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Meet the Team

Dee Luczka
CEO

Dee has had experience of working in Local Government for over 38 years. During that time, she worked with children and young people in various services and through many opportunities. Initially she worked as a youth and community worker which offered a platform for other roles and responsibilities within the setting. She has been course tutor in FE, a training and development officer, counsellor and a senior manager leading the strategic and operational development of the Connexions and Early Intervention service for children and young people.

In her later years within Bolton Council, she took a lead in the development of the SEND “Post 16 Preparing for Adulthood” agenda and spent a short time supporting the adult employability agenda by managing a DWP contract which encouraged the long term unemployed to re-engage back with employment opportunities.
After leaving Bolton Council in 2015, she went on to act as a consultant to support the local development of a Post 19 educational setting for young adults aged 19 - 25 with additional needs, focusing on transition, and worked in this environment for 5 years. She also supported the organisation to gain charitable status and used her influence to ensure that effective governance and accountability became a priority.
She is committed to ensuring that national and local policy is strategically developed and delivered effectively to ensure it meets the needs of young people. Her key strength is her ability to develop relationships with the key partners involved in making the difference happen. Those partnerships include health, social care, schools, post 16 providers, housing, employment and skills, the voluntary sector, parents/carers and young people.

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Jen McVeigh
Programme Manager

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Jen worked in education for 15 years. She has a wealth of experience in a variety of settings working with children and young people. She started her career as a Teaching Assistant in a primary school and went on to take up a similar role in a 11-19 special school. This experience encouraged Jen to undertake a Degree in Disability studies.
From 2015 - 20 she held a leadership position in a Post 19 Specialist College and qualified as teacher in 2019. She played a pivotal role in supporting the development of an education and social programme. Her natural ability to establish safe trusting relationships is paramount to her success when working with young adults with additional needs.
Jen has developed her own unique way of creating formal and informal learning environments that stimulate the individual desire to engage in activities. This enables the young adults to develop personally, socially, and emotionally.
She is perceptive, intuitive, and versatile in her approach, ensuring that she consistently identifies strategies that keeps the young adult central to any support that they may need to make their learning unforgettable. These strategies can easily be applied to the challenges they may face as they transition into adulthood and are essential within the organisation to ensure the programme is engaging for the individual.

Liz Davies
Finance and Admin Officer

Liz has worked in business administration for over 30 years and has experience in both commercial and educational settings, as well as running her own business for 7 years.
In the last 5 years she has worked in a Post 19 education and social setting  that supports young adults with additional needs.
During this experience she has developed a specific skill set that supports organisational development, particularly addressing the professional governance required for the effective delivery of services. She has developed a knowledge of relevant SEND legislation and worked as part of a team to identify and develop administrative systems that support the implementation of  successful programmes within specified time frames.
She has high expectations of young adults and supports their progress towards aduthood and independence. Liz is often the first point of contact with individuals and is able to  to liaise sensitively and effectively with parents / carers and key partners recognising their role in the young adults development.

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Karen Woodcock
Support Mentor

Karen has a vast amount of experience of working with children and young people. She has worked for over 26 years in a range of settings. She started her career  working in a primary school working alongside the SENCO,  then moved into the criminal justice system, Her role was to support vulnerable young people to engage in positive activities which would help them make the transition back into the community. More recently she has worked in a Post 19 educational setting, providing support to young adults with additional needs.  She has a unique approach when supporting individuals, which provides them with the environment that promotes personal growth and development. Her own personal and social intelligence provides her with a platform to support the individual to recognise their strengths and abilities they need to make the transition into adulthood.

Cassie Kirkpatrick
Support Mentor

Cassie has a wide range of experience that will enhance the offer of life skills that we promote at Sapphire. She has worked for 13 years in various administration roles which brings the ability to communicate effectively with others using  negotiating, organisational and motivational skills. She has also worked in educational settings ranging from primary, secondary and post 19. Her initial role in education, was as a dinner lady and later as a temporary Teaching Assistant at a primary Special school. These opportunities gave her an insight into the early development of children. During her time at a secondary Special School she was employed as a Teaching assistant for Key stage 3 and 6th Form. Here she had the opportunity to transfer her learning from primary into the next stage of a child’s educational development . In april 2016 she took on the position as a Learning Support worker at a post 19 educational institution. In this role she supported teaching staff to work with young adults to complete their individual educational offer and identify a suitable progression to adulthood. Her genuine caring, calming and empathic approach fits well into the purpose and vision at Sapphire.

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Sharon Yates
Support Mentor

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Sharon has a vast amount of experience and expertise that she has acquired during the roles she has worked during her career.
She has many transferable skills that support the young adults to develop the life skills that will be beneficial for them to use in adulthood.
These skills were identified very early on when she was asked to take on the role of Head Girl at school. Her post 18 education continued at Bolton College where she undertook a 3-year catering course. She continued to expand her skill set by learning cake decoration and obtained another qualification on ‘Managing Kitchens’.
Her career in catering led her to work in an industrial setting rather than the Hotel catering occupational area.
As a full time mum, she also undertook a range of jobs roles, fitting in to the lifestyle that enhanced her family role, this included working at the local primary school her children attended.
Her next career move was as a kitchen/ Teaching assistant with SEN students at a local secondary school. Her love of this role led her take on another position over the next 11 years as a Teaching Assistant in a Special School and then a further 2 years in a Post 19 Specialist College, where she supported the young adults to prepare for adulthood.
She has a sound knowledge of safeguarding and has taken part in a range of mandatory training including Tracheotomy training.
Sharon retired from this role in 2021 and took on an active role as a volunteer at Sapphire prior to her current roles as a Support Mentor.
Her calm, caring, creative nature is a welcome asset to the team and her enthusiasm for supporting young adults with additional needs and disabilities as they grow into adulthood is commendable.

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