Meet our Team
Fran Garland - Chief Operations Officer
Fran has over 20 years of experience in the disability sector. She is very passionate about providing equal and inclusive opportunities for anyone with any disability.
Having worked primarily with people with a wide range of different disabilities and additional needs, Fran knew from the moment she found out about Gympanzees that she had to be involved.
In her spare time Fran loves spending time with her 2 young boys and very cute sausage dog! Crafting and making is her bag. “Although my garden doesn’t reflect this currently I am green fingered. My house had a great selection of succulents, plants and cacti”.
Emily Thorn - Executive Assistant to Stephanie Wheen and Fran Garland
Emily has worked in the finance sector for 20 years. Emily is highly organised and passionate about diversity and inclusion.
Emily is our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion champion at Gympanzees and said “I feel passionate about the inclusivity that Gympanzees offers, embracing people’s backgrounds whether it be disability, race, religion. With diversity at the heart, we can really embrace everyone’s uniqueness, bring in new ideas and learn from each other”.
Emily has a passion for baking, previously running her own small business and has even made wedding and birthday cakes for other members of the team!
Jenny Perez - Head of Philanthropy
Jenny has 30 years of experience in the charity sector. She is very passionate about making a difference for underrepresented communities and people. Having worked in a number of national charities and latterly smaller local charities in the South West Jenny has a breadth of knowledge and great connections.
Excited about Gympanzees vision and plans for the future, Jenny is delighted to be part of the team and will be bringing her enthusiasm and skills as part of this amazing journey.
In her spare time Jenny loves to play tennis and go outdoor swimming. She can also be found cheering her son on at football and walking her rescue dog with her daughter.
Connect with Jenny on LinkedIn
Victoria Noël - Fundraising Manager
Victoria has worked as a fundraiser at performing arts conservatoires in London for ten years. Developing a range of funding streams to secure scholarship support, she has enjoyed seeing young people thrive whilst doing what they love.
Having recently moved to the South-West, Victoria is looking forward to enjoying all that the area has to offer. She’s also hoping to explore further afield in her campervan.
“When I heard about Gympanzees for the first time I was bowled over by what a good idea it was and couldn’t believe that it didn’t already exist. From personal experience I knew what a facility like this would mean to so many people and I really wanted to be a part of making that happen!”
Miranda Theobald - Grants and Trusts Manager
Miranda has worked for charities for over 18 years. She has worked in women’s mental health for several years and is also a trustee for another charity. She is a mother of two boys and lives in the countryside.
Miranda is passionate about mental health, she trained as a counsellor and has an NVQ level 2 as a Family Support worker.
She loves to read and has travelled all over the world and worked for charities in Cambodia, Honduras, and Gambia.
Jenny Davies - Fundraising Officer
Jenny has first-hand experience with disability as a parent and individual, Jenny herself is diagnosed with ADHD, and her son is autistic. Jenny is passionate about raising awareness around neurodiversity, showing what neurodivergent individuals can achieve when given the right environment and opportunities.
Jenny previously worked as a cabin crew member for ten years. She is a trained makeup artist and the founder of Perfect Sense Clothing Co, a clothing brand encouraging more positive conversations around neurodiversity.
“I can completely relate to the struggles faced by many of our families, so of course, Gympanzees was something I wanted to be a part of. Working for such a fantastic cause and with the best group of caring, hard-working people I’ve ever met is a privilege!”.
Kimberley Britton - Marketing Manager
Kimberley has worked on marketing campaigns for over ten years in the commercial and charity sectors. She has experience in live events, sports marketing and delivering national behaviour change campaigns in Wales.
She was a Mental Health Champion for the Time to Change Wales campaign, speaking in the Senedd about ending mental health stigma. Kim is neurodiverse and has dyspraxia. She is passionate about showing that doesn’t just mean clumsy. “Dyspraxia affects coordination, balance and movement but also how you learn new skills, speak, think, and remember information at work and home. I think my dyspraxia has only made me more determined when taking on tasks and being creative!”.
In her spare time, Kim is a qualified dance fitness instructor and a self-proclaimed movie geek. Ask her any question about the Oscars!
Leila Rogers - Marketing Assistant
Leila was first introduced to Gympanzees as a parent, she had attended Gympanzees Pop Ups with her son and used the Lending Library during lockdown.
In October 2020 she started volunteering for the Lending Library and was soon offered an official position in the marketing team to help with all things Gympanzees! Leila is an asset to the team, she assists with social media, managing the website and has great knowledge and awareness of disabilities and life as a SEND parent.
Leila is from Latvia and an incredible make-up artist, often being asked to work on local shows and productions in her spare time.
Lucy Spielberg - Assistant Project Manager
Lucy is a children’s entertainer with a passion for play. She sees play as one of the most important activities every child can do. And at Gympanzees, they get to do just that. Lucy said – “It’s probably the most rewarding job I have ever had.”
Lucy started at Gympanzees during covid and helped to set up and run the Lending Library. She is now assisting with all things Pop Up and other projects, as well as volunteering at the Lending Library.
Lucy owns a successful children’s entertainment business striving for circus entertainment to be more accessible and inclusive.
During her free time she loves being active, bike rides, hiking and enjoys reading a good book.
Julia Abbot - Admin Assistant
Julia started working in administration nine years ago – working in both commercial and government roles. She then began volunteering for a local charity seven years ago, specifically with children and adolescents.
She is really passionate about giving her time as since becoming a SEND parent, there have been barriers to finding safe inclusive suitable family activities, and Julia wants to help support disabled families like hers.
Julia and her eldest son are both autistic. She also works with autistic children as a support worker for a charity in South Wales.
In her free time, Julia enjoys meditating and trips to her favourite shops.