Meet the Team – Our Directors

Meet the Team
Gold Stars Shape

This week’s blog is an introduction to our directors.


Jo- our Founder- When Jo moved to Shropshire (over 30yrs ago) with two young children, her first job was in a ‘Psychiatric Day Centre’ as an occupational therapist. She was impatient with the role as it didn’t seem to answer any of the needs of those attending, there was an atmosphere of low expectations and lack of respect for individuals. Within the Day Centre Jo set up specialist art group and began to work on projects and commissions for a wide range of settings. Members of the group flourished became ambitious learnt new skills took on roles. Jo was convinced then that this approach worked.

In 2000 the group moved out of the NHS day care setting and after a stint in a community centre they moved into our own beautiful studio space in Oswestry Town centre. Now Designs in Mind had a home, the right equipment and some financial support to really begin to make our mark.  It is Jo’s lived experience of working with our members that has given her a deep understanding of what is useful for people.

Always assume that most things are possible, that with the right support trust and respect people can achieve and move on. That with the empathy and the right amount of hugs, hope can return and that the friendship and encouragement of your peers is priceless.

Gillian- She is originally a local person who left Oswestry aged 18 to further her studies. She has worked in London, Luxembourg and Spain in many varied roles. On return to Shropshire she has been actively involved in running a local successful business for over 35 years. She has also undertaken various voluntary community roles which have given her experience of finance and risk management, detailed policy work, and strategic decision making. She led the local Further Education College, as Chair of the Board, for over 12 years. This role allowed her to develop a deep understanding of the subtleties and responsibility of Governance. She was also a Board member of two other educational establishments.

Kathryn (or Kath to many)- She has lived in North Shropshire since the late 1970’s, in Ellesmere then Oswestry. Following completion of an Applied Arts degree as a mature student in Wrexham, she worked as a studio artist at Designs in Mind from 2006 until she retired a few years ago. She has long, first hand knowledge and experience of the organisation, its ethos, purpose and people, and continues to be passionate about its vital work. Previously she had a long career in working on education, community and training projects for Shropshire and Wrexham local authorities, and the University of Wolverhampton. These roles provided Kath with opportunity to develop a wide range of skills which can contribute to the work of Designs in Mind.

Bill- He has been a member of Designs in mind for over four and a half years and a director for four of those years. He is currently chair of the Health and Safety group. In a previous job, he was the chair person of the works council for twenty two years. In that role Bill was involved in wage negotiations to health and safety. He feels his previous experience helps him in his understanding of the director role.

Sarah- She has over thirty years’ experience working for global companies as a Product Manager, having responsibility for both product and people. She has mentored and coached, which was challenging and difficult at times, but ultimately rewarding. As a product manager Sarah had a lot of interaction with suppliers and manufacturers worldwide, this included negotiating, responsibility for the product range, and pricing strategy. Her last position was in the commercial office of a luxury car manufacturer, developing strategy and business plans to expand and generate profit margins. Sarah moved to the Oswestry area over eleven years ago, made friends and put down strong roots. She has grown to love this very unique place and is proud to call it home. In August 2019 Sarah started to volunteer for Designs in Mind joining the Listen and Connect team, it has enabled her to meet and feel part of a very special caring family.

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Posted by Maddy Moore, Good Egg Team and Member