for all the referral sources who use our service. They are responsible for managing the end-to-end referral process including ensuring that orders are prepared and ready for collection. You can contact them both on their shared email [email protected] or Elaine individually on [email protected].

Elaine is a long time volunteer at Stripey Stork, so you could say Team Stork through and through. She’s commented before that her OCD tendencies are being put to good use here at Stripey Stork, as she ensures that all the loving donations are put together into wonderful packages. In 2019 she took on the role of Santa Stork which, together with a great team, ensured that every child who needed our help had a present to open on Christmas Day. Elaine lives in Reigate with her husband, two children and their dog, the newest addition to the family. They run their own family business, Crumbs Brewing, which uses leftover bread from Chalk Hills Bakery to make delicious craft beers. Prior to having children she worked in market research on brands such as Pringles, Clearasil and E45. She loved getting to know the consumer and understand their needs, a principle which will serve her well as she fulfils orders for our referral partners and their supported families. In her spare time, Elaine loves travelling and discovering new places with her family.

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Laura Scott, Volunteer Co-ordinator
(job share)

Laura, along with her current job share Abbie, are responsible for managing our volunteer sessions. They are the first point of contact for anyone looking to volunteer at Stripey Stork, and oversee the day to day activities of our regular volunteers. They also arrange and manage our corporate volunteer sessions. You can contact them both on their shared email [email protected] or Laura individually on [email protected].

Laura has volunteering in her blood and a passion for giving children the best possible start in life, so Stripey Stork was the natural choice when she was looking for a new volunteering venture in 2019. She’s not looked back since! She takes great pride and pleasure in organising the generous donations we receive and loves turning them into amazing packages for families experiencing hardship. She originally started out in the travel industry working in training for KLM and Intercontinental Hotel Group, before retraining as a primary school teacher. Teaching mainly in inner city London, but also working at schools in Tanzania and Taiwan before joining Roehampton University’s Initial Teacher Training team, mentoring student teachers at schools across London. Having worked closely with children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds, she’s seen first hand the difference that the level of support we give can make to these families and feels this is where she needs to be, making a difference to people’s lives. She lives in Reigate with her partner and their little boy and besides a love of all things food, they enjoy muddy walks and trips to the seaside, whatever the weather. A true northern soul!


Abbie Curd, Volunteer Co-ordinator
(job share, maternity cover)

Abbie, along with her job share Laura, are responsible for managing our volunteer sessions. They are the first point of contact for anyone looking to volunteer at Stripey Stork, and oversee the day to day activities of our regular volunteers. They also arrange and manage our corporate volunteer sessions. You can contact them both on their shared email [email protected] or Abbie individually on [email protected].

Abbie first heard about Stripey Stork soon after her daughter was born and she helped at one of the initial clothes sorting sessions in 2014. She starting volunteering regularly when both her children started school and instantly loved the sense of community and friendliness at Stripey Stork. When the Santa Stork Project Manager role came up in 2020 she saw it as an opportunity to put her previous project management experience to good use. Little did she know that the team would deliver over 5,000 presents to children and parents that year, far more than planned due to the financial impact of the pandemic on local families. It was an extremely busy, but truly rewarding 10 weeks. She immediately felt part of Team Stork and was thrilled when asked if she was interested in being Volunteer Coordinator for Charlotte’s maternity leave. Abbie lives in Reigate with her husband and two children and regularly volunteers for Holmesdale School where she is currently the Treasurer for the PTA. Before that she was a project manager and business analyst for 15 years, where she worked for a number of companies including PlayStation & BT, her final project being the launch of the Mothercare website just before going on maternity leave herself! Abbie has hit the ground running, a real people person with a ‘can do’ attitude means she fits right in with our volunteers, we feel so lucky to have her on the team.

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Charlotte Dance, Volunteer Co-ordinator
(job share, currently on maternity leave)

Charlotte, although currently on maternity leave, shares the role of managing our volunteer sessions. They are the first point of contact for anyone looking to volunteer at Stripey Stork, and oversee the day to day activities of our regular volunteers. They also arrange and manage our corporate volunteer sessions. 

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.

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Lydia Beatty, Donations Co-ordinator

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

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.

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Donna Pariser, Partnerships Manager

Donna is our Partnerships Manager, her role is to develop our relationships with the community groups and corporate partners who support us.  Donna also has overall responsibility for our key campaigns, ensuring that these deliver maximum value for the families we help.  Contact Donna on [email protected]

Donna joined Stripey Stork in 2018.  She’ll be a familiar face to many people as her work takes her out and about – meeting with our partners, giving talks and organising our events.  She loves playing an active part in the community and prior to working at Stripey Stork, she was Co-Chair of the Friends of St John’s Primary School in Redhill and led the fundraising at Leigh Lollipops Nursery.

A friend mentioned Stripey Stork and Donna came along to see what it was all about. Arriving for her first volunteering session, she spent the morning hand-writing cards for the Mother’s Day campaign and putting together Stork Sacks – bags of essentials for children rescued from trafficking. She was really touched by the stories she heard and met some lovely people.  When the role at Stripey Stork came up, Donna jumped at the chance to be involved with such a worthwhile cause.  Donna lives in Redhill and is mum to two girls.  Before starting a family, Donna worked as a Team Leader in Canon UK’s Central Business Operations.

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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 [email protected].

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.

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Nancy Jones, Office Manager

Nancy is our Office Manager, responsible for the smooth running of the Stripey Stork office. She supports the core team, co-ordinates resources and organises our office workspace. Prior to her new role, Nancy was known to the team as a volunteer and came to our aid before we moved to our current premises in Reigate to help with the task of decluttering and space planning. Nancy’s mission was to ensure that Stripey Stork would be able to work as efficiently and as easily as humanly possible in their new space. Contact Nancy on [email protected].

Nancy’s love of of decluttering and space planning was born from project managing her own house build in Redhill, which she describes as “interesting” especially when living on site, with her husband and young daughter, during the build with no roof! Prior to this, she worked at Willis Towers Watson (also one of our corporate partners) providing project management support for de-risking pension schemes. Nancy loves organising and supporting the Stripey Stork team in all that they do. She was looking for a role which would contribute to making a real difference in people’s lives. She feels motivated by seeing people give their time (through volunteering) and/or possessions (through donations), that they have once loved, to a new home. At the end of each week, she feels fantastic in knowing that she has been part of something very positive and worthwhile. Nancy lived in South African for 20 years but loves the community feel of the area she now lives.

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Susy Moore, Communications Manager

Susy is our Communications Manager, responsible for managing all of the 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 [email protected].

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!